Good post-Oscar morning, folks! Here’s my rundown of last night’s festivities:
Odd camera work and Seth MacFarlane: There was something off about the camera work and production value in general. To me the show looked sort of tacky and cheap. There were a lot of medium-tight shots of Seth MacFarlane that just sort of stayed there, without the customary cut-aways to the audience, so that he looked trapped in some kind of cheesy high school stage production. Was it because the producers were worried about audience members reacting badly or at least stone-facedly to the host’s possibly offensive jokes (Seth did get Tommy Lee Jones to crack a smile on his first go, so that was good sign)? But then other shots were too wide, so that we saw folks in the wings and far upstage waiting to walk onstage. During the Best Director award segment, Emmanuelle Riva appeared in David O. Russell’s little cutaway box. It all looked sort of amateurish and awkward. Also, I’m not sure if this is the first year that the orchestra has been off-site and not in the orchestra pit, and maybe I wouldn’t have noticed anything off if Seth hadn’t mentioned it, but it made the whole thing feel less cohesive to me.
I thought the Flight sock puppets were the funniest bit of Seth’s opening monologue, especially the socks tumbling around in the dryer. I’m never gonna turn down some Joe Go-Lev dancing in a lovely tux, and D-Rad was kind of adorable, too. As for Channing and Charlize – I did not know she could dance (she’s rocking that pixie cut, by the way) – and Channing continues to insinuate himself into my good graces (see my earlier post on the Time Warner Offers blog). And that Sound of Music “Ladies and gentleman, the Von Trapp family singers!” gag was endearingly Seth.
One Day More of Les Miz and Anne Hathaway: “One Day More” is my favorite ensemble number from Les Miz, and Broadway pros Samantha Barks and Aaron Tveit had me wishing for better singers to replace Russell Crowe and Amanda Seyfried. Hugh Jackman was decent, although I don’t care for “Suddenly,” the original song written for the movie. And Anne . . . I don’t know what it is, but she’s really been getting on my nerves lately. There’s some sort of Julia Roberts-ish, self-deprecatingly attention-hogging vibe about her.
Okay, the comment about Anne notwithstanding, I usually try not to get personal, but I have to ask: do you think Renée Zellweger was drunk? She was walking and holding herself very stiffly, as though she was working very hard not to sway or tip over onto Queen Latifah. On a related note, wouldn’t you love to see Queen Latifah and Adele combine their awesomeness into one totally divalicious project?
Damn it, it’s Shakespeare in Love all over again!: How mad do you think Spielberg is about walking away without the Best Director or Best Picture Oscar? As I said in my pre-Oscar post, I have no issue with Ang Lee winning. I just figured Spielberg would edge him out. If you can’t win for a sweeping historical epic about one of our most beloved Presidents, what can you win for?
Meryl makes a command decision: How many of you thought Meryl Streep had just decided to give Daniel Day-Lewis the Best Actor award no matter what the card said, since we didn’t actually see her open the envelope? I mean, who’s gonna argue with Meryl? And then DDL gave the perfect acceptance speech – funny (who knew?), very sweet about his wife, and ending with a touching shout-out to his mom. And that’s how it’s done, folks.
Separation of state and play: Now, I love our FLOTUS, but it was weird and unnecessary to have her co-present the Best Picture Oscar. First of all, I thought it meant that Lincoln was going to win, what with Former President Bill Clinton introducing it at the Golden Globes (also weird overreach). Secondly, it was the height of Hollywood self-important self-congratulation – having the First Lady thank the industry for helping kids by bringing art into their lives. Yes, because that’s why everyone’s in this business.
Finally, though, what better way to end the evening than with Kristin Chenoweth singing us out! Maybe she, Amy Poehler, and Tina Fey can host next year? Till then, let me know your thoughts about last night’s ceremony in the comments section below!
