THE DAY OF THE OSCARS TELECAST is supposed to be a day with no stress, conflicts or upsetting news. It is a day of comfort, excitement, being with friends and family or not; a time to sit back and reflect on the past year’s movies. So, when I woke up to an alert on my phone that read “due to inclement weather…” I could rebook my flight home for a different time at no charge my stress level became elevated. Due to scheduling I already was cutting the times close to get home and settled before the awards show. Now with wintery weather, I could get caught in “flight delayed” hell. I did not want to rebook my flight; so, I decided to take my chances with getting on that 1st flight out of town. Even if it meant I had to get up awfully early with only enough time to shove all my clothes tightly into my suitcase, I would get home in time to see the show. Gratefully, the Hollywood powers that be and the alignment of the celebrities’ stars took pity on me and let my flight take off on time to get back home. WALKING INTO MY HOUSE 10 MINUTES before the awards show started was not planned. I had to leave my suitcase and bags in the hallway, race into the kitchen to only eat whatever I could grab right out of the refrigerator (like a bear scavenging thru an empty house) and sit down in front of the television to see the momentous occasion of the show going without a host. And you know what? I did not miss having a host at all. The hosting job, in my opinion, can only be handled by a certain type of individual. They would need to be quick thinking, funny and be able to have a strong command of the audience. I can only bring a few to mind who could fit that bill. Starting out the show with Queen and Adam Lambert performing was a smart move by the academy. After their missteps of having and not having a most popular film category to moving some awards to commercial time, they needed an attention-grabbing start to the show and they got that with Queen. Following it up with Tina Fey, Maya Rudolph and Amy Poehler coming out for the first presenter spot was a brilliant move. The academy needed to warm up the audience and get them into the mood and these 3 women knew exactly what it took to make that happen. I felt the rest of the presenters were all safe choices with only a couple of surprises, Melissa McCarthy dressed up in costume and Barbra Streisand. It was great to see Julia Roberts; however, based on her reaction it looked like they sprung the news on her to end the show. It appeared and felt awkward. Instead, they should have had a “surprise guest” come out and say goodbye. BASED ON MY PREVIOUS POST THAT listed my choices, I was overall okay with the chosen winners. A couple of surprises based on the audience’s reaction, but for the nominations that were given, the academy got most of the choices right. Now for what I felt was the highlight of the show and that was the performance from Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper. If ever you wanted to see a master class of acting, then this was the couple to see. Going from nominated actors in the audience to walking up on stage and immediately into “character” for their performance of the song, “Shallow,” was an amazing feat. I understand Bradley was extremely nervous to sing on stage, but I could not see it. They were perfection in their singing and chemistry; nothing more need be said about it. The last thing I wish to mention was the shorter duration of the telecast. It was enough time and I appreciated it immensely. So, with that being said I want to thank all of you for another good year of movie watching and reviews. May your journeys take you to uncharted territories of wonder, surprise, thrills and love as we look for those films that can take us away from our reality and place us into the middle of the movie’s story. Thank you for following and sharing your comments with me; it is deeply appreciated.
THOUGH I WAS PREPARED FOR a long show, by the time it actually ends it always seems so much longer. Not that I am complaining about it since I know when you have people talking off script it is hard to peg an actual ending time. Personally I prefer the winners to come prepared with their acceptance speeches. The reason I say this is because there have been so many times where a winner gets up in front of the audience and can only sputter out sporadic words of thanks. Of course I am all for an off the cuff remark or something fun; but walking up and pretending you are totally in shock (especially if you are one of the odds on favorites) and not having anything written down makes me suspicious. Oh wait, maybe that is supposed to be ACTING!
COMPARED TO PAST SHOWS THIS one was not one of my favorites, though nowhere near the one Anne Hathaway and James Franco hosted one year. Overall Jimmy Kimmel did a decent job; not a laugh out loud type stint at hosting, but he had some good segments. I actually thought he was a bit restrained. Where the Jet Ski joke was fun (don’t you love Helen Mirren?!) I thought going over to visit the movie patrons next door was a waste of time. It is funny my first thought when the lights turned on and they stopped the feature film was I would have been so upset if I was in the audience and they stopped the movie in the middle. The whole stint was similar to last year’s joke that went a bit sour when it was discovered one of the tourists had recently gotten out of prison.
