Sunday, February 26, 2012

84th Annual Academy Awards: A Review

Billy was back, and he nailed it! In his opening montage (which I was actually dreading, fearing, “old hat”) he was very funny, as were the cameos: To George Clooney: “Say ‘I’m Batman’”/ Justin Bieber (“Good luck, Bob”), Sammy Davis Jr./ The Help gag: “It’s your duty isn’t it?”/ Billy as Tintin. Crystal’s perennial Best Picture nominee medley was terrific too, especially the Hugo bit “…shoot Ben Kingsley in bed, ‘cause you’re Marty!” and even the Tree of Life digs, sung to Alfie: “What’s it all about Malick?…. I heard it even freaked out God.”

Of Crystal’s countless gags that hit the mark:

- Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close: That’s how my relatives are watching the show.

- We’re here at the beautiful Chapter 11 Theater.

- The movies have always been there for us. They’re the place to go to laugh, to cry, to question, to text.

- Nothing can take the sting out of the world’s economic problems like watching millionaires present each other with gold statues.

- The Academy bought a pair of ruby slippers, that Tom Sherak is wearing tonight.

- Harry Potter’s movies made $7.7 billion and yet they only paid 14% income tax, which is interesting.

Only a couple missteps for Billy, like that semi-racist Beverly Hills gag and his Christopher Plummer age stuff, as well as his off-the-mark this time “what are they thinking” bit.

The best comedy bit was with Melissa McCarthy backstage with Billy— started rocky, but had a great pay-off. Additionally, I loved after the big splashy Oscar score thing Billy went, “eh”.

So many really good presenters too this year: Chris Rock— side-splittingly funny, on doing animated films (It’s getting dark outside”); Cymbals bit with Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis; Jennifer Lopez and Cameron Diaz doing that strange butts to camera over-the-shoulder thing actually was refreshingly silly, since they were so stiff up until then, saving them in the end (no pun intended); Ben Stiller and Emma Stone— at last Ben owns up to his usual over-the-top presenting and Emma was fun!

A few “not great” presenters: The Robert Downey Jr. documentary bit wasn’t at all funny and was endless; the Muppets kind of flopped; Bridesmaids humor was pretty lame.

Most stunning looking: Penelope Cruz (again) and Berenice Bejo.

The clip packages were not great.  Especially poor were the celebs talking about “the movies”—they seriously needed to be scripted because people just talking never works [what was Brad Pitt saying about gargantuas?]—Billy was hilarious when he deadpanned after one of them “I’ve never had any of those feