I wasn’t expecting much from last night’s Oscars since it was lacking big ticket nominees (Avatar aside). But there were some laughs, history-breaking moments and the ceremony was short and sweet. Same formula as last year’s show (the Tina Fey-narrated screenplay nominees, extra kudos for the Best Acting nominees and I swear they used that same Best Make Up nominee graphic last year), but they ironed out the wrinkles (yay for nixing the herky-jerky camera panning!).
I’m never one to talk fashion (plus, the dresses were disappointingly beautiful this year), so let’s get straight to the show highlights:
Belle of the Ball - None other than the elegant, raaadiant Ms. Meryl Streep whose affable, delighted-to-laugh attitude and cover-her-face-out-of-glee/modesty/embarrassment mannerism made her the loveliest front row participant. She became the go-to gal for practically every host, presenter and award winner and was always ready with an encouraging smile and friendly chuckle. Hollywood freaking loves Meryl Streep and who can blame them?
It Takes Two, Baby - I love the acerbic wittiness of Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin. Their co-hosting job, while uneven, had me at perma-grin whenever they were on-screen. I liked Steve Martin’s solo hosting gig a few years back, but the duo played the “love this guy, hate this guy” rapport with panache and I wouldn’t mind seeing them do the honors again - when they have better material/nominees to work with.
Poker Face or Bad Romance? - Were George Clooney’s stone-hard reaction shots just “playing along” with the on-stage banter of Martin and Baldwin, or was he as pissed off as he looked all night? Usually Clooney’s a good sport, what gives?
Seriously, Oscars? - Isn’t this 2010? Why are we still cutting the camera to a Jewish person when Jews are mentioned (see: Ethan Coen during a “So many Jews in Hollywood” joke), or an African-American when anything Precious-related occurred (”Precious just won Best Original Screenplay! Let’s see how… Morgan Freeman is taking this in! Sure, he’s not even involved in the film, but he’s black and so are the leads in the film!”). Seriously, Oscars?
“Wait, did she just backhand us?” - Mo’Nique’s been on a roll, deservedly collecting award after award for her barenaked performance in Precious. Usually she gives touching, inspirational acceptance speeches, and we like it. We like fierce, we like pride, we like passion, but didn’t Mo’Nique come off as dissing her fellow Supporting Actress nominees by, “thanking the Academy for awarding performance over politics”? I’m hoping she didn’t mean it that way, but it sure sounded like she was belittling the performances of the other ladies in her category.
Hey Audience, Remember That You’re on Camera - Speaking of, what do we think of Samuel L. Jackson’s wide-eyed, “that was intense” mouthing of “Wow…” reaction shot after Mo’Nique’s speech? Sammy J. agrees with me! [Notice again: Mo'Nique won and they cut to Samuel L. Jackson even though he had nothing to do with Precious.] Anyway, back to my point - I’d like to take this moment to remind all members of the Oscar audience that YOU ARE ON CAMERA. So think before you: shrug with indifference over a no-name winner, roll your eyes at a bad joke, or give your partner a “that b!tch was crazy” look. *We can see you!*
Watch Your Head, Watch Your Step - That stage was a little over-done, wouldn’t you say? Who was the set designer? There were so many moving parts: rotating staircases, sliding screens, microphones that raised and dropped from the ground. I felt like the presenters were navigating through a booby-trapped level of Marble Madness! And who thought that a backdrop of lampshades would be classy in that setting? No me gusta.
Don’t You Forget About John Hughes - 80’s freaks collectively squealed to see Molly Ringwald, Matthew Broderick, Judd Nelson, Jon Cryer, Anthony Michael Hall and Ally Sheedy (what, we couldn’t just do a straight Breakfast Club only reunion?) on-stage and paying tribute to the late John Hughes. We love some 80’s teen angst and foibles, but why was Hughes the only deceased to get a dedicated segment? Why not forego that sloppy “Tribute to Horror films” montage (which included Beetlejuice, Misery and Edward Scissorhands?) and give Patrick Swayze a dance tribute or something?
Subtitles Should Not Be Necessary - Loved when Best Foreign Language Film, El Secreto de Sus Ojos director Juan Jose Campanella thanked the Academy for ”not considering Na’vi a foreign language.” Unfortunately, judging by the cool silence of the audience, they didn’t understand his accent and it may have required some s’plaining.
