Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Oscar review: the text

There are readers who are hearing impaired or just don’t want to be bothered listening to a podcast (even mine) so I am posting the text of my Oscar review – although it’s much better hearing me do it. The lines get delivered as intended. And I throw in asides and ad libs that aren’t in the original text. To listen, just click on the big gold arrow above.

But short of that, here is my snarky bitchy Oscar review (for those who still remember as far back as Sunday).

Here’s all you need to know: Without an emcee, without pizzas being delivered or selfies being taken, no accountants from Price-Waterhouse being introduced, no production numbers, no montage salutes to Jane Austin movies, and no Gene Hersholt award being given – the show still went 19 minutes over. Although without the one speech from the woman in the red dress that looked like a frosted flower on a cake after someone sat in it, the show might’ve finished ten minutes under. The cake woman spoke forever and her partner managed to get out, “I just want to thank the crew.”

A writer friend of mine, Richard Rosenstock, captured the night perfectly. He said: “This was like the Kirkland brand of Oscar shows — no distinction, no ambition, no charm, no distinctiveness, no celebration of what it actually is representing, but still technically qualifies as vodka.”

It’s hard to have a rooting interest when no one’s seen the movies, none of them were exceptional, and no one cares.

Also, let’s face it – there were hardly any real stars. Barbra Streisand, Samuel L. Jackson, and Julia Roberts. Okay, and maybe Brie Larson (but that might be because I’m in love with Brie Larson). They were all in the last hour. And I suppose Charlize Theron, now a brunette, adorned in a body-hugging, plain grey gown. She looked like Morticia Adams on her wedding day.

And the rest were B actors. Mike Myers & Dana Carvey? John Mullaney & Awkwafina? Krysten Ritter? What movie has she ever been in? Kiki Layne? Before BEALE STREET she did a guest appearance on CHICAGO MED.

Where was Tom Hanks, Meryl Streep, George Clooney, Cate Blanchett, Kate Winslow, Leo, Matt Damon, Gal Gadot, Nicholson, Eastwood, Redford, Reese Witherspoon, Michael Douglas, Harrison Ford, Steven Spielberg (well he never comes if he’s not nominated), Will Smith (he’ll come for ten years if you just nominate him once), Martin Scorsese, Sidney Poitier, Sandra Bullock, Jennifer Lawrence, Scarlett Johansson, Margot Robbie, Tom Cruise, Denzel Washington, Ryan Gosling, Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Robert DeNiro. The Best Song presenter was Constance Wu.

And then of course there are the stars and industry moguls who can’t be there because of sexual abuse charges – including the director from one of the Best Picture nominated films.

Here’s how scarce the star power was. When they cut to the audience the best they could do was Alex Rodriguez.

They couldn’t even fill the presenter ranks with actors. Serena Williams, Chef Jose Andres, Trevor Noah, the guitar player from Rage Against the Machine, Congressman John Lewis were up there. God love ‘em but Penelope Cruz wasn’t available? Sure, she mangled every name, but she was in movies.

Look, here’s the big problem: The Motion Picture Academy is now clearly ABC’s little bitch. And what happens when you let the network that thought putting Roseanne Barr on TV again was a good idea, dictate your product? Well, let’s see. First came the announcement of a new category – Best Popular Movie so ABC could attract young viewers by making FIFTY SHADES FREED an Oscar nominee, then the backlash killed that. Next came naming a host who was politically incorrect so that ended and no one wanted to fill that role (despite a six-figure income for one week), followed by the announcement that only the top two most popular songs would be performed. Lady Gaga put a stop to that folly. But wait, there’s more. They decided to present four categories during commercial breaks, which caused an industry revolt so the Academy backed off of that too. And every time ABC tells the Academy to bend over and grab their ankles it destroys their credibility that much more. And without credibility they’re nothing more than the MTV movie awards but with movies no one has ever seen.

This is the first year where the show should have begun with the “In Memoriam” segment. That said, Adam Lambert and what’s left of Queen got things off to a rousing start.

Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, and Maya Rudolph did essentially an opening monologue, reminding us of how much better the Golden Globes were when Tina & Amy hosted that. I don’t know why Maya Rudolph was included. Guess it’s like when Mom says you can’t go to the movies unless you also take your little sister. Tina and Amy were funny. Maya made a wall joke.

The set looked like it was designed by Antoni Gaudi.

And then at one point there was a wide shot and you saw the string of white lights peeking out from under the top and it looked like the Oscars were being given away in the mouth of the whale from PINNOCHIO.

Best line of the night: “I can’t believe a film about menstruation just won an Oscar!”

Since ABC also controls the Red Carpet show, poor Sam Rubin of KTLA and his emaciated co-host, Jessica Holmes were banished to four hours before the ceremony. So of course no stars were there yet. Will Smith would have been there if they had just nominated him. Sam & Jess wound up interviewing other Red Carpet hosts (like someone from the Disney Channel) and Wolfgang Puck. Always one to pose penetrating questions, Sam asked Wolfgang if stars got hungry?

The ceremony featured a gala montage of movies, most of them not nominated, and narrated in part by Fred Rogers, whose superb documentary was not nominated.

Nominees were apparently told at the luncheon that they had 90 seconds from the time their name was announced to get on stage and deliver their speech. I guess stars were “hungry” because no one listened.

Amy Adams is now 0-6 and Glenn Close is 0-7. Meanwhile, Kobe Bryant has an Oscar.

GREEN BOOK? Best Picture of the year? Really? This was clearly the year of social relevance and I guess THE GREEN BOOK was the more feel-good version of BLACKKKLANSMAN.

The commercials were more entertaining. There was a trailer for CLIFFS OF FREEDOM with war scenes, Turks and Greeks are waving machetes and I thought, wow, Disney’s new live-version of ALLADIN is really gritty.

Spike Lee looked like a combination of a pimp and Mr. Conductor from SHINING TIME STATION. Just like his movie, his speech bludgeoned you with his message.

Compare his obscenity-censored heavy-handed rant with Mahershala Ali’s elegant speech that said the same thing only with class.

So Bette Midler refused to sing “Hello Dolly” on the Tony’s, even though she was on Broadway playing Dolly, but she did agree to sing on the Academy Awards. Not Divine, Miss M., not divine.

Melissa McCarthy and Brian Tyree were funny wearing the exaggerated wardrobe from THE FAVOURITE, complete with the bunny puppets – an inside joke for the six people who saw THE FAVOURITE. Not being able to open the envelope with the puppet made me laugh.

Actually the funniest person of the night was Best Actress winner, Olivia Colman. Her speech was delightful. Genuine and filled with hilarious asides. Let her host next year.

Regina King thanked writer James Baldwin. Thank you.

So Melissa McCarthy presented in a dress with a long goofy train, then costume design winner Ruth Carter came to the stage with a long train, and Jennifer Hudson, singing some awful screechy Diane Warren ambulance siren of a song, had a huge train. Since when did the Oscars become a Bridal Fair?

ROMA won the Best Foreign Film. How can it also be nominated for Best American Film?

A STAR IS BORN went from Oscar favorite to let’s give them something so Lady Gaga will show up.

I must say I loved Lady Gag’s speech. When she drops the Gaga facade and is just Stephanie, the insecure kid who the mean girls probably terrorized in high school, she is very heartfelt and really connects with young people. Her message was lovely.

At one point they showed Robert Iger, the COO of ABC in the audience. But the shot was very brief. You couldn’t see him manipulating the marionette strings.

Speaking of ABC, did you see that promo they ran for their new spy show centered around a tampon joke. Way to keep it classy.

I was glad Sam Elliott lost. “It’s about time” he said regarding his nomination. Yeah, finally the Academy is recognized what a national treasure and brilliant thespian you are. See you on THE RANCH, the Netflix multi-camera sitcom.

Rami Malek won Best Actor for BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY. Hey, it’s hard to lip sync Freddie Mercury with those prosthetic teeth.

Okay, when the make-up winner was thanking that endless list of names didn’t you secretly wish they HAD presented that award during a commercial break?

At least Jim Carrey didn’t present.

Most excited winner: the woman from the documentary, SKIN. She went bat shit. It’s like she won a car on THE PRICE IS RIGHT. I make fun but if I won that would totally be me.

I loved that the IN MEMORIAM segment just featured background music and not some AMERICAN IDOL contestant belting out Ava Maria. And I appreciated that they filled the screen with the people they were saluting. Wow. What a tough year this was. We lost some true giants.

