It was Hollywood’s biggest night, and the wonky pan-and-zoom-in on the Dolby Theatre that opened the show looked like something out of a network cop drama from the ‘70s. Inside, the joint was rocking out to Adam Lambert’s tribute to Queen. Lambert’s rendition of “Bohemian Rhapsody” — it was his first audition for American Idol — was incentive enough for Academy honchos to assign him (not Marc Martel) the coveted opening spot. Add to this the threat of a Netflix sweep and it was beginning to look as though TV had finally won its age-old war against the movies.
Netflix’s Oscar campaign was budgeted at almost twice what it cost Alfonso Cuarón to make Roma. The film screened in just enough theatres to qualify for prizes, with the streaming service banking on the majority of lazy voters (and viewers) watching it in the comfort of their living rooms. Other than its distributor, I have nothing against the film. After all, Roma was confiscated by television, not made for it. My vote for best picture would have gone to BlacKkKlansman followed by Green Book. The talk of inventing a new category aimed at mollifying African-American viewers failed. Instead of tossing audiences a bone in the shape of the comic book movie, why not simply give the award to an artist like Spike Lee?
Maya Rudolph threw out the first Trump jab, an easy lob against the border wall. Kick him, bite him, scratch him, do whatever you gotta to do to take down the Gerrymander in Chief, but do it in the name of quality entertainment (and equal time). If people are going to continually goof on Trump’s physical appearance, particularly his Cheeto-colored skin pigment, why not show the same lack of respect to Lady Gaga, who appeared to have spent Oscar-eve at Earl Scheib’s, showering in a storm of Circus Peanut Orange Urethane to complete her glow. PS: Gaga makes Liza look unaffected.
The only Oscar recipient who earned a Trump pass was Spike Lee. BlacKkKlansman climaxes with unexpurgated footage of the Charlottesville car attack, complete with images that even the most liberal news outlets dare not show. Cutting away because the truth is too ugly qualifies as fake news. Maybe if people saw what really went down they wouldn’t be so quick to agree with Trump’s “good people on both sides” bullshit.
But even so, liberal Hollywood needs to clean up its own backyard before throwing shade at the GOP. Credit talk show host Trevor Noah with the line of the night: “Even backstage, Mel Gibson came up to me like, ‘Wakanda forever.’ He said another word after that, but the Wakanda part was nice.” And if Bohemian Rhapsody took home four Oscars, why no mention of the film’s director Bryan Singer?
More random thoughts and observations:
Scorsese is down to releasing one film every three years. If we’re lucky. Thank heavens the mamaluke of the year was able to peel time off his busy work schedule to pick up a paycheck for a Rolex commercial. And how about the teaser spot for Marty’s upcoming The Irishman? It would have played just as well on radio! Expect rioting in the streets if the putains at Netflix do to Him what they did to Orson Welles.
Note to Brian Tyree Henry: never draw attention to Melissa McCarthy’s bunny gown. Note to Oscar show DP: No closeups of so much as one bunny until it comes time to open the envelope. That’s how to play the gag.
John Bailey should have hosted the necrology during a commercial break. And no mention of Dick Miller?! Shame on the Academy!
Imitation is the sincerest form of failure: Dana Carvey was pissed that Sam Rockwell was chosen to play Bush.
What the Kodak Theatre needs are giant recliners and waiters passing through the audience taking drink orders.
Even without hosts, only one big musical number, and the absence of clip reels the show’s running time still clocked in at over three hours. It’s never going to change. Deal with or better yet, spend next year’s Oscar broadcast in a movie theatre.