i got a ride back to belmont but that's when renata called about her oscar night gathering, so i made a detour and met her at the bench opposite the concord avenue burger king, where she was about to go for a walk around fresh pond. the weather was pleasant, a slight chill in the air that disappeared as we warmed up from the walk. joggers, people with dogs, and parents with kids made up the bulk of the traffic. she had on this oversized "hiking belt" which i tried to make fun of on several occasions ("fanny pack!"), but renata threatened me with physical harm if i did. the path was mostly dry, free of snow and ice, except for this one shortcut we took that crossed some mud. a good part of the pond itself was stolen frozen, despite our many days of above freezing temperature. fresh pond, as i recall from the last time i was there, is somewhat sparse in the nature department. today was no different. no signs of interesting plant life, exotic birds (we did see grackles), insects, mammals, nor fungi. the only things were poison ivy warning signs and sousa's rock. we made the pond once around then walked back to renata's apartment.
this was my very first visit to fortress renaticus, a quaint little place tucked away in a sheltered part of the cambridge outskirts. while renata made sauce, i watched television. later, she showed me her photos of her past summer spent down in baja california helping turtles. i also got to see some samples of her cross-stitching projects. when the pre-oscar show started, we watched that, snacking on the pita bread chips i brought along. she told me her bf miguel was actually one of the people responsible for the flower arrangements at the academy award. amy joined us after 7pm when she got out from work. that's when we started "decorating" or own slices of french bread pizza. into the oven went the pizzas, 20 or so minutes later they were ready to eat, just in time for the start of the academy awards.
i thought the show was pretty good, despite the more somber tone because of the current war situation with iraq. this was also a year where i didn't see a lot of the movies that were nominated. movies like the pianist, adaptation, the quiet american, about schmidt, the hours, road to perdition, frida, i didn't see any of those movies. however, in a stroke of preemptive planning, i saw chicago with eliza last weekend, a heavily nominated movie that won a lot of awards this evening. i was surprised julianne moore didn't win for either best supporting or best actress, this seemed like her year. catherine zeta-jones wasn't a surprise, although nicole kidman was, but many probably think she should've won last year for moulin rouge (myself included) but the award went to halle berry instead. i was also disappointed that christopher walken and daniel day-lewis didn't win for best supporting and best actor, respectively. adrien brody was the biggest upset of the night, a first time nominee beating out four other academy staples. his impromptu kiss of halle berry, and then his heart-stirring speech about the horrors of war almost made me cry. on the other extreme, michael moore's lashing of america's foreign policy when he went up to accept his award for best documentary wasn't a surprise considering the type of person he is. his critical speech was a brave move during this time of heightened patriotism, but i was surprised he got as many boos as there were cheers. aren't celebrities unified in their pro-peace platform? moore's speech might've left a sour taste on some people's mouths, but adrien brody's speech was definitely something sweet. and polanski getting the nod over scorsese? another shocker, but in light of brody's win, perhaps not too surprising. now i want to see the pianist. and did anyone else notice the abundance of asymmetrical dresses?
during the show, we also had dessert, vanilla ice cream with frozen blueberries and raspberries. renata also made sure i didn't sneak any embarrassing photos of her and made me erase the ones she didn't like. i actually left before the awards for best director and film were given out. renata was already unconscious on her living room floor wrapped up in a knitted blanket, and amy was reaching the limit of her own stay-awake endurance. amy was kind enough to drive me back to my parents' place in belmont (renata gave me the second unused loaf of french bread). i watched the rest of the award ceremony there before my father gave me a ride back to cambridge, where in 3 more hours i'm driving alex wong to the airport so he can go to japan. my evening's not over yet.