Looks like this page is taking forever to load up. I think it’s due to the Comments link [the old YACCS comments, that is]; the server that hosts the comments appears to be done right now. My apologies for the inconvenience (especially I haven”t updated anything since yesterday, so there’s no real point in visiting yet!).

Aw, what the heck, let’s update the page anyway. This news is already widespread, but it’s so cool I can’t resist mentioning it here too. In a big party at the WB Studio lot, New Line announced the specs for the DVD releases of The Fellowship of the Ring. The set looks fantastic! I’ve got drool all over my shirt. You can read the release details here:

The Digital Bits: One ring to rule them all…

And DVDFile.com has an excellent drool-inducing large-format image of the DVD case:
DVD front cover

[Note: The LOTR article has since been archived here. Look for the entry titled “(EARLY UPDATE – 3/27/02 – 12:01 AM PST)”. After reading, check out the “(LATE UPDATE – 3/27/02 – 11:45 AM PST)” entry above it.]

Two things I forgot to mention in yesterday’s big Oscar round-up:

  • What was the deal with those stupid and obvious factoid captions in ABC’s pre-Oscar show. The producers must’ve done about five seconds of research for them.
  • I’ve seen several articles about Woody Allen’s appearance, about how he described the plot of his next film as a foot fetishist who falls in love with a professor’s footnotes. People are actually taking this seriously. I mean, it was a setup for a joke, wasn’t it?

Speaking of movie music, congratulations to Howard Shore for winning the Oscar for his score to Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring. New Line and Reprise are considering releasing CDs of the complete score…but, with the release of the second movie in the works, plus the release of an expanded DVD edition of the first movie, they have the awkward task of trying to figure out when to release it.

Check the second half of this article for the details.

Behold the power of the Internet. I was able to download MP3s of the new John Williams Attack of the Clones soundtrack today, a month before it’s released. This CD reminds me a great deal of the CD for Phantom Menace. When that album came out there were complaints that Williams used mainly underscore (music from dialogue scenes) and left off most of the action cues. The same seems to be true here (at least the ¾s I heard before having to go to work).

A few notes: I was surprised I got so far into the album without hearing references to the old familiar themes, even a track about Yoda refrains from recalling his Empire Strikes Back motif. Stuff from Phantom Menace (the Tattooine fanfare and “Duel of the Fates” does show up in later tracks). The new love theme is interesting since it’s obviously a variation on Leia’s theme from A New Hope, descending instead of rising. I wonder if Williams is having fun altering his old motives. I was startled to hear actual electric guitar during the chase music in track three, along with lots of percussion. (Perhaps Williams enjoyed toying with modern sounds during his work on A.I..) There’s also some electric piano used on the love theme, plus some atmospheric synth work similar to the colorations in Harry Potter.

So far the music is good, but nothing especially stands out. Of course I’ll buy it anyway, just because it’s Star Wars; and like any Williams music I’m sure I’ll grow to like it a lot.

Update: Actually, the Yoda theme does appear in the “Yoda and the Younglings” track. And I think the music I referred to as a Tattooine fanfare is actually for Coruscant.

I guess I should’ve listened to the album fully (attention-wise) before reporting, but I was pressed for time and was typing as the music played.

This should’ve been uploaded in real time during last night’s telecast, but my Comcast cable modem was acting up all day.

Nevertheless, belatedly (and thus in no particular order), here are random thoughts from last night”s Oscars:

