Random post-Oscar thoughts

1) Yay!  I won!

2)  I was so rooting for Ellen to hit it out of the ballpark, y’all.  And she was… fine.  After last year’s offensive shitshow of a hosting job by Seth MacFarlane, I can understand the decision to play things safe.  But it came off as a little bit tired and flat.

3) Speaking of tired and flat, last night was the first time I’ve watched the show and considered heading to bed before it was over.  The Better Half (as is his wont) started snoozing midway through, and sleepily waiting for the crush of big awards they cram into the end of the program began to seem less worth the lost rest.  I’m gonna see if I can rustle up some friends to watch with me next year, since watching on my own is decidedly less fun than the Oscar parties I used to go to.

(I already know in advance that, company or no, I will stay up until the end of the damn thing again next year.)

4)  I-di-na Men-zel.  It is not a difficult name, Travolta.  Pathetic.

5)  Pharrell’s song and dance number may be my favorite of such performances at the Oscars… maybe ever.  That song is fantastic, and seeing Lupita Nyong’o shimmy was a delight.

6)  I could really have done without Bette Midler singing “Wind Beneath My Wings.”  Perhaps it’s my cold, dark tar heart, but I have never really liked that song, and it makes absolutely no sense in the context of commemorating the lives of people who were (at least many of them) stars in their own right.  Hackneyed, maudlin, obvious.

7)  I am very glad Cate Blanchett won.  Now I really hope Amy Adams gets nominated again next year and wins for something.  Preferably something good, so she can avoid Kate Winslet’s fate of getting nominated year after year for great performances and finally winning a make-up Oscar for a lesser one.

8)  Wow. The sound system at the Dolby Theater was not prepared for the woman who starred in “20 Feet from Stardom.”

9)  None of this year’s winners made me want to choke someone.  In that regard, at least, it was much better than 2005.

10) I will conclude with my usual complaint — enough already with the montages!! In a show that invariably runs way too long, they are easy fat to trim that absolutely nobody would miss.  The “heroes” montage (Ben Hur?  Really?) was a complete waste of time, and the animation one was laughably heavy on recent stuff.

Your thoughts?

Update (Sort of. But not really.):

I just thought of a couple of other things I wanted to mention.  (See above re: “random.”)

11) I have no beef with McConaughey winning.  On the other hand, that thing about him in 10 years being his hero was bizarre.  I am done seeing him accept awards now for a good while.

12) Kim Novak? I… do not understand that choice.

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63 thoughts on “Random post-Oscar thoughts

  1. Very curious to see who does and doesn’t critize Ellen for some of the people she took shots at, and how she took them (e.g. liza Minnelli you look like a cross-dressing man).

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    • I kinda took that more as “Liza is such a drag staple that if you see her ‘drag queen’ would be your first guess.” Cher actually played along with a similar joke at her expense on “Will & Grace,” in one of the few moments from that show I still remember fondly.

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    • 1) Too soon for Lawrence to take home that much Oscar gold.

      2) The other acting nominees were up against pretty sure things. Of the three of them, Adams is the one I expect to actually win next.

      3) I thought maybe it would be David O. Russell’s year, but clearly Cuaron had the momentum.

      4) I think late buzz was “American Hustle” was fun but more flawed than its publicity let on. It is, however, next on our “to see” list at home.

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      • I thought it was bizarre that, outside of Leto and maybe Nyong’o, the critics thought Cuaron was the lock of locks. I haven’t seen many of the films, but 12 Years had strong momentum and a very visible director; I didn’t really understand why that at least didn’t make it more open. Is there a trend toward separating the BP & BD awards afoot?

        Also, why are space visuals so mindblowing at this point that it locked down the category? Aren’t there like fifty awesome-looking action-adventure movies every single year now? Wasn’t 2001 made in the 60s? I feel like the Academy falls all over itself to reward the same stuff that they turn their nose up in action movies anytime a movie contrives to style itself Dramatic and Arty.

        All that being said, I haven’t seen Gravity. So whatever.

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      • Michael,

        I’m not a technical expert when it comes to film but the consensus seems to be that Gravity did some new things that will be studied as part of the history of film innovation in the future. Yes, there have been other space films but I think this was about the artful use of 3D, etc (even if they did, according to Neil DeGrasse Tyson) ignore many of the laws of physics.

