Monday, March 3, 2014

Snarky as Ever: My Review of the 2014 Academy Awards

Anybody hungry?
I am actually shocked at myself for saying this as I am a die-hard (...or so I thought, having been raised watching award shows with my mother) but I might actually be getting fed up with the Oscars.

I love movies...being entertained...losing myself in a good story acted out by beautiful and talented actors and actresses but, somehow, the self-congratulatory nonsense of last night was irritating. But why? What changed?

One answer might actually have been the absence of the time limit on acceptance speeches and the music that, in the past, would well up, ultimately drowning out the protracted babbling of many a long-winded recipient.

While, in the past, I have been outraged that the music cut off the winners, last night I realized that I don't necessarily want to actually hear their speeches, prepared or spontaneous. I found myself longing for something  to just put an end to some of those endless thank yous that seemed outwardly humble yet were subliminally swollen with consuming ego and personal aggrandizement.
Cute, shut up.

Case in point: I'd forgotten that Matthew McConaughey, who has undeniably become a superb character actor in the past few years and was deserving of his win for the portrayal of an AIDS vicitm in "The Dallas Buyers Club," is, as himself, a rambling slightly bizarre dude who plays up his accent and tells too many stories about, guess who---himself. 

I did not care that he is is own hero or whatever he was blathering about up there. Thank your mother and get the hell off.

But a lot led up to Matthew's win for best actor.There's a lot to talk about.
Kind of scary but don't be rude.

To start, Ellen Degeneres was mean to Liza Minelli.

Has Liza had way too much plastic surgery? Absolutely. Has her personal life (she marries lots of gay men) been a bit quirky? You could say that. Has she struggled with addiction? Sure. But has she won 4 Tonys, an Oscar, 2 Golden Globes, an Emmy and a Grammy? Yes, she has and that's worth a little respect, no? 

Not to mention, it could not have been easy being the daughter of a true Hollywood legend like Judy Garland. Complimenting her for being the most amazing "Liza Minelli impersonator" she'd ever seen and calling her "sir" was hurtful. And Liza looked hurt. 

A host should not insult her guests. That's a basic rule of hospitality.
The famous selfie.

No, we don't want any freakin'
pizza, Ellen.
I also thought that Ellen's extended schticks -- walking through the audience chatting up uncomfortable looking nominees surrounded by awkward silence, taking that stupid selfie and especially the ordering and distribution of pizza to the front rows (imagine getting sauce on your $100,000 designer gown before you had to go on stage?) were neither entertaining nor funny and, therefore, a waste of precious time.

Angelina needs a cupcake.

As for the presenters, it's time for Anne Hathaway to stop trying to appear relaxed and actually relax. Zac Efron and Jared Leto were prettier than anyone there with exception of the gorgeous Penelope Cruz who won not only for being the most beautiful woman in attendance while, at the same time, managing to look the most like an insect. And, why did the Academy pair their two most frail stars--the emaciated Angelina Jolie and the aged but still elegant Sidney Poitier? If either one of them had fallen over -- which looked like a distinct possibility for both-- the other would have been totally helpless in assisting the even more unsteady presenter to his or her feet. 

Javier Bardem's and an
entomologist'a dream.

Jim Carrey was, as usual, both hilarious and scary and Harrison Ford should gets huge kudos for presenting an award despite having passed away earlier in the night....probably during the selfie-taking or pizza ordering portion of the festivities.
As she once was.

The most memorable presenters made major impressions but not for good reasons.

Kim Novak stunned the universe by showing up looking as if her entire face had been reconstructed from cadaver parts and then sutured shut. Between her plastic, molded cheeks, her whittled nose, her extended chin and her total inability to move her mouth, I am sure she made everyone in the audience think twice about having "some work" done. 
Last night.

Now, at the age of 81, all that is left of her is the throaty voice and the status of having starred alongside some big names and being directed by, among others, Alfred Hitchcock.

Never a great actress, she was known for her beauty. In Hollywood, however, "legend" status is bestowed if you are still ambulatory after a certain age and played in the big leagues, despite your batting average.

For me, the most memorable presenter of the night was none other than John Travolta. 

Once the adorable Vinnie Barbarino, the sexy, brash yet vulnerable Tony Manero and the charming Danny Zucko, Travolta is no less a characature than Miss Novak...mostly thanks to his hair. What was happening on his head last night was epic both in color and design. Plus, he is a shining example of the failure of scientology, which promised to cure his dyslexia, as he introduced the lovely Idina Menzel as Adele Dazeem. This confused no one more than the clearly befuddled Menzel. I actually find the name Adele Dazeem to be very nice....I wonder if she can sing.

As far as fashion went, I long for the days before everyone hired stylists to dress them. Long gone are the exposed ass cheeks of both Barbra Stresiand in the 60s and Cher in the 80s, replaced, this year, by drab yet tasteful no-color strapless dresses and standard issue Harry Winston chokers. The men sported the trend of short suit pants that exposed a colorful slice of sock and Pharrel insisted on wearing a black version of the enormous hat he sported at the Grammys. 

Before stylists: Cher as a presenter, then as a recipient...
and yes, those cheeks were bare, too.

Whoopie Goldberg chose a re-configured version of the habit she wore in Sister Act and Jennifer Garner must have been between stylists because her fringed flapper dress did not fit. And, please, Mrs. Baz Luhrman-costume designer, as you dug your acceptance speech out of your cleavage, don't claim that keeping things of importance in your underwear is an Australian thing to is a Brooklyn thing to do. I have been keeping Jimmy Hoffa, the missing Water Gate tapes as well as my Costco card and cash in mine for decages.

As for Pink singing "Over the Rainbow" 
Pink in red.

I love Pink. She appears on my Spotify play list many times and I always enjoy when the change falls out of her pockets during one of her aerialist routines but that song needs to be sung by a wistful and sweet voice.

Pink, despite her talent, could have beaten up Dorothy as well as Uncle Henry and Auntie Em with one hand tied behind her back. Plus, she always seems a bit belligerent. After Ellen crapped upon Liza Minelli in the early moments of the broadcast, they should have bungeed Pink up in the parking lot and let Liza sing her mother's signature song.
You have to pay your dues to be
a member of the club, J-Law.

For me, the best parts were Pharrell's red sequined high tops, the frequent thank-yous and blown kisses to all the mommys of the winners and the commercial for a new Mercedes that brags of the abiltiy to emit the owner's favorite "smell" into the car as they drive (potato pancake for me, please).

And, while Jennifer Lawrence is refreshing and spontaneous, I would like to remind her that she is still very young and has yet to earn the right, despite last year's award, to behave like such a seasoned insider. When she took the stage to present the award for best actor, her smart-mouth challenge to someone in the audience fell flat, received no laughs and made me want to run outside and roll in the snow.

So that's it until next year, friends. Last night's Academy Awards left me with little more than a craving for pizza and a continued aversion to scientology (not capitalized for a reason).  Congrats to all the, get over yourselves.
But Tom Cruise is a member.


  1. I love reading your snarky reviews, even when I
    don't agree with them, Susan. Never, never, never stop watching the Oscars, please. --- Shiela

  2. Okay, if you say so, Shiela....and thanks so much for reading my reviews!