Pop Off: Unusually good Oscars
Published: Monday, February 25, 2013
Updated: Monday, February 25, 2013 21:02
The Oscars were presented Sunday night, and in case you missed it, “Argo” won Best Picture, Seth MacFarlane hosted and Jennifer Lawrence tripped and fell on her overdone dress. It’s time for the obligatory post-show review, for which I was prepared to open a wholesome can of snark and sarcasm. But I don’t think I’ll be able to seeing as I was pretty impressed with the show, and ended up eating several slices of humble pie after getting two of my six predictions correct. And seeing as the odds were 1–50 on the ones got right, it’s not much of an achievement.
Giving Seth MacFarlane the hosting job was certainly a risk on the Academy’s part, given his shameless and vulgar brand of humor. On stage, MacFarlane held nothing back and while many of his jokes pushed the envelope, they killed. It was one of the funniest Oscars I’ve seen, and it helped that MacFarlane was both really into it, and kind of aware of how out of place he was. The opening bits with William Shatner were fantastic, the presenter introductions all worked and on a night that played tribute to movie musicals, they couldn’t have picked a more appropriate host.
Other show highlights include a James Bond tribute with a great performance of “Goldfinger” by Shirley Bassey who, at 76, still has the pipes. A good number of musical performances, including ones by Catherine Zeta-Jones and the “Les Miserables” cast, sounded much better Sunday night than they did in the actual movie. A lot of presenters played it straight, with the biggest exception being Mark Wahlberg and MacFarlane’s character Ted. Their jokes were great and their presentation saw only the sixth tie in Oscar history.
Also, how do you top Bill Clinton appearing at the Golden Globes? Having Michelle Obama appear and present the award for the Best Picture. Which was not only a moment of pure awesome, but a really clever move on the Academy’s part as the top three Best Picture contenders were about triumphs of the American government. And regarding last week’s column about the Oscars vs. the Golden Globes; verdict reached, Oscars win.
As for the awards, there were several upsets and several predicted upsets that didn’t happen. Christoph Waltz beat out four legends to take home his second Oscar in three years. Ang Lee beat out Steven Spielberg for Best Director, whose “Lincoln” really didn’t do well, winning only twice with 12 nominations. Jennifer Lawrence beat out Emmanuelle Riva and Jessica Chastain, winning Best Actress and the very young age of 22. It was nice to see the technical awards divided up rather than go to one or two films as we’ve seen in recent years, although most of them should have gone to “Cloud Atlas.” And I promise this is the last time I will ever mention the masterpiece “Cloud Atlas.”
The only thing that I saw worth complaining about were the animation awards. First, “Brave” should not have won, and I can’t help but feel it did so solely because it was made by Pixar. This is also the second year in a row where the presentation was so bad I shut off my TV for a couple seconds. This year we had Paul Rudd and Melissa McCarthy do some sort of voice acting joke which fell flat on its face and made no sense. Last year Chris Rock all but said animation didn’t deserve to be part of the ceremony. Here’s an idea, get somebody to present who actually cares about the genre: Tim Curry, Jim Cummings, Kath Soucie, Wes Anderson, Don Bluth and Ralph Bakshi are still alive, why not them?
All in all, this year’s Oscars were unusually good. The awards went to deserving people, not much was predictable and MacFarlane put on an unorthodox yet superb show. I can’t wait to see how the 2014 Oscars don’t live up to it.