Monday, February 27, 2012

My 2012 Oscar Review

It’s not enough the AMPAS celebrates movies for four hours. This year they nominated movies that celebrate movies. Without a doubt this was the most excruciatingly boring Oscarcast EVER. The highlight was the Ellen DeGeneres J.C. Penney commercials.

Other than Meryl Streep’s win (too bad for Viola Davis this was the year Meryl was deemed “due”), and the shocking upset when GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO beat HUGO for editing there was absolutely no suspense whatsoever.

Billy Crystal was the perfect choice for host considering eight of the nine Best Picture nominees were set in the past.

Young viewers saw Billy Crystal and said, “Who’s that?” Older viewers familiar with his work saw Billy Crystal and said, “Who’s that?”

As my friend Allan Katz said, his face now looks like it was carved out of an apple.

When he began the show with that tired bit where he inserts himself into movies, all I could think of was Bob Hope in a Beatle wig chasing Brooke Shields around the stage and barking.

And then Crystal’s equally musty song-and-dance tribute to the Best Picture nominees – that was like Shirley Temple singing “On The Good Ship Lollipop” today.

Original producer Brett Ratner claimed that “rehearsal is for fags” and this enraged the Academy (who obviously believe that rehearsal is necessary). So he was fired (excuse me – bowed out). As was host Eddie Murphy. Thus we were spared Murphy following Octavia Spencer’s lovely heartfelt speech by introducing the next segment as Buckwheat. Although, Crystal’s Sammy Davis Jr. impression (in blackface no less) was not a whole lot better.

Spencer’s speech was truly genuine and emotional and yet they rushed her off the stage. They needed the time for endless random montages of old movies (reminding us how much better they were then than now), a five-minute tribute to a seat-filler (who in retrospect deserved combat pay), montages of self-absorbed actors discussing what movies mean to them (note to Barbra Streisand: in your swag bag somewhere there must be shampoo), and a performance by Cirque du Soleil. Why Cirque du Soleil even though they had nothing to do with movies? They do a show in that theater normally and all the flying guide wires were already in place.

Crystal’s jokes and asides were strictly Borscht Belt. And yet he was mystified when all of his clams fell flat. You could see him sweating through his Botox. And then he takes a shot at the Republicans thus adding another 30,000 to the number of Jew Haters in the South.

But before we delve further into the snoozefest itself, I must devote a few moments to the KTLA (and Reelz Channel) coverage of the Red Carpet arrivals. Perennial bootlicker to the stars, Sam Rubin always co-hosts along with a bimbo du jour – this year, news anchor Jessica Holmes (picture any Hooters waitress in a gown). They’re always good for a few real cringeworthy moments. Jessica to THE ARTIST director, Michael Hazanavicius (whose wife, Berenice Bejo was also up for an award): “How many times has a husband and wife both been nominated?” to which he replied, “You’re the journalist. You’re supposed to know.”

She later asked Christopher Plummer if he’d seen BRIDESMAIDS. Huh??? Smoochy Sam fawned all over everybody, calling Leslie Mann “the First Lady of Comedy”. Neither Hooter nor Tooter could believe that Jonah Hill was up for Best Actor. Hill said, “Are you trying to insult me?” Sam assured him they were not then asked, “Does this open the door to more dramas?” An Oscar nomination. Does an Oscar nomination help you get more parts? Only Sam Rubin could make Jessica Holmes look smart.

The much-ballyhooed Sacha Baron Cohen showed up on the red carpet in costume as THE DICTATOR to promote his upcoming film, and he accidentally spilled the so-called ashes of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il on Ryan Seacrest. Had he spilled the ashes on himself I’m sure Sam would have raced over to lick them off.

But getting back to the show that C-SPAN would have cancelled for being too slow…

This was the first time that both screenplay awards were for adaptations. Alexander Payne won for adapting the novel of THE DESCENDENTS, and Woody Allen won for adapting six of his previous movies and four of his New Yorker articles for MIDNIGHT IN PARIS.

Of course UNDEFEATED won.

Would Eddie Murphy have intro’d the In Memoriam segment as Gumby?

By the way, they left out Harry Morgan.

Maybe now THE ARTIST will play in two theaters in Kansas. THE ARTIST has made $20 million in thirteen weeks of release. Denzel’s SAFE HOUSE made $28 million last weekend.

Disney’s idea of a children’s movie: wonder and magic and enchanted lands. Scorsese’s idea of a children’s movie: a history lesson about pre-World War I cinema.

When THE IRON LADY beats HARRY POTTER for Best Make-Up are they saying its more amazing getting Meryl Streep to look like an English Woman than making average people look like Boggarts, Dementors, Goblins, and House-elves?

Since when did Nick Nolte become Burl Ives?

I think J-Lo had a wardrobe malfunction. A nipple was momentarily visible thus showing us for the first time why she’s considered a movie star.

And did you notice that Owen Wilson couldn’t take his eyes off Penelope Cruz’s breasts when they were presenting together?  "And the num-nums are..."

Not to be outdone, Angelina Jolie flashed her leg all the way up to that place where babies who aren’t adopted come from.

Chris Rock was very funny presenting the animation awards. Why couldn’t he do that when he hosted the Oscars? We might’ve been spared Comedy Night in the Catskills.

This year's technical award should’ve gone to the inventor of Tivo.

SAVING FACE – the story of Billy Crystal – won Best Short Documentary. What a shock! The Academy giving an award to a movie about plastic surgery.

Glenn Close might’ve won if she put herself up for Best Actor.

Looking gorgeous were: Natalie Portman, Judy Greer (sleek black dress with silver racing stripe down the middle), Giuliana Rancic, Michelle Williams (Peter Pan in drag), Emma Stone (big red bow collar – she looked like a gift wrapped Ferrari), Tina Fey (an elegant pepper shaker in black), Rooney Mara (eyebrows really help), and Miss Piggy.

I spotted Dodger General Manager, Ned Colletti in the audience.  I guess he was part of the tribute to seat-fillers.  

Presenter Gwyneth Paltrow (who a couple of years ago was introduced at the Oscars as “country music’s biggest new star” – how’s that career going for you, Gwyney?) and Robert Downey Jr. did the worst presenter bit of the evening. If I were Gwyneth, 30 seconds into this painful faux documentary routine I’d be singing any Carrie Underwood song I knew. I would sing “Jimmy Crack Corn” if that’s the only tune I could think of. Anything to shut up Downey.

If you asked Rose Byrne, “Who are you wearing?” the answer would be “K-Tool International 73510 Black Electric Tape”. Judging by how horrifyingly skinny she is, she needed only half a roll.

Best laugh of the night: Winner Jim Rash posing like Angelina Jolie, the slut with the slit.

Every year the stars wear ribbons to show their concern for some world catastrophe. This year it was that Dani Janssen and Barry Diller cancelled their annual Oscar parties. Hollywood cares!

If you don’t think the Best Song is even worth performing then why give out the damn award? You nominate these songs. Own them! Let’s hear Tony Bennett sing “Man or Muppet.”

Stacy Keibler (who?) – George Clooney’s girlfriend came dressed as an Oscar. There was more gold in her gown than all the dental fillings in Europe.

The Academy wants to attract a wider audience? Nominate HARRY POTTER for Best Picture and not WAR HORSE (which you only did to appease Steven Spielberg… who only made the movie to win more Oscars).

Viola Davis looked like the Jolly Green Giant.

What could the fun motif be for the EXTREMELY LOUD & INCREDIBLY CLOSE after-party?

The BRIDESMAIDS actresses added to the prestige of the evening by introducing the Short Subjects categories with a flurry of dick jokes. For all the naysayers who thought BRIDESMAIDS had no place in the company of Oscar-worthy films they sure shut those people up. 

