a few thoughts on the oscars

uick thoughts after the Oscars:

Best. Opening. EVAR.

I loved Jon Stewart, even if most of the audience didn’t until halfway through. This crowd takes itself very seriously, and they tend to sit on their hands for the new guy. Lighten up, jerks! It’s a party!

I can’t comment on the winners, because I didn’t see many of the films. I don’t know if anyone got robbed, or if there were any Marissa Tomei moments. As far as I can tell, the winners deserved it, but I also know that it’s really about being nominated.

I fucking hated it that they kept cutting winners short when they tried to give speeches, so they could do yet another stupid montage about how great movies are. Yeah, we know movies are great. If we didn’t think movies were great, we wouldn’t be watching. Most of these people get this chance once in their lives; give them the respect they’ve earned and more than 40 seconds to enjoy and share it, jerks. (That’s a different group of jerks than the jerks I was referring to in my first paragraph. You know who you are . . . jerks.)

On the subject of montages: putting The Day After Tomorrow in with movies like All the President’s Men, Network, and Schindler’s List? Are you serious? I hope someone got seriously laid, like eleven times, for including that. Otherwise, what the hell?

I am so glad that they didn’t go out into the theatre like they did last year.

I loved this thing that George Clooney said when he accepted his Oscar:

"And finally, I would say that, you know, we are a little bit out of touch in Hollywood every once in a while. I think it’s probably a good thing. We’re the ones who talk about AIDS when it was just being whispered, and we talked about civil rights when it wasn’t really popular. And we, you know, we bring up subjects. This Academy, this group of people gave Hattie McDaniel an Oscar in 1939 when blacks were still sitting in the backs of theaters. I’m proud to be a part of this Academy. Proud to be part of this community, and proud to be out of touch."

I, too, am proud to be out of touch.

The anti-DVD crap was really stupid. I’ll be sure to watch movies in theatres when people shut the hell up in them, and it doesn’t cost me twenty-five bucks before I’m even in my seat. And don’t even get me started on how shitty most movies are, man.

I really liked the interstitial stuff they did for each category.

Ben Stiller nearly stole the show; it’s a draw between him and Meryl Streep and Lilly Tomlin’s brilliant tribute to Altman.

Altman made me really happy, I’d love to work with him someday, because even if the final project isn’t perfect, I get the sense that you learn a lot and have a lot of fun when you work with him.

I was really bummed that Ang Lee didn’t thank or acknowledge his actors.

I didn’t know that Paul Haggis is a Scientologist. What a damn shame. Oh well, Crash is still a great movie. And as long as we’re talking about spaceship cultists, Tom Cruise is still the most overrated actor in history. In fact, I chalk up War of the Worlds‘ magnificent .000 batting average to his being in that film. Couch-jumping, Katie-Holmes-ruining, shoulda-stopped-at-Risky-Business and you’re not fooling me with Born of the Fourth of July hack.

I loved the campaign ads. Does anyone know if Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert wrote them?

Jessica Alba needs to eat about fifteen sammiches. Come on, girl. I know you’ve still got some Nancy Callahan in you.

Jennifer Garner was teh hot. Even when she’s slipping on her dress, she manages to look amazing.

I loved it that the Wallace and Grommit guys brought little ties for Oscar, and the March of the Penguin guys brought stuffed emperor penguins.

The performance of "It’s Hard Out Here for a Pimp" is probably my favorite moment in Oscar history, and I agree with Cinematical’s Martha Fischer who said, "Nothing, ever, will top a
giant marquee in front of an auditorium of rich, white people that reads "IT’S HARD OUT HERE FOR A PIMP." (As
Kim said, "Have there ever been that many black people at the Oscars at one time?")"
The only thing which topped that performance was the acceptance speech, from the highest bunch of guys I’ve ever seen on television, including the Cheech & Chong marathon a few years ago.

ABC cutting off the acceptance speech from the producers of Crash, the Best Picture Of The Year, is absolutely un-fucking-forgivable, and completely classless, tacky, and horrible. What are they doing? Making sure Jimmy Kimmel starts on time? One of the lowest moments of the entire show, almost as bad as cutting off Martin Landau when he won for Ed Wood. I hope the television critics lay off the fashion snark and lay into ABC for that. It was the one moment in the show when I was actually pissed off.

This is the first year in a long, long time that I’ve really looked forward to watching the show, and it’s the first year in a long, long time that I really enjoyed it, other than the cutting them off in the middle of the Crash speech thing. I hope they have Jon Stewart back next year, and I hope they’ll do fewer stupid montages.

(photo from flickr user wannabehipster)

67 thoughts on “a few thoughts on the oscars”

  1. I didn’t think it would have been possible for someone to out-hot Jessica Alba, but holy crap did Jennifer Garner prove me wrong. Mommy weight has done Jennifer good. And the crackwhore diet has done Jessica not-so-good.