So I Don’t Think You Should Dance - Adam Shankman, judge of So You Think You Can Dance, produced last night’s Oscars which explains the cameos from former SYTYCDers and The League of Extraordinary Dancers to interpret the Best Original Scores (through the Robot and Pop-locking). SYTYCD nerds spotted dancers Channing Cooke, Nick Lazzarini, Travis Wall, Legacy Perez, Jakob Karr, Tony Bellisimo, Noelle Marsh, Kathryn McCormick, Russell Ferguson and Lil C in the mix. I’m a fan of SYTYCD, but the execution for the Best Original Score number was sloppy and didn’t impress me as much as it did for say… Penelope Cruz, who was adorbs and beaming afterward. BAILAMOS!
Kanye Moment of the Night - Did anyone expect on-stage shenanigans to occur during the Best Documentary Short acceptance speech? One minute, we’re watching Roger Ross Williams accept the award for Music By Prudence and the next thing we know, he’s bum-rushed by brassy-haired, brassy broad Elinor Burkett. Apparently, she left the project due to creative differences but had no problem with collecting the accolade while Williams stood by in shock. More behind the dispute from Salon.
Most Inappropriate Time to Bust Out the Hooker Heels - I’m talking to you, Demi Moore! You almost got the outfit right this year, but those gold stripper heels were all wrong, especially as you presented the In Memorium segment.
Leaving Out an Angel - Why wasn’t Farrah Fawcett part of the In Memorium? She’s been in films too, you Oscar bast@rds!
Ben, it’s okay to just be you - Is it a pre-requisite for Ben Stiller to show up every year in a lukewarm sight gag? Last year was the awkward Joaquin Phoenix beard and this year he dressed as an Avatar. *yawn*
Thanks for the Deja Vu - I’m serious. Last year, j’adored how they brought five previous Oscar winners on-stage to give a dedicated “love letter” speech to each of the Acting nominees. After all, we tune in to the Oscars for the movie stars, the glamour and their pride as they bask in the self-importance of their art, right? Thankfully, this may become an Oscar tradition because they did it again (although why was it was reserved only for the Best Actor and Best Actress nominees?). Another change was this time, the nominees heard from past costars, directors and er… Oprah Winfrey. It worked and had a very Screen Actors Guild-y vibe about it. Plus, we like hearing behind-the-scenes quips about Morgan Freeman allegedly telling Tim Robbins, “A friend is someone who’ll get you a cup of coffee… So could you do that for me, Ted? It is ‘Ted’, isn’t it?”; Dame Helen Mirren sporting a sexy spiderweb tattoo on her hand; and Colin Farrell and Jeremy Renner getting plastered in Mexico together, etc. etc.. And then, of course, you had Oprah’s dramatic ode to the whirlwind Hollywood journey taken by Precious newcomer Gabourey Sidibe, which was really moving. From struggling student to actress to nominated alongside Meryl Streep in a year? Fantastic story. Even better? Having the Oprah as a reference at your first Oscars attendance. Newbies win!
Get “The Dude” Off of the Stage Please - We all knew Jeff Bridges would win Best Actor and we’re happy for the likable guy, but didn’t his “groovy” and “man”-laden speech ramble on for a minute or two too long?
Newest Old Face in the Crowd - Sandra Bullock. She’s definitely one of America’s sweethearts and it’s great to see her comeback (in the same year she won a Razzie for the stinker All About Steve, mind you), but did she change her face? Did her nose always look like that? Regardless, I loved her acceptance speech which mixed tears, humility and self-deprecating humor. But now we want to hear more details about George Clooney throwing her into a pool - dish it, Sandy!
Hurts, Don’t It? - Some may be pleased to say, “Suck it, James Cameron!” but at least he looked gracious about losing multiple awards (including the bigguns for Best Director and Best Picture) to his ex-wife Kathryn Bigelow and her film The Hurt Locker. Let’s hear it for the girl, who made history by being the first woman ever to win a Best Director award! Biggy up to Bigelow!
Full list of Oscar winners here. Did you tune in last night? What’d you think of the festivities?
ALSO! Today we’ll be drawing our three winners for our Square Eyes Starry-Eyed Oscars Contest! Did you predict all of the winners correctly? If so, keep an eye on your inbox to see if you won six-months of free Netflix from Square Eyes!