I must say I didn’t notice any of the odd camera work you mention, though I was taken aback to find out the orchestra was off-site, which was particularly disconcerting given that they claimed this year’s Awards had a musical theme. MacFarlane made me laugh out loud and cringe several times in short succession, which generally made me tired. I did laugh at the tumbling socks in the dryer, and I thought the Sound of Music bit rather clever, but it almost seemed like the audience didn’t get the reference. Ok. Anne Hathaway. Your diagnosis of self-deprecating and attention-hogging resonates with me. spot on. I’ve never particularly cared for her in the past and was disappointed to hear she had this role… until I saw it. I thought she was brilliant and deserved the Oscar for it. But my love for Les Mis (Les Miz? I thought it was an s) is no secret, and so I may be biased. And there was DEFINITELY something weird with Renee. Another actress whose appeal I’ve never really understood. I thought “ummm, she can’t read it. Is there something wrong with her eyes or is she illiterate?!” Wouldn’t that be something to find out she can’t read. Drunk didn’t occur to me. Queen Latifah to the rescue is a gracious, classy way. She’s always classy. Love her! And Adele. Divalicious project, yes, please!! DDL did have the best speech of the night. But the speech he gave at the golden globes is the best acceptance speech I’ve heard anytime anywhere. And I wouldn’t have brought it up if you hadn’t, but I was really put off by Michelle Obama’s presentation. I love love love our First Lady, but the context was so wrong it almost offended me. Kristen Stewart. What is she doing? Is she trying to get fired from celebrityhood? All we needed was a yawn and an eye roll to remind us that she’s still a child. A gangly, awkward preadolescent. Oh wait. She’s 22. ( I looked it up. I thought maybe she was younger.) Ben Affleck. Is he someone we’re supposed to be taking seriously now? I didn’t even know. I haven’t seen any of the movies he’s directed, so I guess I’m behind, but… huh. His speech was reminiscent of the way I remember him from ten years ago or so, but he was cute at the end when he got emotional over his kids. Jennifer Lawrence. I really liked her in The Hunger Games, and though I haven’t seen Silver Linings Playbook yet, the clips I’ve seen are certainly impressive. But when she’s not acting, she seems a little lifeless, no? But I was proud of her quick reflexes to give a little fist pump when she was the only actress whose boobs Seth hasn’t seen.
Ha! You’re totally right about the off-site orchestra and the musical theme. The Sound of Music gag is the kind of musical nerd joke that makes me like Seth despite some of his other off-putting humor.
When I watched the Renee bit last night, it totally looked she couldn’t read the card for whatever reason and that Queen Latifah had to finally jump in. When I re-watched it this morning, it looked like she was letting Queen Latifah lean in and read it, maybe per some prior arrangement. But too drunk/un-focused to read seems just as plausible. You know, several folks looked glassy-eyed and bored to me – K-Stew, as you said, Jeremy Renner. It’s strange that the producers spend so much time writing/rehearsing the show, and they still end up with awkward duds like the Avengers cast or the Paul Rudd-Melissa McCarthy bit. How do you manage to make Paul and Melissa unfunny?
I was underwhelmed by Affleck’s first movie, Gone Baby Gone; I like The Town quite a lot; and I think Argo is a taut, polished thriller, so he does seem to be improving. Yes, Jennifer Lawrence can seem a bit plastic to me sometimes.
When Les Miserables is shortened, I think I usually see it with the z, but I’d imagine either is fine 🙂 I just read that Cameron Mackintosh is planning a new stage production of the show (minus the turntable stage)!
Oh, and Salma Hayek seemed sort of zoned-out and bored in the audience, too.
Wow. I’m sorry about that. I should have taken the time to make paragraphs.
I haven’t watched the Oscars in many years, but it’s interesting to hear your description of the camera work and off-site orchestra. Economic issues? Talent issues? Bad planning?
I have this theory that quality is falling in a number of areas of modern living. This is entirely anecdotal personal observation, but it sure seems like I’m hearing more about mistakes made in “can’t make mistakes here” territory or seeing quality decrease. Makes me wonder if the bill for several decades of a failed education system is finally coming due.
We’ve talked, for one example, about some odd (apparent) writing fails on The Good Wife (Kalinda’s ex- and that weird kiss between Alicia and Will). Maybe it’s just me getting over-aware of them — self-selecting the evidence as it were — but sometimes it worries me!
Recently I’ve thought about skipping the Oscars, and I did skip the Anne Hathaway/James Franco year because it was too painful, but I usually end up getting sucked in by the gravitational pull 🙂
The camera work seemed like newbie mistakes to me. It is a live event, so maybe I’m being too exacting, but I don’t remember noticing vertiginous zooms and cutaways to the wrong people before.
Exactly (good way to put it), and why am I seeing newbie mistakes in critical venues? Why, that’s like having a power failure during, oh, say the Super Bowl, even when you know in advance it could be an issue!
It feels like I’m seeing stuff like that all over.