First today, a few thoughts on the Oscars.
The pageantry was kept to a minimum, and the show ended before midnight, which was a bit of a surprise. I wonder how much of that had to do with the limited time they had to write, as the Hollywood writers' strike just ended. They did do quite a few montages of previous Oscar moments, as this was the 80th anniversary of the event.
photo from Oscar.com
Daniel Day Lewis and Marion Cotillard
Host Jon Stewart made a joke about the frequent montages, saying that they wouldn't have time for several montages, including the "bad dream" montage, where they showed a few seconds of people sitting up suddenly in bed.
The most interesting part of the evening was that there were a few surprises. Many people expected Ruby Dee to win Best Supporting Actress, but Tilda Swinton won for Michael Clayton. She seemed genuinely shocked, almost as if she thought something had gone wrong. In her acceptance speech, she compared the Oscar statue to her agent, who apparently has the same shaped head and similar buttocks, and promised to give him the award, since she never would have received it without him.
Another surprise came when Marion Cotillard won Best Actress for her role as Edith Piaf in La Vie En Rose, over the favorite, Julie Christie, who turned in a heartbreaking performance as an Alzheimer's patient in Away from Her. Having seen both movies, they were both excellent. It's difficult to say who should have won, as they both truly deserved it. Marion was giddy with excitement and gave one of the most refreshingly joyful acceptance speeches of the night.
Daniel Day Lewis, who won Best Actor for his role in There Will Be Blood, took the award much more in stride. Javier Bardem, who won Best Supporting Actor for No Country for Old Men, took the opportunity to say some words in Spanish to his mother, seated in the auditorium.
I had fun reading the backstage blog by Joel Stein at Oscar.com, where he made funny observations about the activity around him, such as singers warming up or celebrities interacting. The only frustration of the blog was that the comments were all moderated, and whoever was moderating them wasn't keeping up, so that it limited any real viewer interactivity.
On Saturday, we had arranged to drive up to the home of The Cousin and The Photographer so I could interview The Cousin about their wedding for my book, My Wedding, My Way: Real Women, Real Weddings, Real Budgets. The Gryphon came with me, with plans of playing a naval strategy game with The Photographer.
We had told them we'd set out around 1 and, therefore, expected to arrive around 2. But we greatly misjudged how long it would take us to get there. In fact, even though we left close to the time we'd wanted, we didn't pull into their driveway until nearly 3. This didn't seem to be a problem, because we didn't think we were on a terribly strict schedule. But we didn't know there was a surprise waiting for us.
Agent Smith, The Costumer and their son were visiting Southeastern Pennsylvania for just a short time from their home at the exact opposite corner of the state. They'd gotten together with friends in the Philadelphia area on Friday and had stopped at The Cousin and The Photographer's home on their way back. We got to see them briefly, which was nice, especially seeing their toddler, of whom we'd only seen pictures. He smiled cheerfully at me when I greeted him, and soon after tried to take toys out of his mommy's bag, but his parents told him they had to be going. Still, even if it was brief, it was good to see them.
At first we socialized in the living room, but then I suggested we start the interview, so the men moved into the dining room to use the table for their game, while The Cousin and I took a seat on the couch. She sent her oldest daughter to get her wedding albums, so she could show me things as we talked.
We went through the list of questions and went into detail about every aspect. I enjoyed looking at the pictures, because they got married in 1989, and it reminded me of when I first met her through her cousin, The White Rabbit (hence her nickname). He was in some of the pictures, too, since he'd been in the wedding party.
They'd had some interesting ideas, such as letting the bridesmaids choose their own dresses in fall colors. The men also just wore suits, although the bride and groom wore more traditional attire. She had a long, classic wedding gown with lacy sleeves and lace for a veil, as well.
After we completed the interview, I turned off the digital voice recorder and our conversation continued while the guys played their game.
At about 6, when the game ended, we discussed where we'd have dinner. The Gryphon and I had offered to treat them, as a thank-you for helping with my book. We settled initially on an Italian place that brags on its banner that it's "The Best Italian Restaurant." No qualification, such as "best in town" or "best in the county." Just "the best." Apparently, word had gotten out about their superiority, as we learned it would be an hour and a half wait for a table for four.
Instead, we decided to try a new Indian place they'd heard good things about. They told us 15 or 20 minutes, but it seemed like we waited longer than that. Once we got to the table and placed our orders, it took a long time to get our food. Fortunately, we had some appetizers to take the edge off our hunger.
When The Gryphon and I talked about it later, we wondered if it might be because of their very large menu, which offered dozens of options. That might compromise the efficiency of service. The food was tasty, though, when it arrived.
We didn't really notice the time, because we were having a good conservation. The Cousin and I got talking about children's books, in particular children's poetry books. I asked her advice on what children's poetry books might be useful for my sister to teach elementary classes. My sister is completing her teaching degree right now.
It was nice to spend the afternoon with them. We don't get to see them terribly often, and I like talking to both of them, and their daughters are great, too. The next time we visit them, though, we'll plan our arrival time a little better!
Popular restaurants have longer lines.