After last night’s ceremony, it seemed appropriate to have Robert and I stand tall and admit either defeat or failure the next day. Thankfully, neither one of us looked hopelessly foolish and we walked away with the same amount of correct predictions. I did have an Oscar pool at home and bested my family, correctly guessing 14 of the awards overall. Now that Hollywood Christmas is over, it’s time to close the door on 2012, once and for all (until Robert gets to that volume in his Who Won?!? series). Here, we discuss which predictions we got right or wrong, as well as comment on the fashions and the ceremony itself.
I’ll let Robert start us off:
Pardon me while I wipe the egg off my face.
It isn’t much, mind you. I got 5 out of 8 of my haven’t-seen-a-single-nominated-film predictions right (I have no idea if I was right about the Best Actress yet…did the winner cry more than the others? If so, I’m 6 out of 9…). Still, if I was playing baseball with that batting average, I’d be making twenty million a year.
The biggest surprise of the night was Ang Lee winning for Life of Pi, which nobody saw coming. I suspect the backlash against the Academy failing to nominate Ben Affleck for Best Director led to voters looking for anybody they recognized on that ballot who wasn’t involved in Lincoln, thus robbing Spielberg on a night he fully expected to win. Then again, I haven’t seen any of the movies yet, so maybe Life of Pi really was that good. I was also wrong about Tommy Lee Jones – apparently, Christoph Waltz is the new Tommy Lee Jones. I was also was wrong about Lincoln, but I did suggest Argo had the momentum – and again, Lincoln got Afflecked. We should get that damn duck in to do that voice for the rest of this piece…
As for the Oscar broadcast in general, it was mostly a completely forgettable night. Seth MacFarlane didn’t screw it up – and I had no idea he could sing – but he didn’t hit anything out of the park either. The winners were mostly dull, with no great lines, although Daniel Day Lewis came closest. MacFarlane started off with a few surprises – Captain Kirk and the Flying Nun among them – but he quickly devolved into mostly tasteless jokes with no pizzazz to them. The musical numbers weren’t embarrassing, but putting on a tribute to Oscar music and musicals without really being aware of the history of movie musicals was a huge mistake. I did enjoy the orchestra using the theme to Jaws to push people off the stage though.The best zingers of the night came from one of my friends, and Carl Reiner. Reiner said on Twitter, “I was so excited to discover I was not in the in memoriam!” Indeed. My snarky friend James gave me the biggest laugh of the evening when he posted on Facebook this poser: “Streisand is starting to look eerily like Mel Brooks.” Scary, but true.
Now, for the obligatory fashion comment: what’s up with all the poofy trains on the dresses?
I’m really looking forward to seeing these movies, once I’m done watching all the stinkers from the Fifties for volume 3 of my book series.
And now, back to Kristen for the classy comments about her own predictions:
Thankfully, I won’t be eating crow on that whole “Argo is the Best Picture winner….you’ll see!” statement I’ve been saying to several people this week. Haha, Argo won! I’d use the line from the movie, but I try to keep my cursing to a minimum on this site. I did lose out on that Tommy Lee-Jones nomination, and I believe I caved into peer pressure there. I love Waltz, but really, two Oscars already; slow it down, Christoph. To answer Robert’s query, yes the Best Actress did go to the best crier although Hathaway kept her crying and speechifying to a minimum, I think because she’d done it all in the other awards ceremonies. Ang Lee continues to jump out of left field with these Oscar wins. He’s the perfect embodiment of the adage “Always a bridesmaid, never a bride” because he never gets that Best Picture. Ben Affleck’s speech was touching, and I never felt he was acting….Oh Ben, I knew you were destined for greatness and followed you through that whole post-Daredevil phase. You made me proud! I’m not sure if I’m right, but I hypothesize that Argo had to win to stay relevant. Remember that whole King’s Speech/Social Network drama of a few years ago? Critics were saying it proved the Academy was outdated; well, I think Argo proves they’re trying to think in terms of enduring films and audience appeal. They certainly made me happy, despite the lackluster ceremony.
I have a little brother who eats up everything Seth McFarlane puts out. I was aware he could sing, but was he auditioning for his own Broadway musical? I read online that this ceremony was supposedly themed to movie musicals. I remember hearing there was going to be a “tribute,” when did said tribute change to being the focus of the entire ceremony? And how are we not crying “nepotism” since the producers of the show produced both Chicago and Smash (starring Dreamgirls star Jennifer Hudson) which had prominent spots during the ceremony? The awards are always self-indulgent; thus the basis of having them, but this year it felt like it was self-indulgent towards those behind the scenes, as opposed to those getting the awards. Ceremony highlights for me: Affleck’s speech, the retelling of Flight via sock puppets (if the movie had done that it would have been great), Jennifer Lawrence falling down on-stage as the handler (?) ran to help her, Clooney contemplating opening a bottle of booze in the audience, Catherine Zeta-Jones making me wish she played Javert in Les Miserables, Shirley freaking Bassey. Ceremony low-lights: the pre-show (Kristin Chenoweth is short, we know), anytime MacFarlane sang or just MacFarlane in general, Russell Crowe continuing to ruin Les Miserables by opening his mouth. Oh, and my family has a sick bet we always make: How many times will we say “they died?” during the In Memoriam segment; that actually didn’t happen this year. I think my incessant TCM watching has kept me on-top of old actors’ longevity.
In terms of fashion, a pretty somber year. No bright colors, nothing that screamed “elegance.” As Robert mentioned, poofy was in but so was just plain. I grew to like Jessica Chastain’s dress.
So, we’re officially closing the book on the 85th Annual Academy Awards. I have a few contenders I’m eyeing for the 86th Annual Awards, but we’ll focus on that when we get there. I’d like to thank Robert James for graciously volunteering to do this with me! Have I recommended you should read his book (which I’ll be reviewing soon), if you want someone who understands Oscar’s faults and triumphs?
Robert James was born on Skull Island and raised in Freedonia. He played baseball with Gary Cooper, fell in love in Paris with a suspicious Swede, got a pet leopard with a penchant for love songs, raised children in Oz, grew old (slowly) in Shangri-La, was killed by biplanes on the top of the Empire State Building when he was out on a date, and was then brought back from the dead in Dr. Frankenstein’s lab, just in time to be chased by an angry mob.
His book, Who Won?!? An Irreverent Look at the Oscars, V. 1: 1927-1943, is available in Kindle and trade paperback versions at Amazon.com, and in Nook on Barnes & Noble.
A preview chapter of Who Won?!? An Irreverent Look at the Oscars, V. 1: 1927-1943 can be obtained for free from February 21-25 on Amazon, at http://www.amazon.com/WHO-Won-1940-PREVIEW-ebook/dp/B00A1G7F8I/ref=la_B00AAA73SW_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1361648995&sr=1-2
A freelance film critic whose work fuels the Rotten Tomatoes meter. I've been published on The Hollywood Reporter, Remezcla, and The Daily Beast. I've been featured in the L.A. Times. I currently run two podcasts, Citizen Dame and Ticklish Business.