CineMAVEN’s OSCAR MUSINGS

This past Sunday night ( 2/22/15 ) I watched the Academy Awards ceremonies ( yes I still want to call it that ) as I’ve done every year since I saw Sidney Poitier and Julie Christie win. I just want to say a couple of words about it while it’s still fresh in my mind…

Academy Awards

…and before the event starts to smell like day old fish. I broke a fif … a long-standing tra-dition, and got OFF of the COUCH and INTO a BAR to watch the Academy Awards with some like-minded folks, and had a great time. Here are my Oscar musings:

IMG_4888    IMG_4890   Oscar Group

TOO LONG –

Those who come up with that tired old horse have to please give it up. The show IS a long long show. Face it, deal with it, or just don’t even watch. Its length is baked into the pro-ceedings.  Let the show just be whatever length it’s going to be and quit beefing about it. If the producers really want to do something about it, tell the hosts NOT to go into the audience with stupid bits, and then have the music rudely cut off recipients in the middle of their heartfelt gushing thanks. Don’t try to make it an interactive event with all these gimmicks. It’s a long show. And?

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THE SET –

Oooh boy. Much too much too much going on there. Someone bedazzled the entire stage. The floor with those Oscar patterns look like Martians landed in Hollywood and etched circles into the crops. Too much glitz and sparkles and industrial props flying around on stage. Keep it simple, stupid. You might hurt someone. Give those trades a rest. The ushers opening the doors for the guests to come out was a nice nostalgic touch. The flying iron works, was not.

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THE HOST –

Neil

Neil Patrick Harris did a very good job. I really think he channeled Bob Hope. He kind of had the Bob Hope sarcas-tic swag going on there.  He made fun of himself and ribbed the stars a bit. Good. He told purposely groaning jokes and stinging barbs. His ‘predic-tions-locked in-a-box-routine’ went on a little too long. But…coming out in his tighty whiteys riffing on Michael Keaton in “Birdman” was funny. And brave. Harris has a nice lean swimmer’s body. Even though I thought some of his tux jackets looked too small and too tight, I guess that’s how they make ‘em these days?

His Oscar opening number was great, with the throwback to old movies in however you explain that technological way they brought the past to life. Jack Black coming on as the naysayer to all that was current Hollywood was funny. I didn’t even mind Anna Kendrick… this time.

Don’t try to appeal to the youth. Appeal to people who like movies whether they are young or old. Neil Patrick Harris ( or the very annoying acronym NPH, ugh!  ) did a very good job. Later for the Monday morning quarterbacks. I’d love to see them host this show.

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MUSIC –

How ironic the music played to bring on the star presenters harkened back to old Holly-wood with short strains of: “The Shadow of Your Smile” or “To Kill A Mockingbird” yet the music nominated for awards were lackluster to me. I really think they should do away with the Best Song category since music these days is undistinguised. Yeah, that includes “SELMA” too, though I was touched to see that the music touched people. I, myself, was NOT touched. Rita Ora did a nice job singing the song “Grateful.” ( Click on middle photo to check out her singing ). And I could certainly could do without that Lego extravaganza.

RITA ORA ( II ) RITA ORA ( I ) RITA ORA  ( III )

I was totally impressed and blown away by Lady Gaga singing the music from “The Sound of Music.”

GAGA ( II ) GAGA ( III )      GAGA ( IV )GAGA ( V ) GAGA ( VI )  GAGA ( IA )

JULIE ANDREWS & LADY GAGA

She totally treated the song with respect and was paid the highest compliment by having Julie Andrews truly moved by her performance. You were fantastic, Gaga. And seeing you and Julie Andrews hugging was one of my favorite moments of the Academy Awards.

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FASHION –

I’m no Fashionista. For something real professioal and knowledgeable read GlamAmor’s blog on the Oscar controversy that Edith Head was involved in ( or at least look at the beautiful pictures of the exquisite Audrey Hepburn ). So these are just my opinions.

Kevin

I do long for men to wear good old-fashioned, well-fitted black tuxedoes with white shirts and black bow ties. And black patent leather shoes.  These prom, pale blue suits, or black shirt and tie, ( or whatever the hell that was that Kevin Hart was wearing don’t do a thing except make men look like clowns. ( Yes, I am willing to forgive Liam Neeson because…he’s Liam Neeson ). 

