Oscars Night Notes

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Oscars Night Notes

This used to be a huge night in my house during the years I shared it with "Waldo," but lately not so much... I just don't see 200-250 movies a year any longer which should indicate my current level of interest in what currently comes out of Hollywood nowadays.

But the decision to have Chris Rock host the ceremonies tonight made me want to tune in for his opening mono­logue just to gauge the tenor of the evening, one which was uncommonly controversial due to the boycott by sundry persons of color due to "the lack of diversity" among the nominees.

Rock not only didn't disappoint, but was so good that I wound up going the distance for the first time in more than a decade.

Notable were the mickey Rock deftly took out of Spike Lee, Will and Jada Pinket-Smith for their generally unsuccessful dissent, and the Girl Scout Cookie drive he loosed upon the audience (and which generated $65,243 in sales).

One of the biggest knocks on the Oscars telecast over the decades has been the length, mostly due to the intermin­able "Thank yous" and this year they tried a truly innovative approach to control that part of the ceremony by having each nominee make a prior of list everyone they would want to thank should they win, and then when their name was announced, the acknowledgements would scroll along the bottom of the screen as they made their way to the screen.

A brilliant idea egregeously consummated by the majority of the winners who were unable to follow the script and had to be "played off" the stage to the compelling orches­tration of "Die Walküre."

(O, well... maybe next year.)

The awards: Best Actor and Best Acress went to the chalk-players, and the only discernable upset to me was the voters nod to British stage actor Mark Rylance for his role as Soviet spy "Rudolf Abel" in "Bridge of Spies;" the sentimental favorite going in had been Sylvester Stallone for his seventh portrayal of "'Rocky' Balboa" in "Creed."

(I mean, seventh time around, it's not like the role is any sort of stretch for the guy!)

Personal Pleasure: "Mad Max: Fury Road" had a great night, pulling in six gold statuettes out of ten total nominations... it was one of the most visual non-stop thrill rides in the history of the movies, and deserved every one of them.

I also get the sense that, without any advanced fanfare, network ABC took a look of the huge buzz generated by the commercials produced for the annual Super Bowl telecast, and decided to see if they could get some of that going for Oscar as well... Samsung and Kohl's were two major sponsors who seemed to go the extra mile for their advertising messages.

Rock's best bit of the evening was a man/woman-in-the-streets-of-Compton interviews that were not only hilarious but brilliantly drove home how different the black experi­ence is from anything this old white guy knows.

The other thing for me was the realization that I've developed a sincere appreciation for Lady GaGa...between that Barnes & Noble duet she did with Tony Bennett, her rendition of the Star Spangled Banner at the Super Bowl, and her stirring performance tonight of the Oscar-nominated "Til It Happens to You."

O, and yeah, the telecast went overlong by about half-an-hour, so there's still work to be done on that count.


1. Jeanne Speir said...

I miss seeing you on all tux'd up on the stage of the Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center, hosting Oscar Night with the elegant, splendid, Joanna Ferraro-Levy.

That was fun, but not enough of a draw to make it worthwhile for PAC.

2. Laura Dragon said...

I was so bored, I fell asleep. A loud commercial woke me up and once the broadcast commenced, I promptly fell asleep again. I think that if I was at the ceremony even with the lure of the Girls Scout cookies being hawked, I would have been bored senseless and would have been asked to leave due to my persistent snoring. I have much higher hopes for the Tony Awards on June 12th.

O, well....

3. Mrs. Genetics said...

On Gaga... the woman has range. Watching her sing a tribute to Julie Andrews and then Stevie Wonder back-to-back is pretty amazing.

As I mentioned, I'm quite late to the Lady Ga-GAH party, but I'm a true believer since the Super Bowl and Oscars telecasts this year, and the links you thoughtfully provided do nothing but increase that appreciation. My wife, who knows a thing or three about singing voices, has been all over her from the jump.

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