        As for the category, in this case they chose to award technical film making. 12 Years A Slave was important but as a film itself it is fairly straight-forward. McQueen’s talent was really as a producer and helping to actual make the film happen. The performances could be attributed to his direction but generally Hollywood doesn’t want to suggest that the actors were solely responsible for what she see on screen. I think 12 Years got best adapted screenplay which recognized the challenge in bringing Northup’s autobiography to life and with Best Picture they recognized that overall it was the most important film, even if not the most technical.

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      • I have no problem with the award per se, though I’m a little dubious if they start to make a trend of rewarding directors for technical innovations that the audience won’t be aware of in any kind of conscious way – i.e. if you get an audience to say “wow, that looked amazing” in a non-innovative way, to me that has essentially as much merit in a BD category as doing it in an innovative way. They have technical awards for a reason.

        But yeah, no problem with the award itself, even on that basis if it’s a one-time thing for truly breakthrough advance in technique or something. I just find it weird that such a thing basically shut the whole category down, which is the way I heard informed prognosticators talk about it.

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      • American Hustle was an excellent example of how to do a fun movie right. It had a great plot, cast, and script. The fact that a leading man actor like Christian Bale could do a pitch perfect New York Jew deserves a Best Actor win. It was intelligent and witty. There was not one wasted minute in the movie. It didn’t have any socially redeeming value like 12 Years a Slave or Her but there was no glaring flaw in the movie.

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      • I caught part of an interview with Cuaron on NPR about what went into the filming. Besides all the technical stuff, it was remarkable to hear the vision he approached the film with. I’m sure that is par for the course — with some directors being more “visionary” than others — but it was a reminder that I am so ill-equipped to make a sound judgement of what’s good directing and what isn’t that I’m relatively content with the choice. Some directors have obvious “trademarks” but even in the few minutes I heard, he revealed so much more to the process than I could imagine. He discussed the opening sequence (about 15 minutes uninterrupted) and how it eventually zooms in on Bullock’s face, at which point he described how the perspective shifted from an objective one to her POV. I hadn’t yet seen the film and I tried to watch it with that in mind and I can totally see how he accomplished that, however subtly. Would I have noticed it without having heard the interview? Surely not. But it just demonstrated to me the remarkable complexity, artistry, thoughtfulness, etc. of the job, especially when done by someone near the top of the field.

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  2. In a way, McConaughey’s path has been similar to that of his competitor Leo. Leo started as a teen heart throb, made it huge with “Titanic” in a role and movie that became very easy to mock, and struggled to gain credibility after that. It took him a few strong showings before he could really shake the “Twinky guy from Titanic” reputation. At least, that was how he was perceived among my demo. It didn’t help that every girl folks like me were interested in in high school wouldn’t stop gushing about Leo, so he became an easy person to dislike. Then he started to knock it out of the park movie after movie and now he’s seen as a real star with real talent.

    McConaughey was similar. He did the whole shitty rom-com thing but over the past few years has taken on more and more serious roles with more and more success. I didn’t see DBC but I did see him in “Lincoln Lawyer” and “Mud” and was impressed (at least relative to my expectations). And I know he’s getting a ton of love for “True Detective”.

    Unfortunately, he had that godawful acceptance speech. The idea of looking forward, looking up, and chasing wasn’t a bad theme… but his own hero 10 years in the future? What? I tried not to let his emphasis on God bother me (which is indicative of my own bias, nothing on his part). But it came across as so phony and full of faux modesty. I was betting Zazzy on whether we’d get fake tears or not; he seemed to go with the wet-eyes-holding-back-tears phoniness instead.

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    • Well, don’t forget that DiCaprio already had one Oscar nomination (Best Supporting Actor, “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape?”) by the time “Titanic” rolled out.

      But yes, I think his credibility took a hit for the teen heart-throb thing after that movie, not helped by his reputation for being an international party boy after that.

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      • Good point. Though I’ll confess that “people like me” (to the extent that “people like me” matter) probably didn’t see that movie and thought of it as the movie about the fat lady.

        And in case it isn’t clear, I have done a full 180 and love Leo. CMIYC was a big turning point and he hammered it home since then. If he is involved in a movie, it raises the possibility I’ll see it. There are few actors I will say that about.

