Quantcast

«

»

Mar 03 2014

Oscar’s golden night

I had the Academy Awards tuned in to the background last night. I’m not a fan; like many of us, I just like to gawp and snipe at overprivileged rich people, so it was just occasionally entertaining noise to catch my attention in between papers. Here are the things that made me bother to look up.

  • Ellen Degeneres was generally amiable and pleasant, but the stunt where she ordered out for pizza and delivered it to obscenely wealthy, pretty people in clothes that may have cost more than some people make in a year? That was…disturbing and klunky. It wasn’t Macfarlane-awful, but just vaguely icky.

  • Gravity won best director. No, that was a terrible movie! The star was Orbital Mechanics, but Orbital Mechanics was falling-down drunk every day on the set, and Orbie kept sticking his face in front of the camera, even in scenes where he shouldn’t have been, and Cuarón just let him get away with it.

  • John Travolta seemed to be stoned on smug, and couldn’t even manage to introduce someone properly, and called Idina Menzel “Adele Nazeem”. That was probably the name of a clam he knew in a past life.

  • The award for the most embarrassingly stupid acceptance speech goes to Matthew McConaughey, who, in accepting an award for the role of a guy dying of AIDS, rambled on slickly and at length in praise of a god. I was already peeved — I was hoping Bruce Dern would win — so it did not console me that someone deserving had won it anyway.

  • Oh, yeah, Nebraska got skunked. I had expectations that it would do well…it was one of my favorite movies this year. Something about a cranky old guy in a small midwestern town just spoke to me.

  • Cate Blanchett thanked Woody Allen.

  • Lupita Nyong’o gave the best speech of the evening. She won for a harrowing role, and it was well-deserved.

  • 12 Years a Slave won best picture. For once, I could agree with the Academy’s choice in this category — that was a powerful movie.

  • Holy crap, it ended on time?

28 comments

Skip to comment form

  1. 1
    Tashiliciously Shriked

    What, nothing about Frozen?

    It won the two categories it was up for, and deserved it. It was a wonderful, charming, gorgeous looking movie with an amazing message and a strong feminist undercurrent.

    And Let It Go was just <3

  2. 2
    mx89

    I can’t believe a documentary about backup singers beat Dirty Wars and The Act of Killing. I mean, really? Were they afraid someone was going to talk about US culpability in murder for the acceptance speech or even something as tame as what Michael Moore did?

  3. 3
    Tashiliciously Shriked

    [blockquote]I can’t believe a documentary about backup singers beat Dirty Wars and The Act of Killing. I mean, really? Were they afraid someone was going to talk about US culpability in murder for the acceptance speech or even something as tame as what Michael Moore did?[/blockquote]

    yes

  4. 4
    hillaryrettig

    75 years from Gone with the Wind to 12 Years a Slave. I’d say we’re making progress.

  5. 5
    IncredulousMark

    I don’t mean to brag but my Oscar prediction of “I won’t give a fuck” was 100% accurate.

  6. 6
    gworroll

    Contrast McConahey’s speech with Jared Letos for the same movie. Leto should have mentioned trans people and their struggles, but he thanked actual people who helped get him where he is, and he acknowledged the real world pain behind the movies story. Far better than that sanctimonious garbage from the lead. I can’t really blame trans people if they are less forgiving than I am on this one, though. It was a glaring omission even to this cis guy.

    Am I remembering previous Oscars(like from the 80s and 90s) wrong or were there overall far fewer mentions of God in acceptance speeches this time around?

    Travolta should be embarrassed. It would be one thing to flub an awardees name that badly, you don’t know who it is until seconds before saying it, possibly for the first time in your life. But I would expect he’d have known hours before, and for someone whose career was built on film musicals, I’d expect him to treat that one with extra care- it’s not like he was announcing some random musical guest who was just breaking up the monotony.

    Bette Midler- I thought she could sing? I don’t know if she’s been going downhill or if this was just an off night for her, but she blew it. Badly. Appropriate song choice, and had the delivery been better, she’d have been the one to do it, but the delivery was awful.

    Pink nailed it though. Iconic song from an iconic film, with the films stars kids in attendance. That really calls for the best you can bring, and she brought it.

