Monday, February 29, 2016

A Fistful of Thoughts...about The Oscars, duh!

Well now what?

Oscar night is pretty much the one thing I look forward to every year with meticulous preparation.  But you know that already.  We're film bloggers.  It's what we do.  We speculate, commiserate, communicate and commemorate all year long in that VERY long walk to Oscar Sunday and then, when it's over...we start all over again.

So, that's what's now.

This year was a strange one for me.  My general Oscar Sunday (at least since 2001 when I started watching the ceremonies) was to lounge on the couch with a six-pack (or a bottle, depending on my current mood) and a spreadsheet and a pizza and tune everyone else in my house out while I soaked in the gloriousness that was Oscar Sunday.  And yes, I watched the whole E! Red Carpet countdown, much to my wife's chagrin.  This has only been interrupted 3 times.  Once, I was on a I had to watch the ceremony a day late (we got off the ship the Monday after), but I had DVR'd the ceremony AND the Red Carpet, so it wasn't much of a loss.  The second time was when the entire house was throwing up and I had to watch the ceremony in intervals, while juggling vomiting children (that was last year, if you remember).

And then there was this year.

So, as you all know, I moved end of last year.  My wife suggested we cut ties with cable altogether and live off streaming services, which I was all for since, well, outside of TCM I didn't watch anything on television and there are a slew of movie streaming services to indulge in.  And then awards season happened and for some f*cking reason no one wants to stream ANY of these awards shows, you know, the same shows I live EVERY YEAR FOR and so this year I missed The Globes, SAG, BAFTA, BFCA...EVERYTHING!

But I was not going to miss the Oscars.  I couldn't.  But no one that I know cares about them like I do and so I wasn't about to ask someone if I could bum on their couch until midnight (actually, it didn't end until 12:07 my time) just so I could watch a show they couldn't care less about.

So I went to the theater.

Has anyone ever done this?  It was such a bizarre experience.  A theater nearby (and by nearby, I mean just under an hour away) was hosting an Oscar viewing party and the admission was $25 and included free food (all provided by local vendors) and an open bar (like, I had 5 glasses of wine and spent not a dime over the $25 cover charge) and trivia (that I hope I won) and a ballot contest...which I bombed.

Literally.  It was embarrassing.  I don't want to talk about it.

Anyways, so I got there are realized VERY quickly that I was the youngest person there by about 30 years.  I have no issue with this, to be honest, but it also felt really weird to be in a room with a  cluster of very opinionated seniors who had a lot of their facts wrong and I it would be disrespectful to correct them.

Case in point:

The woman standing next to me in line to get into the theater was spouting off random 'Oscar Knowledge' to the group behind us who were clearly here just to get out and had no idea who was even nominated.  She proceeded to tell them that the biggest upset in Oscar history happened in 1951 when everyone thought The African Queen was going to win Best Picture and it lost to...All About Eve.  She even said that Hepburn and Bogart's faces at the ceremony were of pure shock.  I hadn't the heart to tell her that All About Eve won in 1950, against Sunset Blvd...or that The African Queen wasn't even nominated for Best Picture in 1951.

And then she told me (and the group behind us) that Citizen Kane wasn't nominated for anything at the Oscars even though it's AFI's Greatest Film of All Time.

This is who I was dealing with last night.

I don't claim to be the most knowledgeable person in the world, and I don't even try and claim that I know more about movies than most people...but last night I literally was the most knowledgeable person in the room about the one thing we were all supposed to be knowledgeable about.

Like, when they asked the room what film they thought was going to win Best Picture, literally half the audience said Brooklyn.  I'm not f*cking lying.  Granted, I said The Revenant, but Brooklyn (and Room, which also got some votes of stupidity) had no chance in hell of winning.


So then we get inside after we walk a ridiculous red carpet where I have my picture taken after I quickly grabbed my first free glass of wine.  I bypassed everyone and just grabbed a seat where I sat for an hour and a half watching what was left of the Red Carpet on what felt like mute until the show started.  I watched next to a woman who hadn't seen any of the films and so she had no input to offer me at all and the woman spouting incorrect Oscar facts was seated right in front of me and she kept leaning over to tell me things like, "Best Actress is going to be a nail biter" (really, she said this).

I hope to never do this again.  I was excited because I thought that for once I'd be in a room with people who I could actually have intelligent conversation about movies and Oscar like I do here, with my blogging friends, but that was not what happened.  

UGH, I just wish that we could all get together and watch the Oscars in a theater!

