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Call Them the Love or Hate Oscars


Well, at least “Oscar” host Seth MacFarlane gave us something to write and talk about Sunday night.

The rest of the evening was as dull and boring as a bad Bills game in the 2012 season.

If you read my Sunday blog, you saw that MacFarlane’s knew he would be under “a ruthless bit of scrutiny” and he claimed “he wasn’t going to think about it.”

Then he spent a good deal of his 17-minute opening imagining all the dreary Monday headlines about his reviews. I’m sure many agree with the first headline – that MacFarlane was “the worst Oscar host ever,” partly because the opening almost seemed to be all about him.

I’m not going to go there — even if I wish MacFarlane hadn’t gone to some tasteless places as he routinely does in writing “Family Guy.”

As I wrote Sunday, MacFarlane said his goal was to be “classic in tone and edgy in content” and that he expected one joke “would stir up the pot a little bit.”

Seth MacFarlane

Seth MacFarlane

He might not have achieved the classic tone, but he delivered edginess and one or two jokes (Honest, an Abraham Lincoln assassination joke? A Chris Brown-Rihanna joke?) that surely stirred up the pot a little bit.

I’m not a prude. But one of his opening numbers with the repetitive lyric “we saw her boobs” as he read off a list of actresses who have disrobed in movies seemed like a bad “Saturday Night Live” opening and some of the women named (Carlize Theron, Naomi Watts among them) didn’t seem too happy about it (if they weren’t in on it). It seemed to be MacFarlane’s way of announcing that anything goes. I’m sure the song is probably a big You Tube sensation by now or will be before the day is over — and creating positive or negative buzz was one reason why MacFarlane was selected to host.

MacFarlane did crack a good joke in his opening about Ben Affleck’s failure to be nominated as best director for “Argo,” and the joke resonated even more when the film won the Oscar as picture of the year around midnight.  That’s if you could remember the joke more than three and a half hours later.

Seth was being Seth all night and if much of America hated him more than I did they should blame producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron for selecting him as host.

Actually, Zadan and Meron were a much bigger problem than MacFarlane anyway. The producers of the Oscar film version of Chicago” turned the Oscars into the Tonys and the Grammys, supposedly celebrating musicals in the movies.

Now I am a big Broadway fan. But I didn’t need to see a number from “Chicago” or “Dreamgirls.” I did enjoy the number from “Les Miserables,” which was appropriate since the film was nominated as best picture. Besides, it gave the Twitter universe a chance to take more shots at Russell Crowe’s singing.

I enjoyed Adele’s singing of “Skyfall,” Shirley Bassey’s singing of “Goldfinger” and the Barbra Streisand surprise “Memories” tribute to Marvin Hamlisch.

I also laughed when the theme from “Jaws” popped up to warn winners they were about to be cut off even though it seemed rude and some viewers undoubtedly hated it.

That said, these Oscars didn’t provide too many enjoyable memories.

The reaction to MacFarlane’s opening, the “Jaws” theme, the John Wilkes Booth assassination joke and turning the Oscars into the Tonys made this the love or hate Oscars.

Let’s look at more love and hate moments.

Anne Hathaway’s win for “Les Miz.”: I was one of the people who loved the movie. But the haters of the filmed version of the Broadway musical made Hathaway a symbol for their hatred and wanted her to lose.

Daniel Day-Lewis’ speech after he won the best actor category for “Lincoln”: What wasn’t there to love about it – he combined humor with sincerity.

Jennifer Lawrence’s spill after she won the best actress category for “Silver Linings Playbook”:  It made her more lovable, which didn’t seem possible. However, it seemed to put her off-balance when she spoke, too. I expected a better speech.

George Clooney’s Beard: Some people hated it, but they miss the point. Clooney can’t do anything wrong.

Michelle Obama as a Presenter: It was a nice touch to see the First Lady celebrate the movies before announcing the best picture winner from the White House. She and Streisand gave the show some much-needed class, though viewers had to wait more than three hours to see it.

The Victory Speeches after “Argo” Was Named Best Picture: Producer Grant Heslov had a good line when he said of himself and fellow producers Clooney and Affleck, “I know what you thinking – the three sexiest producers alive.” Heslov also reminded people twice that Affleck directed the film, an obvious dig at the failure to nominate Affleck in that category. Then Affleck – his nerves and speed illustrating how excited he was – nailed his victory speech by being classy and sincere.

The Finale: I hated the duet by MacFarlane and Kristin Chenoweth as the final credits ran for two reasons. First, I couldn’t understand the lyrics. Secondly, it made the Oscars seem like they would never end.


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3 responses to "Call Them the Love or Hate Oscars"

  1. Bob says:

    You said alot of the women were not thrilled about the boob song. If you look again the womens reactions were pre-taped so they were already in on it. Still – it was a tasteless song for the Oscars.

    • Joe Sexton says:

      A thought on “Les Misérables”: Like Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah”, I see the score as a case of “the song, not the singer”. It is the music that is the star. It is the lyric and the instrumental arrangement that count far more than the person vocalizing it or their relative singing ability. Even if they talk the song, like Richard Burton or Rex Harrison, the message and the feeling come across. And that’s what counts. If you want top-notch singing, go to the Met.

      • Joe, you raise a good point, and the Susan Boyle phenomenon illustrates it perfectly.

        As for the show itself… I only caught the opening monologue, and MacFarlane pretty much met expectations, if perhaps a little bit on the tame side of them. A few juvenile jokes, a few classy routines, and the Shatner cameo was pretty amusing (albeit, in typical MacFarlane fashion, strangely out of place).

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