Well, the Oscars are over! How were they? Here’s the rundown of the 2013 Oscars–the good, the bad, and the Seth MacFarlane.
Oh, Seth MacFarlane. He kicked off the ceremony with a song about how he saw a bunch of famous actress’ boobs, displaying a level of maturity on par with that of a middle school boy. Apparently the Oscars have become more desperate than Samuel Jackson faced with Loki. Although everyone dutifully applauded at the end of this song, most of the named actresses looked decidedly unamused. The best moment of the whole uncomfortable routine was Jennifer Lawrence fist-pumping the air at the line “we haven’t seen Jennifer Lawrence’s boobs at all.”
There’s something to be said for risque, slightly offensive humor. Sometimes too much political correctness is a bad thing, and I understand the need for sacrificing it in the name of a joke. Unfortunately, Seth MacFarlane seemed just as willing to sacrifice it in the name of a bad joke. Most of the time, the one laughing loudest was Seth himself, which made the whole experience that much more exquisitely awkward. At times he seemed aware his jokes weren’t taking. Almsot as dispiriting as the jokes themselves was MacFarlane’s apparent need to announce each one before or after the fact. I suppose he wanted everyone was aware a joke had been made, and felt that the only way to make sure of that was to inform the audience directly. All things considered, his fears that people might not realize what he’d just done was meant to be funny are somewhat understandable.
MacFarlane’s Oscar night jests included a gag about how the bulimia of the actresses was paying off, a gag about the Lincoln assassination (“I think the person who really got inside the head of Abraham Lincoln was John Wilkes booth!”) to which everyone in the audience booed, and a jab about Spanish-speaking actors and how their accents were impossible to understand. Very nice, Seth MacFarlane. Misogyny, dead Lincoln jokes, and making fun of those foreign people’s silly voices. I thought this was the Oscars, not my high school.
McFarlane rounded out his comedic routine with those obligatory, heard-it-all-before jokes about how tediously long the Oscars are. “We have Emanuelle Riva,” he said when announcing the Best Actress nominees, “who was 9 when this show stated.” Maybe the show wouldn’t take so long every year if the hosts didn’t waste about twenty minutes making jokes about how long the Oscars take. But as “long Oscars” jokes go, McFarlane’s were pretty by the book.
He had a few moments, here and there. His joke about how getting nominated for an Oscars was “something a 9-year-old could do” (in reference to youngest-ever Best Actress nominee Quvenzhane Wallis, the spelling of whose name I just looked up on Wikipedia) was moderately amusing. His crack about the script of Django Unchained being “loosely based on Mel Gibson’s voicemails” was admittedly funny, but still a little below-the-belt.
To be fair, it wasn’t all Seth’s fault. The other announcers were far, far worse. At one excruciating point the cast of the Avengers came on and seemed to have completely forgotten exactly what comedic routine they were supposed to be doing. Or was the forgetting itself their comedic routine? If so, no one could tell. It’s all the worse considering that Robert Downey Jr. is usually a pretty funny guy.
But enough about Seth. How were the Oscars themselves?
It was a pretty even spread this year, a far cry from that year the Return of the King won 11 Oscars, or the one shortly thereafter when Slumdog Millionaire won 8. I suppose it’s a testament to how many great and enjoyable films there were this year that (almost) every one of the Best Picture nominees got to go home with something.
Lincoln got its expected Best Actor win for Daniel Day-Lewis, and also, in one of the more surprising twists of the evening, tied with Skyfall for Sound Editing. Argo won Best Picture. IF there were an award for Best Acceptance Speech, Daniel Day-Lewis would have won it. He blended wry humor with a calm, earnest, and humble demeanor. The runner up might be Life of Pi director Ang Lee, who thanked the “movie god” for his win and dedicated his trophy to everyone who had helped make the movie, and the people of Taiwan, where it was filmed. Life of Pi also won several deserved technical awards for its visual effects, cinematography, sound editing (not to be confused with sound mixing. Or rather, to always be confused with it) and its musical score.
The Silver Linings Playbook got Best Actress recognition for Jennifer Lawrence, who appears to be the Academy’s favorite darling at the moment. Django Unchained got its (in my opinion undeserved) Best Supporting Actor win for Christoph Waltz. Now, Waltz was effusive and gregarious as Dr. King Shultz, but I’d still argue that his character was pretty shallow and inconsistent, and even a bit of a detriment to the film since Waltz completely took the focus off the real alleged star, Jamie Foxx’s Django. Quentin Tarantino also won for Django’s screenplay, delivering a somewhat awkward, if well-intentioned, acceptance speech. Oh, Quentin. There’s no denying he’s a skilled writer of other people’s dialogue–but it seems he needs to hire someone else to write his own.
As for Amour and Beasts of the Southern Wild, they rather lost out. I guess Beasts’ nomination for Best Picture can be considered a victory in and of itself, since I guarantee that basically nobody had heard of it before that.
Everyone’s a winner. Except, perhaps the Oscars themselves. The show, largely bereft of humor or spectacle, tried to bolster itself by including a lot of live singing. The songs were surprisingly, mercifully good (though Adelle looked so painfully uncomfortable I have to wonder if maybe she’s better heard and not seen), but perhaps too numerous and lengthly in a show that was even longer than usual this year.