ONE OF THE HIGHLIGHTS FOR me was hearing all the nominated songs being performed by their original artists. I enjoyed the staging especially for Remember Me from Coco and This is Me from The Greatest Showman. Another high point for me was Frances McDormand’s acceptance speech. Granted I wish we lived in a world where we did not have to classify or label a person’s gender or race to their profession, but I totally understand why it needs to be done presently. Maybe it is just me but I do not focus on whether a woman or man wrote the screenplay; I just want it to be a well written script. However if a person is being discriminated because of their race, religion, gender or gender identity; then I would have a problem with it. I noticed many of the celebrities were wearing a particular pin on their clothing. Showing your solidarity with a cause is admirable and I do not want to downplay the action. The question I have is are they just wearing the pin to wear it; did they pay for it and the money is earmarked for a good cause or are they actively trying to cause change in a broken system? You know how much I love the movies but like sports figures, I think something is askew when people who act are given huge amounts of money while many school teachers are being forced to foot the bill to supply their class with fundamental utensils for education.
OVERALL I WAS SATISFIED WITH the voting results. There really were no surprises per se. My only wish is I would like the better made movies to be spread throughout the year, instead of the film studios holding what they believe will become Oscar nominated pictures towards the end of the year. The other thing I would like to have is more quality made movies; this year had more than the usual amount of films that got a low star rating from me. But enough of that; let me end on a happier note. How many of you absolutely loved the introduction of Rita Moreno, who wore the exact same dress she wore when she won her Oscar for West Side Story? That took place over 55 years ago! Now one more comment; I thought it was an excellent idea to bring back Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty to get a 2nd chance to name the correct picture. Now that they are done don’t bring them back.
WELL THAT IS ALL I have to say about the show. Another year closes into the record books. I have gathered up my reviews from the past year and put them in a time capsule that looks suspiciously like a box that once held a humidifier inside of it, hung up my Oscar predictions on the corkboard, recycled my plastic water bottle and watered my poor neglected plants before I checked on what movies would be opening this weekend. In case I have to see three films in a row I better get on the treadmill to prepare myself. Everyone thank you for following me the past year; I hope I was able to save you from spending money on the poorly made films and let you become surprised on some new discoveries. A happy and healthy year of movie watching I wish for each and every one of you. Thank you.
The telephone loudly pierced the purposeful silence that descended upon the house. It was less than 5 minutes prior to the Oscars telecast, so it was obvious the caller did not know me. Everyone who knows me knows not to call me on Oscar Sunday. I need the day to take care of life’s chores before settling in to watch the show and see how my predictions will fare. With the controversy over this year’s nominations I commend host Chris Rock tackling the subject head-on, with a mixture of humor and seriousness. I felt he found the perfect balance to carry off the monologue. As the show progressed I would have preferred it if Chris expanded beyond this one subject. Yes, there was the Girl Scout cookie moment but it seems ever since Ellen DeGeneres took that selfie shot in the audience, every telecast now has to have some kind of interaction with the audience. The cookie gag was funny for a moment but was not necessary in my opinion.
Though I just heard on the news that this telecast had the lowest television ratings of the past 8 years, I thought the news ticker running across the bottom of the screen listing the people the winners wanted to thank was a good idea; their speeches certainly seemed shorter to me. As far as I could remember this telecast was the closest to end on time compared to recent past shows. My favorite acceptance speeches were given by Leonardo DiCaprio and Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, though I wished the music was not playing during Alejandro’s speech like it did not for Leonardo. I also enjoyed the quick informational blurbs that appeared next to the presenters, despite them being a bit small to read at times. Since I am a big fan of music, I was looking forward to the singing of the nominated songs. Lady Gaga did not disappoint; I thought her performance was a highlight of the show and was surprised her song did not get an Oscar. The two presenters that stood out for me were Louis C.K. for Documentary Short Subject and Toy Story’s Woody and Buzz Lightyear for Best Animated Film. Oh and I cannot forget the robots from Star Wars and the Minions.
If you know me you probably realize there would have to be something startling inappropriate or poorly thought out for me to dislike an Oscar telecast. There have been hosts that were quickly forgettable, speeches that dragged on forever and presenters that used the opportunity for personal gain; but I do not care, the bottom line for me has always been the celebration of the movies I love. Ever since I was a little boy, sitting on the floor in front of the TV with my bowl of popcorn, the Oscars has been my favorite show to watch. So with that being said, it is time to close the chapter on this year’s Oscar telecast and begin seeking out what will get the nod for next year’s show.
