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Oscars after party

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Tim Wilson
Oscars after party
on Mar 3, 2014 at 8:11:47 pm

I have a bunch to say about a bunch of stuff (for a change), but this is all ima say about the Oscars for now (for a change).

I know that most of you kids are too cool to watch the People's Choice Awards, but I think they're goofy fun. This year was hosted by the the young women from 2 Broke Girls, and I think they did a dandy job, especially Kat, who I think is aces.

One of my favorite bits of the night was when the stage filled with lookalikes of the characters the girls play, in their waitress uniforms, and brought burgers and fries TO THE ENTIRE AUDIENCE.

...prompting the classic line from Kat, "Some of me are definitely dudes."

No kidding, though, they weren't just on the stage. They went into the crowd and fed what looked like was going to be dang near everyone in the room. Certainly hundreds of people. It was obviously a self-promotional bit, but it was FUNNY, and they COMMITTED to it.

Admittedly, burgers and fries are easier to manage than slices of pizza, but there's the problem with this year's Oscars. They didn't COMMIT. Not to anything, and certainly not to the stupid "Who's hungry" joke.

Telling Harvey to get the tip was almost funny, but c'mon, that bit should have started with Ellen asking JENNIFER LAWRENCE if she was hungry. JLaw was right there on the front row, and in EVERY SINGLE INTERVIEW last year, on the red carpet and afterward for DAYS, she talked about how hungry she was.


She was ACTUALLY THERE. She won an award. She SAW how to do that joke the right way, she STOLE it, and she BLEW it.

So, failing to commit, but to a joke that wasn't funny, that she actually stole, but that MIGHT have at least related to SOMETHING vaguely Oscar-ish with the tiniest bit of attention to detail -- that's the night in a nutshell.

On the other hand, I did think that Adele Azim was awesome.

No, wait, THAT's the night in a nutshell. ADELE AZIM?!?

Adele Azim. Or did I get that wrong? AZEEM. [Insert eye roll and assorted trivial blasphemies.] Are we certain that that wasn't a code word to launch an invasion?

Anyway, more later.....

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Mark Suszko
Re: Oscars after party
on Mar 3, 2014 at 9:11:24 pm

Meh. The Academy wants a safe, uncontroversial show. They got one.

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Tim Wilson
Re: Oscars after party
on Mar 3, 2014 at 10:05:24 pm

To the point that the show itself is inevitably mainstream, regardless of the host, I thought Ellen's point was the right one: the nominees 7 years ago had a pretty big overlap with the ones this time.

But I don't agree AT ALL that the GOAL of the Academy is to have a safe show. They've consistently made some pretty bold, quite UNsafe choices.

Now, going back to Billy Crystal -- THAT was safe. It had the delightful side effect of making sure that he'll never do it again. {Please, pretty please.) He actually delivered LOWER ratings than Hathaway and Franco. #suckit

The Academy's problem has been that their unsafe choices tend to blow up on them.

An example was the Seth MacFarlane show. Complete Hollywood outsider, MORE than irreverent. He's also an old-fashioned crooner who has done some highly acclaimed recordings (no kidding - check his Amazon reviews), which made him a very interesting choice.

(FWIW, ratings virtually identical to Steve Martin/Alec Baldwin, when people still thought the latter was funny.)

The MacFarlane show was a ton better than people give it credit for, btw. It's the satirist's dilemma that he looks like a sexist while mocking sexism, but the women he showed in the audience were in on the joke, and he made a hugely valid point that needs making again and again. Nudity in Hollywood is overwhelming made by and for leering little boys, and is almost entirely overtly misogynist. He stuck the landing on that point, and got pilloried for it. NOT safe.

Choosing Anne Hathaway and James Franco looks ridiculous now, but think about the movies they'd just done. NOT safe. Franco in particular was known, and I mean KNOWN, as a drug-abusing (or drug-AMUSING), fringe-y, performance art-style unpredictable guy who was doing genuinely gonzo work at the time. Him crawling into a shell wasn't the Oscars fault. They wanted a wild man and HE failed to deliver. Anne was (and is) more mainstream, but still far from insider-y, and anything but a traditional choice. The fact that the Academy wiffed doesn't mean they didn't swing for the fences.

Letterman was anything but safe, and looking back, people jumped on the trivial "Oprah/Uma" joke that actually holds up better than anyone could have imagined....but again, not the Academy's fault that he didn't click.

Not only was Jon Stewart NOT a safe, traditional choice, but he delivered my personal favorite Oscar moment of all time, and came back for a second round. Chris Rock - outstanding. Hugh Jackman - safe-ish of course, but not traditional, and, frankly, a god. Any excuse to behold his wonder is a good one. Too bad about having to wear a shirt the whole time.

Anybody remember that Richard Pryor hosted TWICE? Those were in years that there were multiple hosts -- but dude, Richard Pryor. TWICE.

Now, obviously, Ellen is safer than most of those....but really, other than her flat improv, she was far from the problem. The fact is that I enjoyed the evening as a whole, and will get into specifics of that, but who do you want? What do you want it to look like? How much further out than Chris Rock and Jon Stewart do you want to go, and what would they say?

I don't think that there's anything wrong with that, but in all the "this is what's wrong with the Oscars," I've never seen anyone propose anything that hasn't been tried, sometimes with more success than others.

But I also don't know what "safe" even means in this context. What are we talking about? Ricky Gervais? Louis CK? Really? Tina and Amy are lovable, and have a ton of energy, but they're maybe 3 jokes tougher than Ellen.

Now, if you want to see safe, you should have Stephen Fry, one of the funniest humans on the planet, hosting the movie BAFTA awards. Very safe here, especially with royalty in the house, but still pretty funny. The head of BAFTA is William, His Royall Highness, the Duke of Cambrdige, and when he gave an award to Helen Mirren, joked that he should refer to her as "Granny," which I thought was HILARIOUS.

So THAT's my beef. Not with safety or the lack thereof. I want FUNNY. I want ENERGETIC. I want ENTERTAINING. Johnny Carson equalled all of those. Edgy? NOOOOOOO. He was 100% the definition of mainstream, safe for retirees and grandparents of all ages humor. And he KILLED on the Oscars.

Look, if you excise the improv from last night, Ellen wasn't that far off the. The problems were deeper...but they were also "other" than that, imo, and NONE of them had to do with wanting to be mainstream...or actually BEING mainstream, which they are.

But so was Carson.

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Mike Cohen
Re: Oscars after party
on Mar 4, 2014 at 10:26:50 am

Ok so the pizza gag was planned, somewhat over planned but it is live tv. They ordered 20 pizzas ahead of time and had warming ovens backstage, and it was a real pizza delivery boy, though the producers wanted to hire an actor. Typical. Ellen supposedly demanded a real delivery person. This info from the Hollywood Reporter whose stories read like press releases, so who knows what's true

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