notes from the press room

Halfway through the ceremony, there’s still no ‘story.’ That means no clear winner, no one film dominating anything, unless you count ‘Pan’s Labyrinth,’ which has now taken Art Direction, Cinematography and Makeup. That makes for a lot of languages other than English backstage. The Academy is clearly not in the mood for light entertainment of the kind that ‘Dreamgirls’ provides. Instead, voters have gone for serious films, and is especially sending a message about global warming. Not only did that movie take the Best Documentary statue, as expected — and Al Gore and company spent 20 minutes in the interview room afterward — but they gave Best Song to Melissa Etheridge, who wrote it for the film.

There was a sweet moment backstage, with Etheridge winning Best Song just as Gore, director Davis Guggenheim and the producers were ending their interviews. Gore stepped from behind the podium and strode among the press, his arm around Guggenheim, to watch Etheridge on the monitor as she thanked him from the stage.