    Bill Murrays brief mention of Harold Ramis was amazing. Decently relevant point to bring him up, not overpowering the nominees or taking away from his duties as a presenter. It was a nice touch. It’s also refreshing to see a star just not giving a crap how old they look. He looks older than my parents, who are both older than he is.

  7. 7
    timgueguen

    Reportedly the goody bag given out to attendees was worth 80 grand.

  8. 8
    pumpkinpie24

    I was disappointed by the tribute to “Popular Heroes.” In the 2-minute montage, I counted 8 women.

    I didn’t see the tributes to animated and everyday heroes, so I can’t make a comparison.

  9. 9
    carlie

    The Travolta thing really bugged me. He’s an actor. They memorize lines. That’s what they do. And it was a performance, so they knew as soon as the nominations were out who would be performing. If he had been chosen near the end without much time to prepare and had that much trouble with her name, he could have had an earpiece with a vocal prompt or something. Just inexcusable.

    Some of the NPR pop culture commentators (Linda Holmes and the Pop Culture Happy Hour crew) refer to all of the awards show montages as “Here’s a tribute to…MOVIES!” so I see them all with that cynicism now. :)

  10. 10
    carlie

    Also, it seemed a bit tone-deaf for the actors to all be complaining about the rain they’ve been getting and how it almost ruined the ceremony when California is under its worst drought in half a century.

  11. 11
    twas brillig (stevem)

    Sandra Bullock WAS ROBBED!
    As much as PZ may have disliked Gravity, I thought it was an outstanding film [FWIW], making the joy and peril of orbit totally real. Sandra’s performance was “Not Overperforming”, which is so common in typical sci-fi ‘space operas’. And she was portraying a character that we need to see a lot more of in the “film media”. A hero who is female, the expert and developer of a technology device NASA so desperately wanted installed on the HST, they trained her in a rush, and had *her* install it instead having her teach some astronauts to install it. She was calm in disaster (but still emotional), rational throughout and survives (barely) a harrowing disaster.
    The Best Director award was deserved, it’s a hard job to pull together all those visual effects and still concentrate on a single character, (+1 other, who only lasts a little while), and still make it spectacular.
    The award the movie Gravity received and deserved the most, was Cinematography [hurray]. <speechless>
    Gravity also showed that ‘Science Fiction’ =/= fictional science. And while it may have been second to try to tell a real science story of a space disaster, Apollo 13 was not science fiction, but really a “docu-drama” (a re-creation of a real event with some fictional dialogue thrown in)
    The nerd I am, rejoiced at every award Gravity received, and cursed that Bullock was robbed. [off soapbox now]

    Leto’s acceptance speech was magnificent while McConaughey’s was retched.

    While talking about disappointments, I was very disappoint that The Book Thief was NOT nominated (at least) for “Best Adapted Screenplay”. It totally deserved it; so few movies from existing books really “capture” the essence of the story from the book and instead just go off at some weird angle with small references to the original. It took Williams’ influence to get nominated for The Score for The Book Thief, but even that failed.

    discuss amongst yourselfs…

  12. 12
    PZ Myers

    I thought Sandra Bullock did just fine with the bad writing and ridiculous plot of Gravity.

    And I will say that, despite it’s gigantic flaws, Gravity was a much more entertaining movie than the ghastly American Hustle.

  13. 13
    David Marjanović

    something as tame as what Michael Moore did

    Aaaah, I remember the fictitious president. =8-)

  14. 14
    weatherwax

    #10 carlie: “Also, it seemed a bit tone-deaf for the actors to all be complaining about the rain they’ve been getting and how it almost ruined the ceremony when California is under its worst drought in half a century.”

    More to the point, it’s the first real storm we’ve had here in so Cal, when most of the rest of the country has been slammed with huge storms that left 100,000′s of people without power or heat for days, and cut off from work and stores.

    And we’re already back to dry and 60′s to 70′s F (in San Diego).

  15. 15
    twas brillig (stevem)

    [...] ghastly American Hustle.

    Despite our differences about Gravity we agree about …Hustle I too was totally appalled that it was nominated for so many awards, and happy it received so few [if any, iirc].

