What Lisa Watched Last Night #72: The 85th Annual Academy Awards

Last night, I had a little party.  Me, my boyfriend, my sister, my best friend, and my 7,000 followers on twitter got together to watch the 85th Annual Academy Awards.


Why Were We Watching It?

If you love movies then the Oscars are like the Super Bowl.  Seriously, how could I not watch it?

What Was It About?

It was about the best of times and the worst of times.  It was about self-promotion, self-congratulation, and Michelle Obama.  It was about whether or not Seth McFarlane would self-destruct.  It was about rooting for the underdog and checking out who was wearing what.  It was the Oscars and, for 210 minutes, the nation sat entranced.

What Worked?

Brave won the Oscar for Best Animated Feature Film!  Seriously, that one award pretty much made the entire night for me.  Actually, there were a lot of good winners last night: Ang Lee for Best Director, Christoph Waltz for Best Supporting Actor, Paperman for Best Animated Short Film, and Jennifer Lawrence for Best Actress.  I was especially happy to see both Lawrence and Anne Hathaway win because, for whatever reason, these two actresses have recently had to deal with some of the most petty criticism that I’ve ever seen.

I also appreciated the fact that Quentin Tarantino, upon winning Best Original Screenplay, managed to spend his entire speech basically patting himself on the back while pretending to thank his cast.  It may not be remembered as the most classy speech in the history of the Oscars but it definitely served to remind us of why we love Quentin.

As host, Seth McFarlane was such a mixed bag that I’ve included him under both things that worked and things that didn’t work.  McFarlane started out surprisingly strong.  Unlike a lot of female critics, I wasn’t offended by The Boob Song and I thought it was actually a pretty clever parody of McFarlane’s public image.  (The joke was clearly meant to be on McFarlane and not the actresses mentioned in the song.)  Unfortunately, as the show went on, McFarlane occasionally seemed to be determined to live up to that parody.

Oddly enough, I really enjoyed Lincoln when I saw it but yet I still found myself happy to see it lose in so many categories.  I think it’s probably because Lincoln was so aggressively hyped and so many self-important Oscar pundits (like Sasha Stone) declared that Lincoln was the best film of the year before they had even seen it.  It was hard not to resent the condescending tone that was taken by many of Lincoln‘s online supporters.  Plus, it’s always fun to root for the underdog.  It’s hard not to suspect that if Ben Affleck had actually been nominated for Best Director then Steven Spielberg and his film might have actually won big last night.  But by snubbing Affleck, the Academy cast Steven Spielberg and Lincoln in the role of Goliath.

On one final petty note, I was happy to see Jennifer Lawrence win because I know her victory probably annoyed the editors of Awards Daily.

What Did Not Work?

I could have done without Michelle Obama showing up to present Best Picture. Yes, I know that Hollywood loves the Obamas but seriously, it felt rather Orwellian to have the First Lady suddenly pop up on TV and tell us why movies are so important.  The fact that she appeared with a few random soldiers behind her just added to the creepy vibe.

The much hyped Bond tribute turned out to be a bit of a bust, didn’t it?

The audience, which never seemed to be that excited about the prospect of Seth McFarlane in the first place, seemed to turn more and more against him as the show progressed.  As a result, once the Oscars hit the 120 minute mark, Seth started to come across as being a bit desperate to get a reaction — any reaction — from the audience.

Daniel Day-Lewis gave a good acceptance speech and all but surely I’m not the only viewer who was curious to hear what Joaquin Phoenix would have said if he had won.

In the end, the show just felt a little bit too bland for my tastes.  Unlike last year, there was nothing truly unexpected.  There were no hints of eccentricity.  No one showed up wearing anything awful.  Nobody made a fool of themselves while accepting their Oscar.  In short, the show was just forgettable.

“Oh my God!  Just like me!” Moments

When Jennifer Lawrence fell on the way to accept her award, that was definitely an “Oh my God!  Just like me!” moment.  Seriously, I loved her dress but, from the minute I saw it, I knew she was going to have a hard time getting up to the podium.

Lessons Learned

Award shows are a lot more fun when things go wrong.

3 responses to “What Lisa Watched Last Night #72: The 85th Annual Academy Awards

  1. I had a mixed reaction to the show as well. McFarlane was alright, but he couches every third or fourth pointed barb with a “safety vale” joke to make himself look like an asshole for making fun of all these people —e ven though they almost all richly deserve it. His material thus lacks any real teeth, while still purporting to be “edgy.” I also think the decision to have the producers of the “Chicago” movie produce the show sort of backfired — they sure spent a lot of time patting themselves on the back, what with all the focus on their decade-old movie and musical in general. We all expect a certain number of musical song-n’-dance numbers and that’s all well and good, but it really was a bit much this year. And finally, while I don’t share your usually-semi-politely-worded disdain for all things Obama-related, I have to agree that Michelle Obama presenting the best picture award via satellite was a little too “Big Brother is watching you”-ish for my tastes. I don’t mind politics and celebrity mixing, but there was simply no coherent reason for her to be involved with the broadcast and it give ammunition to the Limbaughs of the world to go after the first lady (yet again) in a manner that they never did for, say, the eerily Stepford-ish Laura Bush. As a generaly rule I actually kinda like Michelle, but this was just totally unnecessary and makes the “Obama’s are elitist charge” stick a bit more. Not a great way to wrap up the show.


  2. Mrs Obama presented the Best Picture award…via satellite? That’s disgusting.

    If she had any real class, she would have declined the opportunity to hand out the award. Some people have no humility.

    We’ve seen people reject the actual Oscar itself…it couldn’t be too hard for someone to politely decline the opportunity to hand one out.

    Why not have an Oscar winner from a previous year present the award?

    I remember at the Super Bowl a fair few years ago now, at the opening coin toss, Roger Staubach held the coin before the toss, and he offered it to former US President George Bush Snr to flip into the air. The former Commander-In-Chief politely refused, and allowed the one-time Dallas Cowboys quarterback to toss the coin for the biggest single-day sports event of the year.

    Granted, you’ll never see me give a whole lot of praise to anybody who’s been in the White House, but at least Bush was satisfied with his list of lifetime achievements and let somebody else do something for a change.

    Speaking of “lifetime achievement”, I know that 99.9999 percent of people wouldn’t have noticed, but Errol Flynn was again robbed at the Oscars. Where’s his lifetime achievement award? It’s long overdue.

    With the Oscars going all Orwellian as mentioned above, one day the scenario below just might happen:


    Anywa, the Oscars have for the most part become a joke.

    Pass the sauerkraut and bring on the Lolas–wunderbar!


  3. Pingback: Lisa’s Homestate Reviews: New Mexico and A Million Ways To Die In The West | Through the Shattered Lens

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