Belated Friday Fun Thread: Oscar edition

by Ted on February 28, 2005

Thoughts on the Oscars? I’ve got a few under the fold.

* Every year, the Oscar people make a bug fuss about how many people all over the world are watching the broadcast. Let me tell you something- when I lived in the UK, my fiancee and I had a tradition of staying up all night to watch the Oscar broadcast live. We didn’t have a TV, so we had to find a hotel room that had the right cable channel. Do you know how hard that was? Pretty goddamn hard. One year, the hotel which had promised us an Oscar broadcast turned out to be wrong; they were nice enough to find another hotel with the right channel, but it took them a good hour and a half. (And London isn’t hurting for hotels.) Point is, they’re not watching this all over the world, so get over yourselves.

* Chris Rock really is the leading comic of our time, but Steve Martin made a better Oscar host. You may remember Steve Martin from such films as Too Many Children! and Teach Me to Dance, Sassy Black Lady, but I still maintain that he might be the funniest man alive. I hurt myself laughing at Steve Martin’s Oscar presentations, whereas Chris Rock seemed to get off his best lines in brief asides (such as “the leading comedian of our time, Jeremy Irons”). It wasn’t a great fit, for whatever reason.

* While I laughed hard at Chris Rock’s insult to Alexander (“If you want Russell Crowe and you can only get Colin Farrell, wait!“) I think that “get a real movie star” is awful advice. How many movies have you ever seen that would actually be improved by replacing the lead actor with Tom Cruise, Keanu Reeves or Julia Roberts?

* Do you remember the guy who posted an ad on craigslist after the election, challenging a Bush supporter to a fistfight? I feel like doing that to a Robin Williams fan. I’d be a happy man if I never had to hear one of his outrageous impressions (effeminate gay guy, gruff black guy, Jack Nicholson) again.

* Sean Penn, Jude Law is a big boy. If Chris Rock hurt his feelings, his lovely fiancee can dry his tears with an enormous pile of $1000 bills and old copies of the “World’s Sexiest Man” issue of People. Leave it alone.

* There are a fair number of other women who have filled Beyonce’s niche in show business in recent years- the beautiful, glamorous soul/r&b/pop diva. Beyonce is the only one where I can point to and say, “She’s performed more than one song I like.” So, go Beyonce. It seemed like a lot to have her perform three out of five Oscar songs, but the producers cannily slipped in Antonio Banderas to make you wish for four.

* Goofus decides to give little people their awards from the audience. Extra-Goofus does it without even showing a tiny little clip, or even a freaking still. Is that too much to ask, especially for an animated movie?

* Martin Scorcese can take comfort in his unquestioned place in the pantheon of the greatest directors in history, but it looks like he’ll never win a Best Director Oscar. However, I’m not going to cry any tears over The Aviator, which is soon going to take its place in history’s unmarked grave of forgotten mediocre biopics, right next to Hoffa, Chaplin, and Bugsy.

* From Fametracker: “Hi, I’m Penélope Cruz. I don’t want to sound ungrateful for the sound-awards presenting gig, but whose idea was it to get me to say the phrase ‘usable original auditory elements’? What is this — My Fair Lady?

* I think the real Best Pictures of 2005 were Shaun of the Dead, The Incredibles, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Sideways, and something else. I’m just saying; our grandkids will watch The Incredibles and quote Shaun of the Dead.

(rewritten slightly, and spelling of “Shaun” corrected)



Jeremy Osner 02.28.05 at 4:11 pm

Yep, Robin Williams is such a colossal hack. I laughed like twice or three times while Chris Rock was speaking, which is about 2 or 3 more times than I normally laugh at the Oscars emcee’s jokes.


dsquared 02.28.05 at 4:22 pm

Jude Law is a big boy

You are not kidding, by the way. He used to go to the kickboxing gym down the road from me. I joined it with the express intention of beating the crap out of him for Wings of the Dove. I quit after three classes as it was obviously never going to happen. I am not a small bloke, but despite looking all fey and weedy on camera, Law was a muscly 80kg and really quite tidy with his fists. Just to clarify matters, I never saw his cock, so I cannot comment on whether he is a “big boy” in that regard; I suspect not.


Rob 02.28.05 at 4:40 pm

Hey, if guessing he is small makes you feel better Daniel, go for it!


norbizness 02.28.05 at 4:43 pm

I sense that you were channeling erstwhile Onion pop culture critic Jackie Harvey during a portion of this post, Ted.

And I vote for co-emcees Salma Hayek and Penelope next year. No jokes, no hurt feelings, no artificial time limit extensions.


Chris Rasmussen 02.28.05 at 4:43 pm

Steve Martin is the funniest man alive, but I would like to suggest Albert Brooks as a honorable mention.

As for your statement concerning what does and doesn’t win an Oscar every year vs. what is a movie that future generations will actually watch….

… well, that’s certainly been true of any Oscar award ceremony. How many memorable comedies have ever been nominated, let alone won an Oscar?


