Monday, March 3, 2014

Oscars Wrap Up: The Best and Worst (and Everything In Between) of the 2014 Academy Awards

Well, my Big Day is over. 

I look forward to the Academy Awards every year much the way football fans look forward to the Super Bowl.

This year I had seen all of the films nominated for Best Picture (one of the rewards of retirement!) and most of the films nominated in other categories, except "Bad Grandpa." ( I will watch just about anything but that's going too far even if the makeup is nomination worthy!)

I won the family pool, too, along with my son and daughter-in-law having correctly chosen the winners in 21 out of the 24 categories.

However, I have to say that there were no surprises and the ceremony was tepid at best with Ellen certainly not at the top of her game.

Anyway, here is my wrap up -
the best and worst of the night.
(I watched so you didn't have to!)

The Red Carpet

Is it really necessary to do four hours counting down to the Red Carpet before the Red Carpet? 
The stars of "Fashion Police" - Giuliana Rancic, George Kotsiopoulos and Kelly Osbourne were up and at it first thing in the morning speculating on what the stars might wear, talking about the nominees, etc.  Snore. So we really need four hours of yakking before the stars even arrive?  I think the coverage of the Red Carpet that began at 2:30 was more than enough.

I have to say that it's not as much fun to dish the Red Carpet these days since almost everyone has a stylist so hardly anyone makes huge mistakes anymore. 

But here is what I didn't like:

  • Blush, nude and white dresses.  Not a fan.  Those non-colors make everyone look washed out.
  • Strapless dresses with no necklaces or big earrings.
  • Botox, botox and more botox.  Nary a forehead moved.

Here are my nods to the Best and Worst:

Best Dress:  I really liked Jennifer Lawrence's and Amy Adam's dresses, but their accessories were too minimalist for my taste, despite the necklace down Jennifer's back. June Squibb looked great in Tadashi Shoji and Cate Blanchett in Armani Prive but I can't give it to her because she was wearing that dreaded nude and white.  But at least she was wearing big earrings.

I give Best Dress to Charlize Theron in Dior.

Best Dressed Couple:  Olivia Wilde and Jason Sudeikis

Olivia is noticeably pregnant and highlighted that fact, but tastefully in her gorgeous black Valentino dress.  Jason looked great in his tux.  Tux's make men look so handsome.  I wish they would wear them all of the time.

Could have been Best Dress:  Lupita Nyong'o

Loved the Prada dress, but Lupita was too flat-chested for it. A bony décolletage is not attractive. Likewise, a headband on a head with no hair is just wrong.

Worst Dress:  Sally Hawkins 

She was completely swallowed up by her dress. Couldn't she afford a tailor?  The sleeves were hanging long over her hands and all that lace looked like it was choking her. She also should have put her hair up.  Her hair hanging down over a high neck and all of that lace just added to the mess.

Best Tux:  Kevin Spacey

Kevin rocked this blue tux.  Hubby was even salivating over it.

Worst Tux:  If you can call it that, Pharrell Williams looked stupid in shorts. 

At least he didn't wear that silly hat that he wore at the Grammys. It might be Vivienne Westwood but it looked ridiculous.  But wait, there's that hat again!

Most vapid interviewer on the Red Carpet:  All of them, though I will say that Ryan Seacrest has the gift of gab like no other.  No matter what is happening he can turn it into lemonade.

For more in depth (and probably funnier comments than mine), check out "Fashion Police" on E! and/or my new favorite "Fashion Queens" on BRAVO.

The Ceremony

I love Ellen but was disappointed.

She is funnier every day on her show than she was Oscar night.  Her monologue was very old school.  Nothing outrageous.  I couldn't help but miss Billy Crystal and his usual musical tribute to each of the nominated films and wonder what he would have done with "Captain Phillips" or "Her."

Best Ellen Monologue Moment: 
When talking about Bakhad Abdi, she remarked that he was from Somalia adding humorously that must make him a sommelier.  She then satirized the famous line from "Captain Phillips" by saying - "Who's the wine captain now?"

Worst Ellen Monologue Moment:
Though the fact that "12 Years a Slave" winning Best Picture was a historic moment, Ellen's comment in the opening monologue that "there were two possibilities this year: that Steve McQueen's drama would win the best picture Oscar. And possibility two: you're all racists" was out of place and, frankly, didn't really make much sense.

Best Ellen Moments:  Ordering pizza (she tried to get Harvey Weinstein to pick up the tab) and the "selfie," which is now the most retweeted tweet.

