May '00 : Oscar Commentary

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by Shelby Jones

When Gwyneth Paltro said, "And the Oscar goes to Kevin Spacey," my hopes sank like the Titanic. My mind wondered if there is any real American Beauty for how could Denzel not win? According to The Iinsider's view in the Wall Street Journal, Denzel was gonna win. They were right about everything else. Like Malcolm X, I felt hoodwinked...bamboozled but I had A Sixth Sense that Spacey would win.

Nevertheless, I thought Denzel's performance edged Spacey because Denzel's performance captured the entire life of a man. A real life hero too boot. Spacey had to explore the life of Lester Burnham, a middle-aged man with a dysfunctional family, a crush on a teenage girl, and a new found love affair with smokin blunts. Spacey's performance as Verbal Kint in the Usual Suspects was absolutely once-in-a-lifetime, but Lester Burnham was no acting-stretch for Spacey. Quite frankly, I thought his portrayal of Buddy Ackerman in Swimming with Sharks(1994)was far better.

Anyway, I just hope Denzel has thick skin. It must have been tough to not win when nominated for Steve Biko in Cry Freedom, or falling short after mastering the mystique of Malcolm X BUT to lose against a character like Lester Burnham is quite disappointing. One day Denzel will win the Best Actor Award or maybe he won't but most important, could the Academy please shorten the telecast? Except for Michael Caine's classy acceptance speech, a couple of jokes by Crystal and various pieces of eye-candy, what a snooze-fest. I was waiting for Jennifer Lopez to walk out any minute and save the show. Oh well, maybe next year.


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