Facial Hair Friday Follow-Up, or Lara’s Thoughts on the Oscars

9 Mar

I should probably say upfront that these musings are solely about the Oscar ceremony itself. There is just so much to say about the 82nd Academy Awards that we had to spread it over a couple of days. Later this week you will finally get to read David’s and my thoughts on who got the statues. You’re welcome. But for now, let us read what I have to say about the Event, starting from the beginning.

Neil Patrick Harris Opens

THE OPENING NUMBER
Darkness. Then the stage lit up. The lead actor nominees stood on stage and then were escorted to their seats. Weird. Okay. Moving on. Neil Patrick Harris surprised us all by singing and dancing and doing the job that the hosts themselves should have done. I imagine it was in attempt to get the same successful opening of last years’ Emmys, but all it did was point out the hosts’ inability to sing and do choreography. I mean, I dig Neil Patrick Harris – he is from Ruidoso, after all – and I thought the song was entertaining and funny, it just didn’t fit. Just a hint at what was to come for the rest of the night.

THE OPENING MONOLOGUE/HOSTS
Alec Baldwin + Steve Martin = Statler and Waldorf from The Muppet Show. Rather than feud, as I thought they would do, they teamed up together, chortling at the different nominees, sometimes making very obvious jokes in the way of two old men sitting in the balcony of the theater. I mean that in the best way possible. There was something very reassuring about the style of their joke making. Especially when Steve Martin made jokes similar to/almost exactly the same as ones he had made when hosting in the past. When introducing Sandra Bullock, he made the hilarious joke, “You loved her in The Blind Side, adored her in The Proposal, and thought she was just okay in Miss Congeniality 2,” obviously referencing the 73rd Academy Awards when he welcomed Ben Stiller to the stage by saying, “You loved him in Meet the Parents, you loved him in There’s Something About Mary, and you were fine with him in Mystery Men.” Although perhaps it wasn’t that obvious, as I laughed and looked around at my friends and said, “Get it? Like when he made that joke nine years ago!” and they looked concerned for me. For some odd reason.

Steve and Alec take a look at James Cameron

(REALIZING THIS PLAY BY PLAY IS ALREADY GETTING TO LONG, SO) HERE ARE SOME THINGS I LIKED

The presentation of Best Actors and Actresses: I was a fan last year when past winners presented to the nominees, and this year they took it a step farther (and better) by having people who had worked with the actors in the past talking about the character of those nominated. The only flaw I see in this is that they tend to focus on the career of the actor, rather than the role they are nominated for, but, let’s face it, a lot of the time that’s what it is really all about. Michelle Pfeiffer talking about her history with Jeff Bridges and Stanley Tucci praising and teasing Meryl for all that she does were by far the highlights.

Recognition of Sound Engineering and Short Film: Usually these awards are swept over quickly, and this year both got the acknowledgment and love that they deserve.

“And the winner is…” : When Penelope Cruz first uttered these words I thought she had made a mistake. “Whoops,” I said to my fellow viewers, “She wasn’t supposed to say that.” For, as you may know in the past few years, presenters have said, “And the Oscar goes to,” in order to be—I don’t know, politically correct? Steve Martin even said, at the 73rd Awards “You’ll notice they changed ‘and the winner is’ to ‘and the Oscar goes to.’ Because God forbid anyone should think of this as a competition.” Well, apparently this year they decided it was time to be self-aware, for throughout the rest of the evening there were Winners rather than Oscar Receivers.


THINGS I DIDN’T LIKE SO MUCH (OR AT ALL, FOR THAT MATTER)
The concern to keep it under three hours: The ceremony was extremely rushed, leaving little time for pause and reflection. The In Memoriam was brief, the nominated Best Songs weren’t sung, the presentations hurried, there were few performances, and at the end, Tom Hanks didn’t even give time for a breath before announcing the Best Picture. People who watch and care about the Oscars watch and care about the Oscars. They have no concern for how long the ceremony goes on, in fact, they want it to stretch for as long as possible. I don’t understand the need to keep it brief, especially as it is the Best Day of Every Year.

The concern of having young presenters: Several of this year’s presenters were new, upcoming stars who fumbled over their words and stated their nervousness. Now, if this had happened once, it would have been fine, but it was repeated throughout the night. An attempt, I’m sure, to get younger viewers, but really it just succeeded in taking away the classicism of the Academy Awards. Almost no staple, timeless actors were to be found presenting or in the audience. Thinking back on past years with Mel Gibson, Julia Roberts, Kevin Spacey, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jack Nicholson, made this year seem even more bizarre. The only older actors to be seen were ones who were nominated this year, and all of the rest of the seats were filled by Disney teens and Vampire Porn Stars.

The one performance: In years past, troupes such as Cirque Du Soleil and Pilobolus have performed. This year the only like thing was The LXD break-dancing to the Best Original Score nominees. What was the reason behind this awful decision?! Not only did the dancing not at all fit with the music, it wasn’t even that good. It was like watching a bunch of So You Think You Can Dance rejects try to do interpretive dance to music they could not at all grasp. It was embarrassing and it didn’t do service to the scores nominated.

John Hughes Tribute

The John Hughes Tribute: Perhaps the most awkward part of the evening. Molly Ringwald looked as though she was a deer caught in the headlights. She usually does, but this time it was not due to her giant brown eyes, but to the fear you could clearly see in her face. But that’s not really what was so uncomfortable about it—while I do love John Hughes films and I thought that the montage was brilliantly executed and some of the things said were poignant- I just don’t understand why he got his own tribute (I know David will disagree with me on this). Many other great actors and directors and screenwriters have died in the past and they were simply a part of a montage with all the rest. And yet, for some reason, John Hughes got his own ten minutes. Honestly, I am torn on the issue, because I know if and when (hopefully science will prevent it) Steven Spielberg dies I would want him to have his own Memoriam. Hell, I want him to have his own Oscar ceremony. But at the same time it makes it so that some people’s deaths are more important than others, which is disrespectful. Especially in instances such as Sunday when not only did one person get their own tribute, but a great actress, Farrah Fawcett, wasn’t even included in the Broader In Memoriam. Whoops.

Geez. Okay, so this was really long. And I held back. Sorry my ramblings are endless. If you couldn’t guess by the long essay before—I was not too pleased with The 82nd Academy Awards. There were some good moments, but over all it was uncomfortable and over much too quickly.

That’s what she said,
Lara

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