This week, we skipped the cineplex (“Cursed”? No thanks!) and tuned in to Hollywood’s biggest night to find out if H-town was keeping it real at the Oscars. As usual, the telecast ran over, Robin Williams wore something “funny” and the movies we actually liked this year were nowhere to be seen. We were left with a few burning questions — five, actually — so we did some investigating to bring you the answers.
Reel Question #1: Say, Chris Rock was a great host — the Oscars were actually funny for once! How did that happen?
Real Answer #1: While Chris Rock might be the funniest person alive, there is more to it than his delivery. When a comedian is asked to host the Oscars (or any other awards show), they normally bring a team of writers with them. Rock was no exception. While Rock may have joked about his box-office bomb “Pootie Tang,” the star of the film, Lance Crouther, was one of the writers helping Rock pen his jokes. Crouther also penned laughs for Rock’s HBO show, as well as “Wanda at Large” and “The Wayne Brady Show.” Rock brought in other “Chris Rock Show” vets as well — Chuck Sklar, Nick DiPaolo, Ali LeRoi, Jeff Stilson and Frank Sebastiano — who brought a little of that show’s style to the kudos-fest. The spot from the Magic Johnson Theatre, featuring a man whose favorite film of the year was “The Chronicles of Riddick,” screamed vintage “Chris Rock Show.”
Reel Question #2: The presenters seemed pretty unaffected by Chris Rock’s sarcastic spiel. How did they really feel?
Real Answer #2: We all saw Sean Penn’s strong reaction to Rock’s jabs at Jude Law, pointing out that Law — Penn’s co-star in “All the King’s Men,” currently filming in New Orleans — is “one of our finest actors.” But what did the rest of the glitterati think?
While Halle Berry remained stone-faced when Rock referenced box-office stinker “Catwoman,” she did appear at the 25th annual Razzie Awards — given to the worst films and performances of the year — the night before to personally accept her Worst Actress award for her starring turn in the film. Clutching her trophy, she thanked Warner Bros. for “casting me in this piece-of-sh– movie.” Apparently, Halle can take a jab or two.
And you couldn’t quite see it on the broadcast, but actor Tim Robbins seemingly gave Rock a certain single-fingered, vulgar salute as he took the podium after the host accused him of “boring us to death with his politics.” Robbins, however, was smiling and laughing at the time, so it seems that Robbins — and most of those skewered by the host — took it in good fun. Cuba Gooding, however, has yet to weigh in.
Reel Question #3: Chris Rock said that after gaining 20 pounds to play “Bridget Jones,” Renée Zellweger was going to gain 80 to play Deacon Jones. Who’s that?
Real Answer #3: Deacon Jones is a Hall of Fame defensive end who spent 1961-71 with the Los Angeles Rams, 1972-73 with the San Diego Chargers, retiring from the NFL after a season with the Washington Redskins in 1974. Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1980, Jones is best known for bringing the “sack” — a term he invented — to the game. He also made a memorable appearance on an episode of “The Brady Bunch,” saving Peter from the relentless barbs of his high-school football teammates, who don’t appreciate Peter’s interest in the school choir. Deacon Jones: athlete, healer, renaissance man.
Reel Question #4: What was up with that “I Love Scarlet” T-shirt that the dude from Counting Crows was wearing?
Real Answer #4: Dan Vickrey’s shirt was, in fact, a tribute to “it” girl Scarlett Johansson. “Dan adores Scarlett, and she was actually sitting in front of him at the show, so he went bold and professed his adoration onstage,” a representative from the band’s record label said of the glitter-encrusted shirt. This is a bit surprising, as lead singer Adam Duritz is the bandmember known as a fan of actresses, having famously romanced Courteney Cox, Jennifer Aniston, Monica Potter and Mary-Louise Parker.
Reel Question #5: When Beyoncé performed “Learn to Be Lonely” from “The Phantom of the Opera,” she was accompanied not only by the song’s composer, Andrew Lloyd Webber, but a masked man. Was that the phantom from the film?
Real Answer #5: No, it was not. According to Warner Bros., the studio behind the film, that was “definitely not” actor Gerard Butler. We’re also confident it wasn’t Jay-Z.
For all the latest Oscar news and awards-season fashion photos, check out “Movies on MTV.com: Oscars 2005.”
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