I watched the Oscars again the day after (I had work last night, so I DVR'ed it even though I had it on at the bar last night, albeit on silent) and I must say I am pleasantly surprised! I am not one of those award show haters who criticizes the show based on who wins and who loses. That is just stupid. The show itself and the winners/losers are two separate entities, and should be viewed as such. The host, the songs, performances, and the presenters make up one aspect of the show, and then the awards themselves make up part number 2. The actual awards part will always be debated after the fact and snubs will cause people to be mad at the results but, that can't be avoided when there is always only one winner. The first part, however, the REST of the show... that can be awesome and save the day all together for anyone mad about their favorites not winning. When Seth McFarlane was picked to host the show, I immediately began looking forward to it. How would he execute the hosting duties? Would he be as raunchy as we expect from his work? Would he use Ted & Stewie in the fucking Oscar broadcast?! Would he bash the celebs unmercifully the way Ricky Gervais did a few years back on the Golden Globes... or would he go even further? All of these things had me excited for the show for the first time in years, and sort of gave me hope after last years straight-forward Billy Crystal mop-up job of the previous year's Anne Hathaway/James Franco shit-show. So how did I think it went? Check after the jump....
So there were lots of things I liked, some unreal stuff that I LOVED, and a few moments I kinda hated. I'm not going to comment on the awards themselves too much. More about the production of the award show, itself, and added bonuses. Lets get to it, shall we...
There wasn't much I disliked about the show, not much at all. As a matter a fact, this must have been the FIRST Oscars that I have watched since I was 15 or so (when I started paying attention to things like production value and historical significance of events) that I had very little to complain about. So I'll start with the bad since there wasn't much....
- I didn't really like the Musical singing number. I get it, Les Mis was a big deal this year. But why trot out Catherine Zeta Jones to rehash a boring 'Chicago' number and get another Jennifer Hudson performance of her 'Dreamgirls' hit all alone on stage, and then completely fast forward to the awesome performance of Les Mis's full cast? The two old performances were boring, pedestrian, and weak in effect ...and then they get blasted off the stage by a killer ensemble piece like the Les Mis cast performance. The Les Mis piece disparages the shit out of the first two glimpses back into Oscar history, and serves as a kind of gloating moment as to what a real musical could be.
- Why the fuck did every male celebrity (well not all, but at least 90% of them) have some crazy-ass beards? I rock a beard, and I love me some facial hair... but when this many usually clean shaven celebs are rocking something, then you know it is not by choice and because they were told to do so. I fucking hate when something I do, regularly, all of the sudden becomes a big trend. then people start looking at me like I'm the one who is trying to fit in when, all the while, I have had a beard for the last 10 years!!!! GRRRRR....
- How about putting a banister on one side of the steps leading up to the stage? Would a fucking handrail really kill the aesthetics of the stage that much? I was so happy for Jennifer Lawrence when she won Best Actress. A moment that may prove to be the only one in her career in which she wins such a prestigious award in her field (I think she will win plenty more, but nothings a lock). So imagine how embarrassed and mad I was for her when she fell UP THE FUCKING STAIRS while going to accept her statuette. WTF set decorators!? Do you SEE some of dresses these chicks are wearing? Make a handrail happen you pricks....
- Seth McFarlane... why didn't we get more of you? I wanted to see him dropping more one-liners, abusing celebs, and doing things I never knew the talented guy could do (this dudes singing voice is epic!)... and I guess that is selfish of me. I know he got the gig, but ABC was probably treading on the side of caution with such a wildcard as McFarlane. I hope he becomes the next decades Billy Crystal or Whoppi Goldberg, hosting the show multiple times to give us much more of what was a great thing!
And now for the things I loved. There were a lot of loves in this 4 hour telecast, but I will try to narrow it down to my favorite moments:
- Seth Mcfarlane's opening was fantastic! Time travel, William Shatner, the three song and dance numbers from the future featuring real celebs (Charlize Theron killed that dance... she looked so gorgeous). Plus he absconded with the 'Flying Nun' in the 'Smokey and the Bandit' car!!! He was so awesome, and I thought it was a pretty solid opening. I thought he was good throughout the show, but the 20 minute opening was, by far, McFarlane's shining moment... and one that will go down in history as one of the funniest I can remember!
- The Bond tribute was fantastic. 50 years of Bond, summed up through a crazy montage from all the films and the rendition of 'Goldfinger' by Shirley Bassey. Than Adele wins for best song and absolutely kills the live performance. Great tribute from one of my favorite film franchises ever.
- The 'In Memoriam' tribute was amazing this year, especially since it included people like Ralph McQuarrie, Adam Yauch, and Herbert Lom... people who may not have been the biggest starts to die this year but were very important to me in my life as a film fan. especially Lom, who starred opposite Peter Sellers in my favorite films ever, the 'Pink Panther' movies. I am forever grateful to those who pass on, and the tribute is always a highlight for me. And to then bring out Babs for a little sing-a-long... yeah that was cool.
