Oscars: Fatigue, Shame and Anne Hathaway
I woke up in the middle of the night thinking I’d fallen asleep during the Oscars. In the dark, I finally accepted the fact that the show was indeed over and that the smoke alarm hadn’t gone off either.
My goodness, this year’s Oscars show was long. I was getting punchy at the end, so much so that when first lady Michelle Obama appeared via Skype just prior to Jack Nicholson announcing the best picture award (Surprise! “Django Unchained.” Just kidding.), I’d jotted down Michele Bachman’s name instead of the first lady's. I dare not repeat that mistake.
Still, we watch these things, sometimes almost avidly, because, well . . . so that the next day we could begin conversations with “I’m ashamed to say I watched the whole thing.”
And I did. And I’m only a little ashamed. I have now seen enough clips of “The Life of Pi” that I don’t actually have to see it, and I congratulate Jet Li, I’m sorry . . . Ang Lee on his surprise win for Best Director. Somebody up there doesn’t like Steve Spielberg, or maybe it’s the town, or Ben Affleck’s revenge or the curse of “The Color Purple.” Getting recognition from Affleck, who stood up on the podium with George Clooney and a host of actors now working in television when his “Argo” won Best Picture, probably didn’t soften the blow for Spielberg, who gets robbed as routinely as a guy carrying an iPhone or an iPad after midnight in the city.
The Oscars have better-late-than-never hopped on the train of officially putting on a show as opposed to an awards ceremony. These Oscars started to resemble the Grammys which hardly bother to hand out any awards between numbers. Still, first-time Oscars host Seth MacFarlane is no substitute for Justin Timberlake.
What’s fun about watching the Oscars is that it's getting to be like watching Access Hollywood, about which I am a little bit ashamed. You can grouse, snark and talk about dresses and things you would never mention to your buddies, and you can say Charlize Theron and Halle Berry are beautiful to your wife or girlfriend because they agree with you although you shouldn’t get too interested in Jennifer Lawrence—who, bye the bye, was a popular winner for Best Actress, tripped on her dress and comported herself with youthful, bracing dignity and humor, the way she appears to have done all through the awards season.
The same cannot be said for Anne Hathaway, of whom we have seen way too much and heard from way too much. We can only hope that she will gain her weight and hair back and that she can now stop talking about being worried about the Fantines of the world. She has now won every award for which she was eligible this season, plus winning a life time achievement award in the dieting hall of fame. Not only that: she guessed correctly the contents of the mystery object contest. Seriously. Yes, she won. The Oscar . . . For Best Supporting Actress. Is that a surprise? Other than that, how did you enjoy the show, Mrs. Lincoln aka Sally Field?
MacFarlane turned out to be an odd duck of a host. He’s that bad little boy with the big grin who looks good in a tux, can even warble a little and has a penchant for bad jokes. He sang and danced to a song called “We saw Your Boobies,” chronicling just about every female Hollywood star who, well, you know what. The opening sequence, the trophy for which has been retired by Billy Crystal, proved to be one of those things in which William Shatner (not yet retired it appears), beams down as Captain Kirk to critique MacFarlane’s work as a host. This allowed MacFarlane to dump bad one-liners and appear to make it a part of the act, although he continued to do so long after the schtick was over. This is called having your tasteless joke and eating it too, especially the one about assassin John Wilkes Booth being the only person to get into Lincoln’s head. Yuck.
There were some surprises—Christoph Waltz won Best Supporting Actor for his urbane German killer (a little like the urbane SS killer from “Inglorious Basterds," for which he also won the same award), upsetting either Robert DeNiro or Tommy Lee Jones, who are starting to look alike.
Quentin Tarantino, ever the disheveled bad boy, won an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay, which will now encourage him, no doubt, to do a a six-part movie about the end of the world in which everyone dies an excruciating but movingly painful and realistic death.
Our friends and neighbors, it should be noted, did well at the Oscars. Local filmmakers Sean and Andrea Nix Fine won an Oscar for Best Short Documentary and Georgetown resident George Stevens, Jr., received an honorary Oscar—along with stunt legend Hal Needham and documentary filmmaker D.A. Pennebaker. Stevens is the founder of the American Film Institute and the Kennedy Center Honors as well as being a noted film director and playwright and the son of one of Hollywood’s greatest directors, George Stevens.
Among other highlights was a tribute to the 50-year-old James Bond series, which—Jimmy, we hardly knew ye— included a jazzy, sleek and grand dame killed-it rendition of “Goldfinger” by Shirley Bassey, with which Oscar winner for a Bond song Adele could not compete with.
Then, there was the red carpet. It was red, it was crowded and every five seconds, up popped Chrkrisumcrissy Generalwith,Chowdownith, which was annoying because you had to spell her name right (K-r-i-s-t-i-n C-h-e-n-o-w-i-t-h Kristin Chenowith) and listen to her sparkly little chatter and jokes about her diminutive stature, although, to her credit, she blurted out a loud “Holy crap!” when Anne Hathaway guessed the mystery item under covers (the red slippers from “The Wizard of Oz”).
Little did I know that after seeing numerous versions of “Les Miserables” and the movie version, I would get to see the whole thing all over again when every member of the cast of the movie and various unidentified people in costume rang through several lines of every song in the show, I think. Now, I won’t have to do that again for a few years. And oh-my-god, there she was again: Anne Hathaway aka Fantine, still alive after all that suffering.
Only one question remains: If Anne Hathaway wakes up in the middle of the night, does she start singing “I Dreamed a Dream”?