I was glad for Michel Hazanavicius who said he was the “Happiest director in the world!” I’ll say. He just won an Oscar and gets to sleep with the star.

By far the worst part of the night was Natalie Portman and Colin Firth blowing smoke up the ass of all the nominees for the Best Actor & Actress. These people have gone so far beyond just taking themselves seriously that I truly believe they believe they shit nickels. Among the platitudes used to describe these men and women who play dress up were: courage, no less than astonishing, breathtaking, dazzling, cinema would be empty without you, unreasonably good, virtuoso, awesome, depth, enthralling.

Save some of those terms for Michael Douglas who fought back from cancer, not a guy playing a baseball executive who signed players who walked a lot. Michael Douglas looked great and sounded great. I was thrilled to see him.

All in all it was a boring, super safe, bland, vanilla, nothing show. But THE TRANSFORMERS lost everything so it was a night to celebrate! Billy Crystal will be appearing next month at Grossinger’s along with Jackie Mason, and the Schlomo Rabinowitz Klezmer Band.

Go out and see a movie. None of this year’s winners because they’re not playing anywhere, and even if they were you wouldn’t see them anyway. But LORAX 3D opens Friday.

97 comments:

An (is my actual name) said...

I was aghast that not one of them took the time to thank their muses by name. They could all take a page (or 1000) from the book of Cable Ace Award Winner Diane Chambers.

Pat Reeder said...

Spot on write-up and very funny. Your take on it was very similar to ours in our radio prep service. I even noted the same thing about them of course giving an award to a movie about plastic surgeons, although I also suggested that the surgeons should forget all the disfigured women's faces in Pakistan and come fix all the far-worse disfigured faces at the Oscars.

Unknown said...

Why, exactly, is The Artist being called a "Silent Film." There's a soundtrack and the sounds of dogs barking and other audio.

How is that "Silent?"

RockGolf said...

LOMAX 3D?

I think you mean Lorax. Still it's more exciting than Borax 3D, featuring 20 mule teams walking right over your face.

Mike Barer said...

The Academy just takes itself way too seriously. Any host that wants to poke a little fun at Hollywood is instantly panned. The movies that people go to are nowhere in sight unless someone dies. Comedies rarely ever win.

John Leader Alfenito said...

The audio on the broadcast was awful. The off-camera announcers were muffled, and the stage mics were squealing (right on the edge of feedback). Billy Crystal's chest mic sounded like it was wrapped in something...all bass and no treble.
And the camera work...inexplicable cut-aways during winner walk-ups, repeated shots of the unknown musicians in the balconies...what was that all about?

Blaze said...

"When THE IRON LADY beats HARRY POTTER for Best Make-Up are they saying its more amazing getting Meryl Streep to look like an English Woman than making average people look like Boggarts, Dementors, Goblins, and House-elves? "

An identical moment in my youth drove the first spike thru the heart of the Oscars for me. 1982- "Ghandi" won Best Costuming over "Star Trek-Wrath of Khan". I distinctly recall the presenter (who no doubt was scolded afterwards) snorting "Dressing the entire 23rd century lost to bed sheets?"

In the present day, a blog like this is as close as I get to that self-promotion liturgy

Sandra-ofertas colchones said...

The girlfriend of George Clooney and Jennifer Lopez were undoubtedly the worst dressed. When the lesson taught less, sometimes more, were not.

Jeremiah Avery said...

Great write-up, Ken. I saw a photo of Jim Rash posing like Angelina Jolie, definitely a highlight when someone deflates an ego.

I enjoyed "The Artist" and I'm glad it won but I had very little interest in watching the ego-stroking that these awards shows are full of.

deanareeno said...

Memo to Rose Byrne and Angelina Jolie: eat a goddamn sandwich. Jolie's arms in particular were freaking me out. She's starting to look like the anorexic tranny version of her younger self.

Crystal was abysmal. The show was tedious.

I liked Emma Stone's bit, she sold it.

Glad Bret McKenzie won. Who'da thought 1/2 of the Flight of the Conchords would win on Oscar?

Roy Perkins, impartial dogcatcher said...

"Glenn Close might've won if she'd put herself up for Best Actor."

Okay, this is one of my pet peeves. Every single time--EVERY SINGLE TIME--that someone is nominated for playing a transvestite or a transsexual or a female impersonator or a male impersonator or a character who actually is of the other sex, someone--and by "someone" I mean "Lots of people"--make jokes about how that person should've/could've been nominated (if a man) as an actress or (if a woman) as an actor. Linda Hunt in THE YEAR OF LIVING DANGEROUSLY, Dustin Hoffman in TOOTSIE, John Lithgow in THE WORLD ACCORDING TO GARP, Julie Andrews in VICTOR, VICTORIA, Jaye Davidson in THE CRYING GAME, Hilary Swank in BOYS DON'T CRY--this joke was made, repeatedly, about each of these.

Two points: First, as the above list shows, it has been conclusively demonstrated by now that the sex of the performer rather than the sex of the character determines the category, so the joke is pointless. Second, and this is the important part, the joke has been around for at least thirty years now, and it is not improving with age.

Come on. You can do better than that.

My confirmation words: "vissersi ardant." Fanny's sister. (A joke for foreign film buffs).

Tom Quigley said...

You were right about Harry Morgan, Ken. At least one cinematic role I remember him playing was the judge in the outstanding film version of INHERIT THE WIND.

Roy Perkins, impartial dogcatcher said...

Blaze--Yes, the award for costuming almost always goes to big historical dramas, and so it is usually a reward for research (finding out what all those people wore) and labor (making costumes for dozens of speaking parts and thousands of extras) rather than for imagination. Once in awhile imagination wins, but I do not think that has happened since THE ADVENTURES OF PRISCILLA, QUEEN OF THE DESERT.

Doug Thompson said...

Hilarious notes Ken. YOU should be writing the Oscar show. I noticed longtime Billy Crystal Oscar writer Bruce Vilanch was missing from the writer's credits, so I guess he couldn't be bothered this year.

When the camera first showed Nick Nolte, I thought it was Director Taylor Hackford...and being seen by billions around the world didn't stop the audio team from burying the voice over announcer when winners came to the stage. Plus the recorded nominees list was muffled, muddy and too low key.

Other than that, how did you enjoy Buffalo, President McKinley?

Blind Lemon Pledge said...

LOMAX 3D:
The rollicking big-screen antics of a folk music field collector and oral historian who learns how to love.

Mike said...

They should have stolen a line from an e-mail to Rob Neyer. YOu favor players who don't hit the ball, don't pitch the ball, and don't go out of their way to catch the ball.

I thought Chris Rock was a very funny host. Getting Sean Penn whining is certainly a good sign that you are either a good host or a Communist represser of Buddhists.

normadesmond said...

george clooney's girlfriend....spare me.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Deenareeno: Angelina Jolie looks anorexic, and that pose was ridiculous. And with Jeremy: “definitely a highlight when someone deflates an ego.” Yay Jim Rash!! (I miss Community!)

Yes, they forgot Harry Morgan (as well as Pete Postlethwaite) but for some unknown reason included Steve Jobs??? What’s up with that?

I saw John Waters on Craig Ferguson’s show, and he mentioned how at some awards ceremony he got a gift bag with a coupon for a 3D flat screen TV. I love John Waters, but I’m sure he wasn’t the only one, and I think it’s interesting how those who can well afford to buy something get the freebies while those who cannot don’t get anything. I’m just saying.

“By far the worst part of the night was Natalie Portman and Colin Firth blowing smoke up the ass of all the nominees for the Best Actor & Actress.” And Portman did an especially bad job of reading off the teleprompter. I don’t usually notice those sorts of things, but it was distracting.

