And the award for the most boring, flat Oscar Awards show goes to …
Midway through Sunday night's awards show, many viewers were probably wishing they were watching Anne Hathaway and James Franco again from two years ago, because at least that kept people watching to see how much worse the train wreck could get. There's bad bad, and then there's just plain old dull, forgettable bad. How was last night forgettable bad?
Seth MacFarlane came out early with one or two choice zingers but failed to establish a rapport with the audience. Unlike last year's host, Billy Crystal, MacFarlane is not a seasoned performer and it was obvious — once he knew he had lost the crowd he couldn't win them back by improvising. He deserves credit for keeping his smarm to a minimum and let's also point out that he proved the critics wrong: They worried he'd be obnoxious and insulting; instead he just proved to be dull.
Predictable, predictable, pre-z-z-z-z-z-z-dictable. Some kind of award should go to odds makers, because the favourites in all the big categories did exactly what they predicted — Daniel Day Lewis for Lincoln, Jennifer Lawrence for Silver Linings Playbook, Anne Hathaway for Les Miserables, Argo for best picture. Okay, Steven Spielberg lost to Ang Lee for director honours, but that was the only exception, and it wasn't enough to rescue the snoozefest.
Do you remember any of the speeches? Neither do we. The closest we got to genuine emotion was Hathaway looking at her trophy for best supporting actress and murmuring, "It came true." But even that came out like every other speech: by the book and meh. And what was up with Jennifer Lawrence accepting her award for Best Actress? You can usually depend on her to say something off the cuff, but we got nada. At least Ben Affleck thanked Canada when Argo won for best picture.
If Seth MacFarlane was chosen to bring in a young audience, that audience probably tuned out when 76-year-old Shirley Bassey sang Goldfinger, a song from a movie from 1964. If they didn't, then surely they switched over to something else by the time Barbra Streisand was belting out The Way We Were. Even Adele's rendition of Skyfall, which is usually booming, came out pretty tired — maybe because she's exhausted from hearing it so many times throughout this award's season. If Skyfall couldn't save the day, then surely the other performances didn't stand a chance. The tribute to movie musicals that featured songs from Chicago, Dream Girls and Les Miserables didn't sell the notion of movie music magic so much as it proved that three random movies forced together solely in virtue of their genre just add up to three random movies.
MacFarlane opens with a song about boobs
The big question mark hanging over the Oscars this year wasn't who would take home statuettes, but how Seth MacFarlane would fare as host. The Family Guy creator got off to a good start with a zinger directed at the man who scowled his way through the Golden Globes, saying "The quest to make Tommy Lee Jones laugh begins now." He also had a good crack about Django Unchained, which has been criticized for its frequent use of the N-word — "The screenplay is loosely based on Mel Gibson's voicemails."
Then, unfortunately, Captain Kirk made an appearance. He had come from the future to save the Oscars and implored MacFarlane to give the crowd a few songs. That saw MacFarlane launch in to one called We Saw Your Boobs that listed all the movies in which actresses have been filmed topless.
Other zingers and duds from the host
- On Django Unchained: "This is the story of a man fighting to get back his woman, who's been subjected to unthinkable violence. Or as Chris Brown and Rihanna call it, a date movie."
- "The first time I saw [Ben Affleck] with all that dark facial hair, I thought, 'My God, the Kardashians have made the jump to film.'"
- On 9-year-old Oscar-nominee Quvenzhané Wallis: "To give you an idea of how young she is, it'll be 16 years until she's too old for [George] Clooney."
- "I always thought the actor who got most inside Lincoln's head was John Wilkes Booth."
- "As I said, tonight’s ceremony is being watched by a close to a billion people worldwide, which is why Jodie Foster will be up here in a bit to ask for her privacy."
- "For all those women who had the flu: It paid off. Looking good."
Canada's nominees went three for seven at the Oscars on Sunday. Toronto composer Mychael Danna won best original score for Life of Pi. "I share this wondrous award with our visionary captain, Mr. Ang Lee, who guided a global cast and crew in the telling of this wonderful story," Danna said. Guillaume Rocheron, who was born in France but is based in Vancouver, took home the best visual effects award for the adaptation of Yann Martel's novel. Montreal's Kim Nguyen, who's film Rebelle (War Witch) was in the best foreign language film category, lost to Amour. Three Canadians were nominated in the live action short film category, but all three — Ariel Nasr, the Montreal-based producer of Buzkashi Boys, Mino Jarjoura, the Toronto producer of Asad and Yan England of Montreal, nominated for Henry — lost. Jim Erickson, of Salt Spring, B.C., won the best production design honours for his work on Lincoln.
A rare tie
There might be some argument over the whether this will go down as the most boring Oscars ever, but there's no debating the show made history in one way: It saw a rare tie. The award for sound editing went to both Zero Dark Thirty and Skyfall.
The theme song from Jaws is among the most iconic in film. It can still send chills up the spine, and it will probably also haunt the dreams of those Oscar winners who went overlong in their acceptance speeches. A few of those who did go past their allotted time heard the Jaws music come on before they had the mic cut off. A hook from stage left yanking them away would have been more subtle.
Best Picture: Argo
Directing: Ang Lee, Life of Pi
Actor: Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln
Actress: Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook
Supporting Actress: Anne Hathaway, Les Miserables
Supporting Actor: Christoph Waltz, Django Unchained
Adapted Screenplay: Chris Terrio, Argo
Original Screenplay: Quentin Tarantino, Django Unchained
Original Score: Life of Pi, Mychael Danna (a Canadian)
Original Song: Skyfall from Skyfall, Adele Adkins and Paul Epworth
Production Design: Lincoln
Film Editing: Argo
Foreign Language Film: Amour, Austria
Documentary (short subject): Inocente
Documentary Feature: Searching for Sugar Man
Live Action Short Film: Curfew
Makeup and Hairstyling: Les Miserables
Costume: Anna Karenina
Sound Editing: Skyfall and Zero Dark Thirty (a tie)
Sound Mixing: Les Miserables
Visual Effects: Life of Pi
- Cinematography: Life of Pi
- Animated Short Film: Paperman
- Animated Feature Film: Brave