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Some Afterthoughts on the 2012 Academy Awards

Posted on the 28 February 2012 by Eatsleeptelevision

And just like that, another year’s worth of Oscars are over and done with. It almost feels like an eerie kind of Christmas morning, with weeks of hype and anticipation all building and building and building and then blammo- everything’s over, to be largely forgotten in a day or two.

Meh. It’s how these things work. Now let’s do some serious pontificatin’.

Clearly, after last year’s trainwreck of an attempt to hip things up for the movie-loving youth, the powers that be decided that this year’s Oscars should cater to only the blandest, oldest demographics.

Billy Crystal started out the night with your typical intro where the host inserts him or herself into this year’s biggest movies, complete with a stale Justin Bieber cameo no one ever asked for. Then, to liven things up a little, Crystal sang a medley of some very old standards with the requisite movie puns inserted within.

But, to his credit, once Crystal loosened up a little, about halfway through the show, he got significantly more fun to watch. A couple good cracks about the economy, and an impression of a candy-apple red Nick Nolte actually got some belly laughs out of me. Crystal ended up playing it safe, for sure, but this was miles ahead of an either very stoned or very bored James Franco.

The other bits were similarly hit-or-miss. Robert Downey Jr. fell completely flat for me (but, in his defense, that was not the greatest material the world has ever seen) but there were a handful of hysterical moments, like Emma Stone’s giggly power play or Bradley Cooper’s moustache. And the awards themselves were also fairly standard. Granted, I only got a 12/25 score on my scorecard (not great), but all of the major awards were pretty predictable, save for Meryl Streep.

And what about Ms. Streep? Personally, I was gunning for Viola Davis, but Streep as a pretty terrific reputation in this industry (albeit a reputation I don’t entirely understand), so it’s not like this was something that came out of left field.  Everything else I more or less agree with. Viola Davis, the bevy of awards for The Artist, Jim Rash (of Community fame) getting an oscar for The Descendants- it all works for me.

Also, a quick note about the talking heads that kept popping up between awards- I get  certain people like Robert De Niro, Edward Norton and plenty of others are important figures in Hollywood, but… Adam Sandler? Reese Witherspoon? Seth Rogen? Why are those people there? Why should I care what they think about movies as a legitimate art form? The same goes for that movie montage in the beginning that seemed to have no recurring theme other than “all of these are movies-” why are things like Titanic and Avatar and Twilight being featured here? I don’t understand.

So yeah, the Oscars were a little tame and a little predictable this year, and secretly I missed being able to point and laugh at James Franco’s total lack of emotion, but this wasn’t terrible. And sadly, that’s the best praise I can lay on the Academy Awards this year.

“This wasn’t terrible.”

I can’t wait ’till it all happens again next year.


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