Which sometimes happens. There were really no surprises this year. Even Ang Lee winning Best Director–the biggest surprise of the night in the minds of some–wasn’t really a surprise if you knew the way the Academy thinks. The acting categories all went to the people were predicting, and no wild cards got up for a speech.
But what about Seth MacFarlane as host? I didn’t think he was a slam dunk perfect. It seemed like he made the decision to pretend the show took place in 1965 and ran with it. This was not a good thing, because back then, jokes demeaning women, about how Jews run Hollywood, how funny foreigners are and that something being gay was a bad thing were considered funny back then.
Considering how many were expecting MacFarlane to be more outrageous, the non-PC focus of his jokes wasn’t as bad as it could have been. But still, it struck me as being uncalled for.
I know that humor is in the eye of the beholder. And I can see that his “I saw your boobs” song was meant in part to poke fun at the childish, puerile attitudes of men. And intimating that Jennifer Aniston worked as a stripper was meant be funny because obviously, she hasn’t. But when he turned a Zero Dark Thirty outro into a joke about how women ruin lives he went back to the misogynistic well once too often. And going back so often took the jokes from harmless ribbing to somewhat insulting.
While we are talking about things that were insulting, let’s talk about Anne Hathaway’s nipples. When I signed on to Twitter to live tweet the Oscars, Anne Hathaway’s nipples were already a trending topic. It was reminiscent of the furor around Christmastime when another part of Hathaway’s anatomy made it’s appearance and was caught by paparazzi.
While the presses perverted desire to snap photos of famous women’s genitalia should never be justified, that incident could have been mitigated if, well, she just wore underwear. This time, I think the negative attention is especially unwarranted. First off, it is an uncontrollable bodily reaction ( yes, as my wife pointed out, there are appliques women could use to cover up the situation, but still…). Second, the problem is at least 50% caused by a seam in the exact wrong location.
There has been quite a ramping up of the backlash against Hathaway in recent months, and I think this might be part and parcel of that. But there was once a time where this sort of thing would not be addressed in public. Now, they are creating Twitter accounts about it. I think between this, MacFarlane’s jokes and the fact that the actress awards went to actresses playing a nymphomaniac and a prostitute, a gender studies major could write a pretty good thesis paper about this year’s ceremony.
Okay, back to the actual show. The rest of MacFarlane’s shtick was hit or miss. The Star Trek gag with William Shatner (whose age has caught up with him big time) was funny but ran on too long. He made jokes that were not only dusty in the 1960s (The Sound of Music one) but also the 1860’s (the John Wilkes Booth one). But he also made jokes that were hilarious, in particular walking off without introducing Meryl Streep after saying she needed no introduction.
As for the production itself, there were a lot of odd choices. Celebrating Bond through music was fine, and seeing Shirley Bassey sing was great, but she isn’t the only big name to ever sing a Bond tune, nor is she the biggest act (~~Cough cough~~Paul McCartney) to have ever sung one. Having other surviving artists sing a medley of Bond themes might have been a logistical nightmare, but would have been a better representation of the Bond music.
But, wait, there was another Bond song performed at the Oscars–Skyfall by Adele. That brings up another oddity with the ceremony, how they presented the Best Song nominees. Skyfall had a showcase performance in the middle of the show. The song from Les Miserables was lumped in with the salute to modern movie musicals. Out of the other three, the only one to get a performance was the one from Ted. The rest only got the Oscar equivalent of a truncated music video.
I realize that have all the Best Song nominees performed is a time suck of at least 15 minutes. But if you are going to perform one in its entirety, you should perform them all. This year was way too sloppy.
This all adds up to a rather disappointing show. Hopefully, if MacFarlane comes back next year, he’ll be just a little bit better and either be totally PC or insult everybody.