Ted Barlow 02.28.05 at 4:51 pm

“And I vote for co-emcees Salma Hayek and Penelope next year.”

Good lord, yes.


david 02.28.05 at 5:03 pm

Steve Martin is not only the funniest man alive, but nobody reproduces the inside Hollywood humor of the Oscars presenter in way that appeals to outsiders like he does. It’s almost like he’s channeling Carson in a weird subdued sequel to All of Me. (if that’s what it was called). Why they would ever have someone else I can’t say. Then again, Billy Crystal is loved, so I really can’t say.


Ken Houghton 02.28.05 at 5:10 pm

Chris Rock’s problem was the same as David Letterman’s–Bruce Villanch (sp?) can’t write “edgy.” And he does most of the patois writing for the show. Queen Latifah of Teach Me to Dance… is more Villanch’s speed.

Irons’s quick quip wasn’t Nivenesque, but he may indeed have undiscovered comic skills. (May have to rent Kafka to check.)

Next year’s emcee should either be (1) the guy who won for Best Song, since he apparently doesn’t speak English which would only help the pace of the show or (2) Cousin Kate, re-animated and allowed to lay some whoop-ass on that Cate who got the voice but nothing else right, judging by her Best Supporting Actress clip.

In the geek area, did anyone else notice that “best film editing” has now gone two years in a row to a movie that is over three hours long? “I do not think that word means what you think it does…”


Ginger Yellow 02.28.05 at 5:17 pm

Sorry to be pedantic, but it’s Shaun of the Dead. You are right about its quality, however.

As for Steve Martin, I agree with Dennis Pennis – extremely funny once (especially in The Jerk, Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid and The Man With Two Brains) but definitely not so now.


Kieran 02.28.05 at 5:20 pm

Didn’t Williams pull that taped-mouth schtick a few years ago as well, when he sang “Blame Canada” from the South Park film? Next year someone should make sure he can’t rip it off.


Ted Barlow 02.28.05 at 5:23 pm

Good point, ginger yellow. I’m correcting it.


maurinsky 02.28.05 at 5:39 pm

I agree with your best movies of 2005 except for Sideways, which I didn’t see, and The Incredibles, which I found kind of disappointing…maybe the husband hyped it up too much.

And I have to say that I loved Antonio Banderas’ and Carlos Santana on the song from The Motorcycle Diaries. I thought Banderas was terrific and passionate and confident, and that was a great performance. Josh Groban, OTOH? Sucked. I can’t believe he’s sold as many albums as it appears he’s sold. His voice warbles like whoever sang that horrible, horrible song “Lady In Red”, which I think may be the worst song my ears have ever had the misfortune to hear.


Delicious pundit 02.28.05 at 5:49 pm

Bruce Vilanch didn’t work on this year’s Oscarcast, as an obsessive freeze-frame of the writers’ credits will reveal. Chris Rock’s writers from his HBO show (Lance Crouther, et al.) are credited, however. I can’t imagine Bruce Vilanch lasting five minutes in that room.

I thought C.R. was a little hyper at the beginning, but the bit at the Magic Johnson Theaters was fantastic. However, I prefer Steve Martin because I sense a little bit of self-hatred leaching into his hosting, which I love. Failing that, I would get Jon Stewart (he’s had more of a movie career than Carson ever did, after all).


Jeremy Osner 02.28.05 at 5:54 pm

The verdicts are in from the guys in my office — Chris Rock sucked especially when compared to such greats as Billy Crystal; Robin Williams did an excellent Jack Nicholson and a hilarious Marlon Brando; why did the weirdo who doesn’t even speak English win Best Song.

(Hey based on your revised final paragraph, 4 of the movies I saw last year were either in your Top 4 list or the winner of Best Picture. Alas, would that I had gone to Shaun of the Dead instead of M$B. (Note, this is out of a total of maybe 10 movies I saw in the year.))


ArC 02.28.05 at 7:34 pm

Can I sneak in a Real Best Picture nomination for “Before Sunset”?


Rob G 02.28.05 at 8:00 pm

A bit off-topic, but yeah – “Lady In Red” – most murderous-rage-inducing song of all time. Chris De Burgh.

MMRI film – “It’s A Wonderful Life”.

MMRI sci-fi author – Robert Heinlein.


Matt 02.28.05 at 8:01 pm

_His voice warbles like whoever sang that horrible, horrible song “Lady In Red”, which I think may be the worst song my ears have ever had the misfortune to hear._ Hey- I’ll have you know that that song is loved, _loved!_ in Russia. I only wish I were joking about that, since I’m going there in a few days.


maurinsky 02.28.05 at 8:05 pm

Matt, believe me, I know it. I worked as a hostess as a country club, and I couldn’t believe how many people had that song played at their receptions. It’s music for people who hate music.


New2this 02.28.05 at 8:15 pm

It makes me feel really weird to be the only one who knows that Bono sang “Lady in Red”. I’m not saying I like it, but really!


