My Response to the Winners & Telecast
Overall: what a show!
We all feared what the Oscars would be without a host. We all feared that the production would potentially go down in a big flame of ambivalent blandness after the Academy tried to institute a variety of changes (adding a Best Popular film category, shuffling a few "smaller awards" off to during commercial breaks) that fell flat & then were reversed.
But in the end, I thought that was one heck of a show!
Now, I ALWAYS love the Oscars. At the close of the night every year, I have virtually never thought to myself: "that wasn't awesome" :) It's in my blood to love it.
Which means it's in my blood to pretty consistently love whatever silly thing the host throws into the mix, just for fun. But the reality is that two things happen when they do: 1) Viewers around the world, with their social media outlets hooked up like an IV (and who just get so much pleasure out of seeming cool by hating on things - hate seems to be the easier source of comedy than love for most people, sadly), are provided fodder for bashing on the Oscars at large and setting a negative tone for the night. And 2) We as an audience go through a sort of subconscious cognitive dissonance where we don't know if we're watching a bonkers late-night variety show or a show designed to engender our investment in, & appreciation of, the variety of cinematic accomplishments of the year.
That latter push-and-pull never occurred to me before. At all. Until last night. When all of a sudden, because there was no host to distract us from the intention of the evening (and oddly virtually no montages to trudge through - there are usually about five, and Sunday there was just the In Memoriam and an opening montage of highlights of the year in film, which is always a nice & fitting touch), our attention was brought solely to the awards themselves, and the cinematic accomplishments they reflect. Suddenly I was more interested & invested than usual in every category (large or small), and even the "below the line" winners' speeches - and it felt that that was true across the board among the 40+ people who came over to my house to celebrate & watch together.
Instead of having a host draw out the night with jokes about how long the night is, and "adding spice" by incorporating long bits that have nothing to do with movies (as much as I enjoy those things - I like variety, & I could watch the Oscars for hours on end ;), the comedic energy was applied via more attention put on the presenters, making the "entertainment" more in relation to the craft & movies & winners themselves. Presenters like Melissa McCarthy & Brian Tyree Henry, whose presentation of Best Costume Design was a stroke of sheer genius.
Though none of this would have worked if the night hadn't been set off to a great start by the INIMITABLE, WILDLY CHARMING & OUTRIGHT HILARIOUS Tine Fey, Amy Poehler, & Maya Rudolph. Their "we're not your hosts, but if we were..." opening routine set a tone that lasted, in my mind, the whole night. They crushed it with joke after joke of some of the funniest one-liners in Oscar history, and then segued to jokes about the name of the category they were presenting (Best Supporting Actress) - a two-for-one where they made us laugh hard but then also saved time by heading straight into an award.
Seems that this could be the solution: perhaps the host simply slows everything down, and we should spread that comedy out among the presenters so we can keep the energy up & keep it moving along! (Sunday's show was a whopping FORTY MINUTES SHORTER THAN LAST YEAR'S!)
Now: do I wish for no host ever again? I dunno- I think the show did lack a liiiiiittle spice, and could use a singular voice to tie the night together a touch more. But I think we learned that that host can afford to do WAYYYY less than the exhausted bar that was set way back whenever. And that the host simply ought to enter the stage FAR less frequently.
AAAAANYWAY, what else do I have to say about the ceremony?
I want to point out that one thing that aided in the night's success (and in the broader & deeper interest in even the small categories) was how many diverse & exciting winners there were! A record fifteen women won Oscars Sunday night. A short film about menstruation won Documentary Short, and they shined a light on that fact live! A Mexican film won Best Foreign Language Film for the first time! (And it starred the first indigenous acting nominee ever.) Best Animated Short went to a female director for the first time in that category's 87 years of existence! And so many of these people had SUCH impassioned speeches (like Hannah Beachler, who won Black Panther's Oscar for Production Design).
It was an evening full of such strong steps forward in terms of diverse & passionate story-telling, and that was empowering & moving to witness. (Ironic then that Best Picture went to such a run-of-the-mill & tone-deaf choice - as much as I truly loved Green Book, it was not a fitting selection for "The Best of 2018". Read my thorough thoughts on that on my Best Picture page.)
But oh well. Not everything can satisfy everyone, I suppose. And not every piece of the puzzle can move the game forward.
And not everyone can go home happy - poor Glenn Close, raised so high & full of expectation through this "Glenn all the way!" awards season (to the point that she wore gold to the big night - ha!). We prognosticators really screwed her on that one. Thankfully, I gather she danced the night away at the Vanity Fair after-party - phew! And thankfully the shocking winner, Olivia Colman, was deserving & hilarious & gracious as can be, giving one of the most positively delightful & thrilling speeches in history. More on this category on my Best Actress page!
And the evening was full of fun little moments, most notably Spike Lee's various reactions. (Look at all the gifs!)
Por ejemplo, below...
Btw: apparently Rami Malek fell off the stage after the ceremony & had to be seen by paramedics! Check it out.
Speaking of the stage, social media was abuzz that the design looked like Donald Trump's head. Hilarious, and eery. Hadn't noticed til a friend sent me this...
And my party was an absolute delight! My new(ish) roommate Cory owns a projector, so we had it PROJECTED ALL-BIG-LIKE ON THE WALL!
Friends brought movie-themed foods again, though the tie-ins to foods were more of a challenge than last year, haha. Beerhemian Rhapsody & Vice Cream are the only two I can remember. Hilarious :)
And my buddy Josh Hoover brought his friend Michael Villar to the party, who was IN THE BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT WINNING FILM "SKIN"!!!! See the video below, of the winning moment! What a thrilling experience that was. (And that's him, with me on the red carpet.)
And afterwards we all watched the Dickie Awards :) I couldn't ask for more, haha.
Aaaaaanyway, I guess that's it?! Check out my responses to each of the top 8 categories on their individual pages. But yeah, in sum: good show, good results, successful telecast, terrifically shot (how 'bout that Shallow performance cinematography?!), let's hope for a more progressive Best Picture winner next year.
And check out how I did vs the critics here - but spoiler, I did rather well! :)
Hope you all enjoy Oscar season even a FRACTION as much as I do, and...
~ UNTIL NEXT YEAR! ~
Spirit fingers and Oscar love,