Opinions on the Oscars

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I expected Chris Rock to talk about the “Oscars so white” controversy, but was surprised that it took up his entire opening monologue. That was disappointing. A few of his thoughts were right on target, and a few were just…bizarre. To even talk about people “swinging from trees” was just wrong, on so many levels. For example, if there was racism in Hollywood, is he implying that just because things were worse at one time (ie “grandmother hanging from a tree”) doesn’t mean you can’t gripe about something today? I also thought it was weird for him to so viciously attack Jada Pinkett Smith. Don’t get me wrong, she deserved it. Her husband Will Smith has been nominated twice before (and lost both times — to black actors!). Yet for Rock to imply she wasn’t invited because she was a “TV actress” is just insane. She’s been in a movies, and an actor is an actor. It reminded me of the Oscars not showing Farrah Fawcett’s name the year she died, and their response being “She’s more well known for TV.”  (yet they showed Michael Jackson’s name, and he did only one film).

And if you’re going to invite Joy Mangano, simply because a bad movie was made based on her, certainly Jada would be invited.

It was interesting to hear that this year, the Oscars were going to get the list of people the winners wanted thanked and have their names scrolled on the bottom of the screen. Oh, and they were going to be strict with the music coming up on them if they go longer than their allotted 45 seconds. Yet people were still getting up there and thanking people we didn’t care about. Surely this is an Oscar awards that could’ve had more winners giving thoughtful speeches. Mention that drama teacher that was influential in 10th grade, or something along those lines. I have no clue why when the music was played over director Alejandro Inarritu, who won for the second year in a row (both his movies, Birdman and The Revenant, were highly overrated) — the orchestra stopped to let him finish. Why? He knew the rule. Besides, his speech was dorky.

Speaking of the music, it was a disaster on every level. Why in the world did Chris Rock come out to Public Enemy’s “Fight the Power”? Rock didn’t protest the Oscars, he was a part of it.

Not sure why David Grohl played Blackbird for the In Memoriam segment. And it wouldn’t be the Oscars without actors left out. Abe Vigoda wasn’t on the list, and neither was Tony Burton, the trainer from numerous Rocky films. In a year that everyone was so upset that black actor that was the lead in Creed (Michael B. Jordan) didn’t get a nomination, surely a few people could be upset that Burton wasn’t mentioned.

The orchestra played “What’s Love Got to Do With it” when Whoopi came out. Why?

They played “Mrs. Robinson” when Julianne Moore came out. I don’t think she was in The Graduate.

“Goldfinger” was played as Brie Larson walked off, after a really nice winning speech she gave in which she thanked movie goers for going to see movies (which was a great thing to say, although the movie she won for — Room — only made $11 million at the box office, so they weren’t going to see that).

A few times they got the songs right — J.J. Abrams came out to Star Wars music, and Lou Gossett, Jr. came out to “Lift Us Up Where We Belong” (he won the Supporting Actor Oscar for An Officer and a Gentleman over 30 years ago…are the protesters forgetting that?)

Joe Biden came out and screamed about women on college campuses being raped, before introducing the song Lady Gaga would sing. Not sure if the Oscar’s is the right place for a President or VP. Maybe if Biden were talking about rapes in the military, the year the powerful documentary The Invisible War did few years ago. And since Rock kept joking about things that shouldn’t have been joked about, surely he could’ve thrown in a Bill Cosby joke after the rape talk. I know in interviews years ago, he called Cosby his favorite comedian, so maybe that made him off limits.

Whoopi Goldberg did a funny skit where she popped up in the movie Joy, talking about how if a black woman invented a mop, there wouldn’t be a movie made on her and that she’d have to “invent a cure for cancer.” Funny line, but not true. It also explains why she’s one of the few black talk show hosts that wasn’t calling for a boycott of the Oscars — she was involved.

Rock did a bit outside of a Compton movie theatre that was painfully awkward. It worked when Jay Leno went out and talked to regular people about what they know or don’t know about politics. It’s hysterical when Jimmy Kimmel goes into a black barbershop to talk about the gossip of the day. Yet when everybody is getting so upset about the “black lives matter” and “Oscars so white,” it didn’t feel like the right time or place, to have African-Americans talking about movies they didn’t know or being made fools of.

