Your Ever-Belated Commentary for the 2016 Oscars

Well. Due to a need for sleep, serious time constraints, a liberal use of the fast-forward button, and a lengthy ceremony that resulted in my DVR stopping after Sam Smith won for a song that apparently no ones likes, I probably watched about 85% of the Red Carpet and maybe 45% of the actual Oscars.

My basic impressions:

1. I thought Chris Rock was a pretty good host. His opening monologue was very dark and uncomfortable at points, but overall it worked for me. I specifically liked the part where he joked about a Black Actors category and made a point that, really, we all know and just don’t talk about much: there’s no actual reason to split the acting categories between men and women, but we do it because if we didn’t, women would never get an equal number of nominations, partly because of stuffy white men voters but also because white men are just more likely to get the more interesting, meaty parts. But there’s nothing in the system that provides equal opportunity to PoC, and especially WoC, and that’s a problem.

Also, I kind of adored that Chris Rock brought the Girl Scouts to sell cookies to the stars. I mean, can you even imagine?

“Oh, I was in the Girl Scouts when I was a kid too! We learned to camp and braid hair. What did you do?”
“Oh, you know. Just sold Tagalongs and Thin Mints at the FUCKING OSCARS.”

My inner child weeps with envy. (Well, not really. I was a Girl Scout for, like, two minutes. I can’t even remember if we sold cookies at the Brownie level.)

Meanwhile, my biggest complaints about Chris Rock as host:

1A. I wish he’d spent a little more time talking about Asian and Latino PoC too, because I don’t think #OscarsSoWhite was just about the exclusion of black people at the Academy Awards, you know? If it didn’t make it in the opening number, it should have definitely been brought up in at least one of the various in-between segments.

1B. The joke about the “Ask Women More” campaign annoyed me. Cause, sure, it’s true: no one spends a lot of time talking about men’s fashion on the Red Carpet since they all wear the same suit . . . but that’s because men are all allowed to wear the same suit. If two women wear near identical dresses? I mean, that becomes a Thing. Reese Witherspoon and Tina Fey were trending on Facebook Sunday night because they both wore similar shades of purple. And while men could easily get away with wearing the same tux three years in a row, if a woman ever repeated a dress? Seriously, it’d be a godamn scandal.

Despite knowing little about the industry, I love talking Red Carpet Fashion. I always have, probably always will, and don’t feel particularly guilty about it, either. But we can love sparkly clothes and still address hypocrisy in the system, can’t we? Besides, I don’t think anyone’s saying you can’t ask a woman what she’s wearing; you’re just supposed to ask her more, you know, like about her character or upcoming projects or basically any of the questions you’d ask a man.

2. As far as the awards themselves go . . . it will surely surprise none of you that I watched only two of the nine Best Picture nominees this year: Mad Max: Fury Road and The Martian, neither of which had any hope in hell of winning the big prize. Fury Road did clean up in the technical awards, though, taking everything except Cinematography and Visual Effects. I’m not actually bummed that it lost Best Picture (I love the movie and I’m glad it got nominated, but I don’t think it should have won, either), but I am kind of disappointed about Cinematography. Apparently The Revenant was a shoe-in because of its natural lighting and pretty landscapes and stuff, which is fine, I mean, I’m sure it’s a beautiful film. But the look of Fury Road, man. The cinematography in that film was gorgeous.

I thought The Revenant had it in the bag for Best Picture, but Spotlight actually took the final award. I’m of two minds about that. On one hand, I have far, far more interest in Spotlight than The Revenant, despite the fact that the latter has Tom Hardy. On the other hand, did Spotlight actually win anything else? Oh, okay, it did at least win Best Writing for Original Screenplay. That’s something, I guess, because when I read that Spotlight won, I was initially like “. . . you mean, the movie that didn’t get any acting, directing, or technical awards?”

3. Also, Leo finally won for his Oscar, which is cool I guess, but let’s be honest here: he’s only been trying to win one for 22 years. Sure, that sounds like a lot, but that’s nothing on Ennio Morricone, who’s first nomination was in 1979. I know he got an honorary Oscar about ten years ago, but come on, this guy deserved the real thing decades ago. (I’m actually kind of shocked that he never even got nominated for some of his most well-known, classic spaghetti western stuff. I mean, come on: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly? Once Upon a Time in the West? I guess I just assumed that he did because these scores are the BEST.)

4. I know Brie Larson’s win was not exactly unexpected, but I’m glad for her anyway. I haven’t seen Room, so I can’t actually judge the performance, but I like the actress. She was wonderful in Short Term 12. Also, Scott Pilgrim vs The World.

I will always love you, Envy Adams.

5. Should there be an official Most Awkward Oscar Moment award? I think there should, and that it should be given to Stacey Dash this year. Agreed?