        Per your comment below, I will confess that I had the following reaction when Zazzy asked if I wanted to watch this year: “Fuck no! That shit was torture last year.” By which I mean I still find a 3+ hour celebration of people I know nothing about engaging in arts and skills I know nothing about to be thoroughly unenjoyable. The fact that I got through last year is a testament to how much fun it was having you on the other end of the computer.

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      • Leo has “I’m Scorcese’s go-to for over a decade” F-U cred. I’m sure he really wants a statue, but at another level I’m fairly confident he could give a bleep in terms of either (obviously) profile-raising or even artistic validation.

        I’m of the opinion that, though Leo is an inconsistent actor on a scene-by-scene basis, no American or European currently can hold a torch to his ability to carry an epic-scale film on his shoulders, with the arguable exception of DDL. The proof is in the choices that the directors who consider that their style have made over the years.

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      • +1 to what Kazzy said, though the Aviator was what did it for me.

        Even in the terrible J Edgar, IMO you had to recognize the guy’s ability to sustain performances of that size in film after film after film. Maybe especially in a bad movie like that.

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      • Kazzy,
        DiCaprio may be a good actor — but i don’t have a “go see this, he’s in it.”
        When I see folks like Wil Arnett — I know he’s a smart cookie.
        It’s not a “he’s an awesome actor” — it’s a “man, the script was probably a good one — worth watching”

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      • That “if (s)he’s in it or associated with it, the script is likely good if not great” is a very key sleeper factor for assessing movies to see, and as Kim notes, not all that tightly correlated with acting talent. I.e., I find it to be quite reliably the case for Brad Pitt, and much (much) more loosely so for Meryl Streep.

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      • The scene that actually cemented my enjoyment of DiCaprio as an actor was toward the end of “Revolutionary Road” (a very, very hard film to “like,” per se), in which [I guess this is spoiler-adjacent?] he’s talking about his job with Kate Winslet, and we’ve been led to believe this whole time that he hates it and it’s crushing his spirit and blah blah, but he communicates subtly and effectively that he’s come to enjoy the job and does it well and is actually happy working at it. Which is, tragically, not what Kate wants at all.

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      • I started Revolutionary Road; I found it slow-going. It’s funny, I don’t think that style of film is exactly his forte. I wouldn’t go so far as to say I thought he was miscast, but I think that part could have been better cast (though I’m fairly sure his being cast had a lot to do with the thing getting made). But I’m not surprised to hear that he turned in some good work. I’ll give it another try one of these days.

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      • There is a scene in “The 40-Year-Old Virgin” where Paul Rudd’s character is watching “The Bourne Identity” in the background and he says the following: “Y’know, I always thought that Matt Damon was like a Streisand, but he’s rocking the shit in this one!” I’ve never really heard Streisand used in that way, but juxtaposed with the second part of the sentence, I presume it has something to do with not “rocking the shit” out of stuff. Leaving aside the specifics of the line which may wander into all sorts of unfortunateness, it is interesting to see at what point a given actor crossed over from Type-Cast-X to Full-Fledged-Actor.

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      • That’s such a weird line, because in whose world is what Damon did in Bourne *Identity* an update to whatever your impression of him was? I guess 40YOV is pretty old now… but, still. I guess the baseline then would have been GWHunting, in which Damon weeped and laughed like…

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      • Damon was often mentioned by fans and whatnot for the part of Daredevil. He’s a good fit physically insofar as he looks the part. But a big question was whether or not he could be an action hero. After Bourne came out, I don’t think that people were asking that question any more. If he’d been an action hero prior to that movie, he wasn’t very well known for it. (None of the movies on the list look particularly familiar to me as action movies, not that I am an action movie afficionado.)

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      • And “Amistad”.

        It would have been more accurate for me to say that he and Leo reached a high level of fame by playing one version or another of the “heartthrob”. Both evidently explored other pursuits before assuming those roles.

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    • The emphasis on God surprised me. Not because I was offended, but because his character in True Detective (I’ve only seen the first three or four episodes so far) is so avowedly atheistic and, at least to the point I’ve watched, clearly the moral superior of Woody Harrelson’s character. And on top of that, McConaughey’s incredible in the role. I’d gotten to the point where I was convinced McConaughey was an atheist IRL as well.

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  3. We only watched the last 45 minutes or so. (We were actually watching “Gravity” during the early part of the show and it seemed to be appropriately recognized: marvelous technically but ultimately lacking in story.)

