Statuesque: 2012 Oscars Postmortem

I want to once again thank all of our great readers who joined us at last night’s Oscar Live-Blog for making the evening such a good time. If it weren’t for you, quite frankly, that trainwreck of an awards show wouldn’t have been watchable at all.

I’m not talking about the winners when I say that. As is well known around these parts, I’m a big fan of ‘The Artist’, and am glad to see it take home the top prize. In my opinion, this is one of the few years that the Academy got that precisely right.

No, I’m talking about the ceremony itself, which was an utter clusterfuck from beginning to end. Billy Crystal’s hosting was horrendously unfunny. I’d be generous to call his opening skit merely tedious. Dear lord, he actually dressed up in blackface for part of it! His monologue and “jokes” (note the scare quotes around that word) throughout the evening felt like they would have been stale 40 years ago. He didn’t say a single funny thing the whole night. Not once. Not even close. Honestly, it felt like he hadn’t bothered to prepare any material in advance.

The show couldn’t even get basic technical elements right, such as making sure that the stage microphones didn’t have tinny feedback the whole goddamn night. Whoever was in charge of sound needs to be banned from the industry for life.

This year, the Oscars actually had one Best Original Song nominee (“Man or Muppet” from ‘The Muppets’) that might have been great fun to see performed live. Of course, this had to be the year that the Academy decided to cut the song performances so that it could squeeze in pointless nonsense such as a Cirque du Soliel acrobatic routine and a stupid montage reel about… movies? Just movies. Nothing special about the movies in the montage. No connection between them. Just “Aren’t movies great?” or something. Ugh.

The staging of the telecast was incompetent on every level. People who complained about Anne Hathaway and James Franco last year and expressed relief at being put back in the hands of a seasoned pro like Crystal really had no idea what they were asking for. It was so bad that I actually wish that Brett Ratner hadn’t been fired from producing the ceremony a few months ago. I’m sure that whatever he had planned would have also been terrible, but it would have at least been watchably terrible in a “What the holy hell is going on here?” kind of way. Even that would have been an improvement over this mind-numbing fiasco.


Anyway, let’s talk about the winners. Prizes were divided evenly between ‘The Artist’ and ‘Hugo’, which scored five trophies apiece. As was expected, ‘The Artist’ took home three of the major awards (Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actor for Jean Dujardin), as well as Best Original Score and Best Costumes. That last one was sort of a toss-up, and could have easily gone to ‘Hugo’. In somewhat of a surprise (to me, at least), ‘The Artist’ lost Best Original Screenplay to Woody Allen’s ‘Midnight in Paris’. I can’t feel too bad about that. I loved that movie too.

Martin Scorsese’s ‘Hugo’ claimed a bunch of technical categories, including Best Art Direction, Best Sound Editing and Best Sound mixing. I was mildly surprised to see it beat ‘The Artist’ for Best Cinematography, and quite shocked that it grabbed Best Visual Effects over the expected winner, ‘Rise of the Planet of the Apes’.

The only other notable upset of the evening was Meryl Streep taking home her third Oscar for ‘The Iron Lady’. Although Streep had been an early favorite for the Best Actress award, a backlash against the movie in recent weeks had pushed Viola Davis into position as the predicted winner for her role in ‘The Help’. Instead, makers of ‘The Help’ will have to content themselves with the Best Supporting Actress win for Octavia Spencer.

You can find the full list of winners on the official Oscars web site.


  1. I didn’t watch the show since I can’t the ‘circle jerk’ that the Oscars have become but I was happy to see Christopher Plummer finally win.

    We’re in agreement about Hugo beating ‘Apes’ for best visual effects. Hugo’s effects were good but I don’t think they held a candle to the motion capture work that was done in ‘Apes.’

    I’ll probably take some grief for saying this but I think Transformers got robbed for the sound mixing Oscar. Transformers had one of the most intricate sounding mixes I’ve ever heard and while Hugo certainly sounded good it didn’t blow me away. I don’t think Transformers lost for any reason other than there being a stigma associated with the film (franchise) that the voters couldn’t overlook. I’m sure there will be people that say Dark of the Moon was just “loud” but if you listen a bit deeper there’s a lot more subtlety than you might expect.

  2. Eric

    Did someone just use the word subtle in reference to a Michael Bay film? That is like describing the dialogue in a Twilight film as complex or interesting, or the story in a Sasha Baron Cohen comedy as engaging or intelligent. Bay would probably like to kick your ass for calling anything of his subtle.

  3. JM

    I was amused by Billy Crystal’s mind read of Nick Nolte.

