A night being billed as a historic night in movie history (oldest and youngest best actress nominees!) became even more historical when the prize for sound editing ended in a tie and Daniel Day Lewis became the first actor to win his third best actor Oscar. Oscars 85 also boasted a slew of musical performances and jokes galore. It was a standard award show (long in some parts, genuinely entertaining in others), but here’s a cheat sheet of the moments that stood out for me.
Oscar! The Musical
The theme of this year’s telecast was music in the movies, and while it mostly showed up in questionable interludes (what exactly about Anne Hathaway says “Godfather Theme”?), the tribute to “the most successful movie musicals of the last decade” was impressive. Catherine Zeta Jones donned her Velma Kelly fringe and reminded everyone she is not human and has not aged a single day in the last ten years, Jenifer Hudson reminded everyone she’s a beast, and the entire cast of Les Miserables reminded everyone “One Day More” is a really amazing song, especially when its sung (mostly) live.
The non-musical musical performances were universally spectacular. Shirley Bassey got it started with a diva worthy performance of “Goldfinger” as part of the James Bond Tribute (which was otherwise seriously lacking. I wanted a stage full of Bonds, dammit!). Adele, of course, brought the house down because that’s what she does. But they were all just an opening act to the queen; Babs. She capped off the In Memoriam tribute with a performance of “Memories” written by the late, great Marvin Hamlish.
Just in case there was one person out there, until now able to resist the charms of now (second youngest ever) Academy Award winner Jennifer Lawrence, she used her time in the spotlight to melt that cold, probably fictional, heart. She tripped on her way to the podium (not surprising given the bulk of that skirt) and delightfully quipped, “You’re all just standing up because I fell and that’s so embarrassing” before giving a truly emotional speech which she could barely finish before giving a general thanks and wandering off the stage. (Backstage, when asked if she forgot to thank anyone she said, “yeah, Harvey Weinstein, so goodbye Hollywood!”) Never change, JLaw, never change.
Argo was the heavy favorite for best picture after riding an unprecedented wave of support following Ben Affleck’s snub for best director. Even with all signs pointing to the win, Ben looked truly touched and moved at the recognition. His speech was reminiscent of the last time he was at the podium and equally as moving.
The Never Ending Show
The Oscars are notorious for running long and feeling even longer. Usually, I am not one to complain about overstuffed awards shows as I like the moment to last as long as possible, but this year, I felt it. From the monologue going on and on to unnecessary appearances it felt like the Oscars were making no effort to keep the show running on time.
Its safe to say Anne Hathaway has garnered more than her fair share of ridicule this awards season, from endless jokes about her faux sincerity to an entire article in the Tribune claiming people would be tuning into the show just to hate-watch her. There was really no way for her to win (unless she used some of her Oscar award winning talent to act humble and endearing), but what she came up with was still a disappointment. Her speech was little more than a list of people and the concluding wish that the struggles of Fantine someday reside only in fiction. This was confusing as, last I checked, the teeth selling business has drastically dried up. She couldn’t even manage to wear an interesting dress.
Morning talk shows and pot stirring journalists all over the Internet seem intent on convincing us that Seth MacFarlane was in some way offensive. Perhaps they watched a different telecast than me but I found MacFarlane more than satisfactory. He certainly gave it his all (who knew he could dance and sing so well) and made no more digging remarks than what Tina and Emmy got away with at the Emmys. He’s hardly the first person to make a Chris Brown/Rihanna joke, the boob song was harmless (and all the ladies he supposedly offended were clearly ok with their involvement), and anyone who gets offended by a Lincoln joke is looking to be offended. Plus, anyone who can make such a perfect Sound of Music joke work so effortlessly deserves some kudos.