I didn’t think it was that bad a show (except for many of the talking heads), Cirque du Soleil was impressive but inappropriate, and why they didn’t have the songs baffles me. But I still watch it every year—even though I often disagree with the nominees, not to mention the winners. Does that make me a masochist?

Brooke McMaster said...

I love this write up from a comedy writers point of view, but from the punters view, I find it a bit embellished. I enjoyed this years telecast and I have watched every telecast as far as I can remember (I am now 24). Although, I may not be the average viewer. I know who Billy Crystal is, I'm familiar with all of his work and I know who majority of the people in that room are down to producers, writers and even GM of the Dodgers. So, I tend to look at things with a different perspective.

I liked the old timey feel to the Oscars. Crystals performance was very much like reading out of a MIlton Berle joke book, but as far as I see it, I wouldn't want a host any other way. We tried Chris Rock and his dark comedy, we tried appealing to the younger demographic with Hathaway and Franco and even song and dance man Hugh Jackman. A lot of formulas have been tried and tested and Billy has been the most consistent with recurring hosting gigs. It's a tough job, and no one can put their finger on what it is they would actually like to see. Except...oh wait...every comedy writer who wasn't been booked for the gig.

I think people forget what The Oscars mean. Of course they are a political farce, but to the people involved, their management, their publicist etc it's a means of potentially paving their way through this business and helping to ease the burden of the uncertainty that the industry can bring. It's a big deal to these people and to those who aspire to be writers, directors, actors etc and of course it means more to them, so they have to gush about their peers. Because, this shit is important to them and us as outsiders can only imagine until we hit that so called 'elite'.

To us outsiders, we're so busy ragging on whose face looks like Zsa Zsa Gabors gumbo pot to give a shit about what this whole ceremony is about. It's about movies. It's about celebrating the one thing that takes us away from reality. But it will never, ever be good enough for the masses, because even we don't know what we would like to really see.

Every comedy writer I know, bagged this ceremony. Is this because most comedy inclined people have this obscured view of the academy and their reluctance to accept comedy into 'their world'? As we all know The Oscars is a prestigious event and even though Bridesmaids were up for some gongs, it was more of a pity party. Sure, The Hangover winning Best Screenplay rattled a few cages in 2007, but was it an integral award (a part of the big 6)? Absolutely not. And we know that even though more and more comedies will creep in, they're not going to be handing out awards to Saturday Night Live cast members turned studio actors in a hurry. If you look at all the people who won awards like the guys from the Groundlings who won for Best Adapted Screenplay for the Descendants, or even Jean Dujardin (a comedian and revred in his native France), their speeches were plagued with F-Bombs. Not to mention the women like Emma Stone, Kristin Wiig etc who embarrassed themselves with 'bits' and the Bridesmaids crew with dick jokes. To me as an aspiring comedy writer, it's hilarious. But to the overall vibe of the awards ceremony, it was cringe worthy. It's probably a good reason why they don't nominate comedies or allow comedic actors to get too much freedom over their roles in award shows.

I miss people liking things because they enjoyed them. The Cirque Du Soleil bit was amazing, but according to writer Bill Lawrence (scrubs, cougartown) one guy missed his cue or messed up a bit and then he made a joke about it. Is it all for comedy? How much of it is just them enjoying being a cheeky prick and telling a joke for social commentary, and how much is your actual opinion that more or less might not be as revered as your one liner?

Anonymous said...

So so sharp. Excellent, Ken!

Lynn said...

UNKNOWN musicians in the balcony? That was Sheila freakin' E. playing percussion!!! Unknown...sheesh!!

RCP said...

Thanks, Ken - this was delightful.

I was happy for Christopher Plummer, who still exudes genuine star presence. Felt bad for Viola Davis. Liked the fast-moving distraction of Cirque de Soleil. Got a laugh when Angelina Jolie turned back from the screen and re-propped her leg like a kickstand. Was rather dazzled by Esperanza Spalding's hair during the In Memorium segment. (Okay I know you can only write so fast - I'll slow down). Bradley Cooper wasn't hard on the eyes.

Thought it left a sour note when Crystal put down France after The Artist had won - maybe let them enjoy their moment?

Great Big Radio Guy said...

On behalf of those who have been working a lifetime to try to get even an "Additional Voices" credit on any animated feature, Chris Rock's bragging was NOT funny. Unless you're an established star like him, voice over is NOT the easiest job in the world.

People who do this for a living drive a total of thousands of miles, take weeks of training, do countless auditions agains hundreds of others, then get endless rejection - only to keep doing it again in hopes of getting a fraction of what Rock gets when someone calls his agent to make that "Guess who we got!" claim.

Screw him.

Great Big Radio Guy said...

By the way, the popcorn girls were the thread that kept the show together.

Melissa Banczak said...

I was the host of our organization's Oscar Party, so I didn't hear any of the show, just saw a bit now and then. What did Billy Crystal do to his face? Clooney's girlfriend looked confused, is she some actress? I saw only two of the films nominated, Bridesmaids which I thought was so-so and could have been so much more, and Hugo, which once it decided what it was going to be about, was good.
The people at our party seemed to like the show, lots of laughing but there *was* a full bar.
Thanks for the review ken. Glad I didn't miss anything.

Kyle said...

No love for Christopher Guest's tribute to focus groups? For me that and Jim Rash striking the pose were the highlights of the night.

Great Big Radio Guy said...

Stacy Kiebler? Funny you should ask!

She was WWE eye candy.

Ivan Takillya said...

The only funny thing Crystal uttered was in the monologue. "Nothing helps take the sting out of a Global economic crisis like watching millionaires give each other golden statues".

Tracy said...

Thank you for making me finally have a laugh this morning 'cause there sure weren't many last night!

Gloria said...

Oh my God. One can wonder who do you think you are to judge like that. Stupid useless article. Go get cinema lessons.

Phillip B said...

I've taken to watching the Independent Film Awards on on IFC the Saturday before the Oscars. Everything looks like more fun in a tent on the beach in Santa Monica.

NEWSBOY said...

This year, "The Artist,"...next year, "The Three Stooges!"

--Jeff Prescott

Schlomo Levine said...

Without a doubt this was the most excruciatingly boring Oscar review EVER. You used to be funny. What happened?

Tim W. said...

I've watched the Academy Awards for as long as I can remember (I'm slightly north of 40) and this is honestly the first year I agree with the criticisms whole-heartedly. I did actually kind of enjoy the Billy-in-the-movies bit a little, but fast forwarded through his songs after about 20 seconds. Then I started fast forwarding through everything. I don't know whether it's just because I'm more jaded or whether the show was really that bad, but I agree it was the most boring show I've ever seen.

Perhaps it was because I'd seen only 4 of the ten nominees for Best Picture, and none of the movies I saw this year really blew me away, but I really didn't feel I really cared about any of the nominations.

As for Billy Crystal, as When Harry Met Sally is one of my favourite movies of all time, it's sad to see what Crystal has become. He's not funny and that plastic surgery is just off-putting. And it's not like he's ever relied on his looks. He's a comedian. He's supposed to be funny and make fun of people who look like that.

chris said...

Billy Crystal 2012: Mr Saturday Night.

normadesmond said...

ZSA ZSA GABOR'S GUMBO POT!

well, i suppose we know
which leg she'll stir it with.

Charles H. Bryan said...

The funniest thing to me was Adam Sandler saying that he was trying to find truth through his movies. "Maybe someday I'll get there". That was hilarious.

However, I don't dump on the Oscars. It's a ritual. It's the end of the season golf league banquet, except George, Brad, Angelina, and Meryl show up in extra fancy duds.

