A TV Critic's take on the Oscars: more Martin and Baldwin, less dancing and montages
Forget about Kathryn Bigelow's historic Academy Awards win, becoming the first woman to win a Best Director Oscar while outshining her ex-husband's way bigger movie -- a divorcee's dream, even if she's still friends with the Ex.
I'm upset because the knuckleheads working the cameras for ABC robbed us of the money shot -- cutting away from Bigelow as she leapt from her seat, keeping us from seeing whether or how she acknowledged ex-husband and Avatar director Jim Cameron, sitting right behind her.
This was one of the best examples of the depths to which ABC's Oscarcast sank during an interminable 200-plus-minute production.
Here's what else didn't work for me:
-- Snubbing Farrah Fawcett and Bea Arthur during the tribute to deceased celebrities. If Michael Jackson, who made one or two films that weren't concerts or music videos got a shout out, then surely two actresses who appeared in more work deserved a nod. Worse yet, the Academy now says the snub was on purpose.
-- Showing random black folks whenever a black person won an award. Far as I know, Morgan Freeman didn't have anything to do with Precious -- so why was he shown when the film's screenwriter walked up to accept his award? And why did cameras flash on Samuel L. Jackson just after Mo'Nique's acceptance speech for best supporting actress? (they couldn't have known he was going to roll his eyes the way he did, producing once of the best unintentional gaffes of the night). For that matter, why did Mo'Nique look so angry -- chill out girlfriend, you just notched the win of a career!
-- Taking way too long for the less important categories. This happens every year. The winners in small categories, which are announced first, sit in the back of the hall. So they take forever to get to the stage and take too much time thanking people -- by the time big categories surface at the show's end, producers are forcing the winners viewers care about to cut speeches short. Much as I dig the concept of honoring foreign films, it doesn't make sense to give that category's winner more introduction time and speechifying space than the biggest categories.
-- The dancers. Watching hip hop dancers performing to classical music-style film score themes is bad enough. When an award show runs over three hours because those dancers perfomed to every oscar nominated score, someone deserves to be pop 'n' locked upside the head.
-- Five stars shamelessly flattering the major actor and actress nominees. If this is going to happen again, producers must a) cut the show elsewhere to accommodate it and b) refrain from listing all the nominees AGAIN just before announcing the award.
-- Young Hollywood, especially the Twilight kids. I know that producers want to sprinkle in stars that teen viewers might know, but bringing on Zac Efrom and the kids from Twilight to stand around in shellshocked fear, like tweens trapped in the world scariest wedding reception, doesn't help. Acting cool and approachable at the Teen Choice awards is no preparation for sitting next to George Clooney while Steve Martin is slinging zingers at you in front of 70-million viewers.
-- John Hughes tribute. The tribute itself was cool, but it was jolting to see how badly so many of his Brat Pack stars have aged -- from Judd Nelson looking like he'd dashed in from a Civil War re-enactment to Ally Sheedy looking way TOO ready for a remake of Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?