Oscar History

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Entries in Oscar Hosting (18)


Podcast: Spread the Wealth, End the War

I couldn't let the postmortem on Oscar's 84th close without inviting my ol' podcast pals Katey, Nick and Joe to join me for one last conversation of the season. We ended up talking for over an hour. See we all share this "can't stop talking Oscar!" addiction and none of us will ever go to rehab. So you get the podcast in two parts. Part two late tonight.

Here's part one where we start goofy with Octavia Spencer's ubiquity and end all serious like (well, mostly) with Viola and Meryl. Join the conversation in the comments.

Topics include but are not limited to...

  • Octavia Spencer, Angelina Jolie
  • "Cut To Camera 3. No, Camera 4. Wait, Back to 2!"
  • Spreading the Wealth. What Did They Actually Love?
  • Billy Crystal's 9th Go-Round
  • Emma Stone vs. Anne Hathaway with a side of Jonah Hill
  • Red Carpet Reveals and Lead Actor Presentations
  • CLIPS! Commercial Breaks
  • Meryl & Viola and the Narrative vs. Performance Problem

You can download the podcast on iTunes or listen right here at the bottom of the post.

Post Oscar Part One


Tues Top Ten Pt 2: 84th Oscar Takeaways

It's (almost) all over but the dresses. But first we're counting down the ten takeaways from Oscar's 84th year. Your takeaways may vary of course but these are the ten things I expect I'll keep thinking about beyond the big night....

10 Direction is Everything
09 Fincher's Oscar Stride
08 Leggy Angelina Jolie
07 Movie Stars on Movies
06 A Separation's Win

Jessica and her Nana

05 Jessica Chastain is a Girly Girl
Just when we started thinking of her as a Serious Serious Actress she showed up in awards season all giggling, bouncy, girlish. This doesn't mean she isn't a serious actor of course but it was rather a shock, even after speaking with her. Celia Foote's uninhibited enthusiasm in The Help might be the closest we've seen to the real woman behind the chameleon. This impression continued on Oscar night when she brought her Nana and went all womanchild shy and cuddly after her clip. Later during the Best Actress presentation she looked enormously worried for Viola Davis. No wonder she's an actress; her face registers every flush of big feeling. 

04 Emmanuel Lubezki Is Never Going To Win an Oscar
I was more sure that "Chivo" aka Emmanuel Lubezki would lose the cinematography Oscar for The Tree of Life than I was sure who would win it. I predicted The Artist but the prize went to Robert Richardson (Oscar #3) for Hugo.  Lately AMPAS seems much more interested in cinematography as a complicated technical profession rather than a spiritual one that's all about light and tone and feeling. For the past three years Oscar has definitely preferred heavily processed CGI behemoths here. We hope they one day get back to movies that feel crafted by hand... and God. Like There Will Be Blood (which miraculously won).

Lubezki is brilliant but it's lost on the general voters. At least the cinematography branch knows his worth. He has the unique distinction of being nominated with frequency despite rarely lensing Best Picture nominees (which is rare) and despite not being inextricably tied to any one specific filmmaker (also rare). His nominations, all of them deserved (rarer still!), come from filmmakers as diverse as Alfonso Cuaron, Terrence Malick and Tim Burton.

03 Best Presenter: Emma Stone
Easy A was such a confident comic star turn that it was inevitable that she would ascend but it's delightful that she's just as funny at the big show as on the big screen. Entering the stage to present strenuously waving, emphatically gesturing, widely grinning, Emma Stone was so keyed up you had to ask if she was for real. Before she spoke you were caught for an instant on the line between 'is this a skit? and 'ohmygod she is really into this' which, as it turns out, was the skit.

We are here tonight to present the award for visual effectsTHIS IS MY FIRST TIME PRESENTING AN AWARD. Hiiiiiii. 

Waitwaitwaitwait let's stop rushing. We should have some banter.

What joy. Emma is just as funny as herself. Or maybe as Anne Hathaway, if you take this as a comic send up of that ill fated Oscar hosting last year. (In tonight's performance Ben Stiller will be playing the supporting of the less stoned but equally dull James Franco there only to bring his partner down). From Stone's unbridled enthusiasm to her ADD Show Person energy to the spontaneous singing... Was it too Mean Girl? I am crazy in love with Anne Hathaway myself but I laughed and laughed.