For some vintage views on Oscar Night, here's a link to a 1948 Raymond Chandler essay: http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/1948/03/oscar-night-in-hollywood/5705/?single_page=true

Anonymous said...

Aw c'mon, lighten up on Billy Crystal, you cranky old man. He was up there telling jokes, trying to leaven all the sanctimony about Art, letting us have some fun.

Best line of the night? A tie between wanting to hug a black woman after seeing THE HELP but not finding one within 45 minutes of Beverly Hills (apparently no writer, producer or performer noticed that the joke ignores some of the real Help of Beverly Hills) and, in reference to the median age of the Academy, a comment that the Kodak Theatre would be renamed next year as
the Flomax Theatre.

Ryan Seacrest should have punched
Borat boy. Dump crap on yourself for a joke, not on someone who didn't volunteer to be involved in your self-centered promotion.

And Ken--no comment on JoLo's
ass being as wide as Tennesse?

Michael Zand said...

Most boring, irrelevant Oscars EVER. The elephant in the room is that awards shows, unless their honoring people who can perform live (like the Grammys)are relics of the past. It's time to admit that NOTHING can be done to make the Oscars entertaining.

My suggestion for next year is a half hour show featuring a Cirque du Soleil homage to the nominated films with a simultaneous crawl announcing all the winners at the bottom of the screen. Quick and painless so we can all can move on to something we really want to watch on Sunday night.

Eduardo Jencarelli said...

Billy Crystal's picture says it all. They really need fresh ideas for presenting the Oscars. The Franco/Hathaway combo last year was flawed, but at least it was something different.

Despite the presentation issues, I enjoyed and appreciated the actual winners. Both Hugo and The Artist deserved their awards, one by one.

Wasn't the least bit surprised by Descendants winning best screenplay. The Oscar voters have a real hard on for Alexander Payne.

The Cirque du Soleil number was impressive, but definitely out of place.

And what in the world were they thinking by including Justin Bieber on that sketch? Oscars are supposed to be about films. There's a difference between trying new things and trying to grab a younger audience. I say don't bother with option nÂș2.

The real issue comes with surprising audiences. The Oscars are beyond predictable. You know what would have been surprising? Nomimating and awarding a movie like Shame for best film. That would shake things up and make the whole show more interesting.

greengoddess said...

Thanks for this blog and confirmation that tuning out to watch Downtown Abbey replay was a better plan. It just gets worse the self serving and desperate attempt at faking humor, intelligence or relevance.

pumpkinhead said...

I admit that Crystal's material wa so so at best (and I also noticed the absense of the name Bruce Vilanche), but I still like the tone he sets for the show and prefer to watch him with weak material than most of the other Oscar hosts we've seen in recent years with stronger material.

The real problem here is that the very function the Oscars serves in the film industry is somewhat at odds with the making of an entertainment program for the masses, and bridging that gap seems to be the trick no one has been able to pull off in recent years.

Anonymous said...

Part of the problem with Billy's Oscar song was he had only so much time to go through 9 movies. Didn't hear a bit of it (like you mentioned the sound was atrocious) and each movie only got one joke so it went by too fast.

Billy seemed tired and almost sick. He sounded very hoarse, like he could barely speak at some points. And I don't think it was the bad sound.

As bad as it came across, I'm willing to give him & Brian Grazer a bit of a break since they only had since late November, early December to get their shit together. I enjoyed the Kodak The...oops, Chapter 11 Theatre jokes. But most of the things just seemed to lake preperation. And thank goodness Vilanch was not one of the writers. You could always see his jokes a mile away and they weren't always funny

Pam aka SisterZip

jbryant said...

Brooke: THE HANGOVER (which came out in 2009, not 2007) didn't win the Original Screenplay Oscar; it wasn't even nominated for that or any other Oscar. The script DID get a WGA nomination, and the film won a Golden Globe for Best Comedy or Musical, however.

Also, I personally thought that Emma Stone, far from embarrassing herself, was the best thing of the night.

Billy Crystal tried, but his material was just SO Henny Youngman (though mostly not as funny). And who is he looking like these days? --

1) Joe Franklin
2) The guy on the Quaker Oats box
3) Melies' moon

Pittsy said...

Another reviewer said that Billy looked like Kim Jong Il. Hilarious and spot on.

Ken, your review is very funny, but I enjoyed the Bridemaids banter because it shows that women are funnier than men. They beat the hell out of that cymbals schtick from Will and Zach. Ugh. Also, the Melissa McCarthy skit w/ Crystal at the the dressing room door, hilarious...

chuckcd said...

The Artist...talk about your snoozefest!

DwWashburn said...

Halfway through Crystal's opening ceremony I found myself missing Anne Hathaway.

Bob and Rob Professional American Writers said...

It's never going to be great...it will be lucky some years to be kinda good. But, it wasn't as bad as your rant suggests. I believe when you look at the ceremony from the perspective of how difficult it is to get a feature film made in Hollywood, it should get a pass if it bores you. Just like I give you a pass when you write about the Mariners" ;) Cheers, Bob :)

Darlene Craviotto said...

For this, there was no new episode of THE GOOD WIFE last night?!

Frank said...

If only they had hired Kramer as the seat filler. Boo for missing out Harry Morgan.

Richard Allan Jones said...

This year's producers had a simple goal, be better than last year's show, which was one of the worst ever. They did that, even though it was a safe approach. Remember the average Oscar voter is 62, white and male, so what they like is what we got...forget the other billion viewers. A bit harsh on Billy, but agree this was his last hurrah. I did like Angelina's leg, the film opening, Billy's jokes, Midnight in Paris, and Cirque du Soleil (who by the way were performing parts of IRIS, their tribute to the movies).

chuckcd said...

I wish it was HARDER to get a movie made. Then 7 of those 10 movies this year wouldn't have been made.
Whatever happened to great movies like "Silence Of the Lambs" or "A Few Good Men"?
The Oscars are about movies that no one goes to see. It doesn't need to be televised anymore.

Breadbaker said...

I entirely agree that the sound, the direction, the editing were atrocious. I watch the Oscars far more for the sometimes genuine reactions of winners, and they did an incredibly poor job of dealing with that, too. You've just won an Oscar, you're in front of a billion people and they show you turning the wrong way to get off stage. Wonderful.

Still, Ken, although you recognize the difficulties Crystal faced--not a lot of time, a foregone conclusion on many top awards, nine movies of which only The Help had even a decent box office haul, too many movies about movies and too many movies set in France (interesting fact was that the only film made entirely in California was The Artist)--you cut him zero slack for it. Honestly, your jokes were rather borscht belt, too, but not nearly as funny even on that scale.

unkystan said...

C'mon!!! No love for Pete Postlethwaite, Peter Yates, Charles Napier, Michael Gough, Kenneth Mars, Leonard Stone, Googie Withers, Dana Wynter, John Wood, Anne Francis, Betty Garrett, Sid Melton, Susannah York, John Barry, Maria Schneider, Michael Sarrazin, Jeff Conaway and especially HARRY MORGAN!!!!????

Josh said...

Who is Bob Hope?

Who is Buckwheat?

Who is Gumby?

Liggie said...

Stephen Fry hosted the British Academy Awards a couple of weeks ago; maybe he could host our Oscars next year? And maybe the Oscars could take a cue from that show and be a bit more understated and lesss drawn-out (only two hours)?

Pat Reeder said...

I can understand why people would criticize a show that takes up four hours of network broadcast time, but why exactly would you take the deliberate effort to come to one writer's personal blog, then get on the comments page and spend time bitching about what he wrote and how you don't care about his opinion? Is there someone standing by your computer, holding a gun to your head to make you read this particular blog?

