I really don’t know what’s wrong with me.
As I’ve made it clear many times in the past, I basically build my year around the Oscars. I always get together with my friends and family and I force them to watch the entire ceremony with me. Wherever I’ve lived, the Oscars have always been a national holiday.
As with any holiday, there are traditions. To cite just one example, every year there comes the moment when I suddenly realize that Meryl Streep looks exactly like this stuck-up rich woman from Highland Park who, back in 2oo1, was so rude to my mom that she made her cry and that’s why I’ve never liked Meryl as much as some of my fellow movie bloggers. And, of course, once I realize that, I have to tell the story to everyone else in the room. Part of the tradition is to continue telling the story even after everyone says, “We’ve heard this story a million times, Lisa.”
Another part of the tradition is to start out with hope that something unexpected will happen. “Oh my God,” I’ll say at some point, “maybe such-and-such movie is going to pull an upset!” Then, an hour later, comes the tradition of realizing that there aren’t going to be any upsets and everything’s going to play out the exact way that everyone said it would.
One of the newer traditions is that, after every Oscar ceremony, I write a review and I post it here on Through the Shattered Lens. But, somehow, this year, I nearly forgot about that tradition. Perhaps it’s because we got hit by a lot of sleet and ice last night and, as a result, I could neither go to work nor go dancing tonight. And, don’t get me wrong, I’ve had a lot of fun hanging around the house and being lazy today. But it was still a pretty big change from my usual routine. It threw me off and perhaps that’s why I’m only now getting around to reviewing the Oscar ceremony.
Then again, it could just be that last night’s ceremony was not that interesting. I thought that Neil Patrick Harris was a good host but, in retrospect, that has more to do with his own natural charisma of a performer than with anything he actually did. I liked his little bit about getting Octavia Spencer to keep an eye on his predictions but that was mostly because Octavia herself is such a good performer. (Octavia is also an Oscar winner who has the talent to do a lot more than just playing a supporting role on a TV show.)
I loved Margot Robbie’s dress. But I have to say that it really bothered me that there weren’t any true fashion disasters to be seen last night. That’s part of the fun of the Oscars, spotting the celebs that can’t dress themselves. When everyone looks good, the show’s a lot less interesting.
As far as the acceptance speeches were concerned, some of them were good. But I have to admit that I always cringe a little when I see a celeb at an awards show give a politically charged speech because, as committed as they may be, they never seem to be quite sincere. Instead, they come across as if they’re just playing another role. What I really wish is that, instead of Bustle and Jezebel posting a hundred articles about how much Meryl Streep loved Patricia Arquette’s speech on incoming inequality, those same media outlets would actually give as much attention to the women who actually have to deal with the issue on a daily basis. My mom had to raise four headstrong daughters on her own. She knew more about the sad reality of income inequality than Meryl Streep ever will. But nobody’s ever going to illustrate a story on income inequality with an animated gif of a woman, like my mom, working hard at multiple jobs, getting paid less than her male coworkers, coming home exhausted, and still managing to be there for her daughters. Instead, we’ll just get a hundred memes of Meryl shouting “Yes,” all used to illustrate stories that insist it was a “perfect” moment.
(Because what better symbol for the fight against wage inequality than a rich white woman at an awards show?)
My question to Hollywood political activists is this: Are you actually going to try to change things or are you just going to pat yourself on the back for giving a speech at an awards show? Because you people have given a lot of speeches and made a lot of politically-themed movies but the problems are still here.
As far as the awards themselves — I have to admit that I was not as big a fan of Birdman as some people were. For a few minutes, I was excited because I thought that Whiplash might pull an upset. But no, in the end, Birdman won. I liked Alejandro Inarritu’s previous Oscar-nominated film, Babel. But, beyond respecting it as a technical achievement, Birdman just didn’t do much for me and neither did Inarritu’s acceptance speech.
But you know who really didn’t do anything for me?
First off, if you’re going to be presenting best picture, try to take a shower before you go out on stage. Don’t show up looking like you’re covered in a week’s worth of grime. Looking at Sean Penn last night, I could only imagine that he probably reeked of stale cigarettes and strong body odor. Seriously, if the Academy needed someone unwashed to hand out the biggest award of the night, they could have followed the lead of the Golden Globes and called Johnny Depp.
And then, when Penn opened the envelope, he couldn’t just announce that Birdman had won. Instead, he had to make a joke about Inarritu’s green card. Inarritu is the first Mexican to direct a best picture winner and Sean Penn, a man who considers himself to be enough of an expert on South America that he actually think he has the right to tell the people of Venezuela how to vote, just had to make that green card joke. My mom was half-Spanish and had to endure her share of green card jokes (despite being a native-born American citizen). I know the pain that jokes like that caused her and, when Sean Penn made that joke, it was a slap in the face to Latinos everywhere. Shame on you, Sean Penn.
As far as pendejos like Sean Penn are concerned — ¡Estoy hasta el coño!
As far as Lady Gaga’s Sound of Music tribute was concerned … well, let’s just be honest. Lady Gaga was great but The Sound of Music is probably one of the most undeserving best picture winners ever. The Oscar should have gone to either Darling or Doctor Zhivago.
But, on a happier note, these Oscars also allowed me to make my E! debut! Check out this screen shot: