Monday, March 03, 2014

My 2014 Oscar Review

Not that it didn’t deserve to win, but I bet half the Academy members who voted for 12 YEARS A SLAVE never saw it.

The only other suspense of the night was whether Pharrell Williams was going to wear his hat, which tells you all you need to know about this Oscarcast. Long, dull, and safe with some musical numbers tossed in to distinguish it from C-SPAN.

Welcome to my 18th annual bitchy-but-fair Academy Awards autopsy; helped out this year by the comedy writing team of Annie Levine & Jon Emerson.

There has been less Oscar buzz this year than any I can remember. Not surprising when a Reuters’ poll found that two-thirds of Americans have not seen ANY of the Best Picture nominees. Of course that will all change now as throngs race to theaters to see 12 YEARS A SLAVE.

More on the show in a moment, but first – the traditional nod to the KTLA Red Carpet oozefest hosted by Sam Rubin and Jessica Holmes who now weighs less than her microphone. Sam is the king of hyperbole. At one point he said, “Now I’m joined by the biggest star of all, Al Roker.” Oh well, at least he didn’t mistake him for Samuel L. Jackson.

Hey, I’m just glad he didn’t tell director, Steve McQueen that he loved him in THE GREAT ESCAPE.

Other favorite Sam moment – saying to Leonard Maltin: “Any surprises that you anticipate?”

Ellen was a big improvement over last year. Of course, after Seth MacFarlane, Sacheen Littlefeather could have done a better job hosting.

I thought her monologue was quite funny even if Liza Minnelli didn’t. Liza with a Z did not seem to enjoy being mistaken for a female impersonator. She once beat the shit out of her husband for less.

Ellen’s bits with the audience were less successful. Don’t expect magic when you take selfies and pass out pizzas. The Oscars are not the place to wing it.

Winner Jared Leto managed to acknowledge Ukrainians, AIDS victims, and his agents. As he walked to the stage I was hoping the announcer would say, “This is the fourth nomination and first Oscar win for Jesus Christ.”

Annie observed that Julia Roberts looked like she had left a napkin in the front of her dress.

Meanwhile, Pharrell Williams showed up in a tuxedo and shorts. Come on, dude. It’s the Oscars, not O.G. Mad Eye’s funeral.

Oscar drinking game: Take a swig every time someone says “journey” or “dream.” By the first J.C. Penney commercial you’ll be blitzed.

Highlight of the night was Darlene Love belting out her acceptance speech for 20 FEET FROM STARDOM. She got an impromptu standing ovation.

No standing O for Karen O however. As Jon said: “It was like open mic night at a coffee shop.” Especially when every other singer killed it.

John Travolta is now officially a moron. He had only two things to do. Dye his hair any color found in nature and pronounce Idina Menzel. He could do neither. How do you get Adele Dazim from Idina Menzel? And this idiot has a pilot’s license? Holy shit!

As expected, Idina Menzel lit up the room with “Let It Go.” Was there ever any doubt that would win Song of the Year? For one thing – people have heard of it. Only downside: expect it to be covered by every AMERICAN IDOL contestant for the next five years.

Chiwetel Ejjiofer, Barkhad Addi, and June Squibb lost, but I’m sure the Academy figures they’ll all be nominated many more times.

Since when does Bruce Jenner go by the name Goldie Hawn?

Women wore a lot of beaded metallics this year. Thank goodness the rain stopped. It’s hard to return gowns once they’ve rusted.

Between Anne Hathaway’s short hair and metallic breastplate, it’s like she came as Ivanhoe.

Lupita Nyong’o’s acceptance speech was lovely and heartfelt. But too long. And she didn’t sing it. Did anyone else notice her play off music was from “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory?”

The three inevitabilities of life: death, taxes, and Jim Carrey won’t be funny.

I think Matthew McConaughey won as much for TRUE DETECTIVES as DALLAS BUYERS CLUB. My partner, David Isaacs, said it best: He put on a shirt and became an actor.

What was with those pointless “hero” montages? “Hero” in Hollywood is just a euphemism for “movie star.”

How to win the award for Best Editing -- Cut your movie down to 90 minutes. That’s why GRAVITY won, Marty.

BAD GRAMPA and THE LONE RANGER were pretty much shut out. But so were AMERICAN HUSTLE and CAPTAIN PHILLIPS.

The set looked like the old Dunes Hotel in Las Vegas.

In a successful attempt to make the show gayer than the Tonys’, they saluted the 75th anniversary of WIZARD OF OZ complete with Liza Minnelli in attendance. It was also the 75th anniversary of GONE WITH THE WIND, but that would have looked like the Academy was taking the opposing view of 12 YEARS A SLAVE.

Pink did a nice job with “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” Who knew she could sing without a trapeze? But that’s not the only song in WIZARD OF OZ. They could have featured “If I Only Had a Brain” and had John Travolta sing it.

Ellen came out dressed as Glinda the Good Witch. It was the first time anyone has ever seen her in a dress.

Where was Steven Spielberg to celebrate the achievements of his fellow artists? Oh right. He wasn’t nominated. Not there.

Bizarre moment of the night was Liza Minnelli hugging winner Lupita Nyong’o. Liza must’ve thought she was Diana Ross. Or her manicurist.

Jon said this about Tyler Perry: This is the first thing he’s presented that wasn’t Tyler Perry.

Anna Kendrick, Amy Adams, Kristen Bell, and Jennifer Lawrence were beyond stunning.

When Glenn Close started her preamble to the In Memoriam segment, she seemed so uncomfortable I thought she was introducing the writing categories.

I never understand why the audience applauds during the passing parade. It’s like when someone on Facebook posts that their mother just died and you click “like.”

How can the Academy say it’s too late to include Sarah Jones in the main body of tributes because she died two weeks ago and there was no time, yet Harold Ramis died a few days ago and he was included? Instead, they slipped her name in while going to break thus giving it the same reverence they give to promos for THE CHEW.

Bette Midler sang “Wind Beneath My Wings” but why? It was after the In Memoriam segment. This is supposed to be a solemn tribute not the 11:00 showstopper.

It still kills me that THE INVISIBLE WOMAN was nominated for Best Costume Design.

Harrison Ford is now too old to go on the Indiana Jones ride at Disneyland.

Could Charlize Theron possibly look any more bored if she was at the Aetna Insurance Actuary of the Year Awards?

Goldie Hawn introduced 12 YEARS A SLAVE with a smile so big you’d think she was announcing the Powerball Lottery winner.

Spike Jonz won for Best Original Screenplay. If they writer who is suing him for plagiarism wins, does he get an Oscar too?

Oscar nominee Julie Delphy said the Academy was " 90 percent white men over 70 who need money because they haven't done anything in a long time.” Shockingly, she lost. The only person in America who picked her in his Oscar pool was John Travolta.

Kim Novak will always be identified with VERTIGO. First the movie, and now it’s what you get when you see all the face work she’s had done.

I was thrilled that Cate Blanchett won. But now that someone thanked Woody Allen again on an awards show, expect five more moral charges to surface.

As usual, the show ran way late. But hey, we needed to see a montage of cartoon characters, Bette Midler singing an oldie, nine Best Picture nominees (with seven being schmuck bait), Ellen taking pizza orders, Twitter updates, sketches of the new motion picture museum, meeting student filmmakers, going through Lupita Nyong’o purse, and the umpteenth salute to WIZARD OF OZ.

The post Oscar parties had to be more fun. I can just imagine John Travolta approaching one of the producers of 12 YEARS A SLAVE and saying: “So what is the movie about?”


Hamid said...

One gigantic error in your review, Ken:

John Travolta is now officially a moron.

Only now?

Scooter Schechtman said...

Yes, he's now a Grand Imperial Thetan.

Dave M said...

Well done Ken.

Kind of on topic, can someone (seriously) explain why a person like Kim Novak would appear on this telecast? Does she not have family or friends to advise her? Can she possibly still have an out of control ego? And how mean spirited are the show's producers, to even invite her? It's like making fun of the fat kid back in third grade.

Hollywood is not high school, it's barely as civil as grammar school.

Kate said...

It was lovely to see Sidney Poitier. Less lovely to watch Angelina Jolie try to coax anything from the TelePrompTer out of him.

Anonymous said...
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thirteen said...

I turned it off and went to bed about two minutes after Jim Carrey's dad showed up.

Mike Barer said...

The pizza thing was rather wierd, but if you remember, it was during the technical awards, now I don't mean to devalue the awards, however, the worldwide audience is there to see the stars. After long speeches by people we had never heard of and God Bless them and the work they do.
It was a nice break to have a funny bit like that, on top of that, it's gutsy. Congrats to the delivery boy for getting his Andy Warhol moments and hopefully, a pretty handsome tip!

Douglas Trapasso said...

Thanks for the writeup, Ken! I (heart) Anna Kendrick too, less so her gown last night (and I’m not usually one who critiques fashion).

And I like Pink, but I hope some folks YouTube Jane Monheit singing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” today – THAT’S the current gold standard for this classic.

Steve Mc said...

Kim Novak. Frozen. Ironic.

Anonymous said...

Spot on as usual, Ken and friends.

Did Ellen introduce Cheryl Boone Isaacs as Cheryl BONE Isaacs or was that just my declining hearing?

Adapted screenplay winner John Ridley,who wrote the script for 12 YEARS A SLAVE, said he started out writing simcoms. I look for a newly inspired Levine & Isaacs to finish that script on Bangladeshi garment workers and be on stage in 2 years.

Was that Matthew McConaughey up there or Joel Osteen? I think we have a new record for mumbling, bumbling, stumbling, fumbling acceptance speeches. How long was that? Where was the orchestra when we so desperately need them?

emily said...

When Kim Novak smiled, I saw Heath Ledger as The Joker...

Why so serious?

Stoney said...

I believe the Wizard Of Oz tribute was added to fill the time that became vacant when one of the nominated songs was disqualified. Pink hit the right notes but her phrasing was off a few times!

Notice that Roger Ebert WAS included in the passings fifteen years after Whoopi Goldberg Pointed out that Gene Siskel was left out of that year's segment.

Remember the time Dan Aykroyd slipped a reference to John Belushi into a presentation? Looks like Bill Murray did the same for Harold Ramis!

We have a new #1: Kim Novak has edged out stroke-afflicted Kirk Douglas for all-time most pity-compelling appearance at the Oscars.

Unknown said...

I saw the show in a theater... the bits, like the pizza, played better to the room than the endless montages and tributes.

I'm slightly less interested in seeing "True Detective" than I was yesterday.

Can no one tell Jim Carrey that no one wants to see him gum up his face any longer?

I'd like to see a movie that can use Charlize Theron (who looked bored and stunning), Robin Wright and Glenn Close to play the same person at different stages of their life.

Stoney said...

Gravity was deserving of a lot of what it won but for Best Original Score? Come on! Sustained chords and radio frequency sweeps make a winning score? And the music during the final scene reminded me of the music at the end of 127 Hours.

Richard J. Marcej said...

You too Ken?? Every year after every Oscar telecast i hear the same damn thing.
"Not surprising when a Reuters’ poll found that two-thirds of Americans have not seen ANY of the Best Picture nominees." If that's true, well who's fault is that? EVERY film that was nominated for Best Picture played at everyone's local cinema for weeks and weeks. Hell, half of them are still hanging on many screens. If Americans haven't seen any of the nominated films don't blame the Academy, blame the lazy ass Reuters Poll responders for not seeing any of them.

Mary Stella said...

About the time Zac Ephron was announced as a presenter I wondered if all the A Listers who weren't nominated were at a better event for the night.

These people memorize scripts but can't read from a teleprompter without screwing up.

Kim Novak's appearance just made me sad.

I did laugh about the big group selfie but one selfie bit would have been enough for the night.

unkystan said...

Last year the Academy didn't include Andy Griffith in the memorial saying that he was mostly known for television. But this year there was Sid Caesar who I think was only in 3 or 4 films and only starred in 2.
I also think that Shirley Temple should have been the closing face

ScottyB said...

Did I miss something or was Jack Nicholson conspicuously absent from last nite's Oscars? That's like an old building being without its gargoyle.

AAllen said...

Could be worse. Ben Stiller didn't appear.

ScottyB said...

Say what we will about Ellen's filler bits, but how adventurous should we expect since the Oscars have always been, by their very nature, white-bread lame. It's not like it's a Friar's Club roast on cable.

OTOH, Ellen did get away with a joke about having not seen a dick for a long time. So there's hope.

Ordering pizzas wasn't drop-dead hilarious, but it *was* different, and not something you'd expect. I was more troubled by the celebs who refused a slice, looking like it was a box of typhoid or something. I mean, who the fuck doesn't like pizza?

DonBoy said...

I'm not sure that Ken was "blaming" anyone for most people not having seen any of the BP nominees. But it's not the job of the "lazy-ass" American public to go to the movies. It IS the job of the movie industry to make films that people want to see, and (to a lesser extent) to make them want to see them in theaters.

ScottyB said...

Speaking of the pizza bit, maybe it would have been made funny if Ellen had Samuel L. Jackson (who was there) come down for a slice and start screaming "WHAT??? NO MOTHERFUCKING SAUSAGE PIZZA??? WHO THE FUCK ORDERS PIZZAS WITHOUT GETTING ONE WITHOUT ANY MOTHERFUCKING SAUSAGE ON IT?!?!?!!!"

That woulda added something, methinks.

thesamechris said...

I did play a drinking game, but with "magical" and "journey" as the words. It was a lot of drinking but nobody actually said "magical journey" together this year.

ScottyB said...

I was mostly disappointed (but not surprised) that Hayao Miyazaki's swan-song animated film 'The Wind Rises' lost out to 'Frozen'.

When it comes to artistry, the man's an idol. But the USA's heart apparently belongs to Disney.

Richard J. Marcej said...

DonBoy, my "lazy-ass" comment was to those who constantly whine every year about not seeing the nominated movies, yet they had every opportunity to do so. It's not as if the films were in the theater for a day or two then vanished. I kind of compare it to those who complain about those in the congress but yet never vote. To those who don't want to go to the movies, more power to you, just don't constantly whine and bitch that you didn't see the films when you had every opportunity to do so.

And wait a minute, it's the job of the movie industry to make movies that people want to see? Really? I thought it was their job to make compelling, interesting and entertaining films. And how could anyone say that "12 Years A Slave", "Her", "Captain Philips", "Gravity", "Nebraska" "Philomena", "Frozen" , etc… don't fall into that category?? My god, what else are they supposed to do??!!!!

Hollywoodaholic said...

You're right, it was gayer than the Tonys with Ellen, Liza and Wizard of Oz AND bathhouse babe Bette Midler (her buddy Bruce Vilanch no doubt backstage).

I get the feeling Bette was supposed to sing the song OVER the In Memorium section, but, being Bette, she probably refused unless the performance just featured her. It was awkward.

The whole Ellen host thing came off just a little too casual for me, like she treated it the same as her daytime talk show audience.

And Hollywood guilt kicked in, as by all other accounts, "Gravity" was headed for best picture. That was so predictable.

Mike said...

Remember Liza Minnelli in the selfie? No? Here's why.
Many years ago, I had a job interview with the company that did the FX for Gravity. They've done very well without me.
No goodie bag jokes? For shame.

Preferred the Globes with Emma Thompson rocking up to the stage, drink in one hand, shoes in the other. More fun.

Anonymous said...

There was a choice in one category that everyone in the office pool picked and sure enough--the documentary about Nazis and Jews won. The sun also rose in the east this morning.

Jill said...

Wow Ken, I think if you re-read your comment about Jared Leto you'll her your Father's voice from the 60's.

Ben Scripps said...

Richard—it’s easy to say people had “every opportunity” to see these films when you live in or near a big city. Those of us in “flyover country” don’t have every opportunity. Of this year’s nine BP nominees, five (Dallas Buyers Club, Her, Nebraska, Philomena, and 12 Years a Slave) never played in the local 5-screen theatre. If I wanted to see any of those (and I did), it would have meant an hour and a half drive to the nearest large city.

Steve said...

What's up with Steve McQueen and John Ridley? Definitely seemed to be some friction there. Ridley didn't thank McQueen during his speech and vice versa by McQueen.

Richard J. Marcej said...

Mork, if that's the case, than I'd say the fault is more with those local 5-screen theaters than with the Academy's choices for Best Picture.

SharoneRosen said...

I wish now that I had written them all down, but along with Willy Wonka, I thought all the play off music choices were... um.... odd.. just... odd

Igor said...

ScottyB said... "I was more troubled by the celebs who refused a slice, looking like it was a box of typhoid or something. I mean, who the fuck doesn't like pizza?"

When I saw the pizza, I was thinking, "Who wants to wear a pizza?" And on TV, that looked like a pizza ready to stain someone's clothes.

Igor said...

Mork said... "Those of us in “flyover country” don’t have every opportunity. Of this year’s nine BP nominees, five (Dallas Buyers Club, Her, Nebraska, Philomena, and 12 Years a Slave) never played in the local 5-screen theatre."

Mork, so you're saying that "Nebraska" didn't play in Nebraska?

Actually, I can imagine that being the case. And I meant Nebraska as a stand-in for the region. Still, it's funny.

Anonymous said...

Hey could someone tell the set designers for the Oscars that its time for a yard sale, geez,enough with the same stage decoration year after year. Come on Oscar Show producers, spend some of that billion dollar revenue the Academy recieves yearly and go shopping for some new stuff already.

Breadbaker said...

I was expecting Naomi Watts to turn to Sam Jackson and tell him how gret he was in "What's Love Got to Do With It?"

And I liked the pizza thing because it made it feel like Hollywood was just some little group of friends who get together for an Oscar party, even though clearly some of them had never met before. But that's Ellen; she is so inoffensive she doesn't have to articulate her "I've not seen a dick in years joke", she just leaves the entire world with the predicate and we all get it.

mmryan314 said...

Ken- I loved Pink's rendition of " Somewhere Over The Rainbow". If I hadn't had one to many vodka tonics I would have given her a standing ovation in my own living room.
I could get mean about John Travolta but I always did think he was silly.
Thought Ellen did a great job.
You left a name out of the stunning looking women- Sandra Bullock.

Hollywoodaholic said...

Wonder how much Samsung paid for the whole show including the walking Ellen product placement

gottacook said...

A few years ago "In Memoriam" featured a singer during rather than after the segment, and the result was horrible: The camera did not stay on the screen but kept swooping around, trying to include the singer as well, and therefore home viewers couldn't see (for more than a fraction of a second) many of the names and images of those memorialized.

Of course, this doesn't answer why there had to be a song at all. Perhaps someone owed Bette a favor, and perhaps she wants to get back into movies after the success in both New York and L.A. of the one-woman play "I'll Eat You Last" (in which she portrays agent Sue Mengers).

It could have been worse: They could have had her Beaches co-star Barbara Hershey lying on the stage, reprising her role as the dead friend being sung to.

Hal Tepfer said...

So, Ken, are you saying that we actuaries have a chance with Charlize Theron?

Frank said...

Thought I was watching a suspense thriller... waiting with baited breath to see which actress would dump pizza on her borrowed, 20 million dollar Oscar de la Renta dress.

Every time I start to think Matthew McConaughey can act he gives an acceptance speech that starts out as a religious sermon and ends by boring us to death. Don't know if I could tolerate him again on screen.

Chuck Southcott said...

The breaths Pink drew during the song were disconcerting. I don't believe she ever heard a Sinatra record.

The Mutt said...

Matthew McConaughey deserves an Oscar for Best Supporting an Actress. He was so gallant and supportive and kind with Kim Novak. What a sweetheart.

Same for Angelina Jolie. They both handled awkward situations with charm and class.

Frank Paradise said...

I thought Kim Novak had just been rushed over from the stage where she was playing Mae West on her deathbed.

Chris said...

While it would have been nice if Sarah Jones had been included in the body of the In Memoriam segment, I can tell you, as one who has been involved peripherally with her death here in Georgia, we were thrilled that she was acknowledged at all. There was real concern that since Randy Miller and Jody Savin have hired a P.R. firm to help cover up their involvement, er, I mean represent them in the aftermath of her death, that they would succeed in squashing the attempt to include her in the tribute. They were quite successful in keeping their names out of the initial reporting (especially in Variety), so all in all, it was more of a win for Sarah than an afterthought. At least for us. So glad you know about her, Ken.

cadavra said...

Coupla things:

I know you were joking, but Spielberg couldn't have been nominated, as he didn't make a movie this past year.

As for Kim Novak, she suffered nerve damage from a fall off her horse a few years ago, followed by a small stroke shortly after. That is her face now. Considering how little she ventures out in public, why would she even bother with cosmetic surgery in the first place?

Lorimartian said...

Enjoyed the post, Ken.

Because Travolta was so far off on Menzel's name, I thought for a nanosecond that it might have been wrong on the prompter, as unlikely as that may have been. Even if that were the case, someone who "knows and loves musicals" should have gotten it right. Beyond awkward.

I was SO relieved they didn't have Liza attempt to sing "Somewhere Over the Rainbow."

It troubles me that people will think Midler's version of the exquisite song "The Wind Beneath My Wings" is the gold standard. It was butchered in "Beaches," and she continues to sing it like she's trying to wrestle it to the ground. The definitive version is performed by Gary Morris. I hope people will take the time to seek it out.

ScottyB, I agree with you. I thought "The Wind Rises" had a real shot. It's a shame Miyazaki's final effort wasn't recognized. His "Spirited Away" lingers in my memory to this day.

D. McEwan said...

"Chuck Southcott said...
The breaths Pink drew during the song were disconcerting. I don't believe she ever heard a Sinatra record."

Chuck, I gotta agree. I could not believe she was breathing in right in the middles of words. I actually told my cats out loud as I watched: "That woman's phrasing is terrible!"

Liza was a hoot. Why did she hug Lupita? Because Lupita was on camera! In audience shots where Liza was in the background, you could see Liza check out herself on the monitor, and then move her face into a more prominent spot, even if it meant blocking Lorna. Although she looked like Kim Novak in a black wig, Liza was determined to get as much face time on-camera as humanly possible. (Especially after they flog a reunion of Judy Garland's children and then don't let them onstage. Were they afraid they'd never get Liza back off stage again? "Stand up and sit down again. Don't speak! We need more time for Hero montages, and for Bette and Pink to sing, not you.")

"Th amazing Joey Luft." What, exactly, is "amazing" about Joey Luft? Something? Anything? He dressed himself; I guess I could be amazed by that.

A friend over for brunch yesterday asked me: "What do you think Bette Midler will sing?" I replied: "I don't care as long as it is NOT The Wind Beneath My Wings." My friend agreed.

Darlene Love's "Speech", and Bill Murray's comment on Harold Ramis, were the highlights for me. It took Harold's death, but Bill is finally over the snit from Groundhog's Day that caused him not to speak to Harold ever since. Made me cry.

Matthew McConoghy's speech was the only one I fast-forwarded through. When he started in on God, I was gone. If there were a God, there'd have been no AIDS crisis in the first place.

Anonymous said...

The song is titled "Over the Rainbow, " not "Somewhere Over the Rainbow," no matter how many people call it that.

Anonymous said...

Holy shit! When did the Rolling Stones disband??? U 2 the worlds greatest rockn n roll band??? Bozo and Sludge wouldn't make it as roadies for the Stones!

Cap'n Bob said...

Hated the pizza, selfies, new museum, and Midler time wasters. Like a show of this nature needs padding. Darlene Love, whom I've otherwise admired for decades, sounded like she was in childbirth. Aside to Darlene: this wasn't an audition for American Idol. On the up side, I'm thankful Kim Novak and Sidney Poitier didn't escort each other to the microphone.

also bob said...


Nice bon mot. Though we (the fortunate? among us anyway) will all suffer the indignities of age.

To go back to some earlier comments, it does seem inhumane to have our geriatric luminaries be paraded on the global stage. I can see exceptions for things like lifetime achievement awards, but even then it can be a bit cruel. I remember the ghastly appearances of Groucho and Chaplin back in the 1970's. In the case of Groucho, we now KNOW the person that was supervising his care did not have his best interests at heart.

Maybe in 10 years the surviving Pythons can have an Oscar wheelchair race. Until then, I think we should scale back on these kinds of tributes.

Gary said...

I wonder if any celebrity actually took one bite of pizza? If they did, they're probably on a two-week fast already.

Mr. First Nighter said...

Did you notice one of the Foreign Film nominees came from the fictional country of Palestine? That was a shot in the arm for the film industry of Atlantis

BobGreen said...

And on a technical note...didn't anyone notice that the levels on ALL the singers mikes were down 20 db or so. Novice guy riding the gain?

Elf said...

Did anyone notice that as Sidney Poitier walked out S L O W L Y on stage, the lyrics to the song playing were "If it takes forever, I will wait for you"? IT really did seem as if it would take forever, didn't it?

Wendy M. Grossman said...

stoney: While I thought it was disgraceful that they left out Siskel and I was pleased that Whoopi Goldberg corrected the (deliberate) omission, it would have been much harder for them to make a case for leaving Ebert out. *Besides* all the critic stuff he did alongside Siskel (and others after Siskel died), Ebert wrote a couple of screenplays which were produced, he did books of interviews and DVD commentaries, he ran a film festival, and he was a tireless promoter of even very obscure (and not necessarily popular) films he loved. He's also willed a sizable chunk of change to fund a film studies program at his alma mater, UIUC.


Dale said...

Films need to be worth seeing. I never waste money going to the cinema to watch Hollywood rubbish.

Hollywood lost it's way some time ago. There is too little focus on good stories and characters with depth. It is all comics, special effects, transparent emotional manipulation, guns and actors on screen for their looks, rather than ability.

I did not wqtch the Oscars. Life is too short. Reading Levine's review is quite enough. And I bet he nailed it.

Canda said...

I was sorry John Belushi could not have come out in a toga during the singing of "The Moon Song" by Karen O. I would envision him listening to that for a beat, and then smashing Ezra Koenig's guitar against the wall.

James said...

One night of decorum and glamor. Too much to ask of the Oscars? The pizza and selfie bits continued the further slide to ordinariness. Ellen tossing out asides like she barely had the energy, and flubbing to boot. Very underwhelming to this viewer. And thanks to the two here who acknowledged Pink's singing was sub-par. Lousy phrasing and... intonation. Of all the classic vocalists who could have nailed that classic tune, they go with her?

Angry Gamer said...

All I can add is what is up with the odd time fills??

We CAN'T hear someone thank their 3rd grade music teacher because it's too long..

BUT we have all the time in the world for pizza stunts??? really

Just makes me angry and people don't like it when I'm angry

Angry Gamer

Jim said...

@Elf: That song was "If It Takes Forever," from THE UMBRELLAS OF CHERBOURG, and it was an unfortunate choice, given the degree to which has slowed Mr. Poitier.

I realize the point of most of these posts is to be as mean and snarky as imagination permits, but ragging on Kim Novak, whose appearance is due to nerve damage and a stroke suffered in recent years, seems unacceptably tasteless to me. Though I'm not sure many people acknowledge the existence of such a concept as "unacceptably tasteless" these days.

Chuck Clayton said...

If Meryl Streep had gotten pizza sauce on her gown, she'd have blamed Walt Disney for willing it to happen 50 years ago.

Eric J said...

Vinnie Barbarino wasn't an act.

Elf said...

@Jim Thanks, I didn't know the name of the movie it was from, and now that you've provided it, it does not ring a bell at all.

And in the category of other things I didn't know, I'm willing to bet that most people besides myself did not know about Ms. Novak's nerve damage and stroke. It is regrettable that if her appearance is due to those events that it has left her looking like the victim of plastic surgery gone bad.

R's Woman said...

@Mr. First Nighter - you weren't the only one who noticed the country of Palestine! Thought I was seeing and hearing things....

Ken - don't be so hard on Lupita - yes her speech was on the long side, but I thought it most heartfelt and engaging. Compared to Jared Leto's which was long and felt a bit superficial, and Matthew Mcconaughey's which was way too long and self-important.

Mark said...

Hi Ken:

At first I thought, "Oh great, Ken is going to rant with his mean spirited shit."

Then I read the post and laughed out loud several times.

Well done and thank you.

jbryant said...

Dale wrote: "Hollywood lost it's way some time ago. There is too little focus on good stories and characters with depth. It is all comics, special effects, transparent emotional manipulation, guns and actors on screen for their looks, rather than ability."

This is the standard received "wisdom" about Hollywood. And while it does describe a fair amount of the output of the studios, it's not a fair description at all of the nominated films. (With the possible exception of "transparent emotional manipulation," but that's been true of Hollywood films from the very beginning.) You'll notice the Academy almost never bestows Best Picture nominations upon big f/x-driven films, and certainly not comics-derived stuff.

Hamid said...

I liked Ellen's Liza Minnelli joke, but I thought it sounded familiar. And then I remembered the episode of The Simpsons where Bart runs his own casino in his treehouse.

I gotta book a new act for tonight. Turns out that Liza Minnelli impersonator was really Liza Minnelli. [shudders]

Liggie said...

I'll say this for Ellen -- it was certainly different. And there's nothing wrong with different, like the pizza, interacting with the stars in the audience, etc. After three straight bad hosting jobs from Anne/James, Billy and Seth, I'll Ellen's offbeat approach any day.

Hamid said...

I just read this:
Sunday's Oscars ceremony, hosted by Ellen DeGeneres, was watched by 43 million TV viewers in the US. According to broadcaster ABC, it was the biggest audience for the Academy Awards in a decade.

Hopefully this means Ellen will be invited back next year. She's a far funnier and more entertaining host than Seth, Billy, Whoopi and Jon combined.

Mike said...

Yes, folks. The State of Palestine was recognised by the United Nations General Assembly in 2012. A small step in the advancement of mankind.

name spelling said...

"Barkhad Abdi"

Steve B. said...

The WGA didn't get involved in the credits dispute over "12 Years A Slave" because John Ridley went Fi-Core during the last strike and is no longer a member of the Writers Guild of America.

Mr First Nighter said...

Hey, Mike! The pseudo-state of Palestine reminds me of this line from "What's Up Tiger Lily?"
High Macha Of Rashpur: Good afternoon. I am the Grand Exalted High Macha of Raspur, a nonexistent but real-sounding country. We're on a waiting list. As soon as there's an opening on the map, we're next.

Tallulah Morehead said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
D. McEwan said...

"Anonymous said...
Kim Novak jokes are a cheap shot Ken you should have a little more class. If someone started riffing on the ugly Dyke host of the awards it would be a sin, yet it's cool to attack the elderly."

You do realize that the moment you typed "Ugly Dyke," your rebuke lost all credibility and you revealed yourself as a homophobic bigot with all the class of a public Diarrhea attack?

"gay men love to be bitchy, and think they're funny. i'm sure you, your partner and your other witty friends laughed like school girls during the show. who doesn't love a joke at poor liza's expense. the show was a snooze, but this review is typical of your ilk. ugh.
matt paneno"

Ah, Matt, you seem unaware that Ken is straight. (That his daughter co-wrote the column might have given you at least a HINT in that direction.)

Now I'm gay, and I must say, you have defended Liza more vociferously than any of her other gay fans have, so congratulations on your outing yourself. Welcome to our "ilk." Meetings are on Tuesdays unless Liza is on, then they're on Wednesdays. Don't wear white after Labor Day. see ya, sweetie.

Hamid said...

Kim Novak jokes are a cheap shot Ken you should have a little more class. If someone started riffing on the ugly Dyke host of the awards it would be a sin, yet it's cool to attack the elderly. Pukes, no wonder Hollywood sucks. At least Kim is still standing upright, a more romantic story would be of the actor(S) who die of heroin abuse, liquor or at their own hand. That's cool and sexy.

Hi Mr Limabugh.

ReadersSpace said...

Jennifer Lawrence made history too..She is the first actress who be caught tripping at the awards two years in a row!.. really funny

Unforgettable Moments at Oscars 2014

Lana P. said...

You summarized the Oscars 2014 perfectly! I agree with everything. Matthew McConaughey had to really put on a shirt to become an actor. But I think he did a great job in Dallas Buyers Club. What I didn't like about the Oscars was the fact, how one weird movie - Gravity - won almost everything. I understand that McConaughey and Leto won the awards, they really had to go through some changes in appearance, etc. But why Gravity? It wasn't anything special, I really like Apollo 13 more and it's ages old! Music wasn't good either, the script was a monologue of Sandra Bullock yelling in the space,throughout the whole movie. I was really disappointed watching this year's Oscars. Maybe next year will be better. Hopefully.. :)