I am a certified Oscar addict and last night was like my Christmas. Seriously, I live for the build-up, the hype, the anticipation, the snubs, the surprises and the sheer overdone production of this whole Oscar Season. Naomi Watts, you think that tsunami was The Impossible? I have busted my ass day in and out for months going sometimes hours away from home to try and see every single one of the 53 nominated films. No offense, but you basically went surfing and then kinda just hung out in that tree and laid there until someone dragged you to a doctor.
Let’s start with the question of why every film nominated isn’t available in theatres? It’s as if they nominate these foreign films to toy with my mind… “Hey, here’s the film No and NO – You can’t see it! Throw me a bone people, if you nominate it – you better make it available to see. Granted, it’s not like I’m actually voting for any of these awards or that I’m anything more than a psycho so there really isn’t much punitive value in my seeing them at all. That being said, it makes me very unsettled to not see all the films nominated – I’m OCD compulsive and I get anxious if I can’t see them all – so the last thing you want to do is let me only get half-way through my list. I start to fixate on it and get very restless…I once made my long-suffering wife drive almost two hours EACH WAY to see August Rush because it was nominated for Best Song…She looked at me and said “you’re crazy”, I looked at her and said “Man-up, it’s the Oscars!” and you can just imagine how well that went over and what a fun car ride home that was.
Back to the Oscars. Let’s talk about the elephant in the room – Anne Hathaway. Sure she was fantastic in a movie that was good, but not great. Sure we knew she would win that Oscar. Sure we knew she would thank her husband and Hugh Jackman. Sure didn’t think I wouldn’t be able to concentrate on her speech because I was so distracted by the sheer strength and tenacity of Anne Hathaway’s nipular regions though. She could have thanked me from that stage and I wouldn’t have known because I couldn’t pay attention to anything else but those nipples. Did that not remind you of Cloris Leachmen in High Anxiety? Maybe that was what she was going for – the retro feel? If it were her that fell instead of Jennifer Lawrence, she might have blinded that poor French guy from The Artist!
People’s reactions about the First Lady presenting Best Picture with Jack Nicholson seem to be divided into two camps. If you’re a Democrat – you loved it and if you’re a Republican – you thought it was a distraction. I don’t want to wax politics here – I think it was a genuine surprise in a show that has become all too predictable. No one saw that coming. Did it flow seamlessly into the show? No, but so what? No matter what you think of her, it got your attention and that’s the point on Hollywood’s biggest night. All these people are still arguing about her presenting, what was she doing there, did she know the winner in advance, but I was genuinely concerned when I first saw her. Seriously! They cut from Jack Nicholson to her surrounded by military personnel and until I got a closer look, I really thought she was wearing an army helmet! I was terrified that they had raised the terror level up to orange, not realizing that she just had new bangs…
Ang Lee – yes I saw that coming and no Steven Spielberg was not robbed. Lincoln is an acting tour-de-force whereas Life of Pi is a directing tour-de-force. There is a difference and that is not a slight at Lincoln. I liked Lincoln, but I just liked it – I didn’t love it. I agree that Daniel Day Lewis gave an amazing performance, but I just thought Lincoln would blow me away and all it did was give me a cool breeze… To be fair, I didn’t really care for Life of Pi either, but I can recognize what an achievement it was. I like to keep my D’s two and under, so anything 3D just isn’t for me anyway. Ben Affleck and Katherine Bigelow being left off the ballot was a shame, yet it really opened up the field to consider the other nominees. I actually think Ang Lee would have still won had Ben Affleck been nominated in the category alongside him. Best Director is never an award given by emotion – the acting categories are. The people voting for Best Director keep their head in the game and they reward an achievement that blows them away. Martin Scorsese had to direct how many films before he finally nabbed a directing Oscar? Eminem and Three 6 Mafia were Oscar winners before him and if anyone was proving that “It’s hard out here for a Pimp” it was Scorsese!
Argo’s Director snub was the best thing that could have happened – it pushed people to realize how good of a film it really is. The movie came out back in October and many good films came out after it. It’s hard to remember the films from early in the season especially when you see your latest favorite movie, but this pushed Argo back into the discussion and ultimately on top of it. Whether the voters felt like they were making up for a slight or just that it was a better film than the others really doesn’t matter in the end.
Seth MacFarlane – I really like him and thought he did a good job last night. You will never please everyone, but what demographic could he possibly have missed? Channing Tatum dancing to classics was reminiscent of the Golden Age of Hollywood and then his kvetching about the waxing challenges pretty much covered both the seniors and the teen/tween set at the same time. Seth McFarlane’s Ted and he bringing college students to hand out trophies covered that age group; Argo hit the baby boomers and anyone just under their age bracket who can remember the Hostage crisis happening in their youths. Throw in The Avengers to get the nerds all riled up and you’ve got a truly universal show. The absolute only bracket not represented or being targeted were the nursing toddlers and Anne Hathaway’s dress certainly “aimed to please” them as well.
