Positive Cynicism – Things I learned at this year’s Oscars

Aaron Davis

Aaron R. Davis

1. Anne Hathaway and James Franco are terrific, pretty, talented people. They also aren’t funny, genial or inviting, even when they’ve been drinking and/or getting high (that last part is conjecture, but come on).

2. James Franco does, however, look better than Anne Hathaway in a leotard.

3. It’s ridiculous to cut montages celebrating the movies from a show dedicated to celebrating the movies, especially when the alternative is Tom Hanks or Cate Blanchett fobbing off about how good Gone with the Wind is.

4. CGI can serve as a legitimate, award-winning alternative to art direction (Alice in Wonderland), cinematography (Inception), make-up (The Wolfman) and costumes (Alice in Wonderland again). Everyone bitched about George Lucas using too much computer wizardry as a lazy alternative to filmmaking; turns out he was just ahead of his time.

5. Everyone who worked on Inception is a dullard who goes on at nonsensical length about their lengthy, nonsensical movie.

6. It’s sad to see your heroes deteriorate as elders (Kirk Douglas). It’s even sadder to see people who are still young deteriorate (Melissa Leo).

7. “Respect the work!” is this year’s “You like me! You really like me!”

8. Melissa Leo apparently wasn’t really overacting in The Fighter; she’s just like that.

(I know, those are three things about the same woman, but she just really, really irritated me.)

9. Cocaine is a hell of a drug. (Okay, that last bit is conjecture, but come on, Mila Kunis, get it together out there, this show is live.)

10. The way to emulate 1929 fashions is to wear suits that don’t actually fit.

11. It’s not okay to cut off Kirk Douglas as he’s holding court, but it is okay to cut off Aaron Sorkin for thanking people.

12. James Franco does not look good in a dress, but Anne Hathaway looks hot in a tux, even while delivering an unfunny, forced comedy song.

13. Dame Helen Mirren speaking French is so hot that it makes it impossible to notice if Russell Brand is being funny or not. Besides, it’s hard to be annoyed with Russell Brand when you’re just thrilled not to be subjected to Ben Stiller, Jack Black, Will Ferrell or Mike Myers for a change.

14. Christian Bale thinks he looks good with a fake, discolored, unmatching beard made of pubes.

15. Scarlett Johansson will never be sexy in the soft, blowsy way she was before she lost all that weight to train for Iron Man 2. Also, now I know who Mila Kunis was doing coke with.

16. The reason Christopher Nolan’s flicks are getting longer and more incoherent is that he surrounds himself with people who speak too long and too incoherently.

(I know, I said basically the same thing at number five, but it needed to be said again.)

17. Hollywood appreciates the work of nerds, but not enough to actually speak their names on television. (But hey, at least CGI won four awards, so that’s something.)

18. Cate Blanchett has given up on wearing flattering gowns.

19. Apparently, TV’s Chuck can come across as even more of a douche than he does in Comcast commercials: he can have a fake orange spray-tan and sing with Mandy Moore.

20. Twinkies with chocolate cream inside are even better than traditional Twinkies. This has nothing to do with the Oscars, but was discovered during the show, so it counts.

21. Julie & Julia was so shrill and annoying that my love for Amy Adams is now dead.

22. Just because kids like auto-tune is no reason to do a whole segment with auto-tune. Kids love a lot of stupid things. It doesn’t make them real.

23. Oprah Winfrey is the most self-important woman in the world. (You already knew that, but since it was so amply demonstrated again last night, I felt it would be remiss not to mention it.)

24. Banksy is the ultimate hipster hero: a guy with a gimmick (anonymity) who makes anti-corporate statements by defacing private property. He also wants to figure out how to sell out without making it look too much like he’s selling out. Luckily, we didn’t have to see whether he came in disguise or not, since he didn’t win an Oscar.

25. Billy Crystal can be tiresome, but he’s also still one of the funniest people in Hollywood. This should really be his permanent gig. His appearance was a rare bright spot in a sea of “meh.”

26. Robert Downey, Jr. doesn’t know the difference between being witty and being bitchy.

27. Making Tommy from 3rd Rock from the Sun float a couple of feet is more impressive a special effect than the one thing Alice in Wonderland had going for it: the CGI creatures.

28. Not having to watch Gwyneth Paltrow sing is the reason TiVo exists.

29. No one’s death is more important than close-ups of Celine Dion, but at least we have Halle Berry to put death into perspective for us. (Also: Lena Horne is the Most Important Dead Person of 2010. Fuck you, William Fraker!)

30. No matter what she’s doing, Helena Bonham Carter is always going to come across like that creepy, often-drunk, overly-familiar woman down the street whose house your parents told you to steer clear of.

31. Whatever work you do for film history, you will not be honored on TV, but instead will be given your kiss-off award in a separate, unaired ceremony and only allowed to stand for a moment on TV while people clap and shuffle you off to the sidelines.

32. Even though she’s stupid and says loathsome, self-serving things, Natalie Portman is still capable of being the one Best Actress winner in the past decade who doesn’t ramble on about the importance of art and filmmaking (Nicole Kidman), the importance of her win in a larger context of social history (Halle Berry) or about how the Academy was doing God’s work for making this the crowning glory in the life of an over-privileged person who pretends to be humble and fails miserably at it (Julia Roberts).

33. Colin Firth should give Robert Downey, Jr. lessons on how to be charming and witty.

34. According to Steven Spielberg, wining Best Picture doesn’t actually matter.

35. No event is too important to end with an elementary school recital punctuated by a drunken Anne Hathaway wooing, yeahing and screaming. Not that I’d want that at my funeral, but it’s better than watching Celine Dion mangle one of my favorite songs.

Aaron R. Davis lives in a cave at the bottom of the ocean with his eyes shut tight and his fingers in his ears. You can contact him at samuraifrog@yahoo.com.

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