I’ll admit it; watching the Academy Awards has long been my guilty pleasure. I think I must have been in junior high when the tradition began. Mother and I would get the dishes done, homework would be finished, Cokes would be poured, and we would settle in for the evening. I don’t remember when popcorn entered the picture, most likely a more recent addition, but we would watch till the bitter end, even when Daddy would shuffle out of the bedroom, blinking through his sleepiness, and remind us that it was way past bedtime. We would assure him that it was almost over; he would frown, pause a minute, and then make his way back to bed mumbling under his breath. And as I recall, in the old days the show was sometimes on a week night, which meant school night, which Daddy was obviously concerned about, and Mother was not.
Since the program is all live, anything can happen, and deep down, I think the powers that be all secretly wish for some unexpected incident to spice things up. All those unexpected surprises they replayed too many times in the build-up programs before the upcoming spectacle-the streaker, Jack Palance’s one-armed push-up, the Indian girl sent by Brando, Cher’s outfits that were not, as she coyly put it, what the serious actress would wear- I enjoyed them all in real time!
So Sunday afternoon I checked Coke and popcorn supplies, made sure I had plenty of caramels to melt and pour over the popcorn, and this year even sat through all the red carpet prelims in preparation for watching a slice of life I will never be a part of.
I’m not going to worry about combing the Internet and dragging pictures into the blog; they are plastered everywhere for all the world to see, and no doubt by this time most of you have seen more of them ad nauseum, so that monkey is on your back if you want to see more. I am, however, going to join the ranks of entertainment experts and share with you my take of the night’s events-
Starting with the observation that all the warm-up has nothing to do with the merit of the movies or the performances up for recognition, but with what everyone was wearing. Long ago in our family the brutal truth was discovered that indeed it is not what you know, nor who you know, but how you look that seems to be the crucial issue these days. And this is Hollywood in all its radiant splendor, and they seldom fail to shine. The men on the red carpet and during the show looked elegant and handsome in their tuxes and shiny patent leather shoes. Well, except for those two long-haired hippie throw-backs who won for sound or something. And the women are all beautiful to begin with, so be honest; even if they chose a wrong color or a dress that doesn’t quite fit, they still look glamorous. Except maybe for Kristen Stewart. I know she had a hurt foot and all, but In Texas cowboy vernacular, she looked like she had been rode hard and put up wet, so she might have been better off if she had just stayed in the barn and not shown up at all. My best dressed list includes Jennifer Lawrence, Charlize Theron, Octavia Spencer, and Catherine Zeta-Jones. Runners-up would be Amanda Seyfried, Stacy Keibler, Jessica Chastain, Reese Witherspoon’s hair, and Jane Fonda, who must have the most gifted plastic surgeon known to man, or woman in this case. She really looked great, but also kind of spooky that anyone 75 years old could look like that. Trailing behind Kristen Stewart in the worst dressed contest was Rene Zellwegger with her ugly hair, blah dress, puckered mouth, and squinty eyes, Melissa McCarthy in her plastic trash bag, Jennifer Anniston’s stringy hair, and Sally Field’s long sleeves. And let’s not forget the two women who won an Oscar for hair and make-up; the one on the left looked fine; her friend on the right in the pink tights and wreck in her hair? Well, they should have worked their magic on her as well.
As for the show itself, for the most part I enjoyed it. As to the host question, I have seen them all from about 1959 to the present, and yes, some are better than others.I am not a Seth MacFarlane fan, but he did as well as anyone else could in a job that should come with the caveat in the job description that you will be damned if you do and damned if you don’t, so should anyone be surprised that he got hammered for the boob song, the questionable jokes, the Jewish reference from Ted? I didn’t care for the boob song, either, but he redeemed himself by having Channing Tatum and Charlize Theron dance afterward, and the whole Captain Kirk/Star Trek bit was pretty insightful, considering that he knew what he had let himself in for when he took the job. Come on, he was hired because of his potty-mouth, politically incorrect brand of humor, and then when he used it, people were offended? Grow up. I got a kick out of his Meryl Streep needs no introduction introduction, and the sock puppet bit made me chuckle.
And those unexpected, uncensored surprises that have graced other shows? The only surprises this year were those jokes that nobody expected MacFarlane to actually use. Again, if they didn’t want him to do that stuff, they shouldn’t have hired him.
I thought the Jaws theme song that came in when the acceptance speeches went too long was a fun choice, as was The Sound of Music reference. The stage design and set were really pretty, I thought. The James Bond montage went too fast, but Shirley Bassey’s Goldfinger number brought the house down, and rightly so. It is one of my personal favorites and was a good choice, as it has that quintessential Bond sound. The other musical numbers were included, I guess, because of the current popularity of Les Miserables, but the other musical numbers, especially that one from Les Mis, could have been left out as far as I was concerned. Having the First Lady do her little vacuous speech before the best pictures presentation was also unnecessary. It didn’t raise the stature of the night, but rather just added an element of show business to the presidency, as if the office of the presidency needs more showmanship…
And I could go on, but you’ve endured enough. If you care to take umbrage with any of my observations, feel free to leave me a comment. I have been having technical difficulties with the comments gadget. Comments are recorded but don’t show up on the blog, so I think readers have quit trying to comment. I think if you will click on the word comment, you can still leave a comment, and I will see it, and I think if you click on comment again, you will see it, but alas, I cannot guarantee it. I am working on getting it fixed, but not having much luck, so bear with me, please.
But I digress. This year I saw only three movies that were up for any award, so obviously I had no favorites and was watching purely for the spectacle and entertainment of the evening. I used to go to the show (as in moving picture show) as we used to call them, all the time. Not so much any more. I plan to rectify that in 2013. So next year after the Oscars, along with my best or worst dressed lists, I can make pithy, informed, thoughtful, insightful, and totally beside the point comments on the actual movies that make it to the Oscars.
See you next year.