(Runners up: The Bridesmaids "SCORSESE!!!!!" [knocks back drink]. It was smart to give the six of them the three short film awards as their numbers dwindled on stage. I only wish they could've had a Sound of Music send off or some comic interstitial to shoo each other off the stage 'adieu adieu to you and you and you'. Distant third: Gwyneth Paltrow and Robert Downey Jr in "The Presenter")

02 Meryl Streep's Third Win. Be Careful What You Wish For
As previously discussed... but also the night's best speech. (Streep would have had a rival in Christopher Plummer but for his speech being in syndication for a couple of months now)

01 They Weren't Fooling Around With 'The Year of Nostalgia'
The Oscar Producers will see your Hugo and The Artist and The Help and War Horse and The Tree of Life and Midnight in Paris and every other backwards gazing collage of deeply felt memories, shared at the movies or privately recreated by or vicariously lived through the movies and they'll raise you Tom Cruise, Jennifer Lopez, Meryl Streep Winning, Tom Hanks all over the place, Cameron Diaz, and Billy Crystal thawed from his cryogenic freeze. If you squint your eyes a little this ceremony took place in...1994.

What will you take away from the 84th Oscars? 
Are you already dreaming of the 85th?


Gold Thread, Crystal Host, Bronze Bragging (If We Must)

1. Open (Gold) Thread! What's one thing you most want to discuss in the post-mortem?
Besides the [ahem] obvious. Here's the schedule...

Tonight & Tomorrow
Key Moments, Internal Conflict, Good Speech, Final Takeaway

Fashion Wrap up.

2. Billy's Return?
One of the online Oscar sports each year is arguing about how well the Oscar Host did? I confess that this isn't an area that ever sparks much from me in terms of critique or conversation since The Host(s) isn't at all why I watch the show. But how'd you think he did?

I thought Reasonably Fine Not Special though there was an awful lot of asking for assurance that he was 'reasonably fine,' right? A lot of "wasn't that amazing/beautiful/special?" Um... if you say so, Billy.

3. How'd you do on your predictions?
I scored a not-embarrassing but hardly statue worthy 17/24. I assume this puts me outside the "shortlist" of Best Predictors, no medals for me. Not even bronze. I've been snubbed... by myself and my wishful / pessimistic thinking stumbles (either can get you into trouble). If you beat me, feel free to brag about it in the comments.


Just Enjoy The Show

Cope and Dalton have made another spoof video of the Oscars. This one is just as offensive, though less consistently funny, than last year's (the presence of Inception in 2010 helped for the alternate reality comedy).


My favorite skewerings are of the self-pitying The Descendants and the eliptical structure of The Tree of Life "the earth. a dinosaur. a shoe. Sean Penn" and the "Rise of..." twist on the All Hell Breaks Loose finale is fun.

You know it's alternate reality and satire when Woody Allen runs screaming through the crowd. Everyone knows Woody never attends the Oscars! 

If you're interested, here's their satirical jab at the forthcoming Oscars...

I want my money back. I want my money back. just enjoy the show ♫


Patton Oswalt To Host the Oscars In 2021*

*This is not strictly true.

Remember that moment at the BFCA "Critics Choice" Show when Patton Oswalt took the stage, owned it, said somewhat interesting things (I forget what but it's been a long month), got laughs. Everyone was all 'why isn't he hosting?' in the twitterverse. Apparently that moment was not lost on Hollywood.

Oswalt has not one but two upcoming hosting gigs in February. First "Remy" himself (Ratatouille!) will host the animation industry's Annie Awards on February 4th, 2012 about which he says:

The Annies are where the real weirdos hang, and it’s a visual feast just to have a drink with them—I can’t wait”

...and just three days later he'll host the Visual Effects Society Awards. Those people did a good job on his damaged legs in Young Adult, you must admit.

Neither of these awards shows are televised but baby steps. One day he'll be hosting the Oscars! I can see it now. But he has to get more famous first. Oscar is picky about the Q quotient.

P.S. One thing I'd totally forgotten about the VES Awards is that their trophy and logo are totally "Papa Georges" lovin'

Advantage: HUGO after the jump!

Click to read more ...


Well, That Was Fast... Billy Crystal To Host the Oscars

Strike while the iron is... short-circuiting? The Brett Ratner (producer) / Eddie Murphy (host) Oscar telecast resignations have been the talk of the town... make that both towns and February's Oscar night was starting to seem like an impending disaster. 

Despite a fun-to-think-about Muppets Oscar campaign*, many AMPAS voters and Oscar fans will get their wish and see the return of Billy Crystal. He's had the gig eight times in the past (1990-1993, 1997-1998, 2000 and  2004) but apparently eight is not enough. Billy is a good host but we just hope this doesn't mean yet more changes to the show. The last time Billy Crystal spoke about hosting he said he'd return only if they made certain (unspecified) changes to the broadcast. (Sigh) The Oscar ceremony is not broke. It just always thinks itself to be. It's like a beautiful girl who looks in the mirror and only sees her flaws. The only "fixing" the ceremony needs is some good old fashioned self-esteem. 

* I was just about to say that we'll still see Muppets on Oscar night, never fear -- I mean they've done the show several times before -- when I saw this tweet.

So now I don't need to. Perhaps this is the best of both worlds! 



Eddie Murphy Resigns. Academy Voter Tells Us "Told You!"

