I don’t often do reviews but a good Oscar night, the film buff’s Super Bowl, is worth noting so here goes.
I have three criteria that separate a “good” Oscar Night from a “bad” one”
A) I did not feel bored.
B) I did not complain of boredom.
C) None of my friends at our Oscar Party made reference to A or B.
THUS LAST NIGHT WAS A GOOD NIGHT….IN FACT A VERY GOOD ONE.
The Oscar happen whether the awards show airs or not. The votes are tallied and, in most cases, the end result is predictable (although there were several wonderful upsets last night – (Christopher Waltz, Ang Li come to mind).
So what kept the show from the dreaded boredom that can ruin the event.
1) Production numbers focused on the performers and not huge sets.
2) The whiplash effect of moving from respect to irreverence was like a good roller coaster ride.
3) McFarland had the singing, dancing, and funny man chops to move the show along.
4) And the orchestra, situated blocks away was more effectively used since there were no constraints imposed by being front and center in the Great Hall. It served as the Time Limit Enforcer holding down the understandable but schedule destroying acceptance speeches.
One Complaint. Voiced often: Get rid of the groups of presenters. What is supposed to be memorable repartee falls flat or just gets messy. The Avengers presentation last night actually hurt. Give the award winners a few more minutes to gush.
But what really makes an Oscars night memorable are a few peak moments. Mine were:
1) Christopher Waltz for Best Supporting Actor- I was forced to see Django Unchained in the company of several friends (we have a pact that requires we honor each others film choices in rotation) and the film was redeemed by one of the quirkiest performances I have ever seen.
2) Lincoln for Best Production Design. I am a historian and the film had a feeling of raw, gritty reality capturing the period that I thought transported the audience to 1865.
3) Searching for Sugarman as Best Documentary. I am one of the very few who knew Sixto Rodriguez’s name before the documentary. I had “followed” him as a college kid attracted by Bob Dylan Lyrics, James Taylor Sound, and Simon/Garfunkel instrumentation. To see him come into his own now is a wonder.
4) Skyfall for Best Original Song. I am a fan of good Bond films (which means about half of them) but there have been few Great Songs. Among them Goldfinger, Nobody Does It Better, Live or Let Die and now, Skyfall.
5) And that Made for Oscar’s Night Pairing of Jack Nicholson and Michelle Obama. Not a natural mix but it worked because of the stark contrast between the two. Jack looking barely dressed up at all with his ill fitting tux, mussed hair, askew dark glasses, and his perpetual snarl and Michelle in one of the White House’s gorgeous State Rooms, dressed in Red Carpet Splendor, backed up by Marines in dress uniform (Marine Band Members?) and sooooooo well spoken.
MICHELLE WAS THE SMOOTH LIQUEUR AT EVENING’S END (and the cause of more than a few gag reflexes from the Right). What a great night cap!