Here's a suggestion: if you don't want to read Ken Levine's take on the Oscars, go to Google News, search for "Oscar review," and read one of the 10,000 other write-ups that appear.

cadavra said...

Wow, somebody got up on the wrong side of the bed this morning. What, are you channeling Nikki Finke? I thought the show was fine. Moved along well, no dull spots, and what's wrong with Henny Youngman jokes? They worked for Henny Youngman and some of us still like them.

But yeah, the Memoriam reel continues to be a fiasco. No room for John Barry (five Oscars and the James Bond theme) but we gotta get in the singer who made exactly four movies, one of them yet to be released...

VW: "chnian lastinge"--Effeminate James Bond villain.

James said...

Hey, Pat, when you get through licking Ken's boots, my Skechers could use some work.

unkystan said...

There was NO REASON for Cruise to give out Best Picture. If they were going back to the old style of presentation, it should have been some sort of GOLDEN AGE Hollywood royalty. If anything it should have been James Earl Jones who was just sitting there looking stupid. We should have a surprise "STAR!", not a Hollywood Golden Boy. Give me Mickey Rooney, Esther Williams, Sophia Loren, Ernie Borgnine, Shirley Temple, Maureen O'Hara, Lauren Bacall, Nicholson, Shirley MacLaine, Julie Andrews, Dick van Dyke, James Garner, Michael Caine, Gene Hackman, Leslie Caron, Dustin Hoffman, Sean Connery, Peter O'Toole. SOMEBODY that would get the audience to go "WOW!!!" and on their feet!

MrTact said...

"As my friend Allan Katz said, his face now looks like it was carved out of an apple."

Or, as I pointed out to a friend, "Hey look! Miracle Max is hosting the Oscars! He hasn't aged a day!"

sanford said...

Great write up. But a couple of quibbles. You can't blame the presenters for blowing smoke up the asses of best actors and actresses. Those are certainly written for them to read. The Downey - Paltrow bit was lame, but once again blame the writers or who ever came up with that. As for being boring, what do you expect? Richard Roeper had a good write up today. It wasn't very snarky, but I think he was right on.

Pat Reeder said...

Hey, James,

I got something here you can lick.

James said...

Forget it, Pat. I ain't going near anything your dog has licked.

Kirk said...

The Ox-Bow Incident alone should have qualified Harry Morgan for a mention.

YEKIMI said...

Apparently, when Ratner was going to produce the Oscars, they canned all of the writers from years past and brought in a new crew. Once Ratner was blown out I guess the just decided to keep whomever he hired. I read somewhere late last year that they told Bruce Vilanch and the rest that they "were going in a different direction". I guess the direction was downward into the crapper.

as far as Tom Cruise presenting the Best Picture Oscar: I'm glad tha Academy had the balls to finally let a gay man present one of the big awards.

Brooke McMaster said...

Jbryabt you're absolutely right, I apologise. I was confusing their year with someone else. I remember they also won a bafta. They did however present at the Oscars and received some bad news from the academy for their unprofessionalism. It seems Bradley Cooper has redeemed himself. But case in point, there is a lack of comedy at the Oscars and a huge stigma about it.

I am a huge Emma Stone fan and her bit was uniquely her. I just feel as though it wasn't the right place for it. Maybe at the Globes or MTV awards. But again, down to the writers. Thanks for reading my comment :)

jbryant said...

Peggy Lee didn't make the in memoriam either, despite a Best Supporting Actress nod in 1955. But like Pete Postlethwaite, John Barry and perhaps others on that list, she died in January of 2011, and so may very well have been included in last year's broadcast (I don't recall).

ClaySander said...

Love this.

That said, sir, I cannot abide your dig on Woody Allen. Midnight in Paris was terrific and, despite you thinking it borrowed from his previous work...it was HIS previous work. Some would call that 'style'.

Otherwise, your observations were, as usual, terrific.

Buttermilk Sky said...

Just for that, you get David Letterman next year.

"Uma....Oprah...."

teec said...

I agree with the previous commenter - the writers did a particularly bad job this year. Surprising, considering who was on staff: Billy Martin (head writer of "Real Time"), Justin and Eric Stangel (head writers of "Letterman"), and Tim Carvell (head writer of "The Daily Show"), to name a few. If these guys can't give us an entertaining Oscars, maybe no one can.

Ben said...

Josh,

Bob Hope was a comedian who did some excellent work on radio and in the movies back in the 1940s. Unfortunately, he didn't know when to quit and continued to crank out bad TV specials into his 90s. Part of his shtick had him an unrepentant girl chaser, which worked when he was younger. In later years, seeing him in sketches carrying on with actresses a sliver of his age, the effect was like watching your grandfather flirt with your son's prom date.

Buckwheat was one of "The Little Rascals," which was a series of ancient comedy shorts that plagued afternoon TV well into the 1970s. (I always hated those things.) Buckwheat was an African American boy characterized by near-unintelligible speech and a fright wig hairdo.

Gumby was an animated clay figure who starred in a long string of made-for-TV shorts back in the '60s.

Eddie Murphy played both Buckwheat and Gumby in comedy sketches when he was on Saturday Night Live in the early-mid '80s.

You are the victim of outdated pop culture references.

Breadbaker said...

Ordinarily they cut off the necrology at the end of the prior year, but since they included Whitney Houston, they no longer have that excuse. So they're saying to everyone who died in 2012 but before Whitney that they're clearly less important than she was.

Joey H said...

Here's an idea...turn the production of the show over to the ladies and gentlemen who produce NFL game telecasts on Sundays. You know, people who have a clue how to do live multi-camera televsion. Hey, let them bring the elvis slo-mo machines, too. We could replay the wardrobe malfunctions.

Anonymous said...

They also left out Kenneth Mars in the In Memorium review. Best known for his roles as the laughable Nazi playwright Franz Liebkind in The Producers (1968) and the Police Inspector in Young Frankenstein (1974). Perhaps they need to get someone older than 21 to make up the list?

Anonymous said...

Peggy Lee died in 2002.

D. McEwan said...

"Pittsy said...
I enjoyed the Bridemaids banter because it shows that women are funnier than men."


No it didn't. At best, the women tied with the men. I found McCarthy's doorway schtick tiresome. It was tiresome in the movie, and it was tiresome on the show. And it made a basic error. It parodied comedy. You parody drama. Comedy is already funny.

In any event, it's not a competition of men vs women. It's people together trying to be funny. Some succeeded, like the Wizard of Oz focus group sketch from Chris Guest and friends, which was hte comedy highlght of the evening (And had Catherine O'Hara, who is funnier than all six of the Bridesmaids women combined), and some failed, like the Ferrell & Gallifanakis bit, which was the comedy near-low point of the evening. (That was doomed the moment they teamed over-praised, unfunny Will Ferrell with the very funny Galafanikis.) Another lowpoint was the whole Robert Downey Jr. appearance. Excruciating. The Bridesmaids bit was on the low end of the comedy scale for the evning, though not as low as Downey or Ferrell.

Jim Rash proved all he had to do was move his leg not only to be a comedy highlight, but to prick the pomposity and egotism of the full-of-herself Angelina Jolie. Her face when she returned was a study in trying to force her face to look "Good Sport" when she was clearly pissed. That made it even sweeter, and strained her facial work. (Yes she looks good now, but if she keeps having herself altered, one day she'll look like Billy.)

The Cirque Du Soleil piece was certainly utterly irrelevant and gratuitous. It was also one of the most-amazing and entertaining things I've seen on an Oscarcast in ages. I do not see why I would want to complain about the show getting good for a few moments.