    A summary of my comments:
    “She looks really skinny. Is she always that skinny?” (Said about both Emma Watson and Jennifer Lawrence)
    “Whose that? Am I supposed to know who that is?”
    “AHHH!!!” (Goldie Hawn)
    “Why are they talking so much?” (Everyone)
    “That one French guy who just stood there while his partner spoke… his face seems to be saying, ‘I draw pictures, dude! I don’t talk!'”

    By the way, Jennifer Lawrence’s little callout of someone in the audience felt sort of contrived. I know she has the whole “She’s so normal. Who knows what she’ll do!” thing going on, but that felt forced. It felt decidedly unnatural.

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    • Here I was, reading that first comment and tickled that you’d watched! But 45 minutes is better than nothing!

      I don’t even remember Jennifer Lawrence’s call-out. I genuinely like her (insofar as I have a basis to form an opinion of any of these people in real life), but think she could do with a little bit less exposure now. (I suspect she would agree.)

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  4. I didn’t make it through to the end although it was my intention to do so. I did want to see Idina Menzel but I was starting to fall asleep and there was no spouse next to me on the couch to keep me from accidentally staying there. Glad I missed the Travolta gaff though.

    I also expected Ellen to be more entertaining. It felt too contrived and lacking her usual exuberance. She appeared oddly uncomfortable, not horrible just ho-hum. To her credit, It is a looooong period of time to try to be entertaining.

    Props for the acceptance speech by Lupita Nyong’o. What a classy, elegant and smart woman.

    I agree on the montages as I neared my giving up point, they became unbearable. I felt like when I watch the Olympics and instead of getting to see the sport I have tuned in to see, I have to spend 20 minutes listening to the life story of another athlete. They are mostly unremarkable and add very little to nothing to my enjoyment.

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  5. I didn’t watch, but heard the McConaughey speech on the radio this morning, and I get the being his own hero in 10 years thing. It’s a weird way of expressing it, but I definitely get it. Of course, I’d rather he’d said “I’m trying to be my own hero every day,” because living to make yourself a better person 10 years from now is something I find philosophically problematic, but I suppose it’s better than not trying to be better at all.

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  6. Interestingly enough, Mathew McConaughey in ten years is my hero, too. I figure if idolize future-McConaughey that means present-McConaughey has a reason to be constantly aspiring to improve and I can expect better and better movies from him.

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  7. Degeneres was much better during the opening monologue than the live audience gave her credit for, which seemed to throw her off her game a bit. She wasn’t as good as being extemporaneous as she normally is.

    Speaking of off her game, Idina Menzel is much better than her performance indicated. Neither Samsung’s nor Dolby’s corporate brand were well served last night.

    McConaughey was alright alright alright. Everyone accepting the speech was very good, ‘cept for Leto’s strange geopolitical name-dropping.

    They only played off one winner as far as I could tell. But that one playoff was made questionable as they segued into one of the mediocre running gags (and not even to a commercial break, which would have made it less awkward)

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  8. I thought Ellen was kind of stiff for most of it. I loved the moment where she took the group shot with everyone but then she just kept insisting on interacting with the audience over and over. The pizza thing went on waaaay too long. I also thought the Liza joke was a bit mean even though I understood the reference. My favorite line though was mentioning how few of the people there went to college. Let’s remind ourselves of that fact whenever one of them tells us about the world.

    I agree the Pharrel was fantastic and when Lupita Nyong’o got up to dance with him I grinned from ear to ear. I really, really hope that Hollywood keeps that beautiful, talented woman busy for a while. She is a treasure. I know it would probably be a step down (but maybe not?) but I think she would be a fantastic Bond girl. Not the first-half of the movie girl that gets killed, but the second half of the movie girl that is bad-ass and ends up with Bond at the end of the movie.

    No real problems with any of the winners for me other than maybe Leto. It seemed he was mostly just being rewarded for a shocking transformation, which Hollywood loves to give Oscars for. I was really rooting for Bradley Cooper.

    We started the show at 10pm due to watching Walking Dead live. I was able to fast forward through enough to be caught up by 11pm. While I respect all of the technical awards, it became apparent quickly that Gravity was going to eat all of them up.

    Russell, I wish I could watch with you next year. That would be fun.

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  9. We tuned in sometime around Best Supporting Actress. I think I fell asleep sometime during the dreadful pizza skit. I’m to old to endure overly long awards shows anymore (and I say this as someone who used to love Oscar night).

