Written by: The CinCitizens
What is it exactly about the Oscars that bugs us so much?
So Crash was the big winner last night. Great. I guess that even Academy voters are prejudiced against gays when in the privacy of their own voting booths, right? Or was Brokeback Mountain simply overrated?
Here's a complete list of the winners, and when you're done checking those out, consider with the rest of us here at CC2k what exactly it is about the Oscars that bugs us so much.
I really have a hard time with the self-congratulatory, cutesy comedy bits that always happen, right down to the invariable presentation done by an animated character or characters. I guess the idea is for these stars to make themselves look like idiots — a fine impulse — but they wind up making themselves look like assholes.
Last night the biggest offender was Ben Stiller, and I actually thought his bit in the green suit was pretty funny; it tapped directly into my personal enjoyment of any comedy built around people proclaiming, "What an amazing scientific achievement!"
No, what irked me about Stiller's bit was the structure of the gag. We were supposed to suspend our disbelief and buy into the notion that he had gone onstage with this special-effects gag, only to have it completely fail on him. Stiller has been party to this kind of gag before, as in 2003 when he came onstage in full costume for Starsky and Hutch, while his costar, Owen Wilson, "decided" not to do it without telling Stiller. (When the Wilsons came onstage last night, I groaned in anticipation of another dumb comedy bit. Mercifully, they only gave their award.)
Memo to Hollywood: Stop doing this. Please. Or, at least stop doing it with Ben Stiller. I'd rather honestly laugh with him, not pretend to laugh at him.
Rob Van Winkle:
What struck me about this year’s Oscars is the same thing that strikes me about every year’s show: incessantly egomaniacal posturing masqueraded as self-deprecation and modesty.
We all know at least one person in our lives whose ego needs constant stroking. These are the people who never stop talking for fear that any pause would mean that someone else might take away their spotlight, turn any situation into an opportunity to throw more attention toward themselves, and assume all the while that they are the life of the party. Having a relationship with people like this is exhausting.
After watching this year’s Oscar telecast, it solidifies my hunch that Hollywood is a town populated exclusively by these kinds of people.
I know this seems a touch obvious, what with the red carpet fashion shows, and the scores of publicists employed just to tell us where our favorite celebrities went out to eat last night, but the Oscars really makes it clear. Consider these moments:
- Ben Stiller’s “hilarious” antics. It really bugs me when people who are supposedly funny get up in front of a crowd, do something mediocre, and have that audience laugh anyway. It’s as though they’re laughing at his reputation as a comedian, instead of his material.
- Philip Seymour Hoffmman. At the top, when Jon Stewart pointed out the cast of Capote, the camera panned over to Hoff and company. While everyone else applauded politely, PSH sat there front and center, with his arms crossed over his chest and a look of contempt on his face. His demeanor seemed to indicate that it was he and he alone who was deserving of praise, and that the success of the film was due solely to him. I like this guy, but I wanted to punch him in the face when I saw this.
- The men in Reese Witherspoon’s life. While Reese was up accepting her award, the camera repeatedly focused on her Walk the Line co-star Joaquim (I don’t know if this is spelled correctly, and I don’t care) Phoenix, and husband Ryan Phillippe (ditto). It seemed clear to me that both of them were not listening to a word she had to say, except to gauge whether or not she mentioned them. Then, once she did, they then sported looks of smug satisfaction. I’m pretty sure that winning an Academy Award allows a person to bask in their own accomplishment for a while, but these two guys proved otherwise; Witherspoon’s Oscar was really about them.
Ironically, the most egregious example of this kind of behavior was the one guy I didn’t mind: George Clooney. Not only did this guy start the show by appearing in a montage where Jon Stewart was happy to find him (Clooney) in his bed (the joke being that he’s SO gorgeous, even a straight guy would fuck him), and not only did he make it clear for the camera that he didn’t know who an Oscar winner was after she thanked the academy for seating her next to him at a prior event, but he actually won an award, went up to the podium, and started his speech by saying “Great. I guess I didn’t win for director.” Who else on EARTH could get away with winning their industries highest honor, and starting off your speech by bitching, even in jest, that you didn’t win another award too. And yet, I didn’t mind, and I bet you didn’t either. The reason, at least in my case, is because that guy is just so fucking COOL. He’s cool the way I thought my dad was when I was four, or how I used to imagine I was in my pre-teen masturbatory fantasies. Nothing that guy does fails. Hell, even I’D fuck him if I found him in my bed. Damn.
Some other, mercifully shorter, observations about the telecast:
- Did anyone else just about die a thousand deaths when Lauren Bacall started stumbling over her words?
- Did anyone else feel, even as Jon Stewart made some great jokes, that he was nonetheless failing?
- Did anyone else fall out of their chairs when, on two separate occasions, the second winner of a pair stepped up to the mike to say something, and found the sound cut off and the music blaring?
- Isn’t George Clooney fucking cool?