The women looked beautiful. Some were not very well coiffed ( run a comb through it ladies ) and some had full figures like normal women ( Yay! Patricia Arquette ). But many of the ladies looked utterly fantastic. Their gowns were gorgeous and I’m no fashionista. Zoe Saldana in that beige number and Jessica Chastain in the midnight blue dress was beautiful.

Zoe      Jessica

Jennifer             Rosamund

 MerylAt first when I saw Jennifer Lopez I said, “Oh, she’s finally all covered up.” Uhmmm, I was wrong. But I have to say her dress was simple and beautiful. Yes it was revealing but no one can play that off like J-Lo.  I didn’t like that big flower Gwyneth Paltrow had on her dress and some of the ladies wearing really big neck pieces looked like they were being choked ( Cate Blanchett, Scarlett Johannson ). But Meryl Streep looked tailored and regal and Rosamund Pike in that deep red gown was simply stunning.

But of course we know, hands down, bar none…the goddess…the most beautiful woman on the red carpet and in the room, was LUPITA NYONG’O:

Lupita

She hit it out of the park in her beaded gown. My…jaw…dropped. She is drop dead gor-geous. I kept saying “that’s impossible, she’s not even real. Is she real?” I couldn’t believe what I saw. A gown made of 6000 pearls and she wore them, they didn’t wear her. She’s a beautiful girl. I know…I know. It’s all subjective. It’s just that I’m right, in this instance. She needs her own personal Givenchy like Audrey Hepburn had. In fact, if they remake Roman Holiday ( and generally, I’m against re-makes ). Lupita Nyong’o needs to be that film’s  star. She’s already a princess.

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IN MEMORIAM…

I REALLY WISH TCM would take over that segment of the show. They could pick a really cool song, and be entrusted with showing respectful images of the stars … and behind-the-scenes people and put it together well. Words and pix sells it. But also they could include everyone that’s appropriate to add. You wouldn’t include a baseball star or race car driver in this. I know why they excluded Joan Rivers; this was the their revenge for all the smack she spoke about the Hollywood community on the red carpet. Plain and simple…revenge, but they covered it up with…she didn’t make movies, blah blah blah.

LIZABETH SCOTT - ( %22DESERT FURY%22-III )Yes it was a mistake not to include our classic film favorites ( Ann Rutherford, Lizabeth Scott etc. etc. a whole bunch of etceteras ). They probably thought people would scratch their heads and go “who’s that”? Let TCM handle the memoriam. In fact, let TCM handle the whole show. 

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PRESENTERS –

TravoltaIf I’m telling you to forget about talking about “how long is this ceremony?!” I guess I should give up the ghost and not expect to see the likes of a Berg-man, Brynner, Kerr, Peck, Grant, Gable and really big stars and class to come out to present. No panache from these young whipper snappers. I won’t call out names, but you know. Who are these kids? Huh? Wha’? And I demand someone call the cops. Right now… call the cops: someone has robbed Eddie Murphy of his sense of humor. He seems like a dour old man up there. I do not expect him to do jokes and tap dance, but at least look like you’re happy to be there dammit. Ugh! What a Debbie Downer. And Ben Affleck too. Come on Ben smile. Travolta, you look embalmed or like Dracula. Wassup dude? At least you have a sense of humor about yourself and that name mispronounciation thing. ( Whew! Practice…practice…practice! ) Guess after the Kim Novak debacle last year, legends are scared to come out. A shame. I miss them. The ceremonies need them and I don’t care if young people say: “Who dat?” Happy to see Shirley MacLaine.

