The Oscar Grouch: The Peaks, Valleys, and Pains of the Academy Awards


“Hosting the Oscars is much like making love to a woman. It’s something I only get to do when Billy Crystal is out of town.”  Steve Martin

It was not a big movie year for my family.  It’s hard to win the vote to attend an Oscar-worthy movie when you consider our crowd – guy (into action movies), teen mostly interested in anime, and me typically looking for either the artistic or the lighter fare.  We compromised a lot (or at least most of us did) and saw a lot of action pics.  On a special date night recently, we went to see “Hugo” and I loved it.  But my lack of experience with the contenders, doesn’t in the least diminish my ability to judge the awards show program.

My Red Carpet Revelations   (e-online has lots of pics  http://www.eonline.com/redcarpet/2012/oscars?cmpid=url-111215-redcarpet-oscars2012 )

  1.  Big plastic boobs are out.  Lots of young women not completely filling out the tops of their dresses are far more appealing than when they are overflowing them or jam packing them.  Some guys may disagree. Examples:  Rooney Mara  in Givenchy, Alexander McQueen gown worn by Jessica Chastain
  2. Life-sized women were representing on the carpet.  Consider Oscar winner Octavia Spencer in Tadashi Shoji, Melissa McCarthy in Marina Rinaldi.
  3. White is the new black.  I completely loved a Valentino worn by Shailene Woodley, but I don’t know who she is.  Kelli Ripa looked gorgeous in her Carolina Herrara dress, too.  I know so little about designers but I do tend to gravitate to Herrara.  Guiliana Rancic wore Tony Ward and though the dress was dramatic, she always looks borderline emaciated to me.
  4. Some pretty high peaks have some pretty low valleys.  I thought Gwyneth Paltrow’s Tom Ford dress was amazing, the cape perfect, her face lovely, her personality charming. But her hair…her hair looked as though her stylist was going for a stuck-in-the kitchen-do pulled back hastily to keep long strands of flaxen hair out of the pudding with whatever was on hand.  In this case maybe an elastic band from a lobster claw.  On the plus side, it didn’t compete with her dress.
  5. Guys don’t really matter as far as outfits go, they’re pretty standard, but my one guy comment:  Brian Grazer – spiking your hair for the last two decades has NEVER fooled anyone into believing you are taller.  Either get over it, or if you still need to feel taller, suck it up and go hang out with Tom Cruise.
  6. My choice for Perfect Star Quality– Penelope Cruz in Armani Privé. It would have been a closer call (though Penelope still would have won), if Gwyneth had done something better with her hair.

The Show

  1.  Emcee Billy Crystal has done the show 9 times now, and maybe he thought it would be an homage to himself to bring back all of the routines he used in previous years (the song medley of Best Picture nominees, a collection of scenes where he’s added into the movies ala Forrest Gump and a black-faced Sammy Davis Jr. impersonation that was more awkward than cutting edge.)  When his bits didn’t get the laughs they did the last several times he performed them, he pulled that cheesy fake-giggling-at-his-own-bit thing several times as if to say “isn’t this so silly?”…and it often was.  The best that can be said for him was that he was “safe”.
  2. The acceptance speeches – admittedly I kept dozing off, but the one I liked was Christopher Plummer.  It was so well written that it was actually very entertaining (you know, like a good movie), but as he himself said, it’s his first Oscar in 82 years so he had plenty of time to write it.
  3. Cirque du Soleil.  Thought the trapeze and acrobatic tribute to cinema was amazing, even if the tie in was sometimes pretty loose.
  4. Finally my favorite song wins.  “Am I A Man or A Muppet”, despite the potential it had for a great live performance, we barely got a snippet of a recorded song, much less the full Muppet of a Man version  Surely we could have eliminated one Billy Crystal bit in favor of a great song like this.  BTW the Muppet Movie was entirely under appreciated.   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2MFn8L9tIrg&feature=related
  5. Is it just I who thought the commercials were pretty good during this show.  One friend mentioned that the Academy Awards are her Super Bowl and when you see some high-caliber, entertaining commercials like these, the Super Bowl comparison gets even stronger.  I heard that the typical 30-second spot went for about $1.7 million compared to more than double that for the Super Bowl, but at least the prices were rising, hopefully signaling a return to a stronger advertising environment.
    1. Ellen DeGeneres for JCP  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VHB1ftCSdFY
    2. Muppets Google+  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BSsJtzPng5U
    3. And on a local basis,  there was a great ad from Southern NH University.  I couldn’t find a Youtube link to their commercial, so here is a link to their website.  http://www.snhu.edu/pf/default.asp

The Audience

  1. Geo-caching at the Oscars.  I kept looking for my sister and brother-in-law at the event;  they scored on-the-floor seats this year.   I never found them, but I did see one woman who could pass as my sister, so I could pretend, or I could tell more of the truth and admit I was  probably asleep when they were featured.
  2. The producers must be middle-aged.  Every crowd shot included George Clooney who is pretty easy to look at, or Martin Scorsese making me wonder whether the producer (Brian Grazer with the outdated hairdo again) didn’t know who all the young stars were either and so didn’t focus on them.

The Winners

This year I’ve only seen:  “The Help”that earned  lots of nominations and a deserved win for best supporting actress, Octavia Spencer, “The Muppet Movie” best song, “Hugo” lots of nominations and technical wins,” The Rise of the Planet of the Apes” visual effects nominee and “The Ides of March” screenplay nominee.  Of these I would have picked “Hugo” as best picture, especially since it was the only artsy film, my husband agreed to see with me.  Perhaps now, after that movie’s big wins,  he’ll join me in seeing “The Artist”?

So lucky to be the judge and not the judged; anonymity has its advantages.

©2012 by Alison Colby-Campbell

One response to “The Oscar Grouch: The Peaks, Valleys, and Pains of the Academy Awards

  1. Great review! I agree with all your assessments. I can’t wait to see Hugo (loved the book), and also want to see Iron Lady and The Descendants. I love going to Red River in Concord to enjoy great films. Nice stadium seating and you can get a glass of wine to enjoy while you watch! The Artist was fabulous! What a joy to see something so different! I LOVED Guilliana’s dress, but also thought she looked anorexic. Penelope Cruz’s dress was absolutely stunning. Georgous. I also thought Octavia Spencer looked beautiful and that her dress was so perfect on her. One other observation: why did all the young girls dress so matronly, and many of the 50+ dress so nakedly? lol

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