Phantom of the Oscars
I have written about Oscar night elsewhere and will link to that piece ASAP. In the meantime, three cheers for the Uruguayan songwriter Jorge Drexler, winner for Best Original Song, for insisting on delivering a few bars of it himself during the 20 seconds most winners have to thank everyone they ever knew, plus the heavenly host and all the powers under the earth.
Drexler was defying the Academy's refusal to let him perform the song himself. Instead, "Al Otro Lado del Rio" ("The Other Side of the River"), from "The Motorcycle Diaries," a film about the youthful Che Guevara, was Rolfed by the Spanish pop star Antonio Bandera, accompanied by American rock idol Carlos Santana (born in Mexico). Back in Montevideo, Drexler is being hailed as both a winner and a rebel - which is entirely appropriate, given that Che was the first fully commodified socialist revolutionary.
It is, of course, customary to have Big Stars perform the nominated songs, rather than the obscure nobodies who actually wrote them. On occasion this has added emotion and excitement to the proceedings, but not this time.
Beyonce (sorry, my software doesn't have a fake accent aigu) is a very beautiful young woman with great pipes. But somebody - her managers? her fans? herself? - is working overtime to waste both beauty and talent. Even ghastlier than her costumes were the songs she sang. And ghastliest of all was "Learn to be Lonely" from "The Phantom of the Opera." Here the Academy allowed the songwriter onstage, since he is, after all, Andrew Lloyd "Clobber 'Em Again" Webber.
I only have ten seconds left, so I'd like to thank Counting Crows for their energetic and unpretentious performance of "Accidentally in Love," from "Shrek 2." They get my nomination for Best Imitation of Van Morrison and also (hands down) Best Hair.