Monday, February 29, 2016

Oscars 2016 aka What the Heck Did I Just Watch?

I didn't really watch the Oscars last night as much as I had it on while I was doing other things, but with increasing frequency I had to push the mute button on the remote control. The Oscars are always a big self-congratulatory party for Hollywood, and I've never taken it seriously as anything other than a fun fashion show where people get to show off plumage both beautiful and bizarre, but this year's Oscars were ... I don't even know what to say.

A few highlights and low points of this hot mess:

  • Host Chris Rock's intro monologue was a little ... er ... rocky (I wished he would stop laughing at his own jokes), but when he landed his punches, he landed them hard, and he targeted just about everybody.  On this year's Oscars race relations controversy he didn't spare anybody from Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith ("It's not fair that Will wasn't nominated for Concussion.  But it it also wasn't fair that he got $20 million for Wild Wild West" and "Jada boycotting the Oscars is like me boycotting Rihanna's panties. I wasn't invited!") to the Hollywood elite's "sorority racism" ("We like you, Rhonda, but you're just not a Kappa," to which he added flat out the term "white liberals!"  Wow).
  • Louis CK was funnier and more real in his two minutes than the entire battalion of other Oscar presenters.
  • On a related note, C-3PO, R2-D2, and BB-8 were warmer and more spontaneous than nearly all their stilted, unfunny human counterparts.  Shoot, the Minions, Buzz Lightyear, and Woody were better. How about next year we dispense with the humans entirely?
  • Rock getting Girl Scouts to sell cookies to the audience was actually pretty funny.  
  • The evening's attempt to address issues (both internal and external) turned out to be an exercise in surreal, heavy-handed virtual-signalling and tonally weird calls for action.  What was freaking Joe Biden doing on the Oscar stage?  Why were actors giving Crazy Uncle Joe a standing ovation?  Was that really the president of the Academy out there trying to tell people the Oscars were going to fix themselves?  Did the Oscars actually do a musical number about sexual assault? WHAT?
  • DiCaprio finally won his Oscar, so maybe people can now quit yapping about his quest for that statuette.  Then he proceeded to turn his acceptance speech into a bully pulpit about global warming, and I pushed the mute button.  The most entertaining thing about The Revenant at the Oscars was the guy in the bear suit applauding in the seats.
  • Mad Max did very well in the technical categories!  Still, Ex Machina won the special effects Oscars. SERIOUSLY?
  • Whoever wrote the "jokes" and "banter" for the Oscar presenters should be booted. The stuff was not only unfunny or boring, but cringe-inducing for most of the show. Ugh!  How about we stop trying to script banter from here on out?  Watching Russell Crowe attempt to engage in unfunny repartee with Ryan Gosling was agonizing.  Just get out there, announce the nominees, anoint the winner, and go away!
  • The In Memoriam segment, surprisingly, wasn't terrible.  Iconic video clips from departed icons Christopher Lee, Alan Rickman, and David Bowie were very good, and the Oscars achieved its only moment of emotional resonance for me by ending the montage with Leonard Nimoy as Spock in Star Trek 2 with that line.
  • Sam Smith somehow won the musical Oscar with his miserable tune from Spectre. Horrible.
Enough of this mess. Let's get to what really matters: the outfits on the red carpet. The fashion was as much a hot mess as the rest of the show.  Oh, I miss Joan Rivers' acid-tongued commentary.  A few people managed not to look awful, but ...
  • Kate Winslet wore a shiny black trash bag.
  • Olivia Munn in her orange dress looked like a traffic cone.
  • Charlize Theron and Olivia Wilde clearly thought they were competing for the Oscar for Most Exposed Sternum.
  • Cate Blanchett kept her dress in the pantry too long, and it had started to sprout by the time the Oscars rolled around.
  • Rooney Mara dug out a dress from a previous century but failed to notice that moths had eaten a huge chunk out of the middle.
  • Refreshingly, Chris Rock pointed out that people always ask the girls what they're wearing because all the guys are wearing the same thing (black tuxedos): "If George Clooney wore a lime green suit with a swan coming out of his [butt]," Rock proclaimed, "you can bet we'd all be asking what he was wearing - !"

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