Ranting and Raving About the Oscars


I was on KOGO 600 AM this morning talking about the Oscars. I hadn’t planned to write about it, but after ranting about everything that upset me, and getting a handful of emails and calls from people wanting to know why I didn’t write about it or what my take was…I figured I’d jot down a few things. Since I type really fast, a few things will probably turn into a thousand complaints. I’m going to write them in no particular order, just as they pop into my mind.

First, I was glad I caught the Spirit Awards the night before. Not only was it entertaining, but they recognized three of my favorite movies of the year — Luce, The Mustang, and Diane.

Parasite made my Top 10 list, so I was glad it won the best picture award. We all knew it would win the best “International” film, but this was a pleasant surprise. And who wouldn’t love director Bong Joon-ho’s acceptance speech? As he gave a loving tribute to fellow nominee Martin Scorese, it was Scorese that got a standing ovation. It was beautiful. It was also nice that he gave a shout-out to Tarantino, who has been a big supporter of Bong’s films. I was just relieved Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood, didn’t win other awards. It was highly overrated. Even Brad Pitt didn’t deserve an Oscar for taking off his shirt and just playing chill (he did that better as a stoner on a couch in Tarantino’s early script for True Romance). His speech would have been great, if he had just dropped the political stuff that started it.

It was rather clever how the awards showed montages. It was a bit more fun seeing so much more of the scenes these nominees were in, instead of just a quick one.

Steve Martin and Chris Rock were hysterical, talking about their “demotions” (as both hosted in previous years). Why not just name them hosts for next year? Who cares what Rock may have said on Twitter 18 years ago or backstage at SNL; or, other former SNL stars — Kristin Wiig and Maya Rudolph, who were equally funny. Watching Rudolph make faces, to show off her “acting” to the directors in the room — might have been the funniest thing of the evening. It’s a shame Will Ferrell and Julia Louis-Dreyfuss weren’t as funny, but their bit was cute enough.

Speaking of presenters…why were celebs brought out to introduce other celebs, who presented the awards? I get that they don’t want a host, but…did they get rid of the announcer, too?

One last note on presenters — as much as I despise Shia LeBough, what a beautiful moment for him to bring out Zack Gottsagen, his co-star in Peanut Butter Falcon. Despite Zack’s freezing up, it was a heartwarming moment.

Toy Story 4 was good. It might have been a more interesting Oscars if I Lost My Body had won, but…with the Academy giving Parasite the “best director” and two best film awards, nobody can complain about them being “a bunch of old, stuffy white people.” So somebody explain to me why…the Academy gets reamed for picking Green Book as the best movie last year (which it was), and for not nominating Will Smith for Concussion (he shouldn’t have been). Yet they nominated Smith two other times, and they named a South Korean film the best picture. SO please, stop with all the goofy complaints. And for Natalie Portman wearing a dress with the names of women directors sewn into it — nice tribute, but idiotic. If you’re putting the director of Hustlers on your dress, uh…you don’t realize that she wasn’t nominated because her film just wasn’t that good. The best female director of the year was Laura de Clermont-Tonnerre for The Mustang. Even that name sounds like the designer of an Oscar ball gown.

Another female director that should’ve been on her dress — Olivia Wilde did a terrific job with her first movie — Booksmart. But it’s not like she got snubbed because she’s a woman, either. Only five directors were nominated, so we didn’t see some male directors I would’ve prefered — Danny Boyle for his fun job with Yesterday, Rian Johnson for his clever Knives Out, Pedro Almodovar for his touching Pain and Glory, Taiki Waititi for Jojo Rabbit, Craig Brewer for Dolemite is My Name, James Mangold for Ford v Ferrari, or Julius Onah for Luce

So, Portman needed a much longer dress, in my opinion.

Off my soap box, and back to the Oscars. Oh wait…speaking of soap boxes, what was Joaquin Phoenix even blabbering on about? I heard him mentioning “inseminating cows” and us stealing their milk, and I stopped paying attention. It makes you realize just why Ricky Gervais said what he did about award show speeches.

It was cool that the short Hair Love won (again, tell us how a bunch of old, white Academy members don’t like diversity?). I leaned in to my wife and said, “I bet they’ll mention Kobe Bryant in their acceptance speech.” She said, “No they won’t. He has nothing to do with this.”

They did. She then said, “Strange that a movie about hair…would have the filmmakers mention a guy that was bald.”

Too soon.

Diane Keaton looked and acted goofy, as usual. Seriously, she needs to go away already. Her act is tired.

Parasite won “original screenplay.” I was thrilled by that, until it won all the other awards. Then I wish they would’ve thrown a bone to Knives Out and given it this award. I even made a cake for my Oscar party celebrating that fine film.

The show played a clip from Joker, with the Gary Glitter song. Uh…didn’t the whole #metoo thing alert them that Glitter is in jail for molesting kids? Certainly they heard some of us talk about this when the movie was in theatres.

I almost screamed with excitement when Waititi won for “adapted screenplay.” He took such a risk making this satire, and had to deal with controversy. We also talked about Arthur Lee and Love at a screening of the movie; but it’s more the fact that he does such great work — What We Do in the Shadows, Hunt for the Wilderpeople, and Thor. Bravo, kiwi man!

