Sure there were some animated acceptance speeches (Jamie Lee Curtis, Ke Huy Quan, and Michelle Yeoh to name a few). But in these post-slap days, a general sigh of relief seemed to greet the proceedings, which leaned heavily into promotions from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
The Academy seems to want us to believe that Hollywood can control itself while moving toward real inclusion. What to believe?
One thing: The more movies change (if they really do), the duller the Oscar show becomes? The ascendancy of Asian artists was taken as a sign of progress. I hope so, but here's another thought about that:
— I’ll believe in Hollywood’s commitment to inclusion when someone casts Michelle Yeoh to play a character such as Lydia Tar, the brilliantly offensive conductor played by Cate Blanchett in Tar. I’m not being snide. It didn't occur to me until last night but I think Yeoh would have been an amazing choice.
— You can’t honor one without offending another. Come on Academy. You didn’t give Angela Bassett an Oscar for her performance as Tina Turner in What’s Love Got to Do With It. (Holly Hunter won in 1994 for The Piano). You had the perfect opportunity to make up for an epic overlook and blew it.
— And, for the record, I thought Jamie Lee Curtis was hilarious in Every Award ...er ... Thing Every Where All at Once.
-- A trailer for Disney's Little Mermaid during the Oscars? Weren't the Oscars promotional enough already?
— Before you decide that movies have experienced a sea change with the awarding of a best director Oscar to the team of Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert (Everything Everywhere) wait until you see their next movie.
— If Guillermo del Toro, who an Oscar for his Pinocchio, is right about animated films being part of cinema, then more them should get up from the children's table.
— If you were able to conduct interviews with ordinary moviegoers at the average multiplex, how many could name two movies in which best actress nominee Andrea Riseborough appeared? Hint: Amsterdam and Please Baby Please.
— Quick, a show of hands. How many of you saw, To Leslie?
— Tar? No Oscars? Really, none?
— Ditto for The Banshees of Inisheren.
-- Ditto for Elvis.
— Jimmy Kimmel should ever ask Malala another question. The whole bit -- faux questions for celebs -- was a dud anyway.
— Is showing leg now a mandatory part of women’s high fashion? Are two legs (Florence Pugh) better than one — in the fashion sense, of course?
-- No will accuse Lady Gaga of overdressing. She wore a T-shirt, torn jeans, and no make-up for her performance of the Oscar-nominated song, Hold My Hand. Un-Gaga in one sense, but very Gaga (I do what I want) in another. I liked it.
— I can’t think of anything David Byrne has done that I haven't liked … but wait ….This is a Life, the nominated song from Everything Everywhere, might be the exception.
-- When there are multiple recipients of an Oscar, none of them should be played off the stage for wanting to speak.
— I was happy to see Sarah Polley looking happy for winning an Oscar for best adapted screenplay (Women Talking).
— I hate to break it you boys and girls, but contrary to a popular Oscar sentiment most dreams don’t come true.
-- And finally, if I never see another pair of hot dog fingers, it will be too soon.
Enough. TGIO, I say. Thank Goodness It’s Over — at least for another year.
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