On the Pursuit of Excellence

The press has long been obsessed with documenting the downfall of achievers, whether the achievements are academic, athletic, cultural or even pop-cultural. For me, there is no high greater joy than watching someone perform at the top of their game (which is a little bit ironic, given that I can't stand to watch any sports of any kind).

Anne Hathaway's performance on Saturday Night Live last week was one of those moments where you watch and you feel a little bit transcendent. She sings! she dances! she is HYSTERICALLY FUNNY! I know some reviewers have said that part of the reason the episode worked was that the writing was far superior than the rest of the season, which may be true, but she was so good that even the lesser sketches didn't seem to drag on.

Like her superbly ridiculous rendition of Obscene Mary Poppins last time she hosted, her impressions this time managed to get straight to the heart of the innocent victims, whether it be Katie Holmes (how the hell did she do the upside down eyes?), Kate Middleton, or in my favorite sketch, Alanis Morissette.

Part of the joy in finding out what a great comedienne she is comes from the fact that she also managed one of my favorite dramatic performances in Rachel Getting Married, and her two minutes in Brokeback Mountain were chilling.
So when they announced that she was hosting the Oscars, I just thought, what a FANTASTIC fit! She has more range than any host of the past few years (except perhaps Hugh Jackman, who was a joy to watch). So the combination with James Franco promises a more unpredictable, energetic and fun awards show than they've had in years (even though I still think that hardly any movies released this year so far have been awards-calibre).

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