Sunday, March 14, 2010
Throwing an "Oscar" party has been little more difficult since moving back to Asia. The 13 hour time difference means Sunday evening in the States is Monday morning here and have you ever tried to throw a party on a Monday morning work day? Yeah, you see my dilemma.
This year though I vowed to at least have a little family party on Monday evening when the Hong Kong station here rebroadcasts the whole show complete with a half hour of Red Carpet. I managed to not look at the news online all day to keep any advance knowledge about winners from ruining the experience. Tammy skillfully did her best to recreate "Chipoltle" burritos to enjoy during the show. In the end though, it wasn't as fun as being surrounded with friends enjoying a few drinks as we chit chatted about movie trivia...but it was close.
Now for the review:
The Hosts:I was excited when I heard Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin were going to host together. I thought the chemistry would be brilliant. In the end though it was...OK. Many of the jokes seemed forced and juvenile which leads me to...
The Writers: Quit hiring Bruce Vilanch to write for the Oscars! The guy has been doing it for 20 years and in an era of clever TV comedy writing such as Arrested Development and 30 Rock surely we don't need to hire a guy who was writing when the dialogue between Knight Rider and KITT was considered witty banter.
The Opening: All I could think of was the tragic Snow White / Rob Lowe duet from 20 years ago. Who thought that opening the Academy Awards with a dance number by Doogie Howser was a good idea?...probably Bruce Vilanch
The John Hughes Memoriam: OK, some reviewers criticized this segment as to much time given to the death of a niche director. Why were Hollywood legends Lauren Becall & Roger Corman given a quick award and seated without saying a word while "C" lister Judd Nelson was able to discuss his Breakfast Club days. Fair point but I admit, I'm biased. John Hughes spoke to "my generation". I'm 43 and all of the John Hughes movie actors that gave tribute during the segment (Matthew Brodrick, Ally Sheedy, Anthony Michael Hall, Jon Cryer, and Molly Ringwald) are all my age. They were the faces I grew up on so...I lovedit!
The Winners: The frontrunners for Best Picture were Avatar and The Hurt Locker and I think the Academy got it right. The Hurt Locker was a much better film that kept me riveted until the end. Avatar was an enjoyable little popcorn movie that retold Kevin Costner's Dances with Wolves but with blue people instead of American Indians. Jeff Bridges finally got his Best Actor for being Jeff Bridges. Congrats to The Dude! And I love Sandra Bullock...but best actress? Maybe Meg Ryan should have got one back in the day for You've Got Mail.
"What Were They Thinking?" Moments Where was Farrah Fawcett in the "Memoriam" segment of the show? Farrah, whose death in the summer was overshadowed suddenly by the death of Michael Jackson, was slighted by fate again when the pop singer (whose film credentials are dubious) was included but Fawcett was not. And when Kathryn Bigelow won the Best Director award (and was the first female to do so) the orchestra struck up a rendition of Helen Reddy's "I am Woman". Very poor taste and embarrassing to a wonderful director who has made it known that she wants to be recognized for her directing achievements apart from her gender.
The conclusion: The producers of this year's Oscars promised a reboot...a new angle to the show. Overall I say they failed in that goal but they did give us what was hardly the best (or worst) Oscar show of the last few years. Next year...NEW WRITERS!