Monday, February 25, 2013

Post-Oscars Thoughts

Yep, this is one of those years that the Motion Picture Academy got it right by naming Ben Affleck's "Argo" the Best Picture of the Year.  I may spend my afternoon watching the Blue Ray of this movie to celebrate.

As for my Oscar Predictions, I went 6-for-9.  You'd have made money if you bet with me.  I missed on Adapted Screenplay, Director, and Actress, and in two those predictions I was almost right.  In predicting a Screenplay win for "Lincoln's" Tony Kushner, I said that he "may get pushed out by Chris Terrio" for "Argo", and he was, with Terrio winning the award.  In the Actress category, I said Jennifer Lawrence had the "big edge" for this one, but I went with Jessica Chastain because (a) she was my preference, and (b)  you have to pick at least one upset, right?  I never saw Ang Lee as Best Director.  I thought that was going to be Steven Spielberg's all the way.

As I have done in past years, my bullet point thoughts on the awards and the show itself.

  • Host Seth Macfarlane.  Comments on Facebook during the show and some write-ups this morning were critical of him.  Clearly, the Academy wanted a guy to appeal to younger audiences, and I suppose that the pros and cons of his gig last night will split along generational lines.  Anyone familiar at all with Macfarlane's work shouldn't be surprised by anything they saw.  I thought he was funny at times, over the edge at others, and I was impressed by his song-and-dance abilities.  If I was grading him, I'd give him a C+ or B-.  If I had my druthers, I'd love to see Billy Crystal back next year (hey, I'm 61 years old!), but I wouldn't be totally disappointed if Macfarlane came back for another year.
  • I am not a Star Trek guy, but I have always loved how William Shatner self-deprecates his Captain Kirk role.  That said, his bit last night with Macfarlane in the opening went way too long.
  • Macfarlane is not the first Oscar host to crack jokes about how long the show drags on, so he shouldn't be criticized for that.  Crystal made an art form of such jokes.
  • On a night when one of the big movies was "Lincoln" perhaps a John Wilkes Booth joke shouldn't have been told, but the shock and awe over it is a bit over the top.  I have been hearing comedians telling Lincoln/Booth jokes for as long as I can remember.  Bob Newhart's - and who is more inoffensive than Bob Newhart? -  classic routine of the PR guy coaching Abe Lincoln ends with just such a joke, in fact, and that one dates back to the 1960's.
  • Final note on Seth Macfarlane:  I make him a look-alike for Pittsburgh Pirates Prez Frank Coonelly.  Anyone with me on that?
  • One thing will never change on an Oscar show: lame supposed-to-be-funny dialog between two presenters will usually fall flat and lay a huge, uncomfortable egg.  Paul Rudd and Melissa McCarthy were perhaps the biggest victims of that last night, and there were several others.
  • Speaking of presenters, if Channing Tatum and Kristen Stewart are examples of the next generation of Hollywood stars, then Hollywood is in a lot of trouble.  Man, were they awful last night.  What a couple of punks.
  • The performance of the cast of "Les Miserables" was probably the highlight of the night.
  • Speaking of musical performances, the orchestra drowned out the vocals of Shirley Bassey, Adele, Norah Jones, and Barbra Streisand.  Not good.
  • Streisand is starting to look her 70+ years, but, man, she can still sing.
  • And speaking of Shirely Bassey, I loved hearing her sing "Goldfinger", but that James Bond "50 Year Tribute" was completely over-hyped.  What a let down that was.
  • I know that it was a much admired book, and I know people who have loved both the book and the movie, but I have to be honest.  Multiple Oscars aside, no preview trailer I have seen, and no clip that I saw on last night's show, have given me any desire whatsoever to see "Life of Pi."
  • Wonderful touch to have the First Lady be the presenter for the Best Picture Award.  I am sure that Fox News is no doubt already lambasting her for this.  
  • I loved seeing comments on Facebook last night from people who went out of their way to say how they NEVER watch awards shows.  It must be nice to know that you are intellectually superior to most of the world.
  • Finally, I did see the last 30 minutes of the Red Carpet show.  That redefines the word "vapid".
Well, as they say in the movie biz, that's a wrap.  See you at the movies!

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