Here we are, the final Oscar night review post. Except for the ones coming tomorrow so, um, no never mind. Can I take that intro again? The Final Oscar Night Review Post... Tonight! Tomorrow a few more tidbits. I'm still debating but I can probably keep at it longer than you can stand to read about it.
Is that a threat?"
- terrified reader.
A random collection of thoughts is the only way I'll get through this this year because my mind is more scrambled than in year's past when it comes to Oscar night. I seriously need a team like "you get this topic", "you take that one." "You! Everything Meryl, go!" (that hypohetical person wins the assignment sweepstakes obviously). Bear with me and continue the conversation in the comments.
Opening Monologue & Performance
Ellen was in fine form here, and pretty daring (for Ellen). I think what really elevated it was the reaction shots. Live performances are, in some ways, only as good as their audience and the stars really love Ellen. It's so humanizing to see these mythic figures act so much like any of us might when a comedian suddenly singles us out from the crowd (even a comedian as relatively benign as Ellen). Adams, Streep, Squibb, Dern everybody was just showing their embarrassment but also that they were good sports. Except for maybe Liza but more on her later. Even Jennifer Lawrence, queen of clutzes, seemed to be like "oh noooos" when Ellen went straight for her clutziness.
It was all a perfect lead in to Pharrell's "Happy" in which Lupita Nyong'o, Meryl Streep, and Amy Adams all shimmied with the pop star. And here we pause for a moment to remember that Don Gummer is the luckiest man alive.
For, surely, Streep is the best companion possible to anything - always game and occasion-appropriate whether you're looking for serious tribute or goofy comedy. (If you taped the show you must replay and take note of how hard Michael Fassbender and Brad Pitt are laughing because Meryl is, as ever, the life of all movie parties.
Though I never share the opinion that the Oscars are too long. (I'd gladly take a four and a ½ hour show if that means I get my Honoraries back in there) I will readily admit that the first ½ hour was so strong that the show had trouble maintaining that much energy. And though the pizza bit brought us two photos we really can't live without, did it have to take up so much of the show?
I ranked Jim Carrey very low (#37 !!!) in my anticipation of presenters but he was one of the top performers, at total ease with solo banter and doing a hilarious and/or terrifying Bruce Dern impression.
WHO SURPRISED YOU? My order of excitement for the presenters was like 37 kinds of wrong, people. Mea culpa.
1. Are Australian bras used for storage of notes and tissues at the rate Catherine Martin would have us believe?
2. Why does the control room choose such weird cutaways like "Here's Joseph Gordon-Levitt's face during a June Squibb bit!"?
3. Worse yet why does the control room think I want to be looking at Kate Hudson for LONGER than I'm looking at Judy Garland's children during the Judy Garland / Wizard of Oz tribute. I was in such a rage I thought I might pass out.
4. What do you suppose Cate Blanchett had to say to Sally Hawkins after Pharrell wrapped up "Happy"?
5. And do you think they coordinated their beaded froufrou / delicate ladies outifts?
Can We Talk About the Heroes Montages?
Sally Field came out looking lovely and talking about "quiet acts of heroism" It was basically a tribute to biopics and they covered: 42, Serpico, Milk, Gandhi, Norma Rae, Lincoln, Captain Phillips, Ali, All The President's Men, Argo, Zero Dark Thirty, Philadelphia, To Kill a Mockingbird, Norma Rae, Untouchables, Born on the 4th of July, Apollo 13, Silkwood, Ben Hur, The Butler, Dallas Buyers Club, The King's Speech, and Lawrence of Arabia
Later Captain American himself, one of my three spirit guides for 2014, appeared to cover the superhero portion of the "Heroes" theme or at least that's what I thought it was but jesus that was one relentlessly random montage. The theme seamed to boil down to visual effects epics with protagonists, a few sword and sandal movies, Errol Flynn, Bruce Lee, FOOTLOOSE (um...), TOP GUN -- where are we going with this Oscar?... and then landing somewhere in the vicinity of Will Smith in The Wild Wild West and Quvenzhane Wallis in Beasts of the Southern Wild which should obviously always be programmed together in the future. This grotesque frankenstein collage was like watching bleary-eyed editors in some dark dungeon in the recesses of AMPAS headquarters experience psychotic breaks as the producers kept contradicting each other and changing their minds.
It was so confusing that the only takeaway I had was "not enough ladies" followed by a long forgotten fact Kevin Costner could once just get it. And you wouldn't even have to explain yourself afterwards. I remind you: Kevin Costner in The Untouchables. Dayum.
What did you miss during the Broadcast?
When I watch the Broadcast back the next day -- that's right whiners, I watch it TWICE within 24 hours so quit complaining that it's too long at 3 and a 1/2 hours. It's 7 hours chez moi! -- I ALWAYS see something I hadn't seen before. Was I grabbing a drink? Talking to friends? Peeing? All three?
Three things I hadn't noticed before...
- How late Christoph Waltz was entering so he had to practically jog to the podium with jaunty music egging him on.
- Kristen Bell's name being pronounced "Kristen B. Ell" for a joke since she was presenting with Michael B Jordan. (That wasn't unmissable but my point is: Kristen Bell!
- And that delightful cut to commercial above where Ellen says "more Oscar surprises coming up" and completely catches Sandra Bullock and Leonardo DiCaprio by surprises. How she did that with all the cameras following her I'll never know. Perhaps cameras are like flies to Sandy & Leo and they barely notice them after 20 years of fame.
- John Travolta's "the one and only Adela Dazeem!" (tweets about that here)
- Matthew McConaughey's Acceptance Speech
- The choice of the Supporting Actor clips -- Really weird choices. Bradley just screaming? "I'm the captain now" again? etcetera (P.S. I've included which clips they've used on the Oscar charts)
- Jennifer Lawrence's ornery weird aside "why are you laughing" as she entered to present
- Lupita Nyong'o's win - such a lovely perfect "your dreams are valid" moment and that intro to her speech, acknowledging Patsey but not in the cheap way winners often acknowledge the real life characters they played, was perfection.
- Meryl Streep "I've never tweeted before!" - breaking twitter with most all time RTs on her first try.
- Cate Blanchett's awesome call to arms "The World is Round" -- but more on that speech tomorrow
- Meryl Streep shimmying
- Ellen DeGeneres Overall
- Brad Pitt passing out paper plates
- P¡nk's "Over the Rainbow" - sorry, I loved it!
- The intense happiness of the non-famous who win Oscars. (Note: this is always part of the "Best Moments" list)
- Sung Acceptance Speeches (these are also always part of "Best Moments" list)
- Angelina Jolie & Sidney Poitier
- and of course... watching the winning / losing moments over and over again
One Last Selfie Bit
Finally, let's conclude with one last note on that selfie bit. I am already certain it's going to be what the 86th ceremony will be remembered for. What would Greer Garson, Audrey Hepburn, Gregory Peck, Elizabeth Taylor, Norma Shearer, Brando, and George C Scott have possibly made of it? I have only just now realized that Jared Leto was not invited to this sudden group portrait and, based on where he was seated, must have RUN across the entire auditorium to be in this shot. And Ellen DeGeneres accused Brad Pitt of being a camera hog!
Good night. xo!