The Oscars – A Night Not to be Remembered

Maybe I just have been watching them for too many years? I’ve always considered Oscar night to be something special. Nice bottle of wine, delicious dinner, curl up on the couch and drool over the beautiful people, their attire, and all of the hoopla. Boy was I disappointed last night. The evening dragged and the stars didn’t shine. Could it have been the rain?

The people were beautiful, but except for a few exceptions they didn’t shimmer. No Angelina, no Brad, no Clooney, no Charlize, no Halle, it seemed like there was a boycott from a lot of the big names in the biz.

Neil Patrick Harris, who is usually wonderful, seemed not to be present His jokes were mostly flat, and he didn’t look particularly thrilled to be there. Of course, that was nothing compared to how unhappy Ben Affleck looked. He looked totally miserable. What gives? You deliver an award, walk back stage with the recipient, smile for a nanosecond, and then when the guy’s back is to you, you return to a perpetual frown.

As for the nominees for best song, the choices were good, even if there were no Henry Mancini’s among them, but where were the dancers and the big productions? Except for Glory, which was a beautifully produced number, the rest of the songs were just sung. I love Tim McGraw, but he never moved from his seat. What did you do to him, handcuff him?

Musically, Lady Gaga was the highlight of the entire evening. Her singing and the montage of numbers from the original Sound of Music was like a spoonful of sugar. She was spectacular! Broadway is in her future, or can be if she wants it. What a beautiful operatic voice she has, and when Julie Andrews hit the stage it almost made up for all of the non-excitement of the previous hour.

For me the biggest disappointment was the “In Memorium” which really is so important to the show. Most people have a personal memory link to films and the actors and actresses that populate them. It is very emotional and moving to watch film snippets of the career of a beloved actor, actress, director, producer, or cinematographer who has passed on. It stirs memories and evokes tears. Last night’s tribute was an embarrassment. In fact, it was less interesting than a commercial break. I suppose the drawings were very equalizing, but drawings, really? These luminaries worked in film, moving pictures, not pictures at an art gallery. It is unimaginable that Jennifer Hudson would sing a song supposedly in celebration of movie people’s lives and the camera would remain for the duration simply locked on her face. Whose tribute was this anyway? Where, pray tell, was a big screen with images from films that marked the careers of these beloved stars. Simply shocking! I couldn’t wait for it to end. Robin Williams, nothing but a footnote in the show. How tawdry and pathetic. All things and all careers are not equal!

Naturally, we couldn’t get through an Academy Award ceremony without somebody’s political messaging being front and center. Twisting the truth to fit one’s beliefs comes easily to those whose modus operandi is creating characters and worlds of their imagination. I wonder if everyone caught Sean Penn’s allusion that just because a film is big box office (American Sniper), hint, hint, hint, that doesn’t make it worthy of being considered art. As if Hollywood was in the business of art. Give me a break, it’s all about the money and the box office.

Of course we all knew that Birdman would win Best Picture, after all there is nothing that Hollywood likes more than immortalizing their own medium and portraying themselves as extraordinary artists. I loved Birdman, but it was a year of remarkable films.

After such a let down my inclination would be not to watch the Academy Awards next year, but I know that with time comes forgiveness, not to mention forgetfulness. I’m sure I’ll be front and center awaiting with baited breath next year’s show of shows.

PS Thank God that Downton Abbey came on right after the awards. At least I could go to bed happy and satisfied.

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