Monday, February 25, 2013

This time, the awards steal the show

Seth MacFarlane is the latest sacrificial lamb ... er ... I mean host to be tapped as Oscar's savior. To my way of thinking, MacFarlane came up way short. Too bad because 2012 was a terrific year for movies, and deserved a better Oscar telecast than the one that aired on ABC Sunday night. The humor ranged from mediocre to deadly, and when it wasn't being tasteless, the show suffered from a near-terminal case of the blahs.

Considering that this year's awards were hobbled by serious omissions (notably Ben Affleck and Kathryn Bigelow) in the best-director category), the Academy managed to do a reasonably good job of spreading its love around. In accepting the Oscar for best picture, the snubbed Affleck, said it would be wrong to hold grudges.

Generally I agree, but maybe we should make an exception for the guys who produced this year's show.

For once, the awards actually were the most interesting thing about the Oscar show. Maybe Hollywood should take a cue from that, maybe winners should be allowed to do something more than recite hurried lists of thank-yous. Maybe it's time to rethink the need for a host.

Oh well, it's past time that we said bye-bye to 2012. I'm doing it by serving up a selection of my tweets from last night's ... I hesitate to use the word -- "festivities."

-- The show ended with Kristin Chenoweth and MacFarlane singing a tasteless song about the night's losers. Why upstage the best picture? What ever happened to quitting while you're ahead?
-- President Clinton spoke about Lincoln at the Golden Globes. Oscar tried to top the Big Dog with Michelle Obama, who presented the Oscar for best picture.
-- Michelle Obama did a nice job, but I'm not sure the White House needs to inject itself into the Academy Awards.
-- With the band rudely playing Oscar winners off the stage with the theme from Jaws, it was damn near impossible for anyone to give an entertaining acceptance speech.
-- The exception to the night's lousy-acceptance speech rule: Daniel Day-Lewis did everything right, and actually put some wit into his remarks.
-- Loved Day-Lewis's goof on Meryl Streep, saying he was slated to play Margaret Thatcher while she was Spielberg's first choice to portray Lincoln.
-- Jennifer Lawrence's Oscar (best actress for Silver Linings Playbook) elevates a gifted young actress into Hollywood's top ranks.
-- Ang Lee (Life of Pi) has an incredibly diverse filmography; it made me happy to see him win the Oscar for best director.
-- I'm not a big fan of Django Unchained, so wasn't buoyed by Quentin Tarantino's win for best original screenplay. He seemed pretty happy with himself, though.
-- I blew it on best supporting actor. I predicted Robert De Niro (Silver Linings Playbook) would win; prize went to Christoph Waltz (Django Unchained).
-- As he listened to Waltz's acceptance speech, Jack Nicholson, caught in a reaction shot, looked like someone hearing Ukrainian for the first time.
-- Adele showed some of the night's only real emotion, accepting the Oscar for Skyfall, the best song.
-- When Argo won the award for best editing, I figured it was on track to take best picture.
-- As just about everyone predicted Anne Hathaway (Les Miserables) won for best supporting actress. As she left the stage, the orchestra played the theme from The Godfather. Huh?
-- Hathaway tried to say something relevant about Fantine, the character she played in Les Mis. Made me think that if I see poor Fantine on the street, I should give her some spare change.
-- Just when I thought the show couldn't get worse, MacFarlane did a Nazi joke.
-- Wondered whether Tommy Lee Jones (Lincoln) would demand a recount in the best supporting actor category after there was a tie for best sound editing. Both Zero Dark Thirty and Skyfall won.
-- Might have been better if Ted, who appeared with Mark Wahlberg, had hosted the entire show.
-- Ouch. In the show's big Les Mis production number, Russell Crowe again proved that he was miscast in Les Mis.
-- Director Michael Haneke kept his acceptance speech short and sweet. Amour's win for best foreign-language film surprised no one.
-- Throughout it all, MacFarlane kept smiling, but I began to wonder: Didn't someone have Ricky Gervais's cell number?
-- I admit it. Barbra Streisand's Memories got to me.
-- No surprise that they didn't show the controversial water-boarding scenes from Zero Dark Thirty.
-- Searching for Sugar Man won best documentary, as most Oscar watchers had predicted.
-- Oscars look at 50 years of James Bond was mediocre until Shirley Bassey showed up to sing Goldfinger, which she pronounced Gold-fingah.
-- Les Mis won for best make up and best hair styling. Hair styling? The film was a bad-hair-day festival.
-- The Oscar for best animated feature was unfortunate. Wreck it Ralph and Frankenweenie were robbed. And to make matters worse director Mark Andrew wore a kilt in accepting the award for Brave.
-- Paperman, the winner of the best animated short, was a lovely little picture.
-- Want to know how deadly most of the night's humor was? Even Paul Rudd and Melissa McCarthy were awful.
-- The Flying Nun bit with MacFarlane and Sally Field was not funny.
-- Neither was MacFarlane's musical number, We Saw Your Boobs.
-- Same pretty much goes for William Shatner's Captain Kirk bit.
-- And what was up with all the veneration for Chicago? Too much. Too much.

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