It is a curious thing about the Oscars: Millions of people watch the Sunday broadcast each year, talk about the show for perhaps five minutes at the office water cooler Monday morning, then never think about it again. Seeing as it’s already Tuesday evening, post-Oscars as I write this, methinks this blog entry is dead in the water. Still, I’m a completist, and I didn’t want to leave my Oscar predictions blog simply hanging in the GringoPotpourri wind without a proper bookend. I promise to keep this brief. No, really!
So, not too surprisingly, it was Ben Affleck’s “Argo” as Best Picture, Life of Pi’s “Ang Lee” as Best Director, “Lincoln’s” Daniel Day-Lewis as Best Actor, and “Silver Linings Playbook’s” Jennifer Lawrence as Best Actress. I called ‘em all, of course. Supporting honors went to Christoph Waltz for “Django Unchained” and Anne Hathaway for “Les Misérables.” Waltz’s win threw me for a bit of a loop; I had Robert DeNiro for “Silver Linings Playbook,” and in fact predicted that if there were any major category upsets they would be in favor of “SLP.” Alas, ’twas not meant to be. “Django Unchained” also earned Quentin Tarantino his second Best Original Screenplay Oscar; his acceptance speech was one of the better ones of the night, and about as humble as you could ever expect Tarantino to act. I failed to predict either of “Django’s” Oscar wins; although I’m a big fan of the film I thought it would go home empty-handed, considering that Tarantino’s superior effort, 2009’s “Inglourious Basterds,” lost in the Original Screenplay category. Waltz won the same prize in that same category then; I simply didn’t think lightning would strike twice, nor so soon after his last win.
The total Oscar count:
Life of Pi: 4
Les Misérables: 3
Django Unchained: 2
Anna Karenina: 1
Searching for Sugar Man: 1
Silver Linings Playbook: 1
Zero Dark Thirty: 1
The Show Itself
Eh, my comments are the same as most critics’ comments each year: moderately entertaining, but too long and with too many tributes. For example: you can have a James Bond tribute or a Musicals tribute, but you don’t need both. In this case, my vote would go for the James Bond tribute. Can we say Shirley Bassey? Yowzers! (Best Bond song ever.)
Awkward moment #1: Namely, the strange presentation of the nominees for Best Original Song. Hugh Jackman belts out “Suddenly” from “Les Misérables,” Norah Jones tackles “Everybody Needs a Best Friend” from “Ted,” and Adele brings down the house with her stunning rendition of “Skyfall,” the first-ever Bond song to win an Oscar. Yet “Pi’s Lullably” from “Life of Pi” and “Before My Time” from the little-seen documentary “Chasing Ice” get treated as afterthoughts, with only fragments of each song played?
Awkward moment #2: Tap-dancing Seth MacFarlane is joined by Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Daniel Radcliffe.
Awkward moment #3: MacFarlane (again) croons as Channing Tatum twirls Charlize Theron in his arms. Okay, maybe “twirls” isn’t the right word, but you saw the show, right?!
Awkward moment #4: Jack Nicholson nervously introduces First Lady Michele Obama to read off the Best Picture winner. Not only does it seem weird for the president’s wife to get involved in the Oscars – a supposedly non-political affair (ha!), but didn’t Jack Nicholson present the Best Picture winner just six or seven years ago, when “Crash” took the top prize instead of “Brokeback Mountain?”
The Host with the Most: Despite what seems to be a general panning by most critics, I thought MacFarlane rocked as host. Too much singing and dancing (see my aforementioned “Awkward Moments,” above) – and the Captain Kirk skit went on too long – but in general, MacFarlane’s jokes were on point and brilliantly skewering. Frankly, I don’t get the complaining – he wasn’t as mean-spirited as Chris Rock (who I also thought was a good emcee), and he seemed comfortable in front of his peers. The same certainly can’t be said for Jon Stewart, or Ellen DeGeneres, or David Letterman, or….
Best Dressed: Jennifer Lawrence, Sandra Bullock.
Best acceptance speeches: A funny Grant Heslov and a visibly shaken Ben Affleck, jointly accepting Best Picture as producers of “Argo” alongside a quiet George Clooney; Tarantino, proclaiming this “the Year of the Writer;” Jennifer Lawrence, so wise beyond her 22 years and so willing to laugh at herself.
Worst acceptance speech: Anne Hathaway, just as I had predicted. “It came true,” she began, and it was if someone had shredded half of my scrotum with a fishing hook. The “Les Miz” supporting actress managed to thank everyone (except director Tom Hooper, oops!) without too many waterworks, but then concluded with some dreadful tripe along the lines of, “And may the hunger and desperation of the Fantines’ of this world be a thing of the past.” Ouch, there goes my other half. Please go away now Anne.
Thanks for reading. For a complete list of winners as well as commentary more objective than my own, visit Oscar.com.