Alright, enough about my night.  Let's talk the actual show.  Predictions aside, last night was pretty awesome, I have to admit.  The surprises kept coming, some good, some bad, all great depending on how you look at it.  The speeches weren't anything epic but they were splashed with moments of humor, some intentional, some unintentional and some great bits of wisdom (best speeches, quite frankly, came from repeaters Inarritu and Lubezki).

But last night was all about two people.

Winslet and her devotion to Leo's inevitable Oscar win has made my Oscar season, to be honest.  Sure, I foolishly latched on to her potential Oscar upset and continued to predict her even when Vikander presented herself as the clear frontrunner, but whatever, this year wasn't about Winslet as much as it WAS about Winslet and her gracious love for Leo's moment was everything we could ever ask it to be.

Why can't they just have babies and make the world a better place.

But as much as Winslet had my heart, one man owned the night.

I thought that Rock did an alright job the first time he hosted, forever in my good graces for his comments on God, AKA Russell Crowe, but he wasn't incredible or anything.  When he was announced as host this year, I was moderately excited.  When #OscarsSoWhite happened, I was nervous for him (and for us) and wondered how he was going to tackle the whole thing.

His opening monologue pretty much summed everything up PERFECTLY.

Like, I was standing and clapping and cheering and it was just PERFECT.

But more than that, his whole presence, his jokes, his quips, his energy, his demeanor, was all pitch perfect last night.  Haters are going to hate and he's gotten crap already for that Asian joke but COME ON PEOPLE!  We scream for everyone to calm down and take several seats whenever they get all hot and bothered over a joke that we think is funny so why do we have to turn every single word spoken into a reason to get offended.

He was aces.

And still, my favorite moment of the whole night was when the two actors to deliver the hands down greatest performances of the entire year took the stage together to present an award:

And so with that I bring my thoughts on the Oscars themselves.  I had no real pony in this race, outside of watching Inside Out (the best film of 2015) win Animated Film, but with a night filled with a lot of WTF wins, I had a lot of chew on.

Favorite surprise win:  Ex Mechina winning Visual Effects.  SO OMG!

Funniest surprise win:  Mark Rylance winning Supporting Actor.  Not that it wasn't deserved (I haven't seen his performance, or Sly's) and not that we didn't know this was a posibility (he was heavily toted as the front-runner throughout the critics awards and won the BAFTA) but because over the past few months this category was practically renamed Best Supporting Sly Stone and his orange faced disappointment was so graciously funny to see.  I also find Rocky to be one of the most overrated films of all time, so I was kind of gleeful at his Eddie Murphy style loss.

Worst surprise win:  Writings On the Wall for Original Song.  It's not that the song is awful, but it's not good, and yet that whole category (outside of Earned It) was pretty mediocre.  I say it's the worst because Sam Smith's performance was cringe worthy awful and Lady Gaga WORKED for that Oscar...BUT...people, that 'Till It Happens To You song is so badly written.  Like, it's the same line repeated over and over just angrier and angrier each time.  So, this was kind of a lose lose situation, unless The Weeknd took it and he didn't.  It doesn't help that Sam Smith's Oscar speech was so...strange; misquoting legends and all.

Weirdest surprise win:  Spotlight for Best Picture.  We all knew it was in the running, but the night was almost working its way to a Mad Max surprise uprising and then...Spotlight walks away after losing everything except Screenplay.  There was a surprise in Supporting Actor, but the wrong Mark.  The Revenant wasn't going to win (it underperformed) and yet McCarthy couldn't best Inarritu.  The last time a Best Picture Oscar winner won only 2 Oscars was 1952 (The Greatest Show on Earth).  I'm not complaining.  It's a very good movie...but this is such a strange win.

And then there is all the other stuff.  Louis C.K. was my favorite presenter.  His whole bit about the only Oscar changing lives was Documentary Short Film was genius, and then when the winner went on about how her film actually DID help change lives it just validated his well humored TRUTH TEA!  Of course seeing Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling spar with their natural comedic talents was quite awesome too.  Gaga's performance of that underdeveloped message piece was...big or whatever, but the REAL moment came when Brie Larson actually hugged every single victim as they came off stage.


And lastly, as I mentioned, I pretty much missed the whole Red Carpet...but:

And I am no Vikander hater.  I haven't seen The Danish Girl, but she was luminous in both Ex Mechina and Testament of Youth, so as much as I hate her win because it deprived the world of Two Time Oscar Winner Kate Winslet, but I don't hate her win on the principle that she is a great young actress who has range and talent.  But this dress is cheap mall prom dress bad, and it's so shocking because she's been rather luminous all season long so I don't know why she got nightmare to win her big award with.

