It seems as if we have another dud as an Oscar host, but this time instead of wanting to cry you want to scold someone. Granted, Seth McFarlane at least wasn’t as boring as James Franco & Anne Hathaway. But their falling short was actually not something everyone saw coming. As far as the hosting job goes, nothing happened last night that shouldn’t have been expected. Anyone with sense would’ve realized he’d tell a lot of jokes that would make people flinch, and set a general mood that would make others that normally would pass fall flat. Even with those that were genuinely funny, because of his reputation alone, from the very first Tommy Lee Jones comment, the reaction was a concession: “Okay, that was funny.” You know you have issues with a host when that’s your reaction to his making you laugh.
The cheekiness, exemplified by the ceremony’s choice of “play off” music, too should’ve been expected, though perhaps there that can be acknowledged a surprise extra irritant or two in the opening sequence: namely, its length. I’m not actually sure that whole boobs song wasn’t so ridiculously over-the-top it actually avoided being offensive, and yes, the socks in the washing machine was one of those “okay, that was funny” moments, but then yet another segment came in, and the whole opening is stretching to twenty minutes(something one won’t forget three hours later when it’s midnight and we still trying to get things wrapped up), and even the presence of William Shatner can’t keep the whole thing seem like a egotistic display of the host. That really is in poor taste when McFarlane is a host that is being very much tolerated by so much of the audience; bad enough he’s here, but he has to act as if that’s a good thing too? By the time we’re winding down, even the use of the “needs no introduction” joke(and for a person who genuinely doesn’t) isn’t enough to cancel the deficiencies out.
Fortunately Seth McFarlane wasn’t the only one up on the stage that night, and many of the others did their best to try to make up for it. Their abilities to do so, sadly, were mixed: Catherine Zeta-Jones, for instance, was better than it than most of the cast of Les Miserables(It’s nice to know that after ten years that lady’s still got it, more or less). As a music geek, of course, I enjoyed the ceremony theme a lot more than most of the viewers, but sadly, they chose an all too appropriate year for it, with all the people we lost(seriously, we lost the guy who composed the songs for Mary Poppins?) Also of course Daniel-Day Lewis, instantly earning everyone’s forgiveness for being such a shoo-in with a speech that blew everyone else’s speech out of the water. Though Tarantino wasn’t bad either, and he provided the pleasure of a surprise win as well. Speaking of surprises, the Academy members themselves chipped in by providing a tie, which is a thrill simply for the historical value of it. Nor was Jennifer Lawrence, rolling with a skirt trip, or Christopher Waltz, who if it was annoying that he won again, at least definitely appreciated it. And if Anne Hathaway’s speech was the weakest of the four, she thankfully deserved her Oscar too much for it to matter. And then, of course, there was Michelle Obama. Really, has any first lady just plain rocked, or will any future first lady just plain rock, as much as this one does?
For the other wins, as I said Saturday, Argo was the most deserving of the three nominees I saw, though I certainly wouldn’t assume it’s the best of the year. Good to see Anna Karenina get a statue out of it too, and Adele win, though kind of annoying how they included performances of the two song nominees everyone’s heard of and the one connected to the host and then restricted the other two to audio clips. Honestly, don’t show favoritism; find the time for all of them!