There once was a little boy who was not very little. A majority of the people around him all looked the same which made him more self-concsious about his size. Not finding many places to fit in, to be like one of the others around him, he found a safe place in a palace. It looked like a palace to him with stained glass windows, smooth white colored brick walls, aged statues and a massive awning filled with colored lights perched above sets of pure glass doors with brass oversized handles. He not only felt safe inside but found a whole different world to the one he was living in. The first spot he would stop at once inside was the glass cases that were pieced together like a kid’s fort. Walking around he saw more types of candy than he had ever seen before. From there he would walk through a set of polished black doors that opened into a huge auditorium filled with row upon row of red velvet seats. He spent as much time as he could in this place because he discovered different worlds and experienced things he only saw in his imagination. Every week there would be a new movie that proved to him there were all types of people from all different places. He laughed, he cried, he yearned, he wished; and most importantly discovered he was okay just the way he was. FROM that point in time he has paid his respects to the magic of movies by watching the Oscar telecast every year. This year the show started out on a high note with the host Neil Patrick Harris doing what he does best, being a song and dance man. With the special effects around him that placed him into classic movie clips, things took a fun turn with Anna Kendrick and Jack Black. As the evening progressed Neil had more misses than hits as a host. The schtick with Octavia Spencer got old fast, though I give him points for honoring the film Birdman by walking out on stage in his underwear. One of my favorite moments was Lady Gaga’s tribute to the 50th anniversary of the movie The Sound of Music. Having seen her in concert where she sang live, she already had extra points in my book. Using a higher register of voice without losing her power; she did the movie proud. And if that was not enough to have Julie Andrews walk on stage was perfect for me. I wanted Mary Poppins to come to my house when I was a kid. For the best song from the movie Selma I thought the staging, the message and the vocals all contributed to the power a song has not only in a movie but in our hearts. THIS year the speeches took on a more personal aspect. The one everyone is talking about and deservedly so was the one given by Graham Moore for best adapted screenplay for The Imitation Game. Coming from the heart, his speech was the most inspiring in my opinion. Julianne Moore and Patricia Arquette both had strong speeches delivered in two distinctly different styles, yet each had potency in their words. Reese Witherspoon may not have given an acceptance speech but her #askhermore campaign is a wonderful idea. I understand all the designers are expecting shout outs for their handy work with the gowns the actresses are wearing, but is that all people want to hear about? Reese’s idea is for journalists to start asking more questions besides, “Who are you wearing?” OVERALL I am pleased with who received the Oscar award. To tell you the truth on one level I find it odd to place movies into a race with each other. My thing has always been if a movie can move you then it did its job. Just like there has to be someone who graduates at the top of their class and others from the bottom, some movies are phenomenal and others are awful. No matter what movie I am seeing, to this day there is a certain comfort and safety that comes over me when I sit down in a movie theater seat. So with the Oscars now given out the past year of movies has come to a close. May the new year of films stir something in our hearts and give us something to talk about.
As I was scrapping the last spoonful of ice cream out of my 2nd container, the Oscar telecast came to a close. Another season of movies fighting their way to the ultimate prize in Hollywood–the Oscar statuette. Overall, I enjoyed the telecast, with its even pacing and shorter than usual acceptance speeches. I am not sure if it was the length of the telecast or the amount of caffeine I consumed from the lovely chocolate creations, donated by my local bakery; but, it seemed as if I needed more bathroom breaks. It was good to see Billy Crystal again. Having him host was like finding a comfortable sweater that was out of fashion, so you would only wear it to the grocery store. Some of his jokes were funny or at least amusing, though the focus group clip did nothing for me. As for the movie stars in attendance, I felt their attire was elegant in a muted way. Though what was up with Angelina’s leg? Did she think her dress was not beautiful enough without thrusting her leg out? Cirque du Soleil did a wonderful piece, though the space of the stage made it look too busy for me. I did not know what to look at first. And so what if their act had nothing to do with the movies, maybe they were there for the cool factor, albeit fifteen years ago. Though I wish the results would have been different, I will continue to seek out those elusive 4 star movies…right after I fill out my application to be a seat filler for next year’s show.