Most Cringe-worthy Ellen Moment:
Calling out Liza Minnelli as the best Liza Minnelli impersonator and saying "Good job, Sir," as if Liza was in drag. Really bad. Liza was not pleased.  However, poor Liza.  She did look very puckered like she had too much work done or drunk too many appletinis - or both.

Best Spoken Acceptance Speeches:  Jared Leto and Cate Blanchett

Jared paid homage to his Mom and acknowledged the political situations happening around the world.  He's a serious guy.  And thank you, Jared, for actually preparing a speech!

Cate acknowledged that women pay to go to the movies, too, so make sure there are films with strong women starring in them. You go, Cate!

Best Vocal Acceptance Speeches: Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez accepting their Best Original Song Award for "Let it Go" and Darlene Love, who was one of the focal points in the Best Documentary "20 Feet from Stardom."

They sang their acceptance speeches.  Brilliant.

Biggest waste of time in an already over long show: 
Bette Midler singing "The Wind Beneath My Wings" AFTER the "In Memoriam" segment.  Why didn't she sing it as background for that?  Is Ms. Midler too much of a diva to merely be heard singing?

Biggest Disappointment: 

Not seeing Angelina Jolie receive the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award and Steve Martin and Angela Lansbury their Honorary Oscars.

The Jean Herscholt Award used to be a big deal during the ceremony and has now been relegated to the "And by the way, here are the awards no one cares about" category.  Well, I care.  Angelina is a huge star who uses her time to help others and I wanted to hear what she had to say.  Likewise, I would rather hear Steve Martin's and Angela Lansbury's acceptance speeches for their well-deserved Honorary Oscars than Bette Midler singing "Wind Beneath my Wings" for the trillionth time.

Biggest Flub:

John Travolta introducing Idina Menzel as Adele Dazeem.  What the hell?  He doesn't know the name of one of Broadway's biggest stars?  Geez, John, that botox you had done on your forehead must have affected your eyesight, not to mention your brain!

Best Production Moment:

No one's speech was interrupted by music when they went too long. Thank you.  When someone works really hard to make it and then finally does, it is an insult to be rushed off the stage in the moment of glory. 

Worst Moment: The misuse of a Hollywood Legend

Kim Novak, a Hollywood legend who hasn't been seen by the public in years, was practically an afterthought as she came out with Matthew McConaughey to present the Best Animated Feature award. She should have been showcased in some way rather than having her do some stupid banter with McConaughey, banter which she didn't really seem up toProbably good idea Matthew was there, though, as he seemed to be holding her up. Some clips from her films should have heralded her arrival.  I would rather have seen that than the weak tribute to "The Wizard of Oz" or some of the genre tributes that appeared here and there. (Speaking of which, I didn't even understand some of them.  There was one where clips from "Avatar" were followed by clips from "A Wonderful Life."  What did those have to do with each other?)

Final Pet Peeve:
  • I am not a fan of up to ten films being nominated for Best Picture.  If they are going to do that, then they should also nominate up to ten Best Actors and Best Actresses.  This year the acting fields were very dense, especially in the area of Best Actor.  The fact that Tom Hanks was not nominated for "Captain Phillips," and the film was nominated for Best Picture is outrageous.  He carried that picture.  Likewise, Robert Redford was amazing in "All is Lost" and Joaquin Phoenix did some of his best work in "Her."  I think there is an imbalance and we need to go back to nominating just five films.
Despite my annoyances, I still enjoyed the Big Night.
What did you think?

See you Friday for The Week in Reviews
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  1. Loved your comments since I missed most of the Oscars this year (snow shoeing as part of my WTC requirement . . . no getting out of it.) We came home just in time to see the wins for best actor, actress and movie. From what I did see, I agree with pretty much everything you wrote.

    Here's two more: Worst acceptance speech surely must go to best picture winner Steve McQueen. I had to leave the room out of embarrassment for him. Why, oh why, do newbie winners focus on thanking everyone under the sun, rather than preparing something from the heart?

    I also though Kim Novak looked ghastly. Her face now has the dreaded joker-smile, a sure sign of botox OD. Why are we women here in the USA doing this to ourselves???????

    1. Thanks, Tamara. I agree about Kim Novak. There has been much talk about why she would even want to come out of seclusion, as it were, to do that so we could all remember her as she once was. I wouldn't go that far but they certainly should have showcased her better. I would like to have seen them show some clips from her career, introduce her, she comes out all glammed up and says thank you. That would have been better. As for the plastic surgery, all I can surmise is that these actresses that are known more for their beauty than their acting feel they have to stay young and somehow once they do this stuff to themselves, they don't see what they really look like. That's all I can think. I doubt Meryl Streep will go that route.