Oscar Night From The Peanut Gallery


Every year they hold the Oscars, and every year TV critics tear it to pieces the morning after. The show is too long. The host isn’t funny, blah blah blah. But when you produce the Oscars, you have a lot of masters to serve. There are 500 celebrities and nominees in that crowd, and if each of them is not paid the according amount of respect they believe they deserve, the producers will find themselves blacklisted like Dalton Trumbo at a Republican party clambake.

The Oscars have never been about pleasing YOU, the TV viewer at home. It’s about pleasing everyone in the theater so that they still take your calls the next day. We, the audience, are always at a remove from the proceedings. As such, there’s no point in reviewing the show as a whole, because the show is what it has always been: an uneven mix of long speeches and tributes punctuated by jokes written by Bruce Vilanch. If you’re lucky, some moments stand out as you watch, and here are some that stood out for me:

- Know what’s far more exciting than seeing the stars sitting in their seats? Seeing the unknown freaks who are sitting behind and around those stars in the background. Last night, they cut to Helen Mirren in the audience, and sitting behind her appeared to be the love child of Mickey Rourke and Chuck E. Cheese. And sitting behind Quentin Tarantino, who appears to have gained 50 pounds in his chin alone, was his DP, Robert Richardson, who totally looked like a sorcerer. MAKE YOUR MAGIC, SARUMAN.

- Why did Steve Martin wear his false nose from “Roxanne” all evening? What’s that? That was his real nose? Was he punched recently?

- A lot of people are saying Karl Malden won the applause-o-meter on the dead actor montage, but I disagree. Last year, they cut out the applause for that sequence altogether so as not to make it a competition. And this year, I believe they had their sound guy try to keep the volume of the applause even throughout the montage. Only he slipped at the end, and Malden got the big audible cheer. But I think his dial was wayyyy down when Michael Jackson came up.

- They showed clips of all the nominated performances and pictures, but what I wish they would do is just use ONE clip. In other words, when they showed a clip of Christoph Waltz right before he won, they showed a bunch of quick edits of his performance mushed together. It always ends up looking like you’re watching a trailer when they do that. Just pick ONE money scene, and go with it.

- That was way more Lenny Kravitz than I expected last night.

- I see Diet Coke and JC Penney simply alternated ads during every commercial break. Not a lot of beer and truck ads during that telecast.

- When they dished out the supporting actor awards, I was totally jazzed because there was only one presenter, and every nominee didn’t get a long-winded wedding toast, like they got last year. I figured we were home free. But noooooo, they saved that for the Best Actor and Actress categories. It took ten minute just to present Best Actor to Jeff Bridges. Is this really necessary? It’s 11:30. I’m tired. You’re killing me, man. At least Kate Winslet looked insanely hot.

- In the documentary short speech Kanye West controversy, I will side with the director, who got cut off by that crazy producer lady who sued him. I know me some crazy old lady, and that was definitely a crazy old lady.

- Every year, they take time to explain the smaller categories to us, like we couldn’t figure it out on our own. “You see, an editor EDITS all the footage shot from the movie.” Really? I did not know that. I thought the editor provided catering. Give me some credit, will you?

- Hyundai stole Richard Dreyfuss’ voice from Honda! It’s the most brazen act of voice talent plundering I’ve ever seen in the ad business!

- iPad ad! iPad ad! OMG! It’s just like an iPhone, only it won’t fit anywhere! Nice!

-The John Hughes tribute awesome, if only for the reason that I finally got to see what Judd Nelson currently looks like. Oh, man. Judd needs a shave. And new clothes. That’s you in 20 years, Taylor Lautner.

In the end, “The Hurt Locker” won everything important, and that’s good, because it was awesome. And we’re left with an Oscar telecast that was, frankly, as efficient as it gets. There were good jokes. There were bad jokes. There were unnecessary appearances by Neil Patrick Harris and a street dancing crew. But that’s what you always get with the Oscars. You’d be a fool to expect otherwise.

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