It's the struggle-of-life paradox I learned when I was a teenager: You need to work to make money so you can afford to go out and do stuff, but often you can't go out and do stuff because you have to work. I am working now (which is a great thing), but that means I didn't have a lot of time to take in all of the Oscar-nominated movies this year.
I got to see three of them. Argo, Lincoln, and Zero Dark Thirty. After watching the three, I was rooting for Argo to win Best Picture, Daniel Day-Lewis to take home Best Actor, and Jessica Chastain to win Best Actress. Two out of three ain't bad.
Despite the fact that the 85th Annual Academy Awards was over three-and-a-half hours long, the show was not bad, although after the show's opening segment, you could have snoozed for a couple of hours and not missed much. It was okay, just not very eventful. The 17-minute opening segment, though, was a can't-miss.
Host Seth MacFarlane seems to be getting mixed reviews today, but if you are familiar with his work at all, you can't be surprised by his performance. He is always weird and borderline inappropriate, and then makes the weirdness and borderline inappropriateness into a song-and-dance number. The show opened with jokes about the nominated films. In referring to the plot of Argo, MacFarlane said the mission was so top secret, that the film's director was unknown to the Academy (cut to a smiling Ben Affleck). His biggest zingers were about the movie Django Unchained. MacFarlane quipped that the film was about “a man fighting to get back his woman who has been subjected to unthinkable violence. Or as Chris Brown and Rihanna call it, a date movie.” After some groans from the audience, MacFarlane said “oo no, that's what we were afraid he would do.” Then MacFarlane came back about the use of the N-word in the flick, saying the film must have been based on Mel Gibson's e-mails. It was kind of too bad Gibson wasn't there so we could see his reaction.
The sudden drop down of a TV screen with William Shatner as James T. Kirk was a hilarious surprise, and a great vehicle to showcase MacFarlane's following “We Saw Your Boobs” song. That, and his “salute to the losers” duet with Kristen Chenowith at the end of the marathon were vintage MacFarlane. The only thing missing from MacFarlane's repertoire was his voices. He did do the voice when “Ted” was a presenter later in the show, but that was it. I thought Stewy from Family Guy or Roger from American Dad would have made an appearance, but they didn't.
USA Today panned MacFarlane for “using the Oscars to audition for his own variety show”, while the Hollywood Reporter praised him for "Winning Oscar hosting against odds". But the best review came from my octogenarian mother, who thought he was brilliant and talented. Mom admitted she didn't know who MacFarlane was until about a week ago, and thought it was Seth Rogan that was hosting the Oscars. That could have been a very long night.
Two-hour break: The worst part of this year's Oscars was the banter, or lack of it, between the presenters. Paul Rudd and Melissa McCarthy were really not funny. Channing Tatum and Jennifer Aniston, blech. Jamie Foxx and Kerry Washington at least were from the same movie. Dustin Hoffman and Charlize Theron was odd. I think they paired them on purpose, but I can't be sure.
Just wondering: Why was the orchestra in a completely different building? When they were introduced and thanked, it was pointed out that they were in the Capitol Records building up the street. No room? Really?...I don't follow the foreign films, but doesn't it seem like they remake Anna Karenina every year?...All of those academy voters, and there's a tie for Sound Editing? In that case, doesn't the House of Representatives pick a winner? Oh yeah, the House can't get anything done these days.
Bond. James Bond.: It went by real fast, but at first it looked like Roger Moore wasn't in the James Bond montage. I know I have the minority opinion, but I always thought he was the best 007. I paused and rewound. He was there, but in flashes...Mom told me she loved Shirley Bassey's rendition of Goldfinger. Bassey did belt it out, but Paul McCartney singing Live and Let Die would have brought the house down.
In Memoriam: Is it a good thing to say that the dead-actor montage was the best ever? A nice and touching surprise (I was surprised anyway) to see Barbra Streisand sing “The Way We Were” in honor of the late composer Marvin Hamlisch. I've never been a huge Streisand fan, but she looked and sounded great.
Weirdest Acceptance Speech: Life of Pi for Visual Effects. The final of four speakers bleeped with a quick cut to a seemingly astonished Nicole Kidman. Was he just cut off or did he say something he shouldn't? I guess we'll never know. You had to love the Jaws music when the thank-yous ran too long. That's pretty funny.
Best Acceptance Speech: You had to wait almost until the end. Day-Lewis saying he almost couldn't do Lincoln because he was going to play Margaret Thatcher in another movie, and Meryl Streep was going to portray Abe, before a last-minute swap. Honorable mention to Best Director Ang Lee for thanking his agent and his lawyer, saying “I had to”. Also to Jennifer Lawrence, who fell on the way up to the dais to accept her Best Actress award, for joking about it when she got up there.
Biggest Surprise: With three early awards and Best Director to Ang Lee, I was beginning to think Life of Pi was going to win Best Picture. I don't think it was a total shocker that Argo won, certainly not as big of surprise as First Lady Michelle Obama presenting the award. I also couldn't believe some of the news stations were making a political issue out of it today. It was just plain cool.
Worst dressed: I know she is a large woman, but Melissa McCarthy could have worn a much better outfit. I didn't see anyone look really hideous, but Sandra Bullock always looks so plain. I guess Anne Hathaway's dress was too see-through. Maybe MacFarlane saw her boobs, but I hate to say I didn't notice.