Sunday night, after a frightfully busy week (and an almost as busy weekend), I hunkered down on the couch in my comfy clothes, next to IS, with some Sun Chips and red wine for a ritual I have observed annually since 1976: watching the Oscars.
Here is the breakdown of my timeline of randoms, thoughts observations and other silliness that occurred to me as I watched the show.
Just pretend it's a Twitter time capsule...
6:30 PM: It's still two hours from the 84th Annual Academy Awards. I decided in to tune into CNN's red carpet coverage. CNN's Showbiz Tonight's special Oscar Red Carpet fashion commentator, Real Housewives of Beverly Hills "star" Lisa Vanderpump, makes the observation that more stars are wearing ostentatious jewelry this year than they have in the past few years. She points out that the stars must be less self conscious of wearing expensive glitter this year, thus creating is a clear indicator that the economy is recovering and that the four year recession must be coming to an end. There she goes quoting Paul Krugman again.
8:03: I have now switched over to ABC's Oscar pre-show. It's much slicker show than Showbiz Tonight's. Now just 30 minutes away, I tune in to see Bradley Cooper doing, for some reason, his Christopher Walken impression. For better or worse, Christopher Walken has now joined Ed Sullivan, Elvis Presley, Jack Nicholson, Bob Dylan and William Shatner as one of every supposed funny man's go-to impersonation. And, honestly, I've seen it done better, like by Christopher Walken, say.
8:21: Just before showtime, ABC runs a trailer for Disney's new CGI action adventure blockbuster epic, John Carter. One of the quotes from a film critic that appears on-screen reads "Full of action". As far as vague generalizations go, that's a veritable rave review.
8: 30: The show proper begins. Morgan Freeman introduces the evening. He is wearing a black glove on his left hand. Apparently, he's just returned from a light saber duel with Darth Vader.
8: 36: Billy Crystal, not surprisingly, appears in another one of those tour-de-force short films where, through the magic of digital effects, he appears in all of the nominated movies. The one thing that really stands out the most to me is that the inserting-Billy-Crystal-into-any-given-movie technology sure has come a long way since the 90's.
|Crystal took some heat for his black-face Sammy Davis, Jr. impersonation in the opening short film. |
It ain't the 80's no more, Billy.
8:43: Martin Scorsese's Hugo wins The Oscar for Best Cinematography. As cinematographer Robert Richardson walks up to the stage to accept his statue, they then proceed to a show a scene from Hugo that is made up entirely special effects and little or no actual cinematography.
8:52: Is it just me or does this year's excuse for a montage of memorable movie scenes have no clips from films before 1970? I thought they decided not to care about the youth audience this year.
9:06: You know you're watching an American brodcast when, as the nominees for Best Foreign Language Movie are announced, a large map behind presenter Sandra Bullock lights up to show which part of the world the nominated countries are in.
9:08: A Separation, a film from Iran wins Best Foriegn Language Film. The director gives a "Why can't we all just get along?" speech. And cue Fox News going apeshit with manufactured rage, now...or, at least, Stephen Colbert.
9:11: Octavia Spencer wins Best Supporting Actress for The Help. All I can think about during her emotionally moving acceptance speech is that upstaging goofy guy that helped her up the stairs.
9:16 Hey, CTV, that's 9th time this hour that I've seen that lipstick commercial. Relax, I was sold on the stuff from the first time I saw it.
9:22 The cast of Mighty Wind, Waiting for Guffman and Best in Show are featured in a short film depicting a focus group at a pre-screening of the Wizard of Oz in 1939. Eugene Levy is awesome. Best line: "Cut the rainbow song".
9:25. The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo wins for best Film Editing. Editor Kirk Baxter has the acceptance speech line of the night as he says at the end of some very brief comments, "Let's get out of here".
9:38 That Cirque du Soleil presents a totally awesome movie themed acrobatic show. Makes me wish I'd last more than two hours in those auditions.
10:01 Christopher Plummer gets a standing ovation as he wins Best Supporting Actor for his role in Beginners. If being 82 isn't a sign of Mr.Plummer's impending mortality, wining his first Oscar at 82 sure is.
10:14 John Williams is nominated twice for Best Score. He still loses. Good. The guy's really kinda over accoladed.
10: 18 K, so there were only two nominated songs this year. Yet for some reason, the producers of the show decided not have either of them performed during the broadcast. One of them was a song from The Muppets. Yeah, good call. The Muppets performing a song live at The Oscars really woulda brought the proceedings to a grinding halt.
Brett Mackenzie, half of the New Zealand musical comedy duo, Flight of the Conchords wins for his original song composition,“Man or Muppet”. He thanks Disney for making "movies with songs in them".
10:21. Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis do a bit physical comedy bit with cymbals. It's the kinda thing you could have easily seen Martin and Lewis doing at like the 1956 Oscars. It is funny, though. That kinda stuff is timeless.
10:28 The Descendants wins best screenplay. I'm surprised to hear that director Alexander Payne and his co-writers are former members of the LA-based improv troupe, The Groundings. Well, that is until they get on stage and start speaking.
10:30 Woody Allen wins Best Screenplay for Midnight in Paris. I am shocked and stunned to see that Woody is not in attendance. What do they have to do get him to back? Make another Nora Ephron montage of New York movies?
10:54. The Artist director Michel Hazanavicius wins the Best Director Oscar. He thanks the "crazy people" who put up the money for him to make the movie. Yep, that's film investing, alright.
10:58 A tribute to legendary Hollywood make up artist Dick Smith (The Godfather, The Exorcist) takes up all of 23 seconds of screen time. Guess he's less important to the medium than Douglas Trumbull.
11:07 No James Farantino in the dead person's reel. I guess not many members of the Academy are big fans of The Final Countdown.
11:14 Boy that thing where last year's winner for Best Actor addresses each of this year's nominees is awkward as hell. Colin Firth did do his best with it, though.
11:29 I'm with Meryl Streep when she says, "Oh, come on!", to the standing ovation. She then points out that half of America is probably saying the same thing as well. True dat.
11:32 Tom Cruise is presenting the Best Picture Oscar. I wonder what having such an honour bestowed on him did for his Thetan levels.
11:35 The Artist wins Best Picture. Aside from it being the odds on favourite and this year's darling of the critics, the win was inevitable for another reason. The movie was distributed in the US by Harvey Weinstein. Let's face it, when it comes to Oscar voting campaigns, the guy is Karl Rove.
Until the 85th Annual Academy Awards...or next week.
Whichever comes first.