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