Last night I watched the Oscars after a lapse of several years. As with the Super Bowl, where I didn’t watch the pre- game show at all, here I only started watching when host Ellen de Generes took the stage. Perhaps because of that, I was able to watch the show to the very end. Here are my impressions of the show, my picks and pans.
Ellen de Generes: I thought was very good. Her opening monologue was fresh and funny, got everyone laughing and kick started the show. Afterwards, she was content to let the events on stage unfold without imposing herself on them. I liked the bit about ordering pizza for the audience and , later, getting them to chip in for the tip to the deliveryman. Also, offering those who had lost out on the awards lottery tickets as a consolation.The one thing I didn’t like was her continuing reference to Jonah Hill ” showing her something she hadn’t seen in a long time.” It was funny the first time but not when it was repeated.
Jared Leto’s acceptance speech : was heartwarming. His mother went through a lot as a single woman raising two children and it was wonderful that he acknowledged her sacrifices and the role she played in his life.
The awards: contained few surprises. After “Gravity” won so many awards, I was pretty sure Sandra Bullock would not get the Best Actress Oscar. And she didn’t. Must say I didn’t expect it to go to Cate Blanchett because Blue Jasmine was perhaps the least known of the movies.
Acceptance Speeches:were mostly alright, not too long except for those by Cate Blanchett and Steve McQueen. I know that this the crowning moment for those winning awards and that they want to acknowledge the contributions of those who helped them get there but … is there any point in reeling off a long list of names of people whom we don’t know and will never hear of again? Wouldn’t it be better to acknowledge such contributions privately, face to face? This is particularly true of foreign winners whose mumbled speech is difficult to understand. Another speech I didn’t care for was that of Matthew McConaughey whose reference to the role God plays in his life was tiresome to say the least; the rest of the speech about striving but never being able to be his own hero could have been better expressed. The best speech, the one I enjoyed the most, was that of Lupita Nyong’o who was dignified and thoughtful even as she was bubbling over with joy.
The songs:presented on stage were all great but I particularly enjoyed those by Bette Midler and
Pink and of course the impromptu one by Darlene Love.
Annoyances:Jamie Foxx who muffed his half of the announcement and then did his best ( worst?) to distract Jessica Biel when she was speaking. Also, Jim Carrey’s impersonation of Bruce Dern.
Overall, the Oscars were enjoyable giving us a chance to experience some of the old time Hollywood glamor now sadly fast vanishing.( They also brought home to me the importance of the industry ( $500 billion + worth of tickets sold worldwide last year). I can’t help remarking though that most of the movies honored with nominations are not what I would go to see. For one who sees movies only for entertainment, yesterday’s honorees like ” 12 Years a Slave”, ” The Dallas Buyers Club”, ” The Wolf of Wall Street” and ” American Hustle” hold few attractions. The only ones I would consider seeing are ” Gravity” and ” Her”.