oscarthumb

Statuesque: The Good, the Bad and the Horrid of Oscars 2012

It’s a wonder why we subject ourselves to the Oscars year after year. I guess that somewhere, deep down inside, I hope that the show will get better. But then I hear those ominous words, “Billy Crystal is hosting for the eighteenth time,” and I cringe. Still, this year’s ceremony had some rather memorable moments packed within the bowels of an otherwise bloated, misguided show of Hollywood excess.

The Good

Before we get to the events of the night that made me cringe in embarrassment for not only those involved, but the entire audience tuned into the broadcast, let’s try to pick out a few of the good and somewhat fun events that transpired during the show.

  • Nick Nolte’s “I’m totally not paying attention to anything this British girl is saying” interview on the red carpet. “Huh?! Oh yes, I have a crow, I think.”
  • Speaking of Nolte, I was totally digging his rosy-cheeked Santa look.
  • Even though I thought that Octavia Spencer shouldn’t have won, her off-the-cuff, heartfelt speech was one of the best of the night. When she exclaimed, “I’m freaking out!” , it almost pulled me out of the funk I was in because Bérénice Bejo didn’t win.
  • The fact that the show’s writers and Billy Crystal reminded us the entire night that, yes, the Academy voters are old white guys! Now everyone can understand why this year’s Oscars would’ve only been entertaining to geriatrics who tune into ‘CSI: Miami’ every week.
  • Seeing Chris “Benjamin Button” Rock. Seriously, the guy looks like he’s aging in reverse. He’s pulling off something that just about every over-40 actress there tried desperately to do with painfully obvious cosmetic surgery.
  • I’m pretty sure that a tiny bit of Jennifer Lopez’s nipple was visible for most of the night.
  • Mila Jovovich, Natalie Portman and Michelle Williams all looked stunning. They seemed to be the only actresses in the building who didn’t look like they were trying to hide their most recent trip to the Botox clinic.
  • ‘Hugo’ took home a couple of early awards, and looked like it was poised to sweep all the big categories, which put some much needed suspense into the show’s proceedings.
  • A female professional wrestler (Stacy Keibler) looked better than most of Hollywood’s so-called superstars.
  • Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis came out on stage crashing symbols together to introduce the two Best Original Song contenders. This was one of the only funny and worthwhile presentation skits.
  • Christopher Plummer finally won an Oscar, even if he had to beat Max von Sydow with a cane to get it, and then stating in his acceptance speech that he’s two years older than the Oscars.
  • The montages of familiar Hollywood faces talking candidly about their own experiences at the movies. I particularly liked the discussion about the first film they ever saw. Seriously, how cool was it to hear Brad Pitt talk about ‘The War of the Gargantuas’ as his first movie? I really dug that.
  • Muppets actually did make it in the telecast…
The Bad
  • Speaking of the Muppets, they got the shaft by the Academy. Not only did they not get to perform their Oscar-nominated song for the audience, they had to introduce Cirque du Solei, a performance that no doubt took up the time that could’ve been filled by the Muppets performing. What a slap in the face.
  • An unfunny montage of film-going featuring one of my favorite child actors working today. Honestly, there wasn’t anything funny about it. Rico Rodriguez (Manny from ‘Modern Family’) simply went through all of the Best Picture nominees. The best joke came from a random girl in the lobby who thought ‘Avatar’ should win Best Picture this year. Yeah, it was bad.
  • A montage about movies being… well, movies. No, really. It happened. There was a montage that contained clips from ‘Jaws’ to ‘The Godfather’ with some ‘Austin Powers’ thrown in for good measure. If I didn’t know any better, I’d think it was a mash-up trailer advertising an entire studio’s catalogue that’s coming to home video soon.
  • Meryl Streep won her third Oscar for a completely undeserving film and role. She did her best impersonation in a movie that was a second-rate biography. Michelle Williams and Viola Davis should’ve jumped her in the alley behind the theater.
  • The numerous jokes about earning millions of dollars for doing nothing. Yes, we know you all live charmed lives. What a starving economy needs less of is Chris Rock exclaiming how easy it is to make an animated movie: “I sit in a booth, do my lines, and they pay me a million dollars.” Maybe this line would be funny when the economy is good, but when it sucks out there for the other 99% of Americans, you should probably rethink your material.
  • The fact that even an appearance by Christopher Guest and his group of improv stars couldn’t lift the show out of the unfunny mire it had found itself.
  • There were too many times where celebs like Emma Stone and Robert Downey Jr. tried too hard to make a memorable Oscar moment happen. Memorable Oscar moments come from heartfelt speeches like Octavia Spencer’s, not from scripted “Hey look how funny it is that I’m shooting a documentary during the documentary presentations” skit.
The Horrid
  • The entire opening mash-up with Billy Crystal starring in most of the nominated films was cringe-inducing. Just a few of the low-lights: Billy Crystal kissing George Clooney, thinking it’s the funniest thing he’s ever done; Crystal appearing in blackface to impersonate Sammy Davis, Jr. (really, this happened); Justin Bieber popping up in a parody of a movie he most likely hasn’t seen (‘Midnight in Paris’); Bieber talking about Ernest Hemingway like he actually knows who Hemingway is; Crystal dressed up like Tintin, creating the creepiest two-minutes of 2012.
  • Who in the world was in charge of the microphones? I mean, the entire telecast was full of feedback that made me think there was something wrong with my own speakers. The fact that they couldn’t get this fixed during the entire runtime was a gigantic blunder.
  • Angelina Jolie sticking her stick-thin leg out of the slit in her dress before announcing the nominees.
  • Nina Garcia on the red carpet, gushing about every single dress she saw like it was the first dress she’d ever seen in her life.
  • Billy Crystal stating facts like “That was back when movies were shot on film instead of digital!” as if they were jokes, and then waiting around for people to laugh as he mugged for the camera.
  • Crystal killing his handful of decent one-liners with nervous giggles afterwards.
  • Seeing all the obvious facial work that had been done on Sandra Bullock (among others) in much-too-crystal-clear HD.
  • The telecast producers thinking we’d all love to see not only the hallway where the presenters walk up to the stage, but the TV truck where the show is edited and broadcast to the world. They couldn’t have said, “We’re trying to kill time by whatever means possible” better.

