As it has become a new tradition for the Oscars to lack truly memorable moments either good or bad, so has it become a tradition for me to analyze the night before it fleets from everyone’s water-cooler discussion topics.
Don’t forget to read Shane T. Nier’s own recap of Oscar night, which is in the form of a Top 7 list.
Now, without telling you that the show starts at 7 p.m. but only meaning the red carpet, here are the winning and losing moments of this year’s Oscars, for better and for worse, and most importantly, for no point at all.
Seth MacFarlane proves to be a ball-busting host, fitting to his humor from Ted and Family Guy, and also to an awards show that ultimately gave top kudos to a film with the unofficial tagline “Argo f**k yourself.” It doesn’t seem like his performance has gone over well for its immaturity, but I wasn’t bored by his efforts. Maybe that’s because I don’t mind Family Guy and I have a special fondness for Ted, and not everyone else does (nor do they have to). His blending of a love for classic showmanship with random pop culture in slightly racy material kept people on their toes, certainly before the hailstorm of politically correctness that MacFarlane is not concerned with before or after making his jokes. Plus, he was able to make Tommy Lee Jones laugh in the beginning. Finally, that mustached dude will stop being associated with a meme.
PLUS One Smile from Grumpy Cat Lee Jones
Achieving again what some performers fail to do in two lifetimes, Christoph Waltz wins a second Best Supporting Actor Oscar for playing a snarky German man with exquisite manners, but this time he’s a good guy. Leaving us all to question whether he has it in him to do anything commendable but provide supporting color to Tarantino’s genre stories, Waltz wins “Most Unnecessary Oscar of the Night.”
MINUS +50% Chance of Seeing Waltz Play A Black German Man in the Next Tarantino movie
Indie darling Beasts of the Southern Wild is reduced to sounding like Oscar-bait genre when it is described as “an indie about a struggling African American family.”
MINUS The Unique Expression and Uplifting Proud Spirit of Beasts of the Southern Wild and DVD Rentals by Previously Curious Movie-lovers
The Academy remembers Chicago, which everyone forgot about, never mind that the film won “Best Picture” in 2003. Forcing Zeta-Jones to do the “All that Jazz” routine was awkward. Even worse than that was watching the four stars of the film on stage presenting two music awards later, with Renee Zellweger looking profoundly zonked out.
MINUS The Potential for A Worthwhile Awards Show Segment
Student filmmakers are brought in to escort the awards on stage, which is a nice gesture to struggling film students out there, but really cheesy. Having students declare how they will be the “Future of Film” is at best sparkly inquisition from paying parents in family interventions. If you have student filmmakers express how they’re going to use their knowledge to be film’s future, then why was Rian Johnson not the most perfect guy for the job? P.S. He directed Looper and it is awesome.
PLUS One More Excuse to Mention that Looper Is A Great Movie
Paperman wins “Best Animated Short,” which is a sweet film until its bungled payoff. One of the film’s producers gets kicked out off-screen for throwing paper airplanes like in the film by security (and later allowed back), who I assume were bigger fans of the short Head Over Heels.
MINUS One Deserving Oscar for the Actual Best Animated Short Head Over Heels
In Memoriam segments remind us all of those who have past, whether we know them or not. In some cases, it informs people, like my Chris Marker-loving girlfriend, who had no idea Chris Marker was dead. That was my biggest laugh of the night.
PLUS The Fun of Finding Out Who Died
Cinematographer Roger Deakins walks away Oscar-less again. What will it take for him to get gold? Working on a Tarantino movie?
PLUS Zero Oscars For A Guy Who Certainly Deserves Them More than Tarantino
Speaking of which: an industry that bemoans its highest demographic of adolescent men gives “Best Original Screenplay” to Hollywood’s favorite teenage boy, Quentin Tarantino. He boasts about the resonance of his characters, and then shows he is rebellious by not buttoning up his shirt all the way. Mom’s who dress up their ten-year-old sons for church cry across the nation.
MINUS The Constant Hope of Humbling Tarantino
Meryl Streep shows up on stage to present an important award, reminds everyone that she won last year for The Iron Lady. She also reminds everyone (OK, maybe just me) that she too will die someday, and such a departure will lead to a college theater group mass suicide; likely led by Anne Hathaway.
PLUS More Streep Worship, MINUS the jeopardy of the lives of a thousand Sophie’s Choice-loving college theater kids
The adorably smiley Ang Lee comes out on top in a competitive year for Best Director. His wife proves to be as adorably smiley as well.
PLUS Two Genuinely Giddy People At the Oscars Even if Life of Pi Kind of Sucked
Not much to be said about Joaquin Phoenix’s reaction when he is shown on camera for his “Best Actor” nomination, other than that he probably wishes he could fart in Harvey Weinstein’s face. I’m sure Phoenix had a great acceptance speech planned!
MINUS Joaquin Phoenix having fun at the Oscars
Daniel Day-Lewis wins for “Best Actor” for playing an American president. It isn’t his best role, or his most unique character, but this win does give us a bit more time to watch the kind Day-Lewis in front of the camera, out of makeup and without a script. Still, he proves to be a lovable character himself, a dream recipient of such an honor; he is eloquent, and very grateful. Also, like Plummer last year for Beginners, he goes to show that experienced actors really, really know how to publicly compliment their wives.
PLUS The Priceless Thought of Rebecca Miller “Living With” and Waking Up Next To Daniel Plainview from There Will Be Blood
Jean Dujardin came back into our lives after disappearing for a year (unless you saw his brief stuff in Little White Lies last August). Considering his Oscar status, isn’t he overdue for a crappy talking dog movie? Or a bloated biopic? No? Go, Jean Dujardin! Dujardin “Best Actor” 2013!
PLUS Some Good Choices By An Actor Who Hasn’t Been Ruined by Oscar … Yet
Argo wins “Best Picture.” Director/apparent voting victim Ben Affleck is upstaged by Grant Heslov’s hilarious “Three Sexiest Producers Alive” joke. And by the fact that everyone has been apparently been successfully shamed for not nominating him into “Best Director.”
PLUS An Oscar for Ben Affleck, Good For Him, But Let’s See What He Really Can Do In the Future