6. In general, the presenter’s jokes this year seemed pretty excruciating, Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe’s bit, especially, oh my God. Louis C.K. was a notable exception, though. He cracked me up considerably. He also made the same Mad Max joke I did, albeit for a different award. (In retrospect, probably everyone made that joke while watching the ceremony. Eh, fuck it. Louis C.K. and I are on the same comedic wavelength!)

Also, even when the writing failed, some actors still managed to make up for it just by being pure awesome. The Jack Black punchline, for instance . . . pretty meh. It was a so-so joke, writing-wise. But the whole thing was hilarious because Angela Bassett’s delivery was perfect. You rock, Angela Bassett.

7. The nomination video reel for Best Sound Mixing  (or was it editing, crap, I always get those confused) was pretty awesome. The same cannot be said for the Best Writing awards. Like, okay, example: The Big Short won for Best Adapted Screenplay, right? And I’m sure they have to try to pick excerpts that aren’t spoilers and all, but . . . maybe for a writing award, don’t go with a ten second clip where Christian Bale rage-drums for seven seconds, and his wife’s like, “You okay?” and he’s like “Yep” and she’s like, “You sure?” and he’s like “Yep.” I haven’t seen The Big Short, it’s true, but I believe with all my heart that there were better clips of that movie you could have used to portray the film’s excellent script

8. I knew it was coming, I knew, and yet . . . the second I heard Alan Rickman’s magnificent voice when he appeared on the In Memoriam section, I instantly teared up. Godamn it.

9. Finally, fashion.

MY FAVORITES:

Rooney Mara
Apparently, I just have a thing for the elegant lace doily look. This isn’t shocking: I’m all about creepy dolls. But really, I think this is gorgeous. I would wear the hell out of it, if I could. (Or rather, if it was in my size and I felt comfortable in it, a big hell no on both accounts.) I really like the bottom of the dress, and the little diamond cut-out in the middle. Also, she’s basically got the Academy Award version of Rey hair, which is clearly awesome.

Charlize Theron
Oh, this is just nice. Red and sleek and the deep-V works.

Naomi Watts
You know, this one normally wouldn’t be quite to my taste–it’s very, very shiny for me–but I actually rather like it on Naomi Watts. I love her hair with it, too.

Orlando Jones
This is gold and a little ostentatious and, honestly, I kind of love it. Nice to be interested in men’s fashion, for once.

MOSTLY LIKE:

Lady Gaga
I kind of love this, but I feel like something’s not quite right with the hips, like, they’re structured but maybe I wanted them to be a little bigger, flare out a little more? I don’t know quite how to describe it. But it’s a lot of fun, and I adore the pants so much.

Cate Blanchett
I shouldn’t like this dress. This is the exact opposite of everything I generally go for, but somehow Cate Blanchett makes it work. She’s like a fairy queen. The silhouette is lovely. Still, I couldn’t quite put it in my favorites, mostly because I like it better from a medium distance. I’m not as crazy about it when I see a close-up on the shoulders.

Kerry Washington
The neckline doesn’t quite work for me. It seems a little asymmetrical, but not in a way I like? Still, I love this black leather top and white skirt together, and it’s totally different from what anyone else is wearing.

Kate Winslet
I like this. It’s definitely an unusual material, which mostly works for me, although in some shots the extra-shininess of the fabric looked a little off? I don’t know. I mostly liked it, except for when I didn’t. But my God, she looks stunning. (Also, I’m not much of a Titanic fan, and even I saw these pictures of her and Leonardo DiCaprio, and was like, Aw, that’s kind of nice.)

Kevin Hart
I kind of wish the shiny stuff was just at the pockets and the bottom of the jacket instead of lining the whole thing, but regardless, it was actually different and kind of fun, so I’m mostly for it.

Jared Leto
I love the red lining on this suit. I’m not crazy about the size of that flower in place of a bow tie–my God, flowers were in this year–but once again, this is at least different.

LEAST FAVORITES:

Heidi Klum
Oh, Heidi, why? Why?

Jennifer Jason Leigh
Yeah, I just don’t really like much about this. It’s a little too much pale pink for my tastes, and I don’t love the seashell boobs or the pink tufts all around the dress.

And finally, Leonardo DiCaprio, Steven Spielberg, Eddie Redmayne, John Legend, Jason Segel, Jason Sudekis, Matt Damon, Alejandro Inarritu, Sam Smith, Andy Serkis, Sacha Baron Cohen, Chadwick Boseman, Chris Evans, Henry Cavil, Lee Byung-Hun, Benicio del Toro, and probably about 200 other men that I missed because they all wore The Same Suit Every Man Wears, and I’m just done with it.

Well, that’s about all, folks. See you next year for more belated commentary on a ceremony  that I mostly fast-forward through!

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