True story: I just got back from a luncheon celebrating Martha Marcy May Marlene. I happened to be seated between three Academy members. One woman, a documentary filmmaker, brought up the Brett Ratner scandal and she and I co-miserated, jokingly, that if only he hadn't resigned so quickly there probably would have been much more drama to enjoy since he can't control his mouth. 'Who doesn't love juicy drama?' we argued. The wise producer on the left of me, retorted that the Academy doesn't. "They're very conservative and they don't like a scandal," she said emphatically. (Amusing that even Academy members talk about the Academy in monolithic "they" terms just as we do; as if they, too, are outside of it looking in).

The whole Ratner fiasco had happened so fast (gay slurs on Friday, apologies on Monday but also Howard Stern on Monday with more offensive comments, resignation on Tuesday) that we had to fill one of the other voters at our table in on the details. The discussion quickly turned to last year's telecast which was deemed "unwatchable" ("Franco is spread too thin" "Poor Anne Hathaway -- you could just see the panic.") The producer leans in to me and says "I bet Eddie Murphy resigns". 

CUT TO: 20 minutes later. I've just returned from talking to Lizzy Olsen (more on that tomorrow) and the producer says "Told you." She holds up her phone to show me the Breaking News bulletin: EDDIE MURPHY EXITS AS OSCAR HOST. The holy name of "Billy Crystal" is instantly invoked as if he would save them all. 

Murphy's public statement: 

First and foremost I want to say that I completely understand and support each party's decision with regard to a change of producers for this year's Academy Awards ceremony. I was truly looking forward to being a part of the show that our production team and writers were just starting to develop, but I'm sure that the new production team and host will do an equally great job.

Interesting that he makes it sound like a mutual decision (the implication there is that Rattner was asked to resign, isn't it?).

I know I didn't write about the choice of Eddie Murphy much at the time but I actually thought it somewhat inspired as he is a born showman. No matter what you think of Dreamgirls, can't we all agree that Eddie nailed the performative electricity of James 'Thunder' Early?

Ideally in his absence I'd have Hugh Jackman back since I need musical numbers, I just do. (I realize my dream of Meryl Streep and Emma Thompson hosting and just yanking every other hilarious-in-real-life actress on stage to banter with them as if the Kodak is their mutual playground is only going to happen in my own brain.)

Statler & Waldorf are just like the media. They'll hate it whoever does the hosting!I also heartily endorse the Muppets should host the Oscars campaign though that feels only slightly more likely than Streep & Thompson on account of the Academy being too self-serious to become the greatest episode of The Muppet Show ever made for one night.

A more believeable suggestion...

Wouldn't Jim Carrey be two tons o' fun as a host: what do they have against him anyway? Who would you have host the event and are you sad to see Eddie go?

UPDATE 7:27 PM Brian Grazer (famous producer and Ron Howard partner) has stepped in to replace Brett Ratner as producer of the telecast. Since Brian has always kind of reminded us of a Muppet himself, we are quite pleased. Brian, think hard about those felt bundles of joy. CONSIDER... 

UPDATE 11/10/11: Now it's Billy Crystal as Host.



<-- Ooh look The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo poster. There are so many posters for every movie nowadays that I think the word "official" has lost all meaning. But I like it. The tag line sounds artier than most

"what is hidden in snow comes forth in the thaw"

Slant has a strong piece on the 25 best horror films of the Aughts. Some truly surprising but gratifying inclusions.
Film Buff On Demand has a fun post about Halloween treats you can make for your party like brain cupcakes and such. 
The Movie 411 has a nomination round in which you can submit your favorite blog articles or movies blogs in various categories. 
IndieWire considers the many way's this year's Oscar race might mirror 1998's: Brothers Weinsteins comedy vs. Steven Spielberg war epic with a little Terrence Malick on the side. And that's not all.
The Movie 411 has a nomination round in which you can submit your favorite blog articles or movies blogs in various categories. 
Michael Musto's choice of the two best lines in The Descendants 

I hadn't seen this so maybe you haven't either but delicious devil Colin Farrel presented Robert Downey Jr with the "Hero" award at the recent Scream Awards. Like so...

That is one gawdy-ass awards show!

Grantland Mark Harris on the writers branch of the Academy. Which causes will they take up this year?
Movie|Line speaks with Sean Durkin, the writer/director of Martha Marca May Marlene
IndieWire speaking of... how about a double feature with a previously disturbing cult movie The Rapture. Let's call it Martha Marcy Mimi Michael
Boy Culture shares an awesome Elizabeth Taylor photo and Richard Burton poem. I can never get enough of Liz & Dick.
Towleroad Gareth Thomas, who came out of the closet two years ago, is retiring from rugby. I wonder if his biopic is still on... it's SO weird that Mickey Rourke is supposed to play him because they look nothing alike and Jason Statham would be so so perfect. 


Pajiba "the superhot women of old timey westerns"
HitFix Eddie Murphy speaks about his Oscar hosting gig.