The Oscars are the biggest event on world television that doesn’t involve a ball. The show ostensibly honors movies, yet millions of people tune in with the full knowledge that they haven’t been to a movie since that rainy afternoon in Miami three years ago when they were forced into a sequel to something or other while the rental car was being repaired. And yet they watch as a parade of largely unknown people (did you know who Adrien Brody was before he won his Oscar? Do you know who Brenda Fricker is since she won hers?) sweep down a red carpet attended by nervous press agents sweating into the earpieces of their cellphones.
The evening started with a publicity bang when Sacha Baron Cohen donning the attire of The Dictator, his forthcoming film, dumped the ashes from an urn carrying the “remains” of the late North Koren dictator Kim Jong-Il on Ryan Seacrest. The moment was hilarious for the instant displeased reaction of Seacrest but if there was any a scapegoat to pull a stunt like this on its Seacrest. The man is actually a really smart and nice guy and can appreciate a good joke.
The telecast started with the obligatory “Oscar-host-superimposed-into-the-Best-Picture-nominees. This joke has been done to death by decades of MTV Movie Awards’ Andy Dick appearances but I love Billy Crystal so it was worth while. Also the obligatory musical number involving the nominees earned a few solid laughs with Crystal serenading Scorsese with a rendition of “That’s Amore” that substitutes the lyrics with musings on how Hugo is so un-Scorsese.
The evening continues with Scorsese’s Hugo winning most of the technical awards. Hells yeah! Followed by Octavia Spencer winning Best Supporting Actress for The Help. It’s a sappy, generic movie but its performances are incredible and Spencer is a fantastic character actress I’ve followed for years (Watch her talk to dead animals through food in Dinner for Schmucks or show Cusack how to reach the 7 1/2 floor inBeing John Malkovich!). The fact that she was nominated is praise enough for her long career but actually winning will open up so many future opportunities.
Christopher Plummer taking home Best Supporting Actor for Beginners. Thank Christ! How has this man not earned one yet? I’ve been pulling for him with great dedication since 06 (Inside Man).
Hugo wins best cinematography. Personally I was pulling for The Tree of Life because the film deserves something and the Emmanuelle Leubezki photography makes it but Hey I can’ be upset over Robert Richardson winning for a Scorsese film!
Bret McKenzie for The Muppets! This is the moment I’ve been waiting for. If only Jermaine were here to see this.
Woody Allen for Best Original Screenplay. No Show as always and I love him for it. I know I’d be the same way. I love that following the Whatever Works premiere both Allen and Larry David decided “Screw this” and bailed. I’m pretty sure if I was nominated and had a good shot at winning I’d do the same.
Michel Hazanavicius wins for Best Director for The Artist. I can’t diss because I haven’t seen the film and it sounds like its right up my alley. I have, however, seen Hazanavicius’ other films; the spy spoofs OSS; and the fact that he’s come from catchy spy caper comedy to loving ode to the origins of film surely begs to be recognized.
The Artist’s Jean Dujardin wins for Best Actor. He will truly be remembered with the public along such great Awards winners as Gerard Depardieu and Roberto Benigni and…oh crap…he’s screwed.
Meryl Streep for The Iron Lady. There’s always one major upset at the Awards and this one is certainly it. Who wasn’t counting on Viola Davis, making her the 2nd African-American to win Best Actress and on the ten year anniversary of Halle Berry’s landmark win for Monster’s Ball? But I freaking love Meryl Streep and she honestly deserves the most nominations and wins this side of Jack Nicholson. I haven’t seen The Iron Lady yet but thank God they gave it to her for this and not The Devil Wears Pradaand Julie & Julia (to me, sympathy nods).
Finally, The Artist wins Best Picture. Not too surprised given the awards its acheived internationally thus far but when an award show spends most its time praising Scorsese’s Hugo don’t you think it would be the one truly deserving of the award? Its a win win because both films celebrate a long lost and truly special era of film making. Just the fact that a little seen, foreign language film has achieved the Academy’s highest of honors has not been felt since 1996’s The English Patient.
And the HOTTEST on the red carpet were Tina Fey and Kristen Wiig. I will fight you to the death in a six-sided ring of fire and spikes strewn with dead babies if you feel otherwise. I kid you not.