  2. On optimistic’s rant: what you may not realize optimistic is that while all of your suggestions about how the award recipients might better tailor their speeches to please us, the Oscars were never meant for us, the viewing audience. The Academy Awards are an industry celebration. They are for the people in that room. And they all know every Sally from Paramount and Bob from CAA that you’ve never heard of.
    It is about filmmakers celebrating fellow filmmakers, we have simply been invited to watch. I would never presume to tell the winners who they can and can’t thank based on what I, as an outsider, find more interesting. We watch this show for a few hours, that’s how much time we have invested in it. These acceptance speeches are the result of an entire career’s worth of work and are something that, for most of them, will never happen again. It doesn’t bother me if they read a list of 10,000 names I don’t know. It’s their night, their two minutes of glory, they can do what they like.

  3. I missed the first hour of the Academy Awards last night, but I watched the rest of it. I really liked the show. Not only did I enjoy it, but it kept on surprising me.
    Jon Stewart did a good job hosting.
    I was pleasantly surprised that Crash won Best Picture. Ever since I found out it was nominated, I was rooting for that movie. I thought Brokeback Mountain would win Best Picture for sure because of all the attention and nominations that the movie received and also because Ang Lee won Best Director.
    I was happy that Reese Witherspoon won Best Actress. I have not seen Capote, but I think Philip Seymour Hoffman deserved Best Actor.
    Yes, I am an avid Tom Cruise hater, too. I have nothing decent to say about him. I’ll stop now while I am ahead.
    I, too, loved how the people who made March of the Penguins brought stuffed penguins with them to the show. I am glad it won Best Documentary.
    I liked how everybody looked nice last night. There were very few, if any, ugly dresses. That’s a rarity, imo.
    The campaign ads were hawesome, too.

  4. CarolP:
    Fair enough. Except that they (the industry) sells the right to televise the Oscars and wants the public to watch.
    I think the Oscars ceased being a pure awards show a long time ago. They are meant to be entertainment. Otherwise who hosts would not matter at all and no one would care if the home audience liked the host.
    Heck, why not just have a huge private party and let the stars talk to each other – no red carpet, no tv, no musical cut offs – just awards and long rambling speeches with everyone thanking their plumber?
    My guess is that, while the stars have every right to do this, there simply is no one interested in paying for such a thing.
    Since the ratings and the derived ad revenue determines how much a network pays for the right to cover the show; the organizers already do things to ensure that the audience at home doesn’t click off.
    The rambling acceptances have made me and others that I know tune out or just bypass the live show entirely via TIVO.
    And that is a very bad thing in a world of overflowing media powered by ads.

  5. wil- you are so right- tom cruise is way overrated and has been for years. he has no credibility and makes himself look like a complete asshat at evey opportunity. you poop out more talent daily than he will ever have.

  6. Complete agree with this post. I really wanted Brokeback to win for best picture, but my Mum was like “no way, Crash was better”. Whatever. Anyway, yeah, Ang Lee totally was fucked up in not thanking the cast and whatnot. They worked hard.
    And Alba, man. Totally agree. She makes me so gay it’s not even funny. :(

  7. Okay, had I realized that “I love you River” was what Joaquin mouthed to the camera I probably would have ended up bawling as well. He is still sorely missed even after almost thirteen years. It’ll be another night of watching “Stand By Me” I’m sure.
    As far as the whole night is concerned, I think we’ve heard enough from everyone else.
    Kudos to Wil for a great review, overall.

  8. Something that bothered me that no one else has mentioned:
    They played music over all the speeches that weren’t celebrities. If you’re Reese Witherspoon, no music; if you’re accepting for best documentary short, music.
    And it was too loud to be ‘music under’ — it was ‘music over.’
    It was also over the short bit about the technical awards (I think that’s when I first noticed it).
    I, too, thought it was rude (along with cutting off the ‘CRASH’ speech).

  9. “I think “The Day After Tomorrow” was in the montage because the line in the clip was about “I have to meet with the director of FEMA.” Not that a cheapshot is any kind of reason to include the clip, but it does give a little bit of insight.”
    My thought was they purposely chose a movie that obviously wasn’t an epic, to highlight the fema quote. I liked it even if it was cheap.
    I sensed the Steven Colbert in those ads as well and enjoyed the heck out of them.
    The songs performances were the worst/boringest part of the show except the violin guy and all of Jon’s jokes directed at him.

  10. Next Day Oscar Reaction From My RSS Reader

    Patrick Runkle: and even worse were the completely inept scripted exaltations of the glories of theatergoing Julie Powell: Whitest. Oscars. Ever. Tom Coates: Jennifer Aniston. Wow. She looked really gr…

  11. “Martin Scorcese… zero Oscars. Three 6 Mafia… one.” That was brilliant.
    I agree with everything you wrote, Wil. Great review. That cutting-off-speeches thing really needs to be looked at. It’s totally, completely insulting.