The show was, in my opinion, a HUGE improvement over last year's debacle. Yes, Billy's opening ten minutes was disappointing, and relied on old bits. He was hired to be viewer comfort food, and he did his job admirably, in that he boosted the Oscar ratings for the first time in years. I found his handling of the evening once the actual awards began to be masterful, to be everything those two amateur children last year did not know how to do. He kept the pace moving, and he got laughs. His approach may have seemed "Borsch Belt" to many, but I found a lot of what he said over the course of the evening funny.

There's lots of ragging on the show length, the "4-hour show." Except it wasn't a four-hour show. The show ran 3 hours and 13 minutes, that's only 13 minutes overlength, which for The Oscars, is practically running short. You now who used to consistently bring the show in at 4 hours? Johnny Carson. Oh, he was a great Oscar host, and is greatly missed, but the show was also at its most bloated under him.

I can't believe I've read anyone defending the cutting of the nominated songs. The 7 seconds of each that we got was about 5 seconds more of them than I wanted to hear.

But I utterly agree with Ken about the make-up category. As I wrote over on Tallulah's blog, creating all the Harry Potter looks, faces, and creatures hardly compares with slapping one of Dame Edna's old wigs on Meryl Streep's scalp.

Of course, the fact that so many of the awards went the way I wanted them to or felt they should contributed to my overall enjoyment of the show which was, like the ratings, up for the first time in a long time.

Only a few times did my jaw drop at ab award going to the wrong person, the worst being Woody Allen's win, as I totally agree with Ken about the overpraised limp puddle of recycled masturbatory fantasies that was Midnight in Paris.

D. McEwan said...

"Liggie said...
Stephen Fry hosted the British Academy Awards a couple of weeks ago; maybe he could host our Oscars next year? And maybe the Oscars could take a cue from that show and be a bit more understated and less drawn-out (only two hours)?"


Are you serious? I saw the BAFTAs. Much as I admire Stephen Fry, I don't believe I've ever seen a duller Awards Show Emcee. It was like having them hosted by an old maiden aunt of 80, who is giving out awards for knitting over tea. Yaaawwwn.

And the BAFTAS can hardly be considered a model of speed. The BAFTA Awards show was only 13 minutes shorter than than last night's Oscar show.

D. McEwan said...

"I can't believe I've read anyone defending the cutting of the nominated songs."

I meant to say: "I can't believe I've read anyone complainng about the cutting of the nominated songs.

Matt Patton said...

Just a few random observations, as I was only half-watching the show (I was keeping my mom company -- she likes to see the ladies arrive in their pretty dresses, although to be honest, the dresses were prettier when the ladies were being dressed out of the various studios wardrobe departments.

At any rate . . .

The CDS bit was great, because acrobats are usually the best part of a circus anyway, and unlike a regular CDS show, they were on and off quickly enough that it didn't get boring (I know people who have seen CDS shows and say that after 90 minutes, even the best acrobats get boring -- although never as quickly as the clowns . . . Who are also Evil, by the way.)

It was nice to see Christopher Plummer finally get something for something. I can't really think of a bum performance he's ever given, even in The Sound of Music, which has one of the most excruciating scripts ever written by a good writer for a big movie. (Apparently, Burt Lancaster ran into Ernest Lehman after seeing the film and asked him "Did you need the money that badly?")

The dead-people reel, besides forgetting people (BTW, I thought the singer had a nice voice and the most splendid afro since Pam Grier was in her prime--BTW again, why didn't Grier get nominated for Jackie Brown?) didn't always do well by the people they remembered? About all they showed of Liz Taylor was footage of her collecting her not-dying-of-pneumonia Oscar for BUtterfield-8 -- the lady made some good movies in her time, and was even good in some bad ones and there must have been some clips available. Heck, TCM does better dead-people reels every December, ones that actually make you sad for the people that died -- also they remember everyone that died.


One of these days, the Oscars should be delivered into the hands of people whose only job is to entertain the TV audience, who know in their heart of hearts that nobody who really loves movies actually give a s@!% who wins one of these bowling trophies except the winners' agents, who can now jack up their clients' fees, which means that their 10% cut will be bigger. Make it into a game show -- where the nominees have to answer general-knowledge questions, or tap-dance, or stuff as many hot dogs down their throats as possible. It couldn't make things worse, and Angeline Jolie's arms might look less alarming.

Best joke about an undeserving Oscar winner I've heard recently:


"When Mel Gibson announced he was making Braveheart, lots of people said he'd never be convincing as a Scotsman. And now look at him -- an alcoholic racist . . ."

--courtesy of Frankie Boyle during his years on Mock The Week

A_Homer said...

As always, I enjoyed reading your take on the Oscars Ken, especially as I was thinking alot about the "comedy" as a few things that came to my mind with Crystal as host.
Mostly, his shtick was so dated, the atitude so retro + an older, Borscht Belt Hollywood idea of Comedy, as if it's still the smoky, Friar's Club Roasts or something. It just isn't very sensible timing to do blackface and Sammy Davis Jr impression... WHO? and then, the eternal need for at least one WWII / Hitler reference, but not for any comment on war, but taking out that one signifier for evil to ensure a lazy joke will at least register. If in doubt, bring a Hitler reference and make extremes.
Even then, to understand the absurd part of the joke, there has to be a clear reference to Ratpack-movies for it to be what was "funny" in it. Something like this been inventively done back on SCTV, decadeds ago... This was all lazy and dated, a bad supper club, not classic. One should have to at least be able to recall that Crystal was once known, two decades ago, for killer impressions.

But this black-haired version of Crystal is still good and comfortable on stage and can banter in a personal way that makes one almost miss the jokes he delivers, to the point he knows to stop and wait for us to catch it, and slightly smirk (I think that's all he has left in his face.) I liked the economy-related digs, like the changing name of the theater, but even they are very familiar, it's just a version of the changing name on the stadium, or the Starbucks taking over the mall in the classic Simpsons etc.

Chris Rock had to telegraph his jokes and unecessary scorn on voiceover actors (and how much money he gets paid) and the jokes weren't worth it. It makes one realize classic, also crazy, Eddie Murphy (to compare the almost-host with this past-host) had real range. I can't take Rock's shout-speak except in the isolated form of his stand-up routines. All night on Oscars? He has no real modulation to be a good comedic host, if he doesn't shout the energy drops.

As others noted, it was the writer/actor (yay "Community"!) Jim Rash who represented comedy at the human scale, one person, knowing timing, gesture, placement, right amount of sustain - and importantly, knowing how to DO that altogether as a gesture. Not just say smart-ass stuff, dick jokes or the like.
I think he just felt the sentiment shared by so many of us, we all wanted someone to say something about this anorexic drag queen version Jolie, her pretensiousness (what oscar was she up for in the last year that she is here?) She was as subtle as a horse posing for the judges in the ring. It isn't something Streep ever needed, nor any of the real actresses or directors as Jolie thinks she is now (and what I think was the point, it anyway didn't draw attention away from her arms and the anorexic mess she is)

I'd like to think Rash knew the real audience sentiment HE was going for, and enjoyed himself, he was a reminder of parody and satire, speaks truth to an amalgamation of Hollywod b.s. represented Jolie. ("The Descendants" was once a long shot don't forget, as was "Community.")

Amidst all the Oscar script from the past, it was reminder that much can be made of comedy by looking at the b.s. right around in the real moment, real words, real actors and comics, real responses (not just another generation of over-the-top dick jokes, only now by woman...wow...or more nip slips) To sum it up, he was an actor, improv trained, and knowledgeable enough of his craft to make a light gesture and it zinged, compared to Jolie's "kickstand" leg movement, as subtle as a drag-queen horse. That was the comedy for the evening. It makes me want to see what Rash will be doing next and even more avoid Jolie and Pitt's "Hollywood."

Jeffrey Leonard said...

