Feb 25, 2013

The Academy Awards: The REAL Winners and Losers

It was a weird night of television, and, as we predicted and despite a Best Director snub, Argo won Best Picture at the Academy Awards last night/this morning, and most of the other people who were going to win Oscars won Oscars. Instead of looking at the winners and losers, we're going to look at the real winners and losers, the people/trends that really stood out during the ceremony:

Winner: Jennifer Lawrence and Her Unstoppable Likability Machine: Jennifer Lawrence is currently the most likable actress in Hollywood. She's self-effacing, earnest, and wackadoodle. She's a little bit country, and that Midwestern flair (and diarrhea of the mouth) has served her well. Tonight, from her falling on her way to the mic to her sweet speech, she was all wonderful all the time.

Winner: Long-Haired Dudes. Maybe they aren't winners at life, but they are definitely winners at Oscars.

Loser: People Still Trying to Justify Their Love of Anne Hathaway. Anne Hathaway and Jennifer Lawrence have been on opposite ends of the likability spectrum for a while, but there was nothing like this awards season to widen that gap. Hathaway, who we have on very good authority is lovely in person, used up all her remaining goodwill in a speech that called attention to all the bad parts of living one's life theatrically. She was measured in her breathlessness, calculated in her attempts to seem flummoxed, and, in the end, tried to say that her performance was brave. It was a mess, and her nipple dress didn't help.

Winner: Channing Tatum. Channing Tatum was one of the most omnipresent stars of 2012, yet his two (brief) appearances at the Oscars didn't feel like overkill, and the producers let him do the things that we love him for: being a bro-ish dude with a sense of humor AND dancing. Sure, he stepped on Charlize Theron's dress during his performance, which means there is now a bounty on his head in South Africa. In our opinion, though, that short-haired hussy was asking for it, what with all those layers. We'd like to see someone NOT step on that dress.
Tatum managed to have his Jude-Law-like film abundance and still remain in our good graces.

Winner: Christoph Waltz. Our favorite Austrian since Liesl von Trapp.

Loser: People who Hate Musicals and Movie Musicals. This year's Academy Awards celebrated Music in Film, for reasons unknown. Some of the additions to the telecast were fun (having a few of the nominated songs be represented, playing the Jaws theme to get people off the stage). Still, the whole telecast was VERY heavy on Chicago references, which is a movie we love but not a movie we need to have referenced 8 billion times. Oh, look, here's Renée Zellweger talking nonsense, and there’s Catherine Zeta-Jones reminding us that it's been 10 years since she's done a good film. Also, nobody really needed to see an all-cast rendition of Les Miserables's "One Day More", complete with Anne Hathaway, whose character (spoiler alert) is dead long before that song comes up in the movie. With inclusion of Bassey, Babs, and Jones (the best ad agency in town!), it was a very song-filled night.

Winner: Helena Bonham Carter and Sacha Baron Cohen. When the whole cast of Les Miserables came out to sing, we were dreading Russell Crowe but were delighted by the Carter and Cohen, who both seemed to not give a flying f*ck nun about the proceedings at all. It was great.

Loser: People with Tenuous Grasps on Dignity. It might have been the final nail in the coffin for William Shatner, whose opening monologue assist was tired and unfunny. Also in that same camp was John Travolta, who is just too sad to look at anymore.

Winner: Anna Karenina. If there’s one movie in the nominated fields that needed a little more love, it’s Anna Karenina, which stalled at the Box Office and quickly receded from our minds. The movie is a beautiful (if a bit empty) experiment in form and style, and part of that stylistic experiment was in the costumes. So, we were happy to see its contributions in costuming get a win, even if it meant giving the shaft to the late Eiko Ishioka, whose costumes in Mirror Mirror are beyond brilliant.

Loser: James Bond. A 50-year-old franchise deserves a tribute, and it deserves a better one than the one it got. Shirley Bassey singing "Goldfinger" was awesome, but the clip montage was boring and it would have been nice to find more than one Bond Girl (Halle Berry) and maybe a few of the men that played the Agent to be on stage. Was Pierce Brosnan too busy?

Loser: Kristen Stewart’s Stylist.  Girl looked wrecked. Taking the dress out of the equation (and the limp cause by a cast on her leg), she just looked terrible, uncomfortable, and unhappy.

Winner: Life of Pi. We knew that the technical awards were all but guaranteed to the incomparably beautiful film, but Ang Lee’s win for Best Director was a pleasant surprise to everyone, including him. His flustered, happy acceptance speech made us giggle with excitement.

Loser: Ben Affleck. Everyone has wonderful things to say about him all night, and he’s usually one of the most reliable people for cranking out good acceptance speeches. When Argo won for Best Picture, though, it was surprising to see him give a speech that was all the wrong things. Like Anne Hathaway, he acted like winning an Oscar was tantamount to curing cancer. He talked about his struggles to regain his dignity without mentioning that all of his terrible film choices were his to make, he forgot to thank/mention Matt Damon, and he kind of dissed Jennifer Garner. Being married to JenniferGarner isn't work - it's a privilege, Ben Affleck. It's a privilege that only 2 or 3 people have enjoyed. Cherish it.

Winner: Adele. Not just because she won, but because she was so happy and cute when she did. Not even a sub-par performance of 'Skyfall' can bring that girl down.

Loser: Kristin Chenoweth. She's always been chihuahua-esque, but her chirpy enthusiasm was a little too much for the Oscars, especially at the end of the night when everyone just wanted to go home. Sorry, Cheno Pad.

Winner(?): Seth MacFarlane. No Oscar host has benefited from or relished in lowered expectations. Sure, he kept drawing attention to the fact that he was desperately seeking approval, and a bunch of the opening monologue was sloppy, unfunny, and sexist. Still, enough of his jokes landed and he seemed very happy to be there. Overall, Seth's hosting was pleasant and unremarkable.We even liked the song about boobs, because it's honestly something we think about when we meet female celebrities in person, in the same way we think about dudes that have gone full-frontal's wangs when we meet them. It's not sexual, it's just something that pops into our head. 

Loser: The Viewers. The whole telecast was a mess, and it suffered from odd pacing and even odder humor. Half the time, we weren't sure what was happening on the stage, from The Avengers assembling to tell quasi-jokes, to the confusing humor of Paul Rudd and Melissa McCarthy, to the fact that the leads of Chicago were on stage forever and the only person who wasn't Botoxed all to hell was the Queen Latifah. It was a weird evening...

and on that note, HERE'S TO NEXT YEAR!

Take it away, Punky!
PS. We forgot how awesome Charlize Theron and Dustin Hoffman were. They were the best. Winners!
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