Monday, February 28, 2011

Quick and Dirty Oscar Recap

I thought the Oscars were fabulous this year.

I was shocked to hear and read negative reviews of the broadcast this morning.  What the hell do people want out of the Oscars, anyway?  It is what it is:  the biggest and cheesiest of the big and cheesy awards shows, a decades-old bastion of Hollywood self-love and exhibitionism.  You either lap that stuff up or you don't, and no amount of tweaking is going to satisfy viewers who expect anything else. 

Feh to the haters.  Here's what I loved (and didn't so much love) about last night's Academy Awards:

Anne Hathaway.  Big win here.  She was beautiful, charming, visibly thrilled to be hosting, and a good sport about performing even the lamest bits (why pick on Hugh Jackman, exactly?).  As much as I loved the days when Billy Crystal racked up his eight hosting gigs, it was refreshing to see an Oscars show not dominated by smug in-jokes and look-who-I-know shout-outs.

James Franco:  Even before he walked on in Marilyn Monroe drag, Franco wasn't cutting it.  Nothing against him - sweet guy, competent actor, all that - but hosting a major awards show requires a specific skill-set, and he showed that it's just not his thing.  But props for appearing in the least flattering unitard ever in the opening montage.

Kirk Douglas:  Bliss.  Old Hollywood class and humor all the way.  Any younger viewers who didn't know who the hell the old geezer was should add Spartacus and The Bad and the Beautiful to their Netflix queues ASAP.

The Songs:  They brought the Best Song nominees back!  About damn time!  And allowed them to be performed without interpretive dance or any other corny accoutrements.  But maybe the Oscar-winning sound mixers from Inception should have had a hand in Randy Newman's performance of the winning tune "We Belong Together."  You could barely hear Randy's vocals or piano over the orchestra.

The Auto-Tune Segment:  A lot of reviewers seemed to like this (thankfully) brief bit that turned movie dialogue into over-produced song snippets.  My great fear is that someone out there will think this seriously is a good idea.  Granted, Pierce Brosnan and Colin Firth could have used a little sweetening in Mamma Mia!, but I do not want to be subjected to Auto-Tuned Hamlet.  Ever.

The Death Roll:  Personally, I miss the status-bestowing applause.  And I do love Ms. Lena Horne, but if she deserved her own special moment after the montage, then certainly Tony Curtis did, too.  Oh wait, Halle Berry isn't preparing a Tony Curtis biopic.  Also, did I blink and miss Eddie Fisher, Corey Haim, and Erich Segal? 

Random Shout-Outs to Old Movies:  Poorly chosen and executed.  Someone really wanted to show off those big multi-tiered curvy video screens.

The Speeches:  I was pleased with the balance between keeping the show moving and letting the winners have their moment.  True, Melissa Leo's moment included the F-bomb, but it also included her and Kirk Douglas adorably flirting, and I'm glad they both got aired.  Still, the most shocking speech of all was the one by Nine Inch Nails' Trent Reznor, all gentrified and soft-spoken and now an Oscar-winning composer.

Scarlett Johansson's Hair:  I've been sick recently, and I spent most of Saturday sleeping it off, and when I woke up from a three-hour nap my hair looked better than this.

Cate Blanchett's Dress:  The front looked like a full-length maid's apron, and the back looked like the aftermath of an epic baby spit-up.  Several commentators have already named her one of Oscar's best dressed; all I can say is there must be some big fans of infant vomit out there.

Christian Bale's Beard:  Please be for a movie, please be for a movie...

Lack of Jack:  Jack Nicholson hasn't appeared in his legendary front-row seat for several Oscars now.  It isn't quite the same without him.  Warren Beatty was there (supporting his Oscar-nominated wife Annette Bening), but he didn't exactly step in to fill the Master's shoes.

The Kids Singing:  The PS 22 choir from Staten Island closed out the show with a simple, pretty version of "Over the Rainbow," and the Oscar-winners appeared behind them, looking genuinely pleased to be part of the moment.  Lovely.

I haven't even mentioned Natalie Portman in the most beautiful maternity dress ever, Justin Timberlake's "I am Banksy" schtick, or short-film director Luke Matheny's awesome hair.  But I hear the wrap-up music playing...


  1. Love it!! Perfectly said and I agreed with it all!! D

  2. Thank you! It's such a relief to know that SOMEONE watched the same Oscars that I did.


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