But shame on the Academy for not including Stanley Donen. They can claim it was too late and the segment had already been produced but that’s bullshit. They could have included him if they wanted to. If he had died during the ceremony they could have included him. Use some of that technology you give out awards for. And what made it even worse is that the President of the Motion Picture Academy introduced the segment. (I thought I saw Bob Iger’s hands at the top of the screen moving the president’s limbs. In any event, shame on them. Again.

Kacey Musgraves wore this frilly pink gown with a big poofy collar that looked like one of those loofah balls you have in the shower.

Happy that SPIDERMAN won for Best Animated Film. Hey, I actually saw that one.

Gee, I wonder who would have won the Most Popular Film had they awarded it. How about this for a new category, “Best Film that was made to show in theatres and not on Netflix?”

At one time 40 million Americans used to watch the Academy Awards. When I was on MASH we’d put our worst show of the year on up against the Academy Awards to hide it. Now we’d put our best show. MASH normally got 30 million viewers a week. Last year’s Oscars managed only 26.5 million. MASH would beat the Academy Awards. And just wait for this year’s ratings. MASH on the Hallmark Channel might’ve beaten them.

TOMORROW: Why this might be my last Oscar review

38 comments :

Pizzagod said...

That last line....your last Oscar review.

Well hell. We want our money back.

Honest Ed said...

Across the Oscars and the BAFTAS It was interesting to see that none of the actors really thanked the writer - King gets a pass because of Baldwin and the writer was the (thanked) director. The others didn't. The others also got BAFTAS, and they didn't thank the writers there. In the UK it even generated a few newspaper articles about how they didn't thank the writers at the BAFTAS, so I doubt Olivia Colman wasn't aware. Given how chaotic and unfocused her public performances are when someone hasn't written it all for her, she really should. Especially as the writers created the story and characters for 20 years before she got involved. They all found the time to thank directors, producers, agents, agents assistants, stand ins, costumes, each other - boy did they thank each other. But for all of them (apart from King acknowledging Baldwin) the writing and the writers were invisible.

Quite appalling, really.

TireKicker said...

Gonna be picky for a second, Ken.

It’s hard to have a rooting interest when no one’s seen the movies, none of them were exceptional, and no one cares.

Except for BLACK PANTHER, the number one box office movie of 2018, with $700 million domestic gross and six Oscar nominations (but only three wins)---which I saw on the strength of your review.

Kenneth Nielsen said...

Hey, I like Sam Elliot. Otherwise, pretty funny.

Peter said...

"but that might be because I’m in love with Brie Larson"

I saw her first!!

"Jennifer Hudson, singing some awful screechy Diane Warren ambulance siren of a song"

I'm glad I didn't watch the show go out live. I cannot stand that kind of so-called singing. I have nothing but contempt for the shout-singing type of singers who think being a diva means yelling the lyrics, and Hudson is by far the worst culprit.

"TOMORROW: Why this might be my last Oscar review"

I'm a little alarmed by this. Please reassure us this is for a light hearted reason and that your health is ok.

slgc said...

I hope that this is not your last Oscar review, because I really enjoy them. I was literally laughing out loud in public while listening to your review on my phone on Monday.

That said, if you're not enjoying yourself then that's all that matters. When something like this ceases being fun, then you need to move on. And if you skip a year and find that you miss it, there's nothing that says you can't start doing it again a year or several down the line.

Kosmo13 said...

I enjoyed both the audio and text versions of your Oscar analysis. Maybe you'd want to fix the spelling of Jean Hersholt's name in the latter.

I can never remember which one is Brie Larson and which one is Alison Brie. Maybe they're both the same person.

therealshell said...

Thanks for the heads up, RE: Whiskey Cavalier. With the cancellation of 2 Broke Girls, there has been a dearth of tampon humor on telly.

Unknown said...

"Last Oscar review" I hope it is only the last one you do THIS year....
I enjoy your review. I think you should just record it, then let some voice-2-text program transcribe it, and leave in the errors, would make it funnier.

Andy Rose said...

I’ve been trying to figure out what that strange proscenium looks like, but that photo makes it clear: It’s clearly a tribute to Conan O’Brien’s hair.

Jim said...

This may be too much for a Friday question but are the books always cooked? Is there an honest studio? Are there ever outside audits not brought on by lawsuits?

Fox rocked by $179M Bones ruling

Unknown said...

