Murphy’s Law – What we learned from last night’s Oscars
Another Oscar telecast is officially in the books. I watched the whole thing from start to finish, though I feel like unlikely to remember most of it two days from now. There were a few standout moments, but overall it was a bloated, mediocre affair.
Still, I wouldn’t be the editor of a pop culture blog if I didn’t have my own bloated, mediocre thoughts on the whole show. So here’s what we can take away from the show …
1. Seth MacFarlane is a pretty good host
I know that some people were tearing him up on Twitter during the show and I know he’s an easy guy to dislike, but I really thought he turned out to be a surprisingly capable host. Granted, I was expecting to hate him, so my personal bar was set fairly low, but I thought he did a good job. I laughed at quite a bit of the monologue and thought that the Von Trapp family joke and the “This next presenter needs no introduction” jokes were both well executed. Some moments fell quite flat, like the Mel Gibson joke and everything involving Mark Wahlberg and Ted, but most of it worked and he seemed charming and sincere enough to carry the show. Then again, I’m a sucker for sock puppet reenactments and “We Saw Your Boobs” has been stuck in my head all morning, so I’ll admit I’m kind of a moron.
2. Producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron love Craig Zadan and Neil Meron
Maybe it was purely coincidental that Zadan and Meron decided to do two separate tributes to Chicago, a musical they produced. But whatever the case, their decision to make the night all about musicals made an already bloated show even more bloated. The show struggled to finish by midnight and managed to only present one award most people care about in the first hour and a half. Also, while MacFarlane acquitted himself fairly well, all of the presenters’ banter was atrocious. I’ve never missed Bruce Vilanch so much in my life.
3. Quentin Tarantino loves Quentin Tarantino
Did the man really congratulate himself for his excellent casting choices in Django Unchained? I have such a love-hate relationship with Tarantino. His films are inventive and fun to watch and he clearly has a passion for the industry and a deep admiration for classic films, but as a person (and an actor) he’s the worst. If you took a drink every time he said “I” during his acceptance speech last night, you’d be in a coma right now.
4. No one knows how to pronounce Les Misérables
We live in a world where Channing Tatum did a better job pronouncing Les Misérables than John Travolta. Nothing makes sense anymore.
5. Anna Kendrick was robbed
Seriously, how did her rendition of “Cups” from Pitch Perfect not win “Most Adorable Song Ever”?
6. The Jaws theme makes everything better
The whole “playing a winner off the stage” thing has always been an odd conceit at the Oscars. I like that this year they just embraced the awkwardness by playing the most obnoxious music possible. I saw a lot of people on Twitter last night commenting that they wanted to use the Jaws theme to get out of their own awkward situations in real life. Someone should make an iPhone ap immediately.
7. Hollywood is predictable
All of the major awards went about how people expected them to. Anne Hathaway and Daniel Day-Lewis were considered locks going in (so much so that Meryl Streep mustered zero enthusiasm when reading Day-Lewis’ name), as was Argo for Best Picture, and Hollywood didn’t disappoint. The biggest surprise was Ang Lee’s win for Life of Pi, but considering that most of the heavy hitters (Quentin Tarantino, Ben Affleck and Kathryn Bigelow) weren’t actually nominated, all that really means is that he beat Spielberg.
And wow, I realize that I just referred to director Ben Affleck as a heavy hitter. My how things have changed. Speaking of Affleck …
8. Hollywood prefers bullshit to realism
I swear this is the last time I’ll mention this, but I am a bit surprised at what a free pass Argo is getting from viewers and critics on its liberties with the story. The Canadian ambassador is irked at just how marginalized he and his country’s role in rescuing the hostages was in the film. (And considering that President Jimmy Carter recently said in an interview that the rescue mission was about 90 percent Canada and 10 percent America, that’s a pretty big slight.) Plus, the ending seems like something out of a Die Hard film instead of a real-life rescue mission. In a year when Zero Dark Thirty got so much right (to the point where the Seal Team Six member who shot Bin Laden only had minor criticisms at best), it just seems wrong to reward a film that found the truth too troublesome and boring to use.
9. Daniel Day-Lewis is funny
Leave it to the greatest actor alive today to get the biggest laugh of the night. While so many of the speeches came across overly-prepared and wooden, Day-Lewis’ joke that he was originally supposed to play Margaret Thatcher and Meryl Streep was supposed to play Abram Lincoln was perfect.
10. Samuel L. Jackson was in no mood for shenanigans
Tommy Lee Jones gave up his “cranky old man” title he earned at the Golden Globes by laughing at Seth MacFarlane’s opening joke about making him laugh. Jackson jumped at the chance to take the crown. Every cutaway had him looking put out by the whole evening and his demeanor and delivery when he presented an award made it clear he would rather have been anywhere else than on that stage.
11. Charlize Theron is still gorgeous
You know, in case you were wondering. Trust me, this is an important observation and not just a flimsy excuse to post a photo of her.
Joel Murphy is the creator of HoboTrashcan, which is probably why he has his own column. He loves pugs, hates Jimmy Fallon and has an irrational fear of robots. You can contact him firstname.lastname@example.org