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AND THE OSCAR GOES TO –

Here are my Oscar predictions:

OSCAR PREDICTIONS

Best Picture is “Birdman” and the Best Actor is Eddie Redmayne ( who I wanted to win, but didn’t predict ). There were some wild goings on at the Academy Awards. Folks went up there with causes in mind in the midst of their thank yous. Rosanna Arquette touted equal pay for women, getting wild applause and Meryl Streep and Jennifer Lopez giving their rousing approval. Alzheimer’s was spoken about by Best Actress winner Julianne  

Meryl & J-Lo

Moore, Eddie Redmayne brought up ALS,  rapper Common with singer John Legend spoke of racial equality when winning their award for Best Song, winner for Best Adapted Screenplay (Graham Moore) sent a message to gay teens out there that suicide is not the answer and that things will be better for them and Best Director Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu mentioned immigration. Other winners did not let the orchestra play them off. They took their time and a little more to get their points across. All in all, I had a grand time watching this ceremony. I can’t wait until next year.

( H O M E )

17 thoughts on “CineMAVEN’s OSCAR MUSINGS

  1. Well, Theresa, this is the second year that I have not watched at all. I’ve seen a lot of the nominees, but the only ones that I felt anything about were Boyhood and Ida. You are so right about the decor, tacky to the Nth degree. And, speaking of tacky, they should just eliminate All musical numbers. They’re consistently embarrassing. Still, I have my favorites, you have your favorites, and everyone has his favorites. Who needs someone to tell us what is “best”? All the awards and lists that I have seen are likewise out of touch. Love from the Curmudgeon of the Couch!

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    • I’m with you about eliminating all the musical numbers. ( I did like Harris’ opening number ). Maybe the reason these numbers are so tacky is because no one knows how to make musicals anymore…so no one knows what they’re doing. I know that “Best…” is so subjective. But to tell you the truth, I wouldn’t mind having one of the golden statues on my mantel piece. No…I wouldn’t mind at all. Stay the curmudgeon. Just remember I’m a glass half-full gal when it comes to movies.

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  2. Beautifully written, T. Very enjoyable read. I missed Ellen. I’m no fan of Neil. Too self-consciously cute/funny. His secret prediction box wasted time and for me
    was a major yawn. It must’ve been fun being with the gang.

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    • I don’t miss Ellen. I miss Whoopi. Neil Patrick Harris doesn’t bother me. I do know what you mean about the self-consciously cute thing and the secret prediction box thing…oooh boy. Say, did you see him in “Gone Girl”? There was nothing cutesy about him there. In fact, he reminded me of Anthony Perkins as Norman Bates. Again, I’m glad you liked the read, Rob. Thanxx for checking me out.

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      • Yes! Whoopi was the best! “These fashion models are getting fifteen hundred an hour, and they still look pissed off!”

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      • I have a sad story to tell, Theresa. When I lived in San Diego, Whoopi was the hoist thing in town. She did one-woman shows for comedy, and she did high drama, like Mother Courage. Here’s the catch. No matter what “everyone” was saying, I just wouldn’t go see someone named Whoopi Goldberg! Now I know that a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.

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  3. I agree with all your points. Lupita in Roman Holiday would be genius! May I just add, bring back the honorary/lifetime achievement/Hersholt awards to the big show. Cut some of the unfunny, unmusical productions that consistently flop and let the legends and heroes of Hollywood have their moment in primetime.

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    • Hi there Debbie. I’m with you about the production numbers AND the Hersholt Awards. I even think they should televise the Governor’s Award. Maybe TCM can partner with AMPAS on that. It could be shown without commercial and I think fans might like it. We’d appreciate it. Network tv? Uhhhhhh, let them eat cake…and the Kardashians.

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  4. Agree with you ,Theresa,on all points but especially on the subject of length.Isn’t it funny that we live in a country where sporting events can go on for hours at a time(and even overtime) and no one bats an eyelash,and yet a once a year Oscar program runs about 15 minutes over its allotted time spot ..World War III breaks out? I am obsessed with the Oscars and have seen almost every film and performance ever nominated thanks to our friends at TMC.My very first Oscars was also the year Sidney Poitier received his award.Thank you again for sharing your very knowledgeable opinions with us.