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  10. For some reason I thought this was Ellen’s second go, and the MacFarlane debacle (which I actually didn’t hate but I can recognize a critical disaster when I see one) was two years ago. Man, 2013 was lonnng.

    Yeah, Ellen was just okay – I was hoping for more. Unfortunately, she was also pretty much… Ellen. That, what you saw… that’s Ellen. If MacFarlane could be trusted to be as funny and talented as he can be at his best but also appropriately tame enough for the Oscars, I’d take him back over what I saw of Ellen last night. (And I did think he was funny last year – even the boobs bit in its way (aside: the “it’s offensive because it’s not funny” dodge is such a BS copout. I found that passably funny and somewhat incisive in the way it sent up both the prurient male interest in nudity and the industry for delivering it to them; it just was also clearly offensive in its complete lack of sensitivity to the actresses caught up in that vice.)) That, of course, is not going to happen, partly because MacFarlane couldn’t be appropriate for the Oscars and be funny, and also because the Oscars are not primarily trying to entertain; they’re instead honestly trying to honor. Which is fine; that’s just what I personally would take if I had to choose only between last night’s Ellen and a slightly cleaned-up MacFarlane.

    But I think Ellen can do better, and would be happy to see her get a chance to up her game.

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    • …Perhaps a new uncertainty principle is emerging, that, post-Crystal, no one can simultaneously 1) be themselves rather than a not-existing better (for this purpose) version thereof, 2) be entertaining, and 3) be a good Oscar host. Any two, but not three.

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    • …I know this might make a few people mad, but I can’t lie and say that I didn’t laugh more at him in the moment (before I knew/understood the number I mentioned would be quite SO badly received) than I did at Ellen last night, though I did laugh plenty with Ellen… nor did I have as many moments of just, “What the blank was that?” with him (like when Ellen sat with the guitar and just introduced the next guest sans joke and sans any panache or confidence about whatever joke she thought she was doing).

      I will admit that my assessment of MacFarlane probably benefitted from low expectations. I didn’t, and don’t, think he has the stature to host the Oscars. Just not a big enough star in any way.

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      • I am not convinced that the “MacFarlane debacle” was all that much of a debacle at all. He is essentially guilty of pissing off people who get pissed off for a living, so that’s neither here nor there. There is probably some population of older, more conservative Oscar viewers for whom MacFarlane was just working way too blue. However, I’ve always been curious to know what the median Oscar viewer thought of him.

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      • I will be honest and say I really didn’t anticipate hardly a fraction of the backlash he got as I watched it, but I did expect the professional get-offendeders to get offended in their domains. But the critical rejection really was deafening and broad-based, to where by the end of day 2 of the reaction any remaining defenders just packed it in and moved on. I was pretty floored by it to be honest, though I wouldn’t say anyone wasn’t right in being offended. But a lot of them just wouldn’t have been by the same performance at a smaller awards show – even those, I think, who consider themselves game for edgy humor. The Oscars are just special for people, I think. so I think you’re right about that being part of it, especially for the folks at home. I watched at my girlfriend’s parents’ house, and I had to sort of stifle. I’m fairly sure they were very happy with Ellen – as well they should be: she was funny! (Just not that funny… and neither was MacFarlane. He was just a little funnier, and somewhat efficient as a functional emcee.)

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      • Do you have particular folks in mind when you say “critical rejection?” From where I am sitting, it’s hard to locate people who write about entertainment and popular culture who aren’t part of either the progressive or the reactionary wing of the Complaint Industrial Complex.

        Part of it is that I don’t read things like Entertainment Weekly or other outlets that have more of a pure entertainment angle, but generally, almost anyone i see writing about popular culture seems to have a stake in the culture wars.

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      • it’s hard to locate people who write about entertainment and popular culture who aren’t part of either the progressive or the reactionary wing of the Complaint Industrial Complex.

        This is basically right, and if I recall I’m thinking of NYT, Slate, and the New Republic among others. Slate will push back against any white male under fifty who does anything but mouth an approved liberal, feminist, or pro-gay slogan (or well-crafted joke) at this point. (Sorry, it’s true.) But the others I view as at least somewhat more open to whatever he might have done, had it not been crass. (Maybe TNR less so since the most recent takeover, which to me looks basically like a Slate-ification. Btw, Slate is getting depressingly light on anger-inducing #Slatepitches of late, and looks to only get worse (better?) with Yglesias’ departure. Man, is it ever getting earnest over there.)

