Filmdom's annual orgy of self-congratulations has of late become an embarrassing hot mess, and this evening's three-hour plus telecast on network ABC did nothing to stop the slide much less reverse it.
(Fledgling host Seth MacFarlane... Seth WHO?... certainly wasn't up to the task. I know Bob Hope and Johnny Carson weren't available, but couldn't anyone reach out to Billy Crystal?)
There was just soooo much wrong with the show that aside from wondering what anyone sees in Kristen Stewart, I'm going to take note of the highlights of the 2013 Academy Awards, an event that, 30+ years ago when I was reviewing movies on radio and TV, was the most exciting night of the year chez Speir.
Far and away the most thrilling minutes were of 76-year-old Shirley Bassey, all 5'3" of her fittingly sheathed in gold dress, necklace and earrings, belting out the song which made her an international star almost half a century ago: "Goldfinger." It rightfully brought Dolby Theatre attendees to their feet!
(And while the title song for the most recent 007 flick, "Skyfall," won that category, composer/singer Adele has a long way to go to be mentioned in the same breath as Dame Shirley.)
The necrology noted the passings of three area residents: Steve Frankfurt, Andrew Sarris and Marvin Hamlisch. At the end of those clips, Barbara Streisand, of whom I've never been a big fan, materialized to perform a lovely personal version of "The Way We Were" for Hamlisch.
Timing, it is said, is everything, and the Academy voters who absolutely robbed Jennifer Lawrence of her Best Actress Oscar for "Winter's Bone" two years ago (in favor of the fraudulent Natalie Portman), made it up to her this evening for "Silver Linings Playbook" in a year in which Jessica Chastain probably was the more deserving for "Zero Dark Thirty."
But I'm delighted that Jennifer Lawrence won... she was great! And Jessica Chastain will almost certainly become a perennial nominee.
But no one "wuz robbed" this evening... except TV viewers who remember what Academy Awards telecast used to be.
I was far more interested in the Red Carpet fashion roundup than the ceremony itself. Yes, Dame Bassey provided a wonderful performance of "Goldfinger," the best of her three Bond movies themes. I think the only one who could match her was Jennifer Hudson with her rendition of "And I Am Telling You" from "Dreamgirls." I loved that Oscar celebrated the musical but that's just cause I am a sucker for them and have been since mother took me to see "Cinderella" at the Flanders Drive-In when I was still a wee one. Soon after that followed "Camelot" and I was hopelessly hooked from there on out. What really torqued me about Oscar last night was the needless cross-pollination of politics and Hollywood on a grand scale when the First Lady announced the winner for Best Picture. All things considered, I could have gone to bed at a decent hour, then read about it in the paper this morning and been just as entertained.