And so the Oscars are done with for another year. Ultimately uninvolving, only slightly interesting to see if James Cameron and Katherine Bigelow might duke it out Balboa style in the aisle (anybody else notice that the organisers slotted Cameron into the seat immediately behind his ex wife?) and genuinely devoid of any real controversy. Although, the story on the pushy producer who stole the microphone from Music By Prudence director Roger Ross Williams only gets louder the more you think about it. In light of the magnificent performances and artists involved, I thought I’d jot down some random, chronologically inept thoughts on the ceremony we’ve just witnessed.
Twin hosts Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin fared okay, although most of their humour wasn’t the riotous laugh-out-loud stuff many previous hosts have given us. For goodness sake, bring back Whoopi, or even give Robin Williams a shot. I really enjoyed their somewhat forced opening duologing, targeting those celebrities in the audience who were awaiting their fate. But their “hosting” job felt shoehorned into the programme, they came and went on stage individually with barely a murmur, save to introduce the next star to traipse up and read the nominees. Martin, who I usually find as funny as a fart in an elevator, showed moments of genius (“I wrote that guy’s speech” for one flabbergasted and stuck-for-words winner was hilarious) but was overwhelmingly undone by the awkward looking Baldwin. I admit, I thought Baldwin was a great coup for the show, but I went unrewarded by what looked like a slightly inebriated (and ill-timed) host.
Generally, the Oscars this year went off with almost no surprises, at least in the major categories. Sandra Bullock won, described by Channel 9 “entertainment reporter” Richard Wilkins as a “career Oscar”. Boo, you wanker. Christoph Waltz got Best Supporting Actor, sweet as. Jeff Bridges won his own “career Oscar” for Crazy Heart, and almost cried. Almost. At least Sandra did cry. Mo’Nique was favourite to win Best Supporting Actress, and she won with aplomb.
Miley Cyrus and that other young chick did okay presenting for Best Original Song, but she looks so out of place at the Oscars! Stand up straight dear! So to Twilight’s Kirsten Stewart (minus R-Pat) and Taylor Lautner show up to do an homage to Horror films, which is kinda nifty if a little kitsch for Oscar. Nice to see bits from some modern stuff, as well as the tired old Carrie/Rosemary’s Baby/Exorcist reels trotted out. How Jaws became a horror film is beyond me, though. Not sure what Spielberg thinks of it.
Ben Stiller brought the evenings only true pastiche of the show to life, as a blue-hued parody of the characters from Avatar: James Cameron seemed to enjoy it, although we’ll never know what Sascha Baron Cohen would have brought to the moment. Could have sparked some life into it. I normally find Stiller a mildly bearable comedian, but considering the dearth of real laughs for the show, his was a highlight.
Speaking of celebrities being pissed off, what the hell was wrong with George Clooney? Looked like somebody just raped his cat! Cheer up fella, if you’re going to sit in row A at the Oscars, at least have the decency to smile and clap like the rest of them. I think I even saw a death-stare in there as Baldwin laid into him! There was a smile later, but it felt conciliatory.
Didn’t like: the multiple Best Actor and Actress introductions by various celebrities. Went on way too long, and some of those people speaking were appallingly ill advised in their comments. My favourite, however, was Tim Robbins anecdotal reminiscing of his time on set with Morgan Freeman, who was nominated for his role in Invictus. Sean Penn, who re-read the nominees for Best Actress, delivered some half-baked apology to the Academy that confused everyone in the room, and was so totally ad-libbed I can only imagine the hair-pulling backstage.
Didn’t like: The extended John Hughes obit, which carried on way too long, instead of the normally reserved and respectful obit sequence later in the show for all those who have left us. I know Hughes had a great legacy, but really? A full ten minutes?
Did like: Michael Giacchino’s score for UP. Loved his win, although the massive dance routine featuring segments of nominated scores was a complete “what the…?” The dancing was in no way related to either the music or the films the music was from. Some guy I saw doing street crumping to a jazz-inspired piece from UP, a film which in no way lends itself to urban street music. What on earth was Adam Shankman (who directed Hairspray, among other things) thinking when he put this shite together? Didn’t like that!
Bravo Win Moment: The Cove for Best Documentary. I saw a “making of” piece about this film a year or so ago, and thought it could be a serious contender. Glad to see it made it. Awful issues the film raises, but well made, by all accounts.
Did like: Neil Patrick Harris’ opening number was dynamite and hilarious, although there appeared to be some sound issues because it was hard to make out what he was saying at times. Love his work in How I Met Your Mother, and so not expecting him to open the Oscars. Great surprise.
Sigh, I do miss those film parodies Billy Crystal used to do.
Aside from feuding producer/directors storming the stage, this years Oscar ceremony went almost as everyone predicted: winners and all. There were virtually no surprises (aside from the sound guys from Hurt Locker winning over the more accomplished Star Trek, Transformers 2 and Avatar…. what the?) and consequently, the most unremarkable Oscars telecast yet. If this ceremony is remembered for only one thing, it’s Katherine Bigelow’s stunning win for directing Hurt Locker, the first female to do so in Oscars 80+ years. Our congratulations go to Ms Bigelow for this feat.
There’s my thoughts, random as they were.