I’m sure there were more moments from the telecast that I could put in each section, but I’m going to leave that up to you. What were some of the good, bad and horrid aspects of the Oscar telecast that you noticed? Let us know in the Comments.

20 comments

  1. JM

    Nick Nolte is dry rub.

    Angelina Jolie doing her best anorexic Jessica Rabbit was a little uncomfortable.

    Melissa McCarthy was a lot uncomfortable.

    Scorsese was a good drinking game.

    Yo-Yo Ma’s daughter was hot.

    Robert Downey Jr. should have sat Billy Crystal down and explained why ‘Tropic Thunder’ was funny.

    Christopher Guest’s comedy-of-pain needed more Hitchcock and Posey.

    Cameron Diaz had a cute haircut. It’s too bad she wore it with that face.

    I wish Woody Allen could have been there to accept the love.

    Maybe Ricky Gervais should just host everything.

  2. Good summary, Aaron! Chris Rock did indeed look younger than ever (and sported a funky afro). Just one mistake: Christopher Plummer stated that he’s two years younger than the Oscars.

  3. Barsoom Bob

    I would rather watch Angelina strike that leg pose than the Diaz / Lopez “ass off” that fell flatter than both their asses will be in 10 years.

  4. I didn’t have a problem with Jolie’s pose. As Mrs. Z said to me this morning, this Oscars was the first time, perhaps ever, where Jolie attended a public event and seemed to actually be having a good time. She usually acts so stuffily and insufferably self-important at these things. She finally let loose a little here.

