I must admit that watching the Oscars this year was relatively painless. Based on last year’s torturous adventure with James Franco and Anne Hathaway as hosts, the Oscar telecast could only get better. Realistically, the show just needed a host who can competently drop a joke or two and move the show along at a decent pace. Enter in Billy Crystal. I don’t particularly think that Crystal was a great host, mostly because a lot of his jokes and bits felt as old as the award itself, but his familiarity with the setup allowed for the show to have a comforting vibe. It was like a plate of comfort food. It isn’t the greatest dish, but the warmth and familiar tastes allow for an experience that is soothing. Outside of this main theme, here are the hit and misses of the telecast and a few of the awards themselves:
Crystal and the Producers Practically Say “Fuck You” to the Teen Demo:
Outside of the Justin Bieber cameo in the opening frames of the show, Crystal and his jokes indirectly didn’t give two shits about catering to a younger demographic. From a musical monologue that’s been played out to dead pan jokes, it constantly looked like the show was more focused on catering to an older crowd than anybody that may possess an Ipad. Honestly, it was refreshing to see an entity exist on its own terms. Instead of being everything to everyone, the telecast was merely being itself.
Actor/ Filmmaker Exposition:
Throughout the telecast there was a collection of short interviews with actors that exposed their first movie experiences, as well as the goals they hope to achieve through the cinematic medium. Outside of Adam Sandler admitting he’s searching for truth (yeah, okay), all the informative vignettes gave insight into a practice that is often seen as reaching for riches and glamor. Scored to the music that populated a few films this year, especially this terrific piece, each vignette resonated with me.
The Run Time:
Holy shit, the Oscars barely went over the three-hour mark. Could there have been a few cuts to the show? Of course, but there have been few Oscar telecasts that felt as short and succinct as this one. Once again, kudos to Crystal and the production team for making the show move at a brisk pace.
Emma Stone and Robert Downey Jr.:
I’m sorry, but Emma Stone further cemented herself as my dream woman. Not only was her beauty unmatched, but her charm and wit while presenting was one of the show’s highlights. The same could be said for Downey Jr. No, I don’t mean that he cemented himself as my dream woman, although I wouldn’t kick him out of my bed for eating crackers…Anyways. Given an extremely cheesy bit as a presenter, RDJ sold the hell out of it. His charisma and unbelievable timing made it far more entertaining than it probably should’ve been.
Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis:
I have nothing to say here that you probably don’t already know.
Hi, I’m Chris Rock. Within two minutes, I laid claim to next year’s bid for Oscar host.
There is a collection of jokes that worked well for Crystal, but then there were bits that absolutely showed their age. As I intimated earlier, I respected Crystal’s nonchalant attitude for doing his shtick, but the opening montage, where Crystal inserts himself into all the Best Picture nominees, has grown stale. So has his opening musical number. We don’t have time for to present the Best Song nominees, but we have time for a lackluster song by Crystal? I just don’t see how you wouldn’t spotlight one of your awards.
Cutting Off Octavia Spencer:
Look, I know I demanded for short speeches in my last post, but Spencer was having a moment there that was ready-made for TV. I know the Supporting Actress category is relatively less juicy than the lead acting categories, but she deserved the time to bask in the moment.
Listen, I have no issue with Hugo winning this category. It’s a terrific film that is wonderfully constructed in every facet of the film game, but this was The Tree of Life’s award. I’m sorry, but Emmanuel Lubezki’s work for The Tree of Life is legendary. The entire basis of the film’s success depends on the lush imagery that Lubezki captures; it seems weird that this impressionistic film, one nominated for Best Picture, wouldn’t get cinematography.
Viola Davis Getting the Shaft:
Meryl Streep is probably the greatest actress ever. The mere fact that she has been nominated for a million Oscars and has only a couple of wins to her name is a travesty. In typical Academy form, they rewarded a legend not so much for her current performance, but for the fact she hasn’t won in years. Unfortunately, this marginalized a great performance from Viola Davis. I honestly would’ve given the award to Rooney Mara, but because it was a race between Streep and Davis, the award should’ve gone to Davis for her mesmerizing performance.
Cirque du Soleil:
Instead of highlighting other aspects of film, we get a performance from high wire artists? Admittedly, it was somewhat cool and definitely wasn’t time consuming, but I just don’t understand the inclusion of an act that takes up screen time that could be used for bits related to winners or all together scrapped. It’s an obvious effort to shake things up, but why shake it up at the expense of cutting another aspect of the show that is more pertinent?
The Random Montage Featuring Twilight:
Why the fuck does the production team behind the show insist on creating a montage that has nothing to thematically do with the show it appears on? And why the fuck does the montage need to have a clip from Twilight? As noted in my previous post on the Oscars, I don’t understand why Twilight has to rear its ugly head. It’s not like you’re going to get the desired youth demo by using a five second clip of it, nor are you doing the legendary films that occupy the same montage any favors by associating it with shit.
There were issues with the microphones. It sucked and made the show look rushed. There is no excuse for this.
All in all, the ceremony was a solid endeavor. The love for The Artist just about killed any drama, but it was a worthy result. Let’s hope next year finds us a new presenter and a set of balls.