Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Let's Dish about the 2017 Oscars: What I Loved (and What I Didn't Love)!

O - M - G!!!



What should have been a night of celebration for "La La Land" turned into confusion and disappointment when "La La Land" was announced as Best Picture by Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway.  Producer Jordan Horowitz was in mid-thank you speech when it was discovered that Beatty and Dunaway had announced the wrong film and the Best Picture winner was really "Moonlight." 

Unfortunately, it was a loss for both because, even though "Moonlight" won, by the time the mistake was rectified, there was little time for Director Barry Jenkins to give his thank you speech.  A sad ending to what is usually a happy event for me and for the winners.  For a minute there, I thought I was at the Miss Universe contest where Steve Harvey announced the wrong winner.  What is going on these days?  Wouldn't you know, too, that the ones blamed for the mistake - Beatty and Dunaway - are old folks being blamed for making an old folks mistake and giving us old folks a bad name!

As for "La La Land," I have come to realize that despite how much I loved the film for its originality, freshness, innovation and depth, it is much like "The English Patient," another film that I dearly loved, a "love it or hate it" movie. 


Anyway, I am starting to get depressed, so let's get on with the fun parts:


The Clothes

Watching the stars walk the Red Carpet before the show is half the fun of The Oscars.  I have fond memories of watching with my young daughter and dishing about the gowns.  Now she is grown and I have to do it on my own but I still enjoy it.

Standouts this year were Taraji P. Henson,



Chrissy Teigan (I love her),



and Viola Davis (thank you, Viola, for a colorful dress)!



I liked Octavia Spencer's dress as well because why shouldn't a big girl wear feathers?



Mahershala Ali rocked his black on black on black look- black tux, black shirt, black bow tie.  He looked fabulous!



I liked Jessica Biel's dress but I couldn't help but think that she looked like a real life Oscar.  Yes, literally, the statue.  But maybe that was what she was going for!



And Nicole Kidman and Emma Stone - though I liked the design and style of both of their dresses, they need to stop wearing blush and nude. It washes them out.  So from one pale human to another, don't.



Janelle Monae looked like she was channeling Marie Antoinette



and Isabelle Huppert looked like she was going to be baptized in a river.



I also have to ask what was with Halle Berry's hair and Alicia Vikander's fake tan.  Both too too much.

 


And then there was Mel Gibson and his daughter...er, I mean girlfriend.




And I'm not being bitchy here.  I am just dishing.  That's different.




Jimmy Kimmel


I have to admit I had big reservations about Jimmy Kimmel as host.  I am not a big fan of him or his show and I am not sure why.  But he did a great stand-up, teasing the nominees, much in the tradition of Bob Hope and Johnny Carson.  But I can't help but miss Billy Crystal's opening where he would put himself into each movie.

The so-called feud with Matt Damon was funny but I think it might have gone over the heads of most people who didn't know where that came from.  For those who don't know here is the background.

Other funny moments included the shot he took at Donald Trump via Meryl Streep (whose husband didn't look like he was having a very good time) and asking her if she was wearing an Ivanka Trump dress, tweeting to Trump and at the end blaming Steve Harvey for the Best Picture announcement gaffe.  He handled all of that with class, blaming himself.

"I knew I would screw this show up.  I really did."

You didn't, Jimmy.  You did a good job.



The Speeches

They were fine.  I wish they had been more political but I know that many people don't like that, feeling that they want to watch an awards show, not a bunch of actors spouting their political beliefs.  But here is my take on that:  actors are people just like us, they have their beliefs and if they have a platform where they can put forth those beliefs, then more power to them.  If you don't like it, don't watch. 

Most heartfelt and poignant?  Viola's speech.

The only thing that I DON'T like about these acceptance speeches is when the actor praises those who lost.  Emma Stone did that and I would say to her, Emma, don't do that.  If I had just lost my chance at an Oscar, I would not want you rubbing it in by saying I deserve it too or you are going to share it with me or I really deserved to get it.  If I deserved it, then I would have won it!  Just enjoy your victory.  You don't need to share it with anyone!



The Production - Hits and Misses

I really liked the snippets of the speeches from past winners that preceded the announcement of the actors' categories.