- I really liked the laid back atmosphere of the awards this year. Previous years were a bit stuffy, but this year everyone involved seemed laid back, no one looked angry (even Tommy Lee Jones smiled!!!!), and they looked like they were having fun... and that has to have started with my main man Seth leading the charge. It made for good TV....
- I also liked Seth McFarlane's intro of all the presenters. His comment that he was bringing out the cast of 'Chicago' as presenters because he felt the show wasn't "gay" enough yet, brought out Daniel Radcliffe and Kristen Stewart as a "boy wizard" and a "girl vampire" and said that they are "everything the Christian Right hates about Hollywood", or quipping that his next presenter (Sandra Bullock) "starred as a raging alcoholic in 28 Days... a role that (he) would be executing in an hour and a half"!!! Wow, all of them were pretty funny and well aimed barbs, but none really crossed the line.... well, maybe a little bit!
- The Les Mis performance was amazing. I haven't seen the film yet, but the performance of that cast and knowing that they all sang their own parts in the movie makes me want to see it even more. Great live rendition, with the killer surprise performance of the night having to have come from Russell Crowe. This guy can sing, huh? Wow....
- Quentin Tarantino's acceptance speech for Best original screenplay for 'Django Unchained'. No real reason for this making my favorite moments list other than the fact that I am glad he won and anytime I can hear the off-the-cuff comments of QT at such a prestigious event, it reminds me just how far he has come from the anti-establishment director he was known for to being accepted into the inner circle of filmmakers ...even though he didn't change at all. It is nice to see Old Hollywood accepting the inevitable. Plus he ended it with "Peace Out".. so great!!!!
- The gorgeous women of the Oscars. The ladies looked great last night, with my top picks going to Anne Hathaway, Jennifer Lawrence, Kerry Washington, Salma Hayek, Sandra Bullock, Stacy Keibler, and Halle Berry. Adele looked great too! Charlize Theron was, by far, the most stunning of the night to me. Good lawd she looked great!!!! She is just getting hotter and hotter the older she gets... and her and Hathaway pulled off the bob perfectly, joining perennial short hair wearer Halle Berry as a trio of gorgeous women without an updoo.
- Quenzhane Wallis. Wow. 9 years old, probably 7 when she filmed the movie. She is a tour de force. Can't wait to see what she does in the future. She killed in 'Beasts of the Southern Wild'. I loved whenever the camera showed her, and she flexed her muscles and smiled. great to see that kid enjoying herself.
- It was really good to see Michael Douglas looking healthy. He is one of my all time faves, and he was looking very close to death a few years ago, thanks to cancer. He looked fantastic last night, and I hope he churns out many more movies for me and others to enjoy!!!!
Good for you! Everyone today has been bashing McFarlane, and I thought he was great.ReplyDelete
To me, the only thing that really DID work was Mcfarlane. Everything else about the show seemed so scattershot. Who was in charge of this production and why do I feel like I could do a better job with my eyes closed.ReplyDelete
Here's a few of my gripes...
-The opening time travel gag was great in theory..but than reverted right back in to the regular lame song-and dance numbers under the guise of it being video footage from the future or whatever. If they were gonna go with straight-forward Sinatra tunes all night, than why not change the lyrics so they reflect the Oscars in some way, like they did in the final Sinatra song at the closing? This makes it even more frustrating when you realize they did have that idea in mind...but, than only used it for the final Sinatra tune and not the 4 others. Strange.
-I get the Musicals Homage attempt....and, on the other hand, I also get why you say Chicago and Dreamgirls shouldn't have been included if the Les Miserables segment was going to completely make them obsolete....but, why not make them a little more uniform. C.Z. Jones and her dancers come out in full 'Chicago' get-ups....but, than Hudson just does a solo, Whitney Houston style with no indication that this was even FROM Dreamgirls? and than the cast of Les Mis come, some of them with a slight costume change and blow the lid off the place........I just think uniformity should have been key to this sequence as well. Don't go full-on costume for one piece...than NO costume for another...than slight costume for the last piece. This slightly annoyed me. Hudson should have been in a slight Dreamgirls costume with a silhouetted husband figure in the background....the guy she's supposed to be singing to...with more of a 60's Dreamgirl flared background set....and Zeta Jones' costume and set should have been slightly more muted so that it evened them all out.
-The 'Jaws' score walk -off bit was a great way to change up the 'get the fuck off the stage' moments that usually make everyone mental. It also appears as though they were playing Spielberg tunes all night during breakdown moments. E.T. score...Close Encounters score. Indy score......but did they give any reason for all of this or was it just because Spielberg was up for an award and they wanted to kiss his ass? Kind of annoying that they didn't make much reference to WHY they made this change.