I'll say it again. We need more awards shows.

kent said...

If you are hinting that this blog may be coming to an end, I'd be sorry to read that. Just in case, thanks for the the 15 years or so I've been relishing it.

Robert Sharp said...

My daughter said the set design looked like Trump's hair. Once you saw it that way, you couldn't see it any other way.

Ted said...

Forget the Oscars -- I'm here to stand up for Kirkland products, which are extremely high quality and sometimes even better than the brand-name originals. If every shopping trip to Costco didn't take three hours, I would use them all the time.

Terry said...

I get that this is supposed to be bitchy and snarky and that most of these are jokes, but your comments about Sam Elliott were pretty mean spirited. Did he not return your calls for a role on Big Wave Dave's or something?

Anonymous said...

As someone who has worked mostly on multi cam sitcoms, why disparage Sam Elliot for being on one?

PS - Oscar winner Rami Malek started on the FOX sitcom "The War at Home."

Dhruv said...

Why are actors such ingrates? Why can't they thank the writers?

Last Oscar review?

Barry Traylor said...

When I realized it was on and did not care that I was missing it I was happy.

Clara said...

I have watched Jimmy's sidekick Guillermo interview celebrities at the Oscars for few years now. That is funny. Certainly better than other red carpet interviews.

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=guillermo+at+the+oscars

The highlight being him snubbing Matt Damon and getting a kiss from Charlize Theron. Bob Iger pops up now and then and speaks in a pompous manner. I didn't like him, maybe that's why you too mention him in not such an appreciative tone.

Gary said...

Kosmo13 I too had the same problem.

Brie Larson and Alison Brie both their nude pics were leaked on the net. Then after watching Alison Brie in a group nude pic with James Franco's brother and others, getting ready for an orgy perhaps, I never forgot her and never mixed up from there on. Brie Larson pics were just classic nude selfies.

George Adelman said...

Although she didn’t mention the writers by name, Colman gave great praise to the script in the press room after her win. Granted, way less people will see that in comparison to her speech, but it’s still something.

Mike Bloodworth said...

Ken,
I want to sincerely thank you for the written version of your review.
No. I didn't listen to the podcast. But, as I've said before, I don't listen to ANY podcasts. Who can afford all that data on what I earn as a ne'er-do-well? But, more importantly, to paraphrase an old saying, "You watch the Oscars© so we don't have to."
And if this is truly your last Academy Awards© review, I will miss them.
M.B.

VP81955 said...

"Last Oscar review"? Why? Are you submitting a pilot to ABC?

Cheryl Marks said...

Totally agree shame on the Academy for not including Stanley Donen; especially because they spent so much time on the conductor and orchestra who are ALIVE for God's sake. CBS can add clips from the finals of the NCAA Final Four game to their "One Shining Moment" and that airs within 5 minutes at the end of the game!
As to those of us who prefer to read your wonderful, snarky reviews:
to leave comments to your podcasts you have to have a Facebook account. Some of us don't do Facebook ... hence reading vs listening
Just saying

Gary Springer said...

PS - Oscar winner Rami Malek started on the FOX sitcom "The War at Home."


Missed him in Night at the Museum ? I know that I did.

DrBOP said...

Well, now you've done it! My little burg in North Ontario (that is obsessed with Hollywood screen-writing, comedy and ex-baseball announcers) just had a group stroke!
Folks are madly runnin' off in ALL directions; people bompin' into trees; involuntarily choking their pet beavers out of manic frustration; and grandma just got run over by the local Snowmobile CLUB as they went blind from chuggin' copious amounts of not-quite-ready Maple Syrup Whiskey Lightnin'! And I can't even.....uhh....bear to report what the bears are up to!

The local mary-gee-wanna dispensary just burned down, man! (as it turns out, no worries.....the entire town is downwind......and it seems to be helping everyone BUT GRANDMA! ;>(

Needless to say, it's going to be a l-o-o-o-o-o-n-g night up here. We've lowered the flags, masses are being said, and the Big Foots have been summoned. We're with 'ya, bud!

Look to your soul, brother, look to your soul (THAT rock'n'roll soul!)

Dixon Steele said...

John Mullaney and Awkwafina were terrific.

And Sam Elliot's remarks were in jest.

Did you lose your sense of humor?

Dr Loser said...

