Oscar’s been put to bed for yet another year and for the first time, in a long time, I wasn’t that sad to see him go. As the credits rolled on the most anticipated night of the film industry, I couldn’t help but hope for next year and ponder the somewhat bizarre direction of the 82nd Awards show. I’m not just talking about my personal opinion on the list of nominee’s or even the random renewal of choosing ten best picture nominees’ (although, I will get to that.) Instead, I was noticing that even the format seemed awkward and somewhat incohesive. Needless to say, it threw me off to some degree and sadly, by the end of the three and a half hour ceremony; I breathed a hearty sigh of relief.
The catalyst for the evening was the opening, which included the nominee’s for Best Actor and Actress standing awkwardly onstage as they were introduced to the audience (as if we had forgotten who they are). Why the Academy deemed this necessary or even worthy of the first impression of the evening was a mystery to me. I know they were setting up for all of the testimonies of the other actors that had worked with them, but it was a weak beginning and certainly could have waited until after Baldwin and Martin had warmed up the crowd. I would have much rather preferred the customary musical comedy bit, thank you very much.
Which brings me to my next concern, the musical number. The musical number is an Oscar classic and a great, entertaining tribute to the films and actors nominated. Unfortunately, we were given barely coherent Neil Patrick Harris.His attempt to channel Billy Crystal greatness was sadly a flop and didn’t contain the charm, wit, or smart writing of the previous years. Normally, Crystal stuck to a little diddy that joked on the Best Picture Nominee’s and it worked.Yet, I could barely understand what Harris was singing, (wasn’t he on Broadway?) and I had to remind myself that maybe I should be thankful for that.
Surprisingly, hosts Steve Martin & Alec Baldwin performed much better than I had expected, with some great deliveries of amusing one-liners and a chemistry that I hadn’t anticipated. Much to my surprise, when they took center stage it started to feel a little bit more like Oscar Night, with heckling and harassing happily included.
I almost wish they had included more of Martin and Baldwin since the structure of the ceremony was a little strange. A lot of attention was given to the Best Actors and Actresses, but barely any to the Best Picture nominee’s.I began to wonder why they even bothered changing the format to ten nominations if they weren’t going to pay much homage to the films they deemed worthy of the change. I always preferred the phrase “quality over quantity.” Apparently, the Academy disagrees.
We also disagree on a lot of nominations and wins given this year, the only redeemable nom’s being “An Education” and “Inglorious Basterds.,” and the only wins being Sandra Bullock for her character in the “Blind Side” (even though I was rooting for Carey Mulligan, it was somewhat justified) and Christoph Hanz for his great performance in “Inglorious Basterds.” Their acceptance speeches were also the only ones that I could remember as slightly memorable out of the bunch. Bullock’s acceptance speech was well spoken and given with great composure and poise and Christoph Waltz’s speech for Best Supporting Actor was short yet all too adorable.
But even the acceptance speeches seemed rather vanilla this year.Where were the political cries? Where were the “Thank you Jesus” exorcisms that typically adorn the stage? The tears, the screaming, or even a “Whipee!” would have been nice…Nothing. (And no, I don’t count the lady in the purple as particularly outlandish or controversial)
At the end of the night I thought Tarantino should have gone home with at least three Oscars. Instead, he walked out of the Kodak with a decent buzz and a congratulatory smile for Hanz. I’m sorry Quentin. But let us not forget what this great ceremony is all about, and that is…great films!-I don’t care if the subject matter is “hot,”- I don’t care how much money the film made, I don’t care about any political drama or correctness in the film industry. All I care about are good fucking movies and sometimes I think the Academy should be reminded that technical proficiency, great writing and great performances are what these shows should be about. And nothing else.
In closing, I would like to say: I miss Jack Nicholson. (It looks like Clooney might’ve replaced him) and I miss Billy Crystal.
I bid you adieu and goodnight little Oscar. See ya next year.