I'm not going to bother with listing all the winners this year (lol, suck it), but there is a link or two below that can help you out there.

Let's talk about you!
Connor, Keith, Matt & Britt react to the Oscars
Josh gives us his 10 favorite ensembles of the year
Wendell talks black biopics
Allie & Jenna give us some trivia
Anna talks Oscar snubs
Sati gives her personal awards of 2015
Ruth reviews Triple 9


  1. One thing I love so much about this awards ceremony is that there were actual surprises. I was even happy Rylance won over Stallone for his refined performance without having to campaign. I knew that Stallone's whole comeback narrative wouldn't make him a lock. Ask last year's comeback kid, Michael Keaton. He'll tell you that doesn't always work out.

    1. YES to actual surprises. It was such a highlight to actually be shocked at an outcome. Visual Effects was the best shock of the night!

  2. A theater near me was doing an Oscar showing. I said there is no way I was going to that. I'd say I made a good choice, lol.

    Rock was excellent as the host. However, I will admit to cringing and saying uh-oh to that Asian joke. Still didn't think it was as bad as the Sascha Baron Cohen fiasco.

    Ex Machina in visual over Fury Road and The Force Awakens was my biggest surprise. Didn't think it had a chance, but I'm glad it won.

    Thanks for the link!

    1. Sascha apparently hid in a bathroom for like 45 minutes or something so that he could sneak out in costume because he was told by producers NOT to do anything like that.

      I call a little bit of BS on that since he's notorious for doing this and if the producers didn't want him to do anything, they didn't need to ask him to present. I mean, it's not like he's all that relevant at the moment, so why even invite him to the ceremony?

  3. Totally with you on Ex Machina being the best surprise win of the night. It was actually one of the most suspenseful ceremonies in recent memory, and Rock did a pretty good job (better than his first time out, but only about 50-50 after that killer monologue).

    I'm sad about the Carol shut-out, but I find it hard to be churlish about the Mad Max wins (God, those blue hairs you watched with must have LOVED that film sweeping the techs!), even if I thought the film was only good, not great. The craftsmanship on that film is superb, and often downright inspired.

    When I used to live in CT I always hosted an Oscar party and would make food that was either eaten in a BP nominee or was a play on words. I miss doing it even though it was a lot of work, mostly for the camaraderie. Watching on my couch by myself in my tiny NYC apartment has its moments, but it doesn't have the same sense of community, even if it is easier to participate in social media conversations. I've heard of parties like the event you went to, but have never been. It sounds like it could be fun.... if it weren't dominated by blue-hairs who haven't seen all the nominees lol. You should visit NYC for the Oscars next year! Or take the family to LA - I'm sure every bar broadcasts them there lol.

    1. UGH, I've always wanted to host an Oscar party, but I know no one who would care to come. It would be me, all by my lonesome, eating pastries in the shape of Oscar nominee's faces or something.

      LOL at Mad Max and the audience I was with. Whenever it went to commercial we had a 'host' who would come and do trivia and ask everyone's opinion on the nominees and whenever Mad Max came up everyone went "TOO VIOLENT" and literally BOOED!!!

      I was dying!

    2. It's so funny now when all my friends go "Well, I guess I have to see Mad Max now!" and I have to respond with "WELL....... It's very UNIQUE... and VERY intense..." because it's definitely NOT for everyone but it's still SO well done and ingenious and BAD. ASS.

      And also, I forgot to say, I LOVED Vikander's dress from the waist up, but that bubble hem.... NO. Just NO.

    3. I'll say this...and I know I'm in the minority...but I didn't think Mad Max was best of the year material. Like, it's a marvelously directed/edited Action flick...but I don't see it as anything more than that.

      I'll go run and hide now.

    4. I am right there with you on this. Superbly and often ingeniously crafted, but it's not even close to my top 10. I'm happy for its awards success, though.

    5. Phew...I thought I was alone in this!

  4. I was laughing so hard during Rylance's win, I missed Sly's face. I'm going to go back and find that. I am no Sly fan at all. In fact, I kind of hate the guy. One of my co workers occasionally emails me pictures of him to piss me off.

    I'm sorry you had to watch the Oscars with a bunch of plebs that can't get their facts straight. That's so irritating.

    Saoirse is the red carpet champion, IMO.

    Thanks for the link!

    1. Well, Sly's loss was such a win/win because not only did it deprive Sly from an Oscar but it also birthed Frank Stalone's Twitter meltdown.