The costume designer for Little Women won. Period pieces always do. I would’ve liked Ruth Carter from Dolemite to win. She wasn’t nominated, so…nothing would have been more appropriate than HER NAME being stitched into Portman’s dress. Oh, and strange that the winner of that award went to stage wearing a drab dress that looked like a smock.

Everyone knew Laura Dern would win for Marriage Story, and I’m thrilled she did. Her performance was terrific, and her speech was better. Loved hearing her thank her legendary acting parents.

Ford vs. Ferrari won the two sound awards. It’s cool that it won for something. A local radio show I listen to (shout out to Chris Boyer) mentioned how it shouldn’t win an award when they don’t realize two guys in loud race cars can’t go up to each other and have a conversation in which they’d actually hear each other.

It was great to see Randy Newman get up and perform his Toy Story song. He created the lovely score for Marriage Story. I saw him perform once at Humphrey’s and was hoping to see him at the Critics’ Choice Awards. I had to settle for seeing him on the big screen.

Now, someone should explain to me why Eminem came out. That song was like…17 years ago. And what relevance does it have to anything? I dunno. Maybe I’m just mad because I hated ]that the song won the Oscar over McCartney’s ballad “Vanilla Sky.” And as much as I love music, I’m just not sure why the montage of songs was done, and what that was all about.

On the subject of music, the female composer of Joker won. So…doesn’t that mean the Academy isn’t “anti-woman”? I mean, she was up against four other men.

1917 — which was predicted to win the “best picture” by everyone but me, won a couple of visual awards. I was glad Roger Deakins got another Oscar. He’s a legend. 

I’m a huge Elton John fan, but happy Rocketman didn’t get many nominations. It was awful. And the song John won for — not very good. I’m going to put the Yellow Brick Road album on, to make me forget about it, while I write the rest of this rant.

How does the “In Memorium” get it wrong EVERY. SINGLE. YEAR?!?!  Kobe Bryant is the first person mentioned, yet they don’t mention Luke Perry, who was in the movie with 10 nominations — Once Upon a Time. And where was Tim Conway?

 My wife said, “Well, he’s more known for the Carol Burnett Show.” 

Yeah, I know. And the Academy tried to say that about Farrah Fawcett, but…both of them had done many movies. Kobe did…one movie! (and it was horribly written by him, although Spike Lee would probably punch me for saying so. He wore a purple suit in tribute to Kobe, instead of his usual guy — Prince).

Horror actor Sid Haig was also left out. He didn’t just do slasher flicks, but was in a few Tarantino pictures, also. It was nice that Kirk Douglas was shown at the end, and even nicer that Tom Hanks ended an introduction saying “I am Spartacus,” I just think the Oscars could’ve spent an additional minute on Douglas. He’s the last from the Golden Age of Hollywood, and his humanitarian stuff is legendary. Perhaps one of their montages of his best films would’ve worked. They could’ve cut that bizarre opening that Janelle Monae did, and made time for a Douglas tribute.

At the party I attended, someone next to me spilled a drink on one of the great cinematographers in film and TV — Glenn Shimada. I said “Ha! It looks like you wet your pants.” 

He replied, “Time for a wardrobe change,” and as he walked away, my wife said “We need a seat filler.”

The trio of Brie Larson, Gal Gadot, and Sigourney Weaver then came out. Their segment…didn’t quite work. They tried a little too hard to show they were “woke.”

When it was announced that a woman was going to come out and conduct the orchestra, I joked, “I hope she doesn’t break a nail swinging that wand around.”

Luckily, the crowd gave me a courtesy laugh, but…what I really wondered was…if she was conducting, did she just think it was rude if she played people off the stage? I mean, a lot of speeches went on and on (Joaquin, I’m looking at you), and they were able to continue, while the lights went out on the cast of Parasite. Thankfully, Tom Hanks stood up and demanded they turn them back on.

I was happy Renee Zellwegger won for Judy, but her speech was…a little long. It had a few great moments in it, but it needed an editor. The same way a few of the long movies did this year.

Can someone explain to me why Jane Fonda got a standing ovation?

What was with the rapper doing recaps of what we just watched? And why are we celebrating In the Heights when it hasn’t even come out yet?

It was great hearing and seeing Cynthia Erivo tear it up, and I enjoyed seeing Zazie Beetz. Speaking of African-American women I’m a fan of, local singing legend Rebecca Jade was a background singer for Sir Elton John. It was great to see that, after seeing her with a hundred fans at the Casbah last month, now I’m watching her with a million fans.

James Corden and Rebel Wilson came out in cat costumes, making fun of the disaster that was Cats. It was cute, but the pawing of the microphone went on a bit long. And speaking of things that were too long, I was sooooo glad that The Irishman was shut out. That long movie felt like a good TV mini series, nothing more. 

Speaking of long, the Oscars can never be too long for me. I’m a movie critic. This is like my Super Bowl. Would anyone complain if the Super Bowl was tied 48-48 and went into overtime? I could’ve watched two more hours of Josh Gad making fun of Travolta for not being able to pronounce Idina Menzel, and cuts to the crowd and their reactions to various things. 

So until next year…save the aisle seat for me, keep your kids quiet in the movies, and support the good indie movies that nobody sees (you can start by renting American Woman, Luce, Waves, Brittany Runs a Marathon, Auggie, The Art of Self Defense, and The Mustang from last year).

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