I also liked the moments when Charlize Theron talked about her admiration for Shirley MacLaine and then the two came out to announce a winner together.  Likewise when Javier Bardem did the same for Meryl.  Those are the kinds of moments I enjoy, but there were only two of those. 

Likewise, I loved the bit with people from around the world commenting on their favorite films and the actors reading mean tweets about themselves was hilarious, especially when Tilda Swinton read one where she was likened to this dog.  It was literally a howl.  Yes, literally, I howled.

 
 

But the Starline bus bit, bringing in the tourists, I thought was a bit cringe-worthy.
Much as I liked some of those bits, putting all of those different segments together didn't create a whole.  If we were going to have an actor like Charlize talk about her admiration for an older actor like Shirley MacLaine, then why wasn't that a common thread? I would like to have seen more of that interspersed throughout the show, other actors recognizing their inspirational counterparts.  It just seemed like too many different tangents all competing against each other.

Speaking of hits - did you notice that part of the prop in the dance number during the nominated song from "Moana" actually hit Aul'i Cravalho in the head while she was singing?  It literally hit her and went bonk! and I could see it jarring her teeth.  But she kept going.  She is only 16 so good for her!  However, that led Hubby to notice that she had nice teeth.






The Snubs

I can't write about the Oscars without mentioning the snubs and disappointments when the nominations were made.

The fact that Taraji P. Henson was not nominated for Best Actress was a travesty.  She was the heart and soul of "Hidden Figures" and showed her range as an actress.  There was not a hint of Cookie anywhere.  If "Hidden Figures" deserved an Oscar nomination for Best Picture, then Taraji deserved a Best Actress nomination, especially since Octavia Spencer was nominated for Best Supporting Actress for that film.

And why was "Finding Dory" not nominated for Best Animated Feature?  "Piper," which won for Best Animated Short, was the "cartoon" that preceded "Finding Dory" in the theatre.  So no "Finding Dory," but "My Life as a Zucchini" was nominated?  What the hell?

"Weiner" should have been nominated for Best Documentary, Tom Hanks should have been nominated for Best Actor for "Sully" and Kathryn Hahn should have been nominated for Best Supporting Actress for "Bad Moms."  However, not surprised about Hahn, because, sadly, comedies never get their due.



Final Verdict

I have to say that overall, I was disappointed. 

And I am certainly not an Academy Awards hater.  I LOVE the Academy Awards and look forward to them every year.  I dress up, make appetizers, drink champagne and the whole family participates in the competition, with ballots and everything.  At our house it has always been an event.  So I say I was disappointed with a heavy heart.

Not just because "La La Land" didn't win Best Picture, which was disappointing enough, not just because Denzel was robbed, he really deserved Best Actor, and not just that I also only got 16 out of 24 right this year (last year I was 21 out of 24), but because I felt that overall the show was inconsistent in its presentation. It was all over the place with tourists and homage to older actors and tweets and Jimmy's "feud" with Matt Damon, most of which were funny on their own but didn't come together as a whole satisfying experience.

Here is my advice for a more successful Oscars show and one that perhaps won't take over four hours: Pick a theme and go with that. 

Don't try to do so many different bits. Forget the candy dropping from the ceiling (reminded me of Ellen ordering pizza) and the selfies and the tourists and the other cutesy stuff and give us more of the homage to mentors and why movies matter.

"I became an artist...because we are the only profession that celebrates what it means to live a life." That's what Viola said in her acceptance speech.

"Movies celebrate life and helps us understand what it means to be human." 
I said that.

And, finally, the ultimate disappointment is to have the wrong movie announced as Best Picture.

So just what the hell happened at the end, that things got so screwed up and the wrong movie was announced as Best Picture?  And don't blame it on old people!

So here is the skinny on that!

And Jimmy, it wasn't your fault!

 
 
 
 
Well, that's it for the 2017 Oscars. 
See you next year!
 
 

 

Thanks for reading!
 
See you next Friday 
  
for my review of

"Get Out"

and
 
The Week in Reviews

(What to See or Read and What to Avoid)

 and the latest on

"My 1001 Movies I Must See Before 
 I Die Project." 



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