And if Rock is going to keep making jokes about it, they should’ve been stronger. At the end of the show, instead of yelling out “Black lives matter” he should’ve yelled “Thin Mints Matter,” since one of the few bits he did that worked, involved having his daughters come out and sell Girl Scout cookies to the billionaires in the crowd. Sure, it was a bit reminiscent of Ellen Degeneres bringing pizza to the crowd, but it still worked.

I did think the “Black History Month Minute” bit worked, with a mention of Jack “Black.” I’m guessing African-Americans didn’t find it funny, though; but instead of people being upset that Chris Rock hosted, they should be mad at Angela Bassett for participating in that.

Sacha Baron Cohen bombed with his Ali G character (although I did chuckle when he called the actor “Idris Elbow.”)

The usually funny Sarah Silverman bombed with her jokes about having sex with James Bond.

Russell Crowe and Ryan Gossling were fun bantering about the “two Oscars” won between them.

Now, in regard to the awards, nobody would’ve guessed Mad Max would win six Oscars, even if they were for the smaller awards. Talk about an overrated movie — it was one big car chase, with no plot.

It would’ve been nice if Mustang had won for Foreign Film, but everybody knew it would be Son of Saul.

I’m glad Inside Out won for animated, and also that Alicia Vikander won it for The Danish Girl. The Danish Girl wasn’t a great movie, but she was great in it…although not nearly as good as she was playing a robot in Ex Machina (which only won one award, which is a travesty).

The Revenant got Leonardo Dicaprio his first Oscar in six nominations. He was predicted to win, and it was expected he’d go on a rant about saving the planet. If only he spent as much time trying to save the planet as he did bedding super models. Think about the carbon footprint Leo leaves in this world. One meme going around shows a yacht he often rents out for parties, that uses $681 an hour in diesel fuel. So, if he wants to keep speaking about the planet, he should start living like Ed Beagley Jr. It reminded me of Sheryl Crow at the Grammy’s one year, and she came to San Diego for a concert a month later — with four 18-wheelers, bringing all her band equipment. That was after imploring folks to use one square of toilet paper so they wouldn’t waste it.

Speaking of musicians, Sam Smith was a bit of an upset winning for his James Bond theme song “Writing’s on the Wall.” Not a very good song, and his speech was odd. He claimed he was the first openly gay person to win an Oscar. Well, I immediately thought of two other singers before him — Elton John and Melissa Ethridge. I also remember a very heart-felt speech given to the screenwriter of Milk, who was openly gay. Smith’s speech kind of reminded me of Halle Barry winning and claiming she was opening the doors for black actors everywhere. Huh?

Spotlight won the Best Picture. It was okay, but it really drives home how disappointing this year was in movies. If you look at the list of 8 films nominated for “best picture” — Room was the only one I loved. The rest were all average. A lot of people were upset by Straight Outta Compton and Carol not getting nominated. Neither of those were that good (although Carol did have a lovely score, which lost the award to Ennio Morricone for The Hateful Eight).

I’m a big fan of Amy Winehouse, but didn’t think the documentary on her deserved the Oscar over The Look of Silence. It was also rude of Rock to say, when coming back out on stage, how the other filmmakers in that category are going to hate Amy Winehouse songs now.

I did love the line Rock said about Will Smith, and how it wasn’t fair he didn’t get nominated for Concussion. As the crowd applauded, he gave this powerful punchline: “And it wasn’t fair he got paid $30 million for Wild, Wild West!”

The bear applauding in the audience was mildly amusing, but not nearly as funny as Suge Knight, first in an orange prison suit handcuffed, and later in an Orange tuxedo eating Girl Scout cookies.

Overall, there just weren’t that many humorous or interesting moments. The show, like a lot of the movies and performances, was just a bit boring.

Anybody that is angry about supposed snubs, is really just idiotic. Frank Stallone thought his brother Sly should’ve won for Creed. Strange, because I think Stallone was the only one in that category that didn’t deserve a nomination.

I have a few Asian friends that were upset The Assassin didn’t get any love. That’s a more reasonable thing to be upset about, as many critics (that weren’t Asian), claimed it was the best movie of the year.

The Spirit Awards the night before were better, but at least I had interesting people at the Oscar party I attended. Otherwise, it would’ve been a dull night.

I think I disappointed a few folks, as I usually design a cake decorated with my favorite movie of the year. This year the white cake merely said “Oscars so White.”

oscar CAKE photo