Every year comes the post-Oscar sourpuss reviews. But it didn’t feel boring or torturous to me. You sit there and watch the damn thing and absorb the win-lose drama for just over three and a half hours, and then it’s over and you figure who got the best scores and won the most money. I don’t see the problem. Eat the chips and the dip and down a few beers.
Columnists always bitch about this and that. This presumably leads to a certain sharpening and honing, and perhaps a slightly better show next year. But last night’s was far from painful. That Errol Morris nominee-interview reel was pretty good; so was the Michael Mann montage that tried to show how America portrays itself in its films. I liked the Dreamgirls musical number, even.
Yeah, it was clunky or oddly edited or poorly paced here and there. It was flat or cornball or unsuccessful in this and that fashion. But it’s the Oscars…what do the sourpusses expect? And what’s so long about three hours and change?
I didn’t have a big issue with host Ellen DeGeneres. She seemed relaxed within her talk-show host skin — confident, bright, quick, chatty. I would have preferred someone nervier and willing to use a sharper scalpel, but DeGeneres simply isn’t that person. The patter on the Oscar show is never that brilliant or urbane or off-the-cuffy (except for the occasional zinger like George Clooney‘s remark about Jack Nicholson and Al Gore drinking backstage), but it never grated.
The people who produce the Oscar show are seemingly hired for their industry relationships as much as their vision about how the show might play. The producers (Laura Ziskin, Gil Cates) are always in their upper 50s or 60s or beyond. I hate ageism, but if the people doing the hiring wanted to really spunk things up, they’d have to hire someone younger and a bit hipper….but it never happens.
I don’t think the Oscars are supposed to be that all that brilliant or dazzling — they’re meant to be slick and eye-poppy and just hip enough so that no demo- graphic feels terribly burned. I think that more or less happened last night with Ziskin’s show. No one at the party I attended seemed all that repelled by it. I wasn’t, I can tell you.