Monday, March 8, 2010

Deb's Post-Oscar Round Up (Or, Tweet Your Heart Out)

(Spoiler alert: if you haven't watched this year's Oscars, now you won't have to.  Trust me, I'm doing you a favor.)

Twitter is a heckler's dream.  As long as each individual comment is 140 characters or less (and any good heckler knows that lengthy heckles lose their punch), Twitter provides a forum for real-time snark unparalleled by anything in real life.

When I think of all the heckles that have gone, unheard, into the ether, I get a little misty.  Now that I have Twitter, my heckles will all be as well-preserved as Barbara Streisand.

"Live tweeting" is when people participate in an event (movie, television show, reading of "Remembrance of Things Past") and tweet their responses in real time.  Some of the more memorable live tweets include "Twitflix," when several comedians attended a screening of some terrible films and all tweeted, to the possible litigation of the producing studio, and Al Sharpton giving commentary during Michael Jackson's funeral.

In this spirit, last night I live-tweeted the Oscars.  Full disclosure: it has been years since I saw all of the films in contention for Best Picture, and even then I watched most of the nominees after the awards.  For the last five years or so, I haven't even bothered to check out the nominees after the awards are given, and now that they have expanded the field to 10 nominees for best picture, I am even less likely to do so (though I did see "Up" this year).

Although I am not terribly invested in the awards themselves, I adore award shows as a form of entertainment in and of themselves.  That is the criteria I was using to judge last night's show: not whether or not the awards were right or fair, but how did the show rate as entertainment.

This year didn't even rate a "meh."  If I had to express my opinion of the show in one non-word sound, I would say, "phbbt."  It was, to put it bluntly, terrible.

Here, in no particular order, are my "beefs" with the Oscar telecast this year:

1. They cut out the performances of Best Original Song, but put in a bizarre, lengthy dance number to showcase Original Score.  If cutting Original Song was a way to cater to the audience's preference to avoid momentum-stopping music that no one cares about, their decision to keep the Original Score dance number is a mortal insult to all of the nominated songwriters.

2. Though they did John Hughes justice with a nice tribute to his work, the other memorialized actors were given very short shrift.  The focus seemed to be more on James Taylor, who performed the accompaniment to the montage; Patrick Swayze's two seconds, at the beginning of the montage, were not televised because they were still showing James.  In addition, the tribute did not mention Farrah Fawcett or Bea Arthur, who, though principally known for television work, did appear in at least as many films as Michael Jackson.

3. Though it was, apparently, too much trouble to properly memorialize the dead, the living got plenty of tributes. The 10 nominees for lead actor opened the show, onstage, each giving a little speech, then each was introduced by a co-star or producer or friend in a sometimes awkward "tribute" before each was, again, announced as a nominee, said announcement accompanied by a lengthy clip.  Enough already!  Please!  We get it!  They're better than us!  And everyone else!

4. Several of the "boring" categories (art direction, sound editing, etc.) were preceded by mini-documentaries that, again, wasted a great deal of time.  If, as they say, the Oscars are trying not to lose the mainstream public as a viewing audience, lay off!  If we care about that kind of stuff, we already know it.  If we don't care about it, you're wasting our time.

5. The "tribute to horror" was one of the worst tribute montages I've ever seen.  First, the adorable Taylor Lautner and heroin-chic poster girl Kristen Stewart give an introduction that states that the last time the Academy honored a horror film was "37 years ago," when The Exorcist won several awards.  The montage then went on to show footage from several Oscar-winning films, like "Silence of the Lambs" and "Misery."  I know those aren't new films, but they weren't made 38 years ago.  Also, the horror tribute included clips of things that are decidedly not horror, like Twilight, Twilight: New Moon, Bram Stoker's Dracula, Interview with the Vampire, Edward Scissorhands, and Chicken Run.  Okay, not Chicken Run, but only by the very loosest of definitions are any of those films "horror."  (Actually, I consider Chicken Run to be closer to horror than Edward Scissorhands.)  (Note to the Academy: having a vampire and/or werewolf in a film doesn't automatically make it horror.)


1. Tina Fey and Robert Downey, Jr. did a hilarious bit in which they discussed the "collaborative process" between actors and writers.  At one point, Tina fantasized about the day in which all actors would be CGI and would let the writers just do it alone, and Robert Downey Jr. referred to writers as "sickly little mole people" who allow the "handsome" people to do their job.

2. Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin taking a break backstage in a couple's Snuggie.

3. Sandra Bullock's speech.  She may not have deserved it, necessarily (I love her and think she's great, but there were definitely better performances this year), but her speech was touching, and tearful, and hilarious.  It showed why we all love her.

4. James Cameron losing to Wife No. 3.  I know the whole "ex-wife" thing was really played up, since Katherine Bigalow was the third of Cameron's five wives, they were only married for 2 years, and they have no children together, but I love to see James Cameron lose.  Losing to the first woman to ever win a Best Director Oscar was awesome, but having that woman be one of his ex-wives was really, really sweet.  (By the way, I loved how Barbara Streisand, who gave that award, wouldn't get out of the frame for a while and actually asked if she could hold the Oscar for Ms. Bigelow.  It made me smile.)

5. The John Hughes Tribute.  Or, as Sven said, "What happened to Judd Nelson?" 
But seriously, it was a touching tribute to a man who seemingly, judging by the clips, worked with everyone in Hollywood 25 years ago.

I may grouse and complain, but I'll be watching next year.  I still have to keep watching until Rob Pattinson gets the award, after all.  That pretty much guarantees I'll be watching for many, many years to come.


Barbaloot said...

The only thing I actually saw was the John Hughes tribute and I did really like that. I would've liked it more if Emilio Estevez had been part of it. And Alan Ruck.

Kristina P. said...

Loved the Snuggie, of course.

I thought that STeve Martin and Alec Baldwin did a decent job. Much better than expected.