        But my impression was that the backlash extended out into more mainstream entertainment outlets, such as… Entertainment, for one. I could be wrong… feel free to check me on that. The majority of people I heard talking about it were nonplussed.

        As I said, there were some defenders. They gave me the definite impression of people who knew that it was probably best just to drop the subject and move on. I don’t recall anyone going to bat for MacFarlane against the criticism of the offended. It was just, “Well yeah, it was offensive but that’s kind of what you bring a guy like him in for, and I thought it was pretty funny but that’s all in the eye of the beholder, and hey, how adorable is Jennifer Lawrence?”

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      • I think Crystal could have pulled off the ‘boobs’ bit, in fact. As it was happening I actually thought to myself, “He’s just aping BC right now. I could see Billy Crystal happily doing this exact number and getting if not raves, laughs.” MacFarlane’s just not Billy Crystal, is all. Doesn’t have the… stature, if you wanna call it that. Or standing.

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      • I agree that Crystal could probably have pulled off the “boobs” song and dance number. I didn’t actually find the song itself that bad. What I didn’t like about MacFarlane was:

        1) He was trying to have his cake and eat it too by getting meta about his own crassness.

        2) He focused way, way, waaaaaaay too much on himself. The whole Shatner thing felt like an eternity, and it was all about MacFarlane and not about the awards or the ceremony or the nominees. Bleah.

        That said, I really loved Channing Tatum and Charlize Theron dancing. It was sublime.

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  11. In about 15 minutes, Ellen’s post-Oscar show airs in my time zone (Eastern+1hr).

    I like Ellen enough to wait until I hear what she has to say before I might say anything I’m so far inclined to say. And might still say.

    So, maybe I’ll check back later.

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  12. Obviously he has his hands full at the moment with a new gig but after seeing what he has been able to do with the Tonight Show so far, I would really enjoy Jimmy Fallon. I also think Jimmy Kimmel or maybe even Conan O’Brien could pull it off.

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      • Clearly. I think Kimmel would even be quite adequate. It’s a little strange he’s never gotten a shot being on ABC & all, but then I suppose they want him to be available to do his after-show, which I’m sure is the highest-rated Kimmel Show (TM) of the year every year.

        I hope they go back to Ellen in the short term, though. I think she earned another shot, and I’m sure she can up her game a lot.

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      • Kimmel would be a good host for the Oscars because he seems to have the restraint to control his wildness. The problem with MacFarlane was that he could not control himself as Russell pointed out above. The Oscars are a beloved institution and people expect a certain amount of decorum when it comes to them. Its one of the few events in American social life where you have to dress up. MacFarlane did not or could not understand this.

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      • I actually wrote a little more in rec. of Kimmel but then deleted because I decided I wasn’t really all that enthusiastic i.e., I’d probably want to see Fallon before him because of Fallon’s vastly superior showmanship skills. Kimmel is more of a pure comic.

        But I agree: I think from a comedy perspective, Kimmel would have the perfect tone and sense of a balance – just enough MacFarlane zing delivered casually, mixed with plenty of easy Degeneres schmoozability. Kimmel barely has to think to be in smooth celebrity-zinging mode. I thought Ellen had to do a little work to get there, because on her show it’s 100% celebrity-boosting. It was once more her thing, now she has to work to find the sharpen the blade a bit more.

        If Ellen turns out to be too safe and you want a little more pop (though I’m not sure they’ll ever come back to caring about that), then you go Kimmel.

        If you want a bigger, showier show with the host participating in numbers (as I remind folks that MacFarlane did energetically), then you go Fallon.

        The thing with Fallon is that I think his humor is a little too limp. He’s funny, but it’s always delivered with a question mark?

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  13. As a general statement about the whole broadcast, why not create an Oscar weekend like they do with the NBA? Friday night you do some kind of intro event like panels with some of the nominees or something like that. Then you do the more technical awards on Saturday but figure out some kind of draw that would bring people in. Maybe a 3-4 song concert kind of like the SuperBowl halftime show. Then Sunday you trim it down to the main awards people want to see, the song nominee performances, the memoriam (sans Bette Midler) and maybe the lifetime achievement award. I love watching the whole thing on Sunday but man does it drag at times and for the east coast it gets pretty late.

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