    I liked the guy who did the pose of Angelina Jolie.

    I wish that Gary Oldman would have won.

    2013 should be directed by Wes Anderson, hosted by Jason Schwartzman.

    • Paulb

      Agreed. Note that “the guy who did the pose of Angelina Jolie” is better known as the extremely funny Dean of Greendale Community College.

  4. Dave Wright

    Was happy The Artist took the majority of awards , wonderful movie ! I thought Billy Crystal was fine , sure a few of his jokes fell flat but i thought he shined in comparison to weak banter of the presenters and the cringe worthy god awful Wizard of Oz Best in show focus group that rendered even Fred Willard unfunny.

  5. Barsoom Bob

    Really, would it be too much to ask to have the show be actually about the movies themselves.

    As JM has pointed out, the first thing to fix is the academy voting population. Nominating system has to be reflective of real quality and popular opinion, not expensive campaigns and old cronies.

    Then they should hire an insightful comedian to be host, paired with a noteworthy film critic.

    The comedian greets the crowd, fires off a few zingers at notable guests to give a little glamor facetime. Then critic tries to make a few salient points about the year in film and the comedian injects his rebutals and comments.

    Stop all the big production numbers and lame sketches, and extremely lame pre-annoucement banter. Gorgeous movie star(s) come out announce the nominies along with 30 to 45 second clips that demonstrate the work that is up for the award. Reveal the winners.

    The winners come up, get their awards, smile, say thank you and get one acknowledgement to one special person and then exit stage left.

    Cut to crtic and comedian for a few comments, then comedian announces next presenter(s)

    Get the show done in 2 1/2 hours.

    If there has to be some entertainment to leven the proceedings, bring back the live performance of the nominated songs.

    Have a live running, viewer’s “favorite movie of the year” thing going on, in an tasteful scroll, on the bottom of the screen.

    • JM

      Louis C. K. hosts, Martin Scorsese co-hosts.

      Condense the categories to nine.

      Best Actress
      Best Actor
      Best Screenplay
      Best Art Direction
      Best Cinematography
      Best Editing
      Best Score
      Best Director
      Best Picture

      Academy members only get to vote in their category, and only if they worked on a movie in the last three years.

  6. Josh Zyber

    A friend of mine figured out what the theme of the montage about “Movies” was. There were five Billy Crystal movies in there. The montage must have been for “Movies that Billy Crystal Likes,” which would of course have to include a bunch of his own.


  7. besch64

    “The show couldn’t even get basic technical elements right, such as making sure that the stage microphones didn’t have tinny feedback the whole goddamn night. Whoever was in charge of sound needs to be banned from the industry for life.”

    I’m so glad you said this. I thought my TV was broken.

    But overall, I really disagree with a lot of your negatives. Should Billy Crystal have been chosen to host the Oscars this year? Probably not. But I don’t think everything he did was radioactive. The mind-read of Scorsese was nothing short of brilliance.

    The subject on which I differ from you mostly is that I loved. LOVED. The emphasis on movies. Movie-dom. The cinema. I loved the movie montage. I loved the commercial break actor interviews, in which the actors talked about why they love the movies and what the movies mean to them (don’t love the fact that they stuck only to actors). I loved the fact that Cirque du Soleil’s performance was themed around the idea of “what it feels like to watch a movie.” To me, it seemed like the show was dedicated to emphasizing the romance of the movies. And why not? Isn’t that why we love them? The movies are the most wonderful thing in the world, and the Oscars (as flawed as they are) are a welcome celebration once a year to take time out of our lives and honor that thing that was all love so much: the cinema. If anybody doesn’t feel that way, then I’m not sure why they’re watching the Oscars at all.

    All that being said, here’s my biggest complaint with the ceremony: movies =/= actors. I loved the fact that they paid so much attention to Scorsese throughout the night, but they only did that because a lot of people know who he is. Let’s see some more of the real artists. The directors, the writers, the editors, the photographers, the people who make the movies what they are. The people who make the movies great. Why did they limit the “why I love movies” interviews to actors? Ok, most people will only recognize actors. But the movies are so much bigger than that. There are so many artists who I would love to hear speak about their craft. Let’s give them their moments, too.

    Those are my thoughts. Overall, I’m going to say that I definitely enjoyed the show. Some gags were just awful, particularly the Robert Downey Jr “documentary” bit. But for the most part, the heart was in the right place and a lot of the awards went to the right people. Possibly my favorite moment was The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo getting a much deserved award.

    One final though: let’s get Hugh Jackman to host again.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.