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    • Hi there Bob. This length thing is sooooo old. But now with all the Social Media we have at our finger tips, the snark, sarcasm, Monday morning quarterbacking, sniping and everything negative, can be shared in an instant. ( “Oh gooooody!” ) Look, I don’t want winners to ramble on aimlessly, pointlessly…but I did find it incredibly rude the way the music intruded on some of these speeches. But I say a 90-seconds a shot couldn’t hurt. With multiple winners…I dunno; somebody better decide quick because we can’t listen to all of youse guys. Cutting down on the Oscar-nominated songs could be eliminated. Listen, it’s a boring show except to those in the Industry. What if it wasn’t televised? ( Well I’d die from withdrawal, but that’s another story nobody wants to hear ). It’s just “fun” and “chic” and “cool” for folks to put down the show, which ( for me ) says more about them than it does about the show. I’ve watched every year since Poitier and Julie Christie, as I mentioned…even when threatened with Con Ed cut off, I eked out a payment and was able to watch the show. I enjoy it a lot, even the painful parts. I’ve only seen “Birdman” and “Whiplash” but I must catch “Fifty Shades of Grey” I mean “Still Alice” and “Imitation Game” and “…Everything” very soon. Thanks so much for commenting, Bob.

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  5. Here’s a piece from Variety on How to Fix the Show:
    http://variety.com/2015/film/news/how-to-fix-the-oscars-in-5-easy-steps-1201440804/

    The length of the show is a problem for me. I have trouble staying awake after 10PM. It could be solved very easily by just cutting out all commercial breaks during the last hour. I’m quite certain the last hour was at least half commercials.

    Bring back the Governors’ Awards honorees to the main show, but eliminate the docu, live-action and animated short categories. Few people watching have seen those films and only those people care.

    Find a way to sternly discourage political speeches. It’s pretty damned arrogant to assume that the rest of the world is waiting to hear from you about your pet causes. (If I was in charge I’d ban everyone who makes a political comment from the Oscars for the rest of their lives. And if they got nominated for anything, Neil Patrick Harris and James Franco would have to be their substitutes at the show.) I’d also strongly discourage thanking family members and employees. Who cares about your kids, your spouse, your personal assistant, your lawyer, your hair stylist, your publicist, et al? Thank only those who helped you work on this film or helped you get the assignment to work on this film. And when the music starts: GET THE HELL OFF!

    (And you think Bob is a curmudgeon. ;D)

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    • Hi Brian. Again, I thank you for reading and commenting. The show is long, and could be shorter. But I have no problem with the length. I can stay up late. Cutting out commercials works for me. The sponsors would hate it, but actually why would they hate it. The folks who watch the show HATE the show, BASH the show so they’re not buying any products the commercials promote. I like that about the docs, live-action and animation. Why is animation even an award. ( I know you’re an anime guy, but really… )
      ____

      Yeah, one is flying by the seat of their pants with the political speeches ( remember how worried they were about Fonda and Redgrave back in the day? ) But family? Ya gotta thank your spouse. Happy wife, happy life? Don’t you have to keep folks happy? Appreciated? I don’t mean ex-wives, and kids who don’t give a crap about you. But maybe you should thank loving partners. Me? I’m thanking Wyler, Wilder, Wellman, Cukor, Stevens and my bartender. ( See there’s an advantage to not having a husband or kids ). No political speeches? Good luck with that. What would you do if they agreed to keep it bland, but when they go up on stage, they want to thank Mussolini? Do you dance ’em off the stage a la Sandman at the Apollo? And you know Liberals and Progressives…they’ll think you’re prohibiting their free speech.
      ____

      Another year down the drain. But I love watching the show. The nominees for the “Best Curmudgeon I Know” are Robert Regan and Brian Camp. And the Oscar for the Best Curmudgeon goes to…

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      • Brian, I read Variety, and their Fix #4:

        “(4) Engage the Viewers
        Perhaps just as concerning as the drop in the Oscars audience, tweets were down 47% during this year’s show. That might be because the Oscars trudge along just as they always have, as if the Internet doesn’t exist. There’s no informative polling, no audience participation, no direct engagement with the viewers at home. It’s not that the Oscars should turn into “American Idol” (although the show features just as much singing as the Fox reality series), but it couldn’t hurt to incorporate a few hashtags throughout the night. And all the attendees should be encouraged to live-tweet between the commercial breaks.”

        Is the stupidest idea on their list of “fix-its.” This is an industry show. Maybe they should make it a Pay-Per-View event.

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