Okay Ken...now that you have torn the Oscar broadcast a new asshole, how would YOU do it? Just wondering. It really wasn't as bad as you made it out to be. Your reviews are usually humorous...this one was not.

Dave El said...

I keep hearing criticism of Billy Crystal wearing blackface in his portrayal of Sammy Davis Jr. When I hear "blackface", I think of the reprehensible practice of a white performer wearing thick, heavy actually black make up while accenting lips and eyes, creating an offensive caricature. (This is what Ted Danson did infamously at the Whoopi Goldberg roast that time. Although she seem to think it was funny. It wasn't.) Crystal was wearing (as I saw it) brown make up to replicate Davis's skin color and overall appearance. (And Davis is one of Crystal's stock characters; it's not like he has not done this before. Still, maybe he should dug his Fernando Lamas out of moth balls instead.) The bit may not have been funny (although my daughter was nuts over Justin Beiber's appearance...so mission accomplished on that point) but I think calling what Crystal as Davis "blackface" is extremely provocative and is not a fair comparison to the truly insulting practice of blackface. Unless the line has moved so that any portrayal of a black man by a white man is politically incorrect. If so, somebody should tell Fred Armisen at SNL he can't be Barack Obama anymore (& not just for being unfunny either.)

Mabel said...

Meow! I could hear the hissing and spitting as I read this article. It made me laugh!
Touche!

jbryant said...

Anonymous: Wow, I saw the Peggy Lee thing somewhere else and just assumed it was right. Maybe it was a misprint. Sorry to spread the error.

Johnny Walker said...

You make a few good points, Ken, but for the most part I think we watched two different shows. No, it wasn't *that* much more than vanilla, I admit, but I was never bored or fed up. It felt light, fun, and was largely entertaining. LAST YEAR'S Oscars was probably the worst I've EVER seen.

At no point this year did I frustratedly start doing other things while the show was on.

Crystal was light, fun, and was largely entertaining, if a little phoney.

The presenter skits were light, fun, and was largely entertaining, if a little bland.

The video segments were light, fun, and was largely entertaining, and thankfully brief.

No it's not something I want to re-watch, but I didn't want to leave the room, either.

Ok, maybe I've lowered my standards a bit after last year. Anyway, here's a few points I noted as I watched:

Emma Stone is more talented than Ben Stiller.

Who knew sound editors could be so funny?

I want to be as classy and charismatic as Christopher Plummer is at 82, right now. THAT, dear Oscar winners, is how you do an acceptance speech. If you've been nominated, at least take the time to prepare something. The man was effortlessly funny, and didn't fumble about with napkins, or forget everyone's name... and he's EIGHTY TWO. The rest of you have no excuse.

(I'm amazed he wasn't noted in your write-up.)

Anyways, in all, I loved it. I may have been softer on it because of last year's torturous affair, but I was very pleased to have found myself not only wanting to re-watch a lot of those films, but also not wanting to leap out the window.

Anthony Schumacher said...

"Face carved from an apple" made me spit coffee over my keyboard. Hilarious!

David G. said...

After watching the "In Memoriam" segment, I was relieved to learn that longtime film actor Harry Morgan obviously hadn't actually died this past year.

Anonymous said...

I think Berenice Bejo is ugly without makeup!

D. McEwan said...

"Anonymous said...
I think Berenice Bejo is ugly without makeup!"


And Bernice thinks you, Anonymous, are a coward. I can only assume you're anonymous because you're actually ugly.

Amanda Peacock said...

This is an extremely funny take on the 2012 Oscars. This year's ceremony is the worst I've EVER seen and I’ve watched for 40 years. Who was responsible for the performer shticks that stunk (Robert D. Jr., Ferrell) and the gloomy docu-comments about movies? We don't care what movies Adam Sandler (in a track suit) likes. Adam Sandler?!

Woody Allen did NOT deserve an Oscar for Midnight in Paris...the scenes with Rachel Adams’ parents kvetching in the hotel room and at the restaurant...some of it was mundane writing and not funny. The ending with--voila--the beautiful, young bookstore clerk cozying up to Owen Wilson was so forced and slap dash. In his day Allen was the ultimate genius, but this film was strictly so-so.

Maybe someone can count the number of actors in the Memorium montage...I swear it didn’t seem like there were more than 6 or 7! I would like to know why the Academy didn’t honor most of the actors who died this year. And why did they mostly just use stills rather than film clips? Viewers love seeing the old film clips in the Memorium piece! So what if a few dead stars get more applause? Poor Liz Taylor got such a crappy send-off. (They could have had a clip from National Velvet, a snippet of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, a bit of Who’s Afraid of VW. Cleopatra was a dud!) And do we really need to see the engineers and marketing people? Maybe there should be two Oscar ceremonies-the live broadcast, and an earlier deal where it can be more industry specific.

Harry Potter should have won the Makeup award. Was this a snub to England?

WHY was the sound bad? Not only did the tinny fork-on-metal sound drive me berserk, but I sometimes couldn’t hear what the announcer was saying when the winners walked to the podium.

Did Oprah win the Governor’s Award earlier in another location? It was all so confusing. If she did I would like to have seen it live, onstage.

I used to looove Billy Crystal, but he was so self-serving with the Harry Met Sally clip (twice?) and the routine sitting next to wife Janice “going to the movies” during the Oscars. Plus super stale material. The old tux didn’t work. But the worst part of the night: the “brownface” routine, the cutting joke about no black people in Beverly Hills (ha ha, what a scream, eh?). Then, unfortunately, lovable Viola Davis, who’s never won an Oscar, gets overlooked again when Meryl Streep gets her third Oscar. Too bad all these things converged in one evening. Then Streep sends Viola Davis’ charity $10,000 the next day. What’s up with that? Does Streep feel guilty? I’ve always thought Streep was over-praised. Watch her in Out of Africa...that’s superb acting? Tilda Swinton is just as talented as Meryl Streep.

But I’m reminded of Woody Allen’s joke about the woman who complains about the food being bad--and such small portions, too. So the Oscars were bad, but I watched every minute.

Amanda Peacock said...

This is an extremely funny take on the 2012 Oscars. This year's ceremony is the worst I've EVER seen and I’ve watched for 40 years. Who was responsible for the performer shticks that stunk (Robert D. Jr., Ferrell) and the gloomy docu-comments about movies? We don't care what movies Adam Sandler (in a track suit) likes. Adam Sandler?!

Woody Allen did NOT deserve an Oscar for Midnight in Paris...the scenes with Rachel Adams’ parents kvetching in the hotel room and at the restaurant...some of it was mundane writing and not funny. The ending with--voila--the beautiful, young bookstore clerk cozying up to Owen Wilson was so forced and slap dash. In his day Allen was the ultimate genius, but this film was strictly so-so.

Maybe someone can count the number of actors in the Memorium montage...I swear it didn’t seem like there were more than 6 or 7! I would like to know why the Academy didn’t honor most of the actors who died this year. And why did they mostly just use stills rather than film clips? Viewers love seeing the old film clips in the Memorium piece! So what if a few dead stars get more applause? Poor Liz Taylor got such a crappy send-off. (They could have had a clip from National Velvet, a snippet of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, a bit of Who’s Afraid of VW. Cleopatra was a dud!) And do we really need to see the engineers and marketing people? Maybe there should be two Oscar ceremonies-the live broadcast, and an earlier deal where it can be more industry specific.

Harry Potter should have won the Makeup award. Was this a snub to England?

WHY was the sound bad? Not only did the tinny fork-on-metal sound drive me berserk, but I sometimes couldn’t hear what the announcer was saying when the winners walked to the podium.

Did Oprah win the Governor’s Award earlier in another location? It was all so confusing. If she did I would like to have seen it live, onstage.

