Celebrating the biggest night of the film industry

Whitney Cyr

Managing Executive Editor

 

The Oscar telecast, helmed by “Family Guy’s” Seth MacFarlane, was a varied, inconsistent mix of snark and sincerity, of joy and some disappointments, some predictable wins and some not so predictable.

MacFarlane did a solid job hosting, but his act was a wild ride of politically incorrect jokes (like the stab at Chris Brown and Rihanna), to tame and lame, and back again.

Overall, however, I think being the host of the Oscars is a gig that no one should actually want–no matter how much you try, critics always seem to slam the host for being disappointing.

Kelsey Osborn / Equinox Staff

Kelsey Osborn / Equinox Staff

After the James Franco-Anne Hathaway fiasco last year, I think MacFarlane did a better job this year. However, I think MacFarlane’s “I Saw Your Boobs” show tune was misogynist on the show’s part.

It was as if the Academy and MacFarlane were saying, “You actresses were great in the films MacFarlane mentions, but the real reason we watched it was because you undressed. Joke’s on you.”

It says a little too much about how Hollywood views and portrays women, and it’s a shame. It was one extremely rough patch in an otherwise solid show.

​ Now, onto some of the awards. Oscar this year, more than in the past years, decided to spread the wealth.

Of the nine Best Picture nominees, seven of them won some other Oscar, with “The Impossible” and “Beasts of the Southern Wild” being the only ones left out on award love. Some of the most predictable awards went right as planned–”Argo” winning Best Picture should not have come as a surprise, and Ben Affleck’s heartfelt speech was the perfect sentimental ending to the show.

This year seemed to be the year of the American film. With “The Artist” from France, this year’s crop of Oscar films were distinctly more American in style and subject matter.

Once “Argo” won for Best Film Editing (a historical predictor of Best Picture), I knew “Argo” would be taking home the Oscar.

​ On another unsurprising note, Daniel Day-Lewis winning for Best Actor was a complete lock. No one else really came close in the category, and even Meryl Streep seemed to emphasize that by opening the envelope as the nominees were being shown and slightly unceremoniously named Day-Lewis the winner, eluding any suspense.

Also one of the sure-fire bets was Anne Hathaway winning for Best Supporting Actress.

She donned no look of surprise (not even a fake Taylor Swift one) when she heard her name called.

​ With a last second surge from 87-year-old Emmanuelle Riva (star of “Amour”) for her BAFTA win, some Oscar pundits named her as the potential victor in the Best Actress category, but it proved best to stick with Jennifer Lawrence, who, after her tumble up to the podium, had an amazingly sincere and genuine speech.

​ However, One of the first surprises of the night, came in the Best Supporting Actor category. While many thought it was a race between Tommy Lee Jones for “Lincoln” and Robert DeNiro for “Silver Linings Playbook,” Christoph Waltz once again came home with the gold statue for starring in Quentin Tarantino’s “Django Unchained.”

However, while many people may have thought the veteran actors in the category had the upper hand, Waltz’s Golden Globe win along with his SAG award were the early signs that Waltz would win.

​ One of the last surprises came in the Best Directing category.

While I was confident with Steven Spielberg in “Lincoln,” and while many other critics were too,  “Life of Pi” director Ang Lee’s final surge at the end of the voting period managed to put him up on top, nicely avenging the catastrophic loss he suffered in 2005 when “Crash” upset his film, “Brokeback Mountain,” for Best Picture.

​ There were, however, a few Oscar blunders, with the Academy going with the disappointingly safe choice instead of the risky but more deserving one.

The first came in the Best Animated Feature category. I had the whizzy “Wreck-It Ralph” winning, but the Academy chose Pixar’s summer blockbuster “Brave.”

This just shows never to discount a Pixar film nominated in this category, even if film critics gave it relatively mediocre reviews. The other poor choice was Quentin Tarantino winning for “Django Unchained” for Best Original Screenplay.

I know this may be an unpopular opinion, but “Django Unchained” was not Tarantino’s best work.

His snappy signature dialogue was ever-present in his film, but I thought the screenplay of “Amour” was much more deserving.

​ From the performances, it was pretty clear that Adele was the powerhouse musical performer of the night, with an amazing rendition of her song “Skyfall.”

I appreciated the dedication to some of the best musicals in Oscar history, but including “Les Miserables” in the tribute seemed a little bit premature.

Another noticeable thing in the awards ceremony this year was this extremely rude “Jaws” theme song to cut off winners who spoke too long. It’s their moment to shine and turning it into a hokey joke just came off as insincere.

​ Lastly, the tie in the Best Sound Editing came as a big surprise to everyone, with Oscar pundits focusing on the sound achievements of “Life of Pi” while some voiced their appreciation for the technique used in “Zero Dark Thirty.”

“Skyfall” wasn’t too involved in the conversation, but even Mark Wahlberg presenting the award had to reassure everyone that it was in fact a tie–something that has only happened six times in Oscar history, this being the first one since 1995’s tie for Best Live Action Short.

​ The Oscar telecast is never without its ups and downs; with the amount of critics out there to judge it, and it will never be able to please everyone, but I think the ceremony this year, much improved since last year,.  With the advent of nominees for films people could actually see and genuinely enjoy (like “Argo” or “Lincoln”), the Academy Awards this year seemed to be more recognizable to the average viewer, with some of their favorite stars and best in American cinema nominated.

With the red carpet already rolled up, the Dolby Theater being cleaned up, and the stars taking off their expensive gowns, jewels and tuxes, it’s only a matter of time until next year’s Oscars.

 

Whitney Cyr can be contacted at

wcyr@keene-equinox.com

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