  • With nimble use of the Mute button, the tiresome “Can you here me now?” guy can’t be heard at all. HA!
  • Still talking about E!’s portion of the night: I really don’t care too much about fashion, but I don’t think anyone looked particularly good last night. Then again, I like plain, old-fashioned evening wear, so I guess the tuxes looked okay; but for the women all the gowns and hairstyles were unappealing.
  • Not all the votes are in, but the SFG Award for Best Cleavage might possibly go to Uma Thurman.
  • I”ve read comments complimenting Sharon Stone. To me, her gown looked like Mickey Mouse ears.
  • Halle Berry’s gown looked like she was imitating Eve in a religious tableau.
  • I’m probably the only person who likes those short films about movies. It’s fun recognizing the movies in the tribute to NYC or guessing what movies were being discussed in the Errol Morris film.
  • That said, the comment from Britney Spears about how the movie that made her “grow as a person” was Pretty Woman is hilarious and telling. Britney’s inspired by the movie about the hooker who makes good. Interesting.
  • I am completely shocked that Empire Online gushed over Whoopi Goldberg as host while slamming Steve Martin’s job last year. I cannot understand how they thought Whoopi’s monologue was anywhere close to being as funny as Martin’s. As my friend Joe put it, “At least Whoopi was hardly on screen. I mean, she was just a special guest of Donald Sutherland and Glenn Close, wasn’t she? Weren’t they the hosts? Whoopi makes an “eating with Mike Tyson” reference and then, at the lack of response, tells people to “wait a few minutes, it’ll hit you.” Ummmmm, we all got it immediately Whoopi, it’s just a joke from the 1998 Oscar; that’s why we didn’t laugh.
  • I was shocked to see John Williams was conducting the orchestra. I had no idea he’d be there and I’m surprised I didn’t read about it earlier.
  • Anybody else confused when Benicio Del Toro walked out, the screen behind him showed “Best Actor in a Supporting Performance”, and he read the nominees for Best Supporting Actress? It took me a few more awards before I figured out the screen was for the celebrity, not for the category. Speaking of the screen, it was extremely annoying that during John Williams’s suite of movie themes, the cameras did not get close enough to the screen for us to read the titles. (I bet a lot of people were incredibly bored during that musical segment, but I as a big fan of movie music thought it was one of the highpoints.)
  • In regards to that, Julia Roberts made a comment on how grateful she was that Tom Conti was not there, in the pit, since he was the one whom she referred to as “Stick man”. Unfortunately, Julia meant conductor/composer Bill Conti.
  • Ian McKellen truly looked shocked when his name was not read as Best Supporting Actor. He seemed in a daze, and only started applauding as an afterthought. Poor guy. I can’t be too sore at Jim Broadbent for stealing Gandalf’s just deserts though, just because of Broadbent’s past association with Terry Gilliam.
  • I swear Helen Mirren is starting to look like Ian McKellen!
  • Cirque du Soleil falling about backstage was stupid; but Cirque du Soleil during the visual effects segment was a lot better than expected.
  • The two Lord of the Rings losses that really irk me are costume design and art direction. I’ve come to accept it not getting Best Director, I didn’t expect it to get Best Picture, but I really don’t see how Moulin Rouge could win over Lord of the Rings in costume design and art direction. Moulin Rouge exists! You can look at photographs of it, you can find blueprints of it. The fashions of that time still exist and can be looked at, touched, studied. But how exactly does one rebuild Rivendell or Orthanc or the Mines of Moria? What armor does an army of elves wear? What color or size is a palantir? FOTR‘s art direction was sheer invention. The craftsmen did an amazing job of making this imaginary world look completely believable and real; but the Academy went for colorful flash, and in doing so FOTR got seriously robbed.
  • Howard Shore’s win was nice; and Randy Newman was so funny during his acceptance speech that I bet a lot of Academy members regret not giving him anything earlier. (I especially liked how he extorted the orchestra into not playing him off since many of them had performed under him.)
  • Thank God they squeezed all the Best Song nominees into one segment. This is a recent and definite improvement. It still goes on too long though.
  • Sidney Poitier and Robert Redford certainly have the knack of appearing like they’re making sense. I guess that’s what makes them great actors. I can’t help wondering how come Paul Newman did not make some kind of appearance. Was there some long-standing spat or friction between them?
  • Did Whoopi Goldberg really criticize the fact she was not filmed paying tribute to Robert Redford? But then said nothing how only blacks were shown paying tribute to Sidney Poitier? …Gee, that’s odd. I didn’t hear any whites complaining about not being able to compliment Poitier. So why does Whoopi feel it’s her right to show up in every tribute?
  • I don”t care how many movies Ron Howard makes or how many awards he might win, I still can’t look at him without picturing him as a little kid singing “Gary, Indiana” in The Music Man.
  • It’s amazing how Halle Berry’s emotional acceptance speech had everyone enrapt and in tears one second — and then praying she’d get off the stage the next second. She started off on such a high note but then squandered it away when she ended up bartering for more time so she could turn a page in the phone book and read off more names to thank. (I’ve read that her nominated performance is equally as emotional and out of control.)
  • Denzel, on the other hand, was cool and poised.
  • I’ve read that Halle and Denzel’s win alongside Sidney Poitier’s win was completely unplanned. Still, it made for a nice sense arc of drama and resolution. With a surprise appearance by Woody Allen after all these years, with deserved awards going belatedly to Randy Newman, Ron Howard, and African American performers, it was like Oscar’s Day of Atonement.
  • I really miss Politically Incorrect. They used to have a fun post-Oscar show where they’d argue the choices and debate some of the issues and trends. Now ABC sticks the women from The View on instead. All they did was squabble and squawk about the fashions for an hour! (At least, I assume so. I gave up after fifteen minutes.) ABC should’ve set up a camera in an aviary, they would’ve saved a lot of money and have gotten the same screechy result.