All said, MacFarlane was funny, pushed a little too far at times (Free Don Cheadle anyone?) yet did what a good host does – he hosted. The problem in the past has always been that you can tell the host is having less fun than the plumber called in to fix the lobby bathroom flood in the theatre last night, yet he was having a blast. And he was present and accounted for through the show. The bits felt like they were a constant stream and there was an even flow through the show. All too often, the host delivers his intro and is only seen sporadically throughout the rest of the night. If I had a lisp I’d say “Seth was the betht” just to confuse people; he really was good.
Can we talk about Quentin Tarantino? What the hell happened to him last night? He looked like Matthew McConaughey after he was beaten and sodomized in The Paperboy. Rest assured, that is the only mention you’ll ever hear of The Paperboy in a conversation about the Academy Awards, but I hope his Oscar came with a matching rape whistle in case those guys come back to finish the job on him. In all seriousness, he is such a huge movie fan and this is Hollywood’s big night – he needs to clean up his act! There is a certain amount of reverence that should be paid and it’s not showing off your originality to look like a slob – it’s disrespectful. I will not get into my diatribe about the way long hair looks on men either, but where are the grooming standards? If you look like Gandalf the Wizard and it’s not part of a costume, the joke isn’t on us buddy!
I just wanna get something else out of the way since I’m now worked up; no one should ever be played off that stage and I don’t care if they ramble on like a yenta. This is the Academy Awards! The Academy Awards people! It is literally, the culmination of an artist’s blood, sweat, hopes, desires, and tears. All the joys and struggles of most of these people’s entire career has led them to this fated night and if by chance they hear their name called – let them speak. The producers carelessly start the Jaws theme to drown them out, for what though? To make time for that way-too-long intro? Another song by the host? A musical number having nothing to do with this year’s nominated films? Catherine Zeta Jones: you’re hot baby, but I’m talking to you! (True story – I actually saw her in person a few months ago. She was about three feet from me and I volunteered to brush her hair – She’s very hot! Trust me, it wasn’t as weird as that just sounded)
Did you cut winners off to leave time enough to have the First Lady present or Streisand sing on the show seems odd to me. I thought they were both genuine surprises in what could have been a routine night and Streisand’s was a touching goodbye to a dear friend, but come on. I would have rather those people get the chance to finish their speeches instead. What would have been the worst that could have happened if they went on for a few more seconds? The show was already running late – so what? This is Hollywood’s biggest night of the year and if it runs late, it runs late. If you’re watching and you have to get up early for work the next day, Tivo it and go to bed. For those who are like me and sit through checking off their ballots at home to keep track of how many they got right compared to the picks on their dog’s ballot – don’t judge me – we’d be up until the next morning if the show was still going…
This night is the celebration of some really amazing performances and movies from the year: The Impossible – My God, Naomi Watts is really amazing. I still can’t even talk about the movie because I have never gotten so emotional and cried like that as an adult in a theatre. Picture me sitting there by myself starting to cry and then throwing up shortly after the first wave hit (In my defense, I did have the flu as well as motion sickness from the first thirty minutes) and then crying intermittently for the next hour and a half. That movie took a hold of me and just threw me through the ringer emotionally as if I was in the water with Naomi. Ewan McGregor was absolutely heart-breaking and when he called his Father-in-law, I wept like Anne Hathaway getting her mane scalped while dreaming her dream.
Zero Dark Thirty actually took over my body and my breathing and my heart and left me speechless. Silver Linings Playbook was touching and surprising and charming and cray cray and Jennifer Lawrence is just priceless. Searching for Sugar Man was just the most amazing experience and I cannot remember the last time I finished the credits and said “I need to see that again right now.” The Inside War was devastating and I dares you to watch and not feel rage against a system could work like this and allow these atrocities to happen for so long.
I didn’t care for the film overall, but if you told me that The Master was Joaquin Pheonix’s real life documentary, not I’m Still Here, I’d believe it – he was cray cray, but wow is he talented. I loved Frankenweenie and Wreck it Ralph had everything except for a Mr. Do cameo…Moonrise Kingdom was such a charming little story and Chasing Ice was eye-opening and relevant and moving, yet no one has heard of it and that’s shameful!
So as my time with Oscar rounds to a close, no one is more relieved than my wife. I head out at all hours of the night seeing the last showing in all types of weather. If 53 films were nominated, I must have seen over 100 contenders preparing for the nominations…This was never an issue before we had kids, but you try explaining to a three year old that you don’t want to get up and take him to soccer because you didn’t get to bed until almost 2:30 AM. Is he empathetic to your Oscar viewing plight? Does he really care that I went to see Les Miserables’s last showing of the night and it’s a really long movie? No, he wants to go to soccer and onwards we go…in a way, it’s always sad to see Oscar Season end, but I look forward to the new movies that will blow me away as I’ll be starting up all over again a few months.