I’m not going to write about who deserved to win which awards, nor will I whine about a terrible movie cleaning house at this year’s Oscar ceremonies; I’ve already done plenty of both. Instead – and Paul already started this off with a pretty good live blog – I simply wanted to comment on what I thought were the best, worst, and most memorable moments from the awards ceremony itself. Overall I feel pretty neutral about the show, but you can’t really expect anything too cutting edge from prime time network television. Still, the ceremony did have its moments, and here are the ones that stuck out the most to me.
1. The hosts – Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin – were great. Not overly hysterical, but totally polished, professional actors who seemed very natural on stage. Most of the jokes were actually pretty good – I loved Steve Martin’s unscripted quip that he had written the melodramatic speech given by Geoffrey Fletcher after his win for Precious.
And by the way, why I don’t understand is how the writer (John Lee Hancock) of The Blind Side wasn’t nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay. If the film was strong enough to be considered for Best Picture, don’t you think the screenplay, that was based on the book (of the same name, by Moneyball writer Michael Lewis) should also have been up for recognition? Lewis’ book does not at all read like a film; it’s both a real life anecdote of the life of Michael Oher, as well as a thoughtful analysis on the evolution of the left tackle position in professional football. Hancock took source material that was really written for football fans and turned it into a screenplay for a Best Picture nominee. I don’t get it.
But anyway, the hosts were terrific and actually added to the experience. The Neil Patrick Harris surprise opening number was pretty sweet, too.
2. Some are saying Ben Stiller’s Avatar joke bombed, but I thought it was pretty funny. At this point in Stiller’s career, he’s a pretty powerful Hollywood player, so it’s cool to see that he still doesn’t take himself too seriously and isn’t above looking like a jackass for the sake of a few laughs. I dug it.
3. I loved how every single person who accepted an award for their work on Avatar thanked James Cameron first and foremost, referring to him as a “genius” and describing him with every superlative in the dictionary. To me, it was the perfect combination of respect and the fear that Cameron could crush them all like little bugs.
It was a bit strange, though, when one of the guys who accepted the award for Best Art Direction (well-deserved, obviously) turned the whole thing into an against-all-odds soliloquy, starting off with something along the lines of “I almost died a year ago…” Look, what he’s done is truly remarkable, and I think it’s wonderful that his dreams have come true. But there are others who worked with him on Avatar and received the same award, and he was really drawing more attention to himself than was appropriate. And, oh yeah – it’s art direction, dude. Take your statue and have a seat. It’s art direction.
4. I liked Mo’Nique’s speech, mostly because it was a not-so-subtle way of telling everyone who has criticized her relationship with her husband to go f*ck themselves. You see, Mo’Nique’s husband is allowed to sleep with other women, and for some reason a lot of people have a big problem with that. I think Mo’Nique is self-aware enough to know that if she’s going to keep her husband around, he’s going to need to be able to, uh, horizontal polka with other women. If they’re in love and support each other – and it certainly seems like they do – then this is just a lifestyle choice that doesn’t really concern anyone else. So good for her.
5. Elinor Burkett. Wow. She was the woman who pulled a Kanye and totally interrupted Roger Ross Williams as he was accepting his Best Documentary Short Oscar. Apparently she was a producer of the short, but was later removed due to creative conflicts. If you want to read more about it, you can do so here, but I prefer to just think of her as a crazy lady. I think the rest of the audience shared my sentiment.
6. I was very happy for Kathryn Bigelow – and man, she looked hot – but she might have overdone her acceptance speech for Best Picture just a tad. I don’t have the exact quote, but she finished with something along the lines of thanking not only our troops overseas, but to the policemen and firemen that risks their lives for us every day. Nothing wrong with that, but Bigelow finished with “They’re there for us, and we’re there for them” while holding up a pair of Oscar statues. Hmmm. Somehow I don’t think rushing into collapsing skyscrapers and fighting in a desert really equates to Bigelow winning an award for an overhyped war movie.
7. The funniest moment of the night didn’t come from a Steve Martin or Alec Baldwin joke, but rather from Barbara Streisand’s presentation of the Best Director nominees. Streisand noted that both a woman and an African-American were nominated for Best Director, and that how if either won history would be made, as no woman or African-American has won in this category before.
Streisand opened the envelope and announced, before reading the winner, “THE TIME HAS COME.” For who, Barbara? Yes, the injustice and prejudice you just mentioned is gone, and we can all sleep easier knowing that a woman won Best Director. The time has come indeed!!! As for the African-Americans, maybe next year, guys!
What were your favorite moments of the show? What’d you think of the hosts? Let me know in the comments section.