Oscar Night

February 23, 2009 at 6:31 pm Leave a comment

I haven’t read much opinion today on how the Oscars went (I refuse to read Slate’s article “Hollywood’s Weirdest Night”, although I’m sure I’ll break eventually) but I think it was a rousing success.  When was the last time you found yourself laughing at two jokes in a row during an Oscar night?  When was the last time you found the montages thought-provoking instead of sickeningly sweet and kissass-ey?  When was the last time you actually missed the host’s presence on stage?

A point of pride: I called Hugh Jackman as a winning choice for Oscar Host once he was announced.  I like comedians and some of them really had a knack for hosting, but the past few years have been a roster of misfires.  The Oscars tried mightily to get folksy with Ellen in 2007, but her comic schtick has always been the “Hey, I’ll bet you’re just like me and isn’t life so kooky?” approach and it occupies this weird middle ground when she’s in a room full of mega-celebs and trying to make the show approachable for the schlubs at home.  They tried to get topical with Jon Stewart, but his jokes felt half-hearted and, honestly, he looked intimidated by the scene.  Stewart has this irritating habit of constantly making himself the centre of attention while trying to come off as the straightman – a trick mastered by Letterman that Jon never bothered to work on. So his patronizing brand of comedy didn’t work either (just wait until they get Tina Fey to host the show; she’ll make Stewart look positively sycophantic by comparison).

But Hugh was great.  Talk to anybody who makes even the smallest special plan for Oscars night, and they’ll get this dreamy look in their eyes when you mention Billy Crystal.  Hugh was the closest we’ve come: just the right amount of cheeky camp mixed with good old-fashioned showmanship, topped off with an ear-to-ear grin that didn’t leave his face all night.  He looked like he was having a blast out there.  And I LIKED the musical numbers – they were well-executed and had a point rather than feeling tacked-on (the recession, Hollywood musicals making a comeback).  He’s a stage guy anyway, with some incredible singing and dancing chops.

It’s just a shame that they didn’t give him more to do.  I think the producers of the show have known that, in their recent efforts to make the Oscars edgier and more contemporary, their hosts have all been risky selections.  In that spirit, there has been less screen time for the hosts and more for the reliable (and dull) award presenters.

Other than that, Slumdog cleaned up just as everybody figured that it would.  I’m not crazy on a lot of the wins, but it’s my own fault for not seeing more of the movies this year so I can’t really pass judgement on the winners.  I wish Mickey Rourke had taken it, but it’s ok.  Had a blast though.

And I’m sorry for the total blackout the past week-plus.  The Tale of Caitlin and Steve in Halifax will be imparted in full, gory detail a little later this week, when I’m lying around in Aurora with nothing to do.

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About Upper Lip

It's mostly a collection of sweet links and copious amounts of talk talk talk. I like it more and more every day. And yes, even the ugly blue/green color scheme is not without a certain charm.

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