Pardon the blue pencil (or not, as you choose), but it's "Pinocchio" and "Aladdin." (The latter presumably has a diacritical to represent some form of guttural, but hey, I'll let that slip. In America, the only gutturals are either people who live in one of the less desirable neighborhoods of Seattle, or else Presidents seeking re-election in 2020. With a bit of luck, both.)

It's a bit sad that the best backing music they could come up with is a tribute band from the late '70s, really. Even sadder that this might well have been the best part of the show apart from Olivia Colman. She is a national treasure. And you're absolutely correct that she would blow the competition away next year as a presenter. It will never happen, because Ricky (hawk spit) Gervais has queered the pitch for UK luvvies.

I'm curious as to what a "Best Popular Picture" award signifies. Was it the most popular? In which case, why vote for it, because you can just count the numbers. Was it not really very popular, and perhaps a financial catastrophe, but on the other hand it was more popular than the other popular movies, except that people spent their dollars on less splendid but yet really quite popular movies?

I mean, I am one who approves of all efforts at inclusiveness in all aspects of life, except for this one. Because it just makes no f'ing sense whatsoever.

Oh, and don't you dare be rude about Cameron Diaz again. Because if you do, I shall become quite vituperative. I'm warning you.

Peter said...

Michael Cohen's testimony today was infinitely more entertaining and valuable than the Oscars.

Tom Galloway said...

"Best line of the night: “I can’t believe a film about menstruation just won an Oscar!”"

There's a simple explanation, also given by editor Gardner Dozois about Connie Willis' Hugo award winning story about menstruation 'Even The Queen'. It's a period piece.

Thomas said...

I think you are being to harsh on Sam Elliott. He works on 'The Ranch" yes. But he is a very good actor and deserved the nomination. We can not berate actors for working on a bad show as long as they bring their best. And he does on the Ranch. For the rest I liked your review. Rami Malek didn't deserve the win, his Freddy Mercury was a wooden studied collection of ticks/personality traits, Malek's performance wasn't even good, let alone Oscar worthy. But people like Freddy. And the movie overall was a bad biopic that followed the formula but didn't dare to go into the real drama. But invented shit. Also Bradley Cooper was way off pitch, and that was worse than anything.

John said...

Ricky Gervais was a gem when he hosted Golden Globes.They should make him the host next year and forever. Hollywood needs to dose of Ricky now and then.

Anonymous said...

"ROMA won the Best Foreign Film. How can it also be nominated for Best American Film? "

I know this is a joke but I think like six or seven films that won Best Foreign Language Film have been nominated for Best Picture. "Roma", "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon", "Life Is Beautiful", "Z", "The New Land", "Amour"...I'm probably forgetting something. Plus there are a few more foreign films that were nominated for the Oscar that did not get a Foreign Language Film nomination, like "The Grand Illusion" which predated the Foreign Language Film award.

slgc said...

If you get the chance you have to see the winning short film, Skin. It was by far the best of the nominees with gripping writing and great acting. It's not a feel good story by any means, but it's fantastic.

cshel said...

I look forward to your Oscars review every year so I hope you don't stop. I watch them every year, and every year I wonder why the entertainment industry can't come up with a better show, and why the films don't seem that great anymore. But I'll keep watching.

Why don't they just make Tina and Amy the official hosts of everything. Melissa McCarthy and her costume were hilarious! And I love John Mulaney. I think the answer is more comedians and bigger stars.

I loved THE FAVOURITE, and Olivia Coleman, but realized her real personality was the same as her role. I thought Emma and Rachel were fantastic, and had more screen time.

Two of my "favourite" films of the year were snubbed, BAD TIMES AT THE EL ROYALE and A SIMPLE FAVOR. : )

Tommy Raiko said...

Melissa McCarthy and Brian Tyree were funny wearing the exaggerated wardrobe from THE FAVOURITE, complete with the bunny puppets – an inside joke for the six people who saw THE FAVOURITE. Not being able to open the envelope with the puppet made me laugh

I liked this bit too, and the bit about not a puppet thwarting the opening of the envelope reminded me of a similar gag from the 1986 Oscars when Kermit the Frog and Scooter was presenters. (Yeah, I still miss Jim Henson.)

slgc said...

You hit the nail on the head about the mean girls terrorizing Lady Gaga back in the day -


https://www.boredpanda.com/lady-gaga-facebook-hate-group/