Archive for March, 2010

Obliquely Oscar
March 11, 2010

Last Sunday, the annual self-congratulatory cavalcade of film folk that is the Academy Awards marched through my mind conjuring its own parade of disparate thoughts. In a photographic stream of consciousness, the following images tangentially reference some of the winning films.

The Hurt Locker (Best Picture, Director, Original Screenplay, Film Editing, Sound Editing + Sound Mixing)

Mimicking Delft porcelain, Seattle artist Charles Krafft’s Peace is Fragile grenade found itself center stage in a 2006 Saatchi + Saatchi-designed ad for the United Nations.

The Blind Side (Best Actress)


Taking his cue from American sport, Alexander Wang produced a Spring collection rife with nods to the gridiron like shoulder pads and lace-up pants.  Rihanna has rocked a linebacker dress, maybe Sandy B will snag a football clutch just because.

Crazy Heart (Best Actor +  Song)


I have, for years ogled the exquisite guitars-in-the-making displayed in the window of William del Pilar, Jr’s. modest Atlantic Avenue storefront. A few months back, I was delighted to finally meet the second generation luthier who has been creating masterpieces of rare woods longer than I have been alive.  He played for me, with consistently pure tone, demonstrating the efficacy of his patented resonant bracing system.  With his passion for music, artisanal excellence and feeding the spirit, this beautiful soul is a Brooklyn treasure.

Precious: Based on the Novel “Push” by Sapphire (Best Supporting Actress +  Adapted Screenplay)

Diamond and platinum cocktail ring, Neil Lane.

A black diamond, looming beautifully large.  Enough said.

Inglourious Basterds (Best Supporting Actor)

Colonel Hans Landa’s gargantuan calabash pipe provided an early sight-gag and an indication of the scope of his power.  Similarly Holmesian pipes, are available new from Vienna’s Strambach Pipes and vintage rarities are offered on Ebay.

Avatar (Best Art Direction, Cinematography + Visual Effects)


Hand crafted of wood, silk and naturally molted feathers, the wings and arrows of Fredericks and Mae,  call to mind the beauty of Na’vi archery.

Star Trek (Best Makeup)

Wi Te Manewha, 1882 oil on canvas, Gottfried Lindauer

Though remarkable prosthetics probably garnered the gold man for makeup, notably the Romulans’ facial tattoos most likely owe their genesis to traditional ta moko of New Zealand’s Maori people. I’ve long been enamored of the noble Maori portraits of eighteenth century Czech painter Gottfried Lindauer.

The Young Victoria (Best Costume Design)

Like the gilded embroideries used in the ballroom scene of Sandy Powell’s third costume win, the final collection of the brilliant, late designer Alexander McQueen boasted many looks featuring the “gilty” pleasure of passementerie.

Music by Prudence (Best Documentary Feature)

Mbira maker Samuel Mujuru’s personal instrument.

Though I’d been introduced to the Kalimba (a westernized variant of the mbira) on vinyl by Maurice White as a child, my introduction to true Zimbabwean music came in adulthood by my friend Saki.  It was a performance of Thomas Mapfumo and Oliver Mtukudzi would soon follow. Just a year or so ago, I had the unique opportunity to enjoy, thisclose, the glory of Mbira master Stella Chiweshe at an intimate backyard party.  I look forward to more music of Zim in the telling of Prudence and her bandmates’ story in May on HBO.

Up (Best Animated Feature + Original Score)

Festooned with colorful Venetian glass, smoky quartz, amethyst, Peruvian chalcedony and turquoise, rock crystal and jade, Dorian Webb’s magical Tutto Tutto is more than a lighting fixture, it’s a work of [exhibited] art. The opulent wrought iron chandelier, grand in scale, lures the eye skyward up nine feet of cascading tendrils.  It is one of many chandeliers (in all sizes) and sconces available at the designer’s current lighting sale. Click to download catalog.

Logorama (Best Animated Short)

From the “Priceless” series: MasterCard “Supermarket Icons” 30-second TV spot, produced by McCann-Erickson, 2005.

MasterCard’s Super Bowl XXXIX commercial was a nostalgic reunion with the brand mascots we grew up with but a gun-toting Ronald McDonald taking Bob’s Big Boy hostage is what brought the Oscar home in 2010.
To view Logorama, click here.
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