I used to looove Billy Crystal, but he was so self-serving with the Harry Met Sally clip (twice?) and the routine sitting next to wife Janice “going to the movies” during the Oscars. Plus super stale material. The old tux didn’t work. But the worst part of the night: the “brownface” routine, the cutting joke about no black people in Beverly Hills (ha ha, what a scream, eh?). Then, unfortunately, lovable Viola Davis, who’s never won an Oscar, gets overlooked again when Meryl Streep gets her third Oscar. Too bad all these things converged in one evening. Then Streep sends Viola Davis’ charity $10,000 the next day. What’s up with that? Does Streep feel guilty? I’ve always thought Streep was over-praised. Watch her in Out of Africa...that’s superb acting? Tilda Swinton is just as talented as Meryl Streep.

But I’m reminded of Woody Allen’s joke about the woman who complains about the food being bad--and such small portions, too. So the Oscars were bad, but I watched every minute.

Amanda Peacock said...

This is an extremely funny take on the 2012 Oscars. This year's ceremony is the worst I've EVER seen and I’ve watched for 40 years. Who was responsible for the performer shticks that stunk (Robert D. Jr., Ferrell) and the gloomy docu-comments about movies? We don't care what movies Adam Sandler (in a track suit) likes. Adam Sandler?!

Woody Allen did NOT deserve an Oscar for Midnight in Paris...the scenes with Rachel Adams’ parents kvetching in the hotel room and at the restaurant...some of it was mundane writing and not funny. The ending with--voila--the beautiful, young bookstore clerk cozying up to Owen Wilson was so forced and slap dash. In his day Allen was the ultimate genius, but this film was strictly so-so.

Maybe someone can count the number of actors in the Memorium montage...I swear it didn’t seem like there were more than 6 or 7! I would like to know why the Academy didn’t honor most of the actors who died this year. And why did they mostly just use stills rather than film clips? Viewers love seeing the old film clips in the Memorium piece! So what if a few dead stars get more applause? Poor Liz Taylor got such a crappy send-off. (They could have had a clip from National Velvet, a snippet of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, a bit of Who’s Afraid of VW. Cleopatra was a dud!) And do we really need to see the engineers and marketing people? Maybe there should be two Oscar ceremonies-the live broadcast, and an earlier deal where it can be more industry specific.

Harry Potter should have won the Makeup award. Was this a snub to England?

WHY was the sound bad? Not only did the tinny fork-on-metal sound drive me berserk, but I sometimes couldn’t hear what the announcer was saying when the winners walked to the podium.

Did Oprah win the Governor’s Award earlier in another location? It was all so confusing. If she did I would like to have seen it live, onstage.

I used to looove Billy Crystal, but he was so self-serving with the Harry Met Sally clip (twice?) and the routine sitting next to wife Janice “going to the movies” during the Oscars. Plus super stale material. The old tux didn’t work. But the worst part of the night: the “brownface” routine, the cutting joke about no black people in Beverly Hills (ha ha, what a scream, eh?). Then, unfortunately, lovable Viola Davis, who’s never won an Oscar, gets overlooked again when Meryl Streep gets her third Oscar. Too bad all these things converged in one evening. Then Streep sends Viola Davis’ charity $10,000 the next day. What’s up with that? Does Streep feel guilty? I’ve always thought Streep was over-praised. Watch her in Out of Africa...that’s superb acting? Tilda Swinton is just as talented as Meryl Streep.

But I’m reminded of Woody Allen’s joke about the woman who complains about the food being bad--and such small portions, too. So the Oscars were bad, but I watched every minute.

Amanda Peacock said...

This is an extremely funny take on the 2012 Oscars. This year's ceremony is the worst I've EVER seen and I’ve watched for 40 years. Who was responsible for the performer shticks that stunk (Robert D. Jr., Ferrell) and the gloomy docu-comments about movies? We don't care what movies Adam Sandler (in a track suit) likes. Adam Sandler?!

Woody Allen did NOT deserve an Oscar for Midnight in Paris...the scenes with Rachel Adams’ parents kvetching in the hotel room and at the restaurant...some of it was mundane writing and not funny. The ending with--voila--the beautiful, young bookstore clerk cozying up to Owen Wilson was so forced and slap dash. In his day Allen was the ultimate genius, but this film was strictly so-so.

Maybe someone can count the number of actors in the Memorium montage...I swear it didn’t seem like there were more than 6 or 7! I would like to know why the Academy didn’t honor most of the actors who died this year. And why did they mostly just use stills rather than film clips? Viewers love seeing the old film clips in the Memorium piece! So what if a few dead stars get more applause? Poor Liz Taylor got such a crappy send-off. (They could have had a clip from National Velvet, a snippet of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, a bit of Who’s Afraid of VW. Cleopatra was a dud!) And do we really need to see the engineers and marketing people? Maybe there should be two Oscar ceremonies-the live broadcast, and an earlier deal where it can be more industry specific.

Harry Potter should have won the Makeup award. Was this a snub to England?

WHY was the sound bad? Not only did the tinny fork-on-metal sound drive me berserk, but I sometimes couldn’t hear what the announcer was saying when the winners walked to the podium.

Did Oprah win the Governor’s Award earlier in another location? It was all so confusing. If she did I would like to have seen it live, onstage.

I used to looove Billy Crystal, but he was so self-serving with the Harry Met Sally clip (twice?) and the routine sitting next to wife Janice “going to the movies” during the Oscars. Plus super stale material. The old tux didn’t work. But the worst part of the night: the “brownface” routine, the cutting joke about no black people in Beverly Hills (ha ha, what a scream, eh?). Then, unfortunately, lovable Viola Davis, who’s never won an Oscar, gets overlooked again when Meryl Streep gets her third Oscar. Too bad all these things converged in one evening. Then Streep sends Viola Davis’ charity $10,000 the next day. What’s up with that? Does Streep feel guilty? I’ve always thought Streep was over-praised. Watch her in Out of Africa...that’s superb acting? Tilda Swinton is just as talented as Meryl Streep.

But I’m reminded of Woody Allen’s joke about the woman who complains about the food being bad--and such small portions, too. So the Oscars were bad, but I watched every minute.

cadavra said...

Jeez, Amanda, tell us how you really feel. ;-)

Ken, you complained about Crystal doing the film clips and song parody again. Did it not occur to you that these are a tradition and expected? What if you went to a Rolling Stones concert and they didn't perform "Satisfaction," "Jumpin' Jack Flash" and "Sympathy for the Devil?" Or McCartney and he did no Beatles songs? You'd be pretty upset, wouldn't you? (That DID happen a few years ago when Aretha Franklin stopped singing "Respect." The blowback was incredible and she finally readded it to the set list.) If Billy hadn't done these signature bits, I can guarantee you a lot more people would have been upset than the ones who were because he did.

Terry T said...

I coulda done with some Schlomo Rabinowitz Klezmer Band! Get 'em dancing it the isles just to see if anyone's hair moves.

Marty Fufkin said...

Regarding your swipe at Colin Firth and Natalie Portman for blowing smoke up the nominees' asses, Firth was asked about this by a Guardian journalist at the Oscars after party:
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Colin, it must have been pretty painful to give that speech at the ceremony in which you had to tell each of the best actress nominees how amazing they are. Rooney Mara is "essential", I believe you quoth?

"No comment," was Firth's charming reply. "You do try to find a balance, though. You don't write the script, you know, but they show it to you and then you go back to them with your ideas and then they negotiate back and it goes back and forth like that."

Until you get a balance between California hyperbole and British understatement?

"Yes, something like that. Although you do just have to go for it at events like this, really, don't you? There's no point in being reticent."