Update: Contributor Frolixo has only this to say, “Gandalf got the shaft.”

I didn”t know if I”d be able to post this in time, since my Comcast cable modem has been offline most of the weekend. Since tonight is Oscar night, and roughly equivalent to Super Bowl Sunday in the mind of an SFG, I might as well publicly state my Oscar picks. I have not seen all the nominees, but that hasn’t stopped me from forming opinions and won’t stop me from making my picks. I really like the choices this year; not that they’re all great movies, but I like the fact there’s no clear cut winner. It should make the awards show even more fun to watch for me. Anyway, my picks…

  • Best Picture: A Beautiful Mind, though I’m still rooting for The Fellowship of the Ring.
  • Best Actor: Denzel Washington
  • Best Actress: Sissy Spacek. I’m not so sure on this one since Halle Berry or Nicole Kidman could easily take it.
  • Best Supporting Actor: Ian McKellen
  • Best Supporting Actress: Jennifer Connelly
  • Best Director: Robert Altman. This one’s a hunch. I think he might get it as sort of an honorary Oscar. Ron Howard might probably win, but of course I’m rooting for Peter Jackson.

I insist that Lord of the Rings win for best cinematography, visual effects, art direction, costume, and makeup. I’ve heard Moulin Rouge bandied about, but I think it’s a much greater accomplishment to have completely invented and built the look of Middle-earth than to simply base designs on existing historical record. As far as Best Score, I’m torn between A.I. and FOTR. I’d love to see Howard Shore win, but honestly I prefer John Williams’s music from A.I.. I can also see Moulin Rouge getting best editing over Lord of the Rings; I’m not that crazy about the jump cuts in FOTR and find they’re more palatable in the flashier Moulin Rouge. I’m not all that crazy about the screenplay to FOTR either; a lot of the movie’s inventions do not improve upon the book. Someone needs to explain why the Nolan Brothers’s script for Memento is in the Original Screenplay category when it’s based on a short story. It should still win though, just because such audacious storytelling deserves some kind of recognition. I would love to see Monsters Inc beat Shrek in the animated film category, but that seems highly unlikely. At least Pixar should get an award in the short animated film category. And as far as Best Song goes, I do not care. I don’t find any of the nominees that likeable, and despite my love of the Oscars the one thing that has always bugged me is why they spend upwards of thirty minutes of showtime on this forgettable, disposable category.

So, there are my picks. Hopefully my infuriating Comcast cable modem will stay alive long enough for me to post them. And now it’s time to watch E! all day, heat up some popcorn, stare at the cleavage, and hope that my favorite movie of 2001 gets recognized.

I just read the Church of Scientology has forced Google to remove links to an anti-Scientology site from its listings. The Church claims the anti-Scientology site is infringing on copyright. I claim that their actions are outrageous and it’s shameful that Google kow-towed to them. So I feel almost duty-bound to do my part and […]