  16. 16
    nich

    Granted I only know Dallas Buyers Club from its trailers, but I wonder what distinguished this laid back, confident, slightly edgy Texan from all the other laid back, confident, slightly edgy Texans Matthew McConaughey has played? I’m guessing there are exactly zero casting directors who wouldn’t immediately think to cast him in that role:

    “So…I’m trying to cast the role of a confident, handsome Texan with a slight edge to him.”

    “Dustin Hoffman?”

    “No. Not young enough.”

    “Joseph Gordon Leavitt?”

    “Too young and doesn’t have the accent.”

    “Here’s a thought…Matthew McConaughey?”

    “You mean the lawyer from Amistad? Good luck getting the producer to sign off on that!”

  17. 17
    rinn

    I must confess that I was disappointed when I saw 12 Years a slave. I was really looking forward to it, but it struck me as inert and starchy: it is a string of isolated episodes, where everything Solomon does it flatly inconsequential. Edwin Epps never hears about his first escape attempt. Solomon later easily dispels suspicions about his second escape attempt. Everything is forgotten the instant the scene changes, which made me feel that there is no coherent story to be told here.

  18. 18
    HappiestSadist, Repellent Little Martyr

    I’m still rather disgusted at the fawning Jared Leto got for a horrifyingly bigoted caricature of trans women. Trans women who act exist, and cis men should goddamn not play trans women! And his defensiveness when called out about it was awful as well.

  19. 19
    Sili

    Travolta should be embarrassed.

    AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAAAAAAaaaaaaaaaa……

  20. 20
    Sili

    The Travolta thing really bugged me. He’s an actor.

    If you’ll allow me to quote myself:

    AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAAAAAAaaaaaaaaaa……

  21. 21
    Sili

    I must confess that I was disappointed when I saw 12 Years a slave. I was really looking forward to it, but it struck me as inert and starchy

    So, English then?

  22. 22
    billforsternz

    Something about a cranky old guy in a small midwestern town just spoke to me.

    Very nice.

  23. 23
    rrhain

    Regarding the pizza:

    Um…you did stick around to watch her collecting money for it, right? Literally hundreds of dollars to the delivery guy, right? How she was badgering these rich people for only putting in twenty bucks, right?

    Regarding the rain:

    You do realize that that was the point of the joke, yes? That the joke was that complaining about rain is a ridiculous complaint, yes? Yeah, jokes about the weather are hardly that great, but I think you missed the point.

  24. 24
    mamba24

    Despite all the god crap from McConaughey’s acceptance speech, I think he still deserved to win. He had an amazing performance.

  25. 25
    Nemo

    It did not end on time, at least not according to my TiVo, which had the show ending more than half an hour earlier than it did. Of course, the Oscars always run at least half an hour over, which makes me wonder why they don’t just change the schedule. I suspect they know perfectly well that this will happen, and have their reasons for leaving the schedule understated, but I can’t guess what those reasons are.

    It did feel more timely, because very few winners got played off.

  26. 26
    carlie

    You do realize that that was the point of the joke, yes? That the joke was that complaining about rain is a ridiculous complaint, yes? Yeah, jokes about the weather are hardly that great, but I think you missed the point.

    ?

    No, they were actually glad that it wasn’t raining. Problems from rain earlier in the day. A lot of people were worried about it. No snark, just rain upset. Yes, they understand the rain isn’t a big problem, but the cluelessness is that they thought of it only as being a negative, without even a sop for “well, at least all of the farmers in the state need it”.

  27. 27
    rrhain

    Hmm…from your own source:

    “I know it’s very trivial.”

    And I’m referring to DeGeneres’ monologue:

    “For those of you watching around the world, it’s been a tough couple of days for us. It has been raining. We’re fine. Thank you for your prayers.”

  28. 28
    nathanaelnerode

    “12 Years a Slave won best picture. For once, I could agree with the Academy’s choice in this category — that was a powerful movie.”

    The book is better. Unfortunately, reading the book first makes one annoyed with the movie.

    The book is… spectacularly powerful.

Comments have been disabled.