    And if it weren’t for Jolie doing the leg pose, we wouldn’t have gotten Jim Rash making fun of it on stage later, which was golden. :)

  5. JM

    Have the oscars ever been well hosted?

    Billy Crystal
    Whoopi Goldberg
    David Letterman
    Steven Martin
    Chris Rock
    Jon Stewart
    Ellen
    Hugh Jackman
    Anne Hathaway

    Of the last 20 years, I’ve only enjoyed Steve Martin.

    Is a 4-hour telecast the best way to celebrate a post-internet world?

    • “Is a 4-hour telecast the best way to celebrate a post-internet world?”

      Well, the show still gets major ratings. In fact, this year’s were up significantly.

      People like to see all their favorite actors on the red carpet.

      • Barsoom Bob

        It is worth noting that the Grammy Award show beat the Oscar show ratings for the first time in 38 years or something. I’m guessing that is just domestically. They turned around their situation by re-focusing on the music itself, giving lots of good live performances and reducing the number of awards and speeches that are actually televised.

        • RBBrittain

          The Grammys just barely beat out the Oscars this year because of Whitney Houston’s death and Adele’s comeback–NOT retweaking the show.

          What the Oscars need for ratings gold is a high-grossing movie actually having a shot at winning Best Picture, like Titanic or LOTR:ROTK. (Don’t just nominate it, like Avatar; give it significantly more than a snowball’s chance in hell of winning.) If they have that, it won’t matter if, say, the ghost of Bob Hope hosts.

      • JM

        1954 – 43 million out of 160 watched the oscars = 27% of America.

        2012 – 39 million out of 313 watched the oscars = 12% of America.

        2028 – Will the 100th academy awards be broadcast via television?

        2035 – Will 59-year-old Angelina Jolie still be a sex icon in 3D8K?

        2054 – Will the average age of the academy award voters be 84?

  6. Scott H

    A thing that was annoying to me was how hyper Emma Stone acted, while presenting for the first time and how she kept going on and on about other things she should do while on stage. It seemed a bit forced to me. The whole reading the minds of the actors skit, blah and uninspired. The first test screening thing was not funny. And if I am not mistaken, Billy had done the Sammy Davis get up before at one of the other Oscar telecast he had hosted.

    • EM

      Impersonations of Sammy Davis, Jr. was one of Crystal’s recurring acts way back when on Saturday Night Live.

    • Paulb

      “how hyper Emma Stone acted, while presenting for the first time and how she kept going on and on about other things she should do while on stage. It seemed a bit forced to me.”
      Seemed like that as it was forced, that was part of the joke/attempt at mild humor was the over-the-top excitedness.

  7. Here’s an excellent post on another blog that nails another huge failing of the Oscar show this year. In a year where the two main contenders (The Artist and Hugo) both explicitly paid tribute to the dawn of cinema, not a single one of the Oscar ceremony’s self-congratulatory montage reels or performances mentioned or showed clips from any real silent films. Not once.

    http://selfstyledsiren.blogspot.com/2012/02/clearly-siren-needs-to-get-out-of-oscar.html

    Why wasn’t that stupid generic montage of “Movies” a montage of CLASSIC movies, in keeping with what should have been the theme of the night?

    Disgraceful.

    • And brought up in the comments to that post, WTF was up with singing “What a Wonderful World” during the In Memoriam reel? What a wonderful world it is NOW THAT YOU JERKS ARE DEAD?

  8. I didn’t have a problem with most of Billy schtick. It was a nice, “safe”, hosting job. Nothing that really stands out, but nothing he should be ashamed of (and yes, that INCLUDES the Sammy Davis, Jr. bit…a character he’s done for YEARS with no complaints…until Sunday night).

    I’d really like to see Tom Hanks be given a shot at hosting, if he’d do it…I have the feeling that he’d turn it down. Among comedians though, Billy is still the tops of whom they’ve had so far at the Oscars, although I wouldn’t mind someone like Conan getting a shot…or maybe Jerry Seinfeld.