Ted Barlow 02.28.05 at 8:28 pm

Guh? It was sung by Chris de Burgh.


taylor 02.28.05 at 8:37 pm

Let me put in a plug for “Ryan”, winner of the Oscar for best animated short film. It’s wonderful.


Uncle Kvetch 02.28.05 at 8:37 pm

In keeping with the current state of the thread: am I the only one who was struck by how positively abysmal the Best Song nominees were? I know better than to expect good, but does it have to be “new heights of sheer awfulness,” year after year? In this context, one of Randy Newman’s wry little “yer my bestest buddy” tunes, complete with tinkly piano, would have sounded like “Holidays in the Sun.”


Uncle Kvetch 02.28.05 at 8:47 pm

Almost forgot: I can honestly say that I have seen Jude Law’s cock, insofar as I saw him in “Indiscretions,” the Broadway play in which he very famously climbed out of the bathtub in the raw. Sadly, I was way, way up in the cheap seats, so I can offer nothing to the discussion of relative bigness.

(Being in the cheap seats at a Wednesday matinee, I was completely surrounded by bus-fuls of blue-haired ladies from Long Island. They tittered nervously at the sight of Mr. Law’s wee-wee so loudly and for so long that I missed a good 5 minutes of dialogue.)


Ralph Hitchens 02.28.05 at 8:56 pm

Chris Rasmussen was right on — not only about Steve Martin & Albert Brooks (who would do a killer Oscar host) but also about this unwritten rule that only Real Serious Drama can bring home an Oscar. I’ve long felt that Steve Martin’s split-persona performance in All Of Me should have put him in the running for Best Actor.


Edge 02.28.05 at 9:04 pm

That Hotel Rwanda got shut out for awards was sad enough – but it seemed to me that Wyclef Jean’s Million Voices is exactly the kind of song that gets nominated for Oscars every other year – and this is the first time that I personally haven’t been driven to insanity by a song of that genre, which speaks to Mr. Jean’s talent.

I certainly didn’t think Don Cheadle should have beaten Jamie Foxx (though I confess I haven’t seen Ray) – but I can’t get the movie out of my head and I saw it a week ago – I don’t remember feeling like that about Return of the King or Titanic or any of the other best pictures of the last fifteen-odd years except Schindler’s List.


Randy Paul 02.28.05 at 9:19 pm

“And I vote for co-emcees Salma Hayek and Penelope next year.”

Thrown in Scarlett Johansson, too and we have a deal.


dsquared 02.28.05 at 10:41 pm

Extrapolating from the single data point of Colin Farell, who apparently has a large penis and appears in terrible films, I would guess that Law is in fact on the well-endowed side. He is also apparently a really nice bloke, the bastard.


Nick 03.01.05 at 12:51 am

our grandkids will watch The Incredibles and quote Shaun of the Dead

And their parents will sigh wistfully at Sideways, probably.

One the subject of the supposed viewing figures for the Oscars, I noticed during the broadcast of the Super Bowl this year that they were saying it’s the most watched event in the world, which would surprise me if it were true – surely it doesn’t get more than the World Cup Final?


John Isbell 03.01.05 at 2:14 am

All-American BS. Superbowl? No. way.


Lalala 03.01.05 at 2:38 am

Yes, dsquared, Jude Law is by all accounts extremely nice. So say my friends who’ve worked with him.


Alan K. Henderson 03.01.05 at 9:09 am

Oscar night is supposed to be a night of polish and glamor and high class. Chris Rock is the opposite. I heard some of the audio clips. Made me long for last year’s Michael Moore acceptance speech – only cuz Moore was on stage for far less time.

Would have watched if I cared about any of the movies other than The Incredibles.


cbl 03.01.05 at 9:33 am

“Oscar night is supposed to be a night of polish and glamor and high class.”

Glamour? High Class? In HOLLYWOOD????

Yer on crack. Those fantasies only work if there’s the slightest possibility of an inkling that they’re real. Which ended for Hollywood in about, oh, 1967. Nice wishful thinkin, though.


Nabakov 03.01.05 at 12:29 pm

But nothing can top the 1995 Oscars when David Letterman hosted, and brought a dog on stage to do stupid pet tricks.

At that point you could actually hear through yer TV speaker, the sound of a continental shift as the east and west coast moved even further apart.

I’m with the person above who suggested Jon Stewart for future awards. It’s all showbiz now anyway.


mel 03.01.05 at 2:02 pm

Okay, Beyoncé is hot and all that but, really, for the French song, they might have found somebody who could at least pronounce the words right. Yeah, I know, nobody else cares.

And worse than lobbing out oscars in the crowd was the humiliation of having the “lesser” nominees line up for defeat on stage.

That was classy.


Alan K. Henderson 03.04.05 at 6:45 am

I’m not on crack. I’m actually old enough to remember watching the Oscars from the 70s to the mid-80s (b. 11/05/60).

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