-I get you on the handrail bit......but, I'm thinking maybe the powers that be may welcome moments like that. A good pratfall is good for Monday morning cooler talk.
-I was waiting all evening for the Bond homage...and they get their hands on Bassey to do 'Goldfinger' and had Adele booked already as well.....why not grab one other Bond theme song singer.....do a montage where they show some older Bond film segments while Bassey sings Goldfinger...than some more modern Bond segments while a less ancient singer does their song....than do the Craig films leading up to Adele to close it out? Why take a break do a few awards than than have Adele sing her Bond theme completely out of range of the homage? This was the most maddening issue for me.
-What the hell were The Avengers saying? I couldn't understand a word...they were all talking over each other. You get all the Avengers together on one stage like that and you drop the ball completely?! They could have done so much more with that. THEY should have been in the opening sequence somehow. That would have made a ton of more sense. Have them break out of being encased in giant Oscar statues like the superheroes they are or something. Just a complete let down.
Two things with your comments:Delete
1) The bond tribute and the Adele performance were two different things. Adele performed cause she was nominated for best song, same reason why Nora Jones performed the song from Ted at the end. The Bassey song and video clip was the 50th anniversary tribute, the Adele song was just cause it was a Best Song nominee... two separate moments in the same award show (which I agree is awkward)
2) I like to think that the Jaws theme music walk off was McFarlane's idea. He is the perenial wiseass, so to me that is too much of a coincidence to be a first time thing in his first year hosting.
I would have liked a few more Bond songs in the medley, not just Bassey. Get McCartney to do Live & Let Die, Madonna to do her joint, and maybe one other mega star from through the years. That could have been epic, deserving a a 50th anniversary!
I get that the Adele piece and the Bond tribute were coincidental separate items.....my argument was that they didn't NEED to be. Doesn't take a genius to decide they could have segued from one directly into the other and made for one, bigger homage. That was my point, skipper.Delete
But then Adele wouldn't have been getting her proper Song of the Year performance. It would have been a slight towards her to lump one of the three nominated songs into a montage for a 50th annivesary....Delete
-All these scattershot production issues were kind of foreboding for how the awards were actually gonna be given out. I know you didn't focus on it in your article but, how you gonna give a movie an award for best picture...but than not even nominate the director responsible? ..and in that case how are you going to give the best director nod to someone who hasn't won best picture? I know it's most likely been done in the past here and there....but, the scattershot way they handed out awards made almost no sense to me. I didn't think Argo deserved best picture...but, that being said it would have made a lot more sense if Affleck had at least been nominated. How was Hathaway even nominated for Supporting when she was pretty much the lead actress in the film? It's almost like a political power play to ensure her win.......than Jennifer Lawrence was pretty much guaranteed a win when her competition was completely obliterated by having Hathaway in the Supporting slot.ReplyDelete
The ONLY thing I liked about the ceremony was McFarlane. Even when some of the stuffed shirts felt like they couldn't laugh at some of his jokes because they didn't want to edge him on...which to me had to be the case since every joke he knocked outta the park. They needed him onscreen MORE. They needed him commenting on EVERYTHING. Such pussies. I hope, now that they know what he's capable of...they'll give him another shot next year and he'll have more to do.
Hathaway is in a 2.5 hour movie for 23 total minutes of screen time, hence the supporting actress nod. In a related note, Christoph Waltz is on the screen WAY TO MUCH in Django to be a supporting actor. But truth is Les Mis has no female lead, only female supporting actors with two male leads (Jackman and Crowe)Delete
I'll buy that I guess.Delete
The Oscars are the oldest most fuddy-duddy show on TV but they always try to lighten it up and make it hip for the kids, then bitch when the host is edgy and funny. Make up your minds. Lets be honest, the demographic you want to attract don't see the movies that get nominated and this have no stake in the results. I have felt this way since I was twelve and had to watch Star Wars lose out on Best Picture. I was very happy this year to see Christoph Waltz win for Django Unchained which was the best movie of the year but will never get the respect it deserved. I love to see the pretty girls in their dresses but finding something to like or even remember about the ceremony is becoming harder and harder each and every year.ReplyDelete
I caught a bit of the Independent Spirit Awards on Saturday evening. Amazing. Check that out if you see some highlights of it somewhere. Jack Black does a 'Beast It' skit (parody of Beast of the Southern Wild) that I could Find to show you guys but, regardless the whole ceremony was more our demographic.
Oh, and enough with the less catagories where you have to kick the person off the stage. Lose the catagories like Sound and Cinematography or let those people talk. They would never do the 'Jaws Theme' on the major acting awards, which would be for shit without the technicians behind the 'stars'. Maybe a little more respect for the people who make the magic.ReplyDelete
Well said Kal, well said. Thanks Alex... i thought he killed as well!ReplyDelete