  12. We sort of decided that the four big winners broke down into Best Geeks, Best Pretties, Best Script, and Best Overall. (Kong, Geisha, BBM, and Crash, in that order)
    One thing I thought was hysterically funny: I’d joked to the friends I was watching with early on that somebody should just go up and declare that their thank-you’s are at http://WWW.SomewhereOrOther.Com and have done with it, and later on somebody actually did!
    As for Lauren Bacall, from the way she was shaking I thought she must be very unwell in her age.
    Someone said: “These acceptance speeches are the result of an entire career’s worth of work and are something that, for most of them, will never happen again. It doesn’t bother me if they read a list of 10,000 names I don’t know. It’s their night, their two minutes of glory, they can do what they like.”
    Indeed! Many of the people being thanked may never be thanked again, and it’s their minute of fame too. For all those folks whose names you don’t recognise, just having their name in the credits, and especially having their name run by a list of Oscar thank-you’s is an even bigger deal than it is for the folks you recognise!
    Someone else said: “My guess is that, while the stars have every right to [a private awards ceremony, there simply is no one interested in paying for such a thing.”
    Yes, and for performing artists, it’s sort of anti-climactic, wouldn’t you think? I mean the ritual of presenting and recieving an award is very much a part of the experience of being awarded. For professional actors, a major production is a significant ritual.

  13. >shoulda-stopped-at-Risky-Business
    Man, I hate that I’m defending Tom on this one, but you can’t deny his performance in Interview with the Vampire. Just about everything else he’s done has been crap (and he should serve actual jail time for Vanilla Sky), but Vampire deserves credit.

  14. I missed the first half hour of the Oscars but sat through the rest of the show. What else I was I supposed to do? Family Guy wasn’t on! :-)
    What I noticed:
    — During the acceptance speech for “March of the Penguins”, the camera panned to Morgan Freeman. ?? What did he have to do with that movie? In other thoughts, I really enjoyed the stuffed penguins. Nice touch!
    — The look on Joaquin Phoenix’s face when Reese Witherspoon won, and when he didn’t. He just appeared so sincere. I remember him when he went by Leaf and I had photos of him, River, and Wil plastered on my walls from teen magazines.
    — Did anyone else notice how uncomfortable Keanu Reeves seemed with Sandra Bullock? He had one line, and even when he was going to read and the award goes to, he handed the card to Sandra. He just didn’t seem like he wanted to be there.
    — Lauren Becall seemed very fragile. She seemed to be shaking a lot and fudged on some of her lines. You have to give her credit for being on stage though.
    — Wil – Have you ever attended the Oscars? Is it invitation only or can any star attend?

  15. Morgan Freeman was the narrator for March of the Penguins (US version).
    The orchestra should have played everyone off after 5 seconds. Who wants to hear actors thanking their dog, their 3rd cousin, etc?
    Anyone could have done the Ben Stiller bit; he was the only one stupid enough to agree to do it.
    Big surprise for me: Ziyi Zhang speaking English.

  16. rianpie is correct–the In Memoriam list is only for AMPAS members. Add anyone else and you have to figure out who to include and who not to include, and that’s bound to hurt as many people’s feelings as it helps.
    (I saw Sean Astin speak shortly after Fellowship came out, and he talked a bit about how being a member of AMPAS works. He’s a member because a short film that he directed was nominated, and he and his dad take it very seriously and lobby each other for their votes in different categories. The year Fellowship was nominated at the Oscars, he was not there by invitation as a member of the cast of that film. Rather, he entered a lottery any member of the Academy can enter, and won two of the remaining tickets that way.)
    Lily Tomlin and Meryl Streep totally out-funnied Ben Stiller, sorry.
    My opinion on time constraints: they should totally drop the montages except for In Memoriam and anything dedicated to the winner of the honorary Oscar, and give all the award winners another 20 seconds or whatever it comes out to. They shouldn’t start the clock until they get to the microphones (one winner called them out on that). They shouldn’t play music over *anyone’s* speech like they did with half of them. They shouldn’t let some people and not others get away with shaming the conductor into giving them a few seconds longer. And they shouldn’t cut off the frikkin’ BEST MOVIE speech after having slack elsewhere in the show.
    If winners want to thank everybody they’ve ever met, within time limits, go for it. They don’t have to be entertaining or notably gracious if they don’t want. This is their moment, not ours.
    The stupidest thing ever is a salute to widescreen and the visual benefits of seeing movies in theaters… broadcast to our, duh, television screens. If they want to do those montages for the benefit of those actually present in the hall, fine, do it during a commercial break. We’ll catch you on the other side.
    Okay, rant over.

Comments are closed.