  5. It's too late to help you now, but something to keep in mind for next year: a few years ago my TV cable went out (but not the power or internet cable) right in the middle of the telecast. I got online and searched for streaming coverage. I found something out of, I think, Mexico in about 10 minutes (and it was in English) so I watched the rest of the Oscars via the internet that night.

    1. I will keep that in mind for next year, thanks!

  6. I was pleasantly surprised by the Oscars this years. Larson winning, Ex Machina taking Visual Effects and Morricone winning best score were highlights for me.

    1. That Ex Machina win was just incredible.

  7. So, now that Leo has his Oscar, can we please--right here--start the campaign for poor Ricahrd Deakins? The man has 13 nominations and nothing to show for it.

    Let's start the grass roots campaign here.

    1. I'm all for Deakins winning one!

  8. Ugh, this whole ceremony was just boring. Why couldn't they just give Director and Picture to Mad Max? :(

    1. I almost thought it was going to go that way, with Mad Max pulling nearly every other win, but alas...I always knew it wasn't an Oscar 'Best Picture''s far too genre for them to embrace it that completely. I'm actually shocked they embraced it as much as they did.

  9. I've heard about those Oscar gatherings and thought they would be either wonderful or just awful with no in between depending on what sort of crowd they drew. Sorry to hear yours ended on the negative end of the scale. But 5 glasses of wine and food for 25 bucks is at least something. I suspect that even if it had been a better mix of people that the know-it-all STILL would have been there, there's a blowhard in almost every crowd.

    As I said before I wasn't too invested in any of the outcomes this year and had only two real hopes. One unrealistic which I wasn't expecting to work out-Charlotte Rampling being the surprise upset winner in Actress, she wasn't but since I didn't think it would happen that was okay, at least she can now be billed as Oscar nominee Charlotte Rampling something that should have happened 50 years ago.

    The other more plausible was that Mark Rylance would pull out a win over Stallone and that did happen so that was a nice surprise. I don't really object to victories that can be looked at as career wins if the work that gets the prize is at least quality work and there is a good case for the acknowledgement, Geraldine Page and Helen Mirren represent that kind of situation. However if the performance is completely unworthy, Al Pacino in Scent of a Woman!!, I don't care how many times they've missed before they shouldn't win. From what I've heard, haven't seen Creed yet, Stallone has the first part covered and actually does give a good performance but his career narrative just doesn't include anything approaching a cumulative body of deserving work.

    The presentation of that particular award brought back the painful knowledge that the charmless Patricia Arquette is an Oscar winner for a truly nothing performance AND has to be one of the biggest black holes of personality to ever take a stage. Her little introduction of the nominees was clumsy and painful...she's an actress for Christ's sake isn't part of her job learning her lines and delivering them smoothly!? One thing I'll give her, her glasses were on straight.

    Which brings me to something that just threw me for a loop, Kate Winslet's co-presentation with Reese Witherspoon. Both were beautifully turned out and did their bit well but you know that Kate's dress cost many thousands of dollars and she came out wearing a pair of glasses (crooked to boot!!!) that looked like they came off the five & dime remainder spinner. What the hell? Her loyalty to Leo and honest desire to see him win is nice to see though.

    I have to agree about Alicia Vikander's dress, perhaps the material was beautiful in person but it photographed as sleazy rayon and the design was dreadful. I thought the best and most interesting dress of the night was worn by Cate Blanchett, both the color and the textured material suited her and was a perfect choice since she gave out the costuming award.

    To be honest I set my DVR for the show and started watching about two hours in on fast forward so I heard none of Chris Rock's routines. I find him unctuous and grating on the best of days and on something so fraught in its lead up I was certain he'd annoy me so it was nice to be able to be able to avoid that. I initially thought the idea of having the people that the winner wanted to thank scrolling underneath was an awful idea but it turned out okay and enabled most of them to be a bit more focused in their speeches.

    1. So happy that one of your wishes came true. I'm just so thrilled that Rampling is finally an Oscar nominee. She's one of the very best, so it's about time (like, 5 times too late).


      I almost mentioned Winslet's glasses in my post, but forgot. I kind of...loved them. Like she was so glamorous and simply breathtaking and then...NERD and I wasn't sure if she was trying to be funny with those or if that is just who she is.

      Vikander's dress being likened to Belle from Beauty and the Beast is just ridiculous. Such an ugly dress.

      I don't always like Rock, but he slayed (I thought), especially in that opener, so I hope you watch the video I have in the post.

  10. OMG! Sorry you went through a bad Oscar viewing experience, Drew. I'm glad I stayed home, there's an Oscar party as part of a local film fest but there's no way I wanted to go. I just wanted to be in my jammies w/ my laptop so I can live tweet.

    "... last night I literally was the most knowledgeable person in the room about the one thing we were all supposed to be knowledgeable about." Oh dear!! Brooklyn?? WOW, I love that movie but like you said, no chance in hell.

    I thought Rock did a good job too. I was so looking forward to what he'd do w/ the whole diversity issue and I think he handled it well, and some moments were truly hilarious!

    1. For

      When half the room was like "Brooklyn will win" and then the other half was all "Room will take it" I literally felt like screaming HAVE ANY OF YOU PAID ATTENTION TO THE SEASON!!!

  11. Too bad you are not closer because my hubby watches it but with regret. I have a friend who does come over and we get towpath all together. I would not care if that old lady was 99, I would be telling her a hing or two because I would have to which may be one reason some people think of me as bitch:)I thought Chris Rock nailed it and I loved what he did with this homage to what you think would be Will. Smith but turns out to be Jack Black-hahahaaaa. I so agree with you about Patrcia Arquette-what a boring snoozer. I am not one for Alicia's dress but there are worse ones I think. I will have the on my blog a bit later. What did you think of the Best costume winner? Oh and thankfully you can speed through the girl guide cookie thing.Loved seeing Tracy Morgan saying "I'm a Danish Girl." - that cracked me up.

    1. The Jack Black moment was KILLER! Arquette is a mess. She does 'mom' so well, it's such a snooze.

      I wasn't turned off by the costume winner. That's who she is and she was representing a film that won for being in the vein, so I kind of loved it.

      Tracy Morgan eating a danish was EVERYTHING!

  12. I didn't watch it except for Brie and Leo's win and the shock of the win for Spotlight (which was a good one). I thought Alicia looked good but the best-dressed was Saoirse Ronan where I was like..... WHOA!!!! BTW, what was more embarrassing? Rob Lowe's duet with Snow White or Stacey Dash? I'm now going with the latter.

    1. I should add that thing about the concept of being the smartest guy in a room full of dumb-fucks is something that I find myself often dealing as it's one of many themes I feel like addressing into the kind of stories I wanted to tell into my own work. It adds to that sense of alienation that I'm often dealing with where you hear someone saying something that you know that it's not correct and you just want to say "HOLY FUCK, YOU'RE SO FUCKING WRONG!"

    2. Saoirse Ronan was a GODDESS!!!

    3. And, LOL at your second comment. I know the feeling all too well.

  13. Can we please sort this out next year so us bloggers CAN get together and watch the Oscars? Dude, that would be the COOLEST.
    I'm so freaking happy that Spotlight won I can barely keep all my feelings inside! I've put up with so much stick from family and friends for daring to think it stood a chance!
    - Allie

    1. That would be AMAZING! Unrealistic, unfortunately, but amazing!

      Once The Big Short took PGA, I figured Spotlight was out of the race too, but then it took SAG and it felt like a dark horse possibility, but it still really felt like The Revenant vs. The Big Short and then...BAM!

  14. Bummer those folks at the oscar party you attended were so uninformed.
    The Compton segment was the funniest to me. Glad we agree on Inside Out.
    I didn't love Spotlight, but I totally understand why it won. An important film.

    1. Inside Out is still the best movie I saw last year. A few left to see, but it'll take something extremely special to surpass it.

  15. This was certainly one of the most surprising, oddest, somewhat boring Oscars in recent history. Rylance beating Sly was completely upsetting, although I thought Sly's performance was just the same old stuff he always does (it WAS good...don't get me wrong, but I can see why he lost).

    And Spotlight is SUCH a safe win. I was secretly hoping Fury Road would shock everyone and win like it had been doing the entire night. Oh well.

    1. Spotlight was a very safe win, but it makes sense in a way and it is a very powerful film (or at least about a very powerful subject) and so for that I applaud it for saying something.

  16. Thanks for the link, buddy!

    LOL, your Oscar night sounds fascinating. Maybe those people will credit Winslet with a second win. ;)

    Chris Rock was very good, especially given #OscarsSoWhite. LOVED the Attah and Tremblay moment too, and Louis C.K.'s bit was perfect.

    Ex Machina's win was amazing. I'd love to see the numbers on that vote-splitting. Guessing EM only won by a few (deserved) votes.

    I think I actually laughed out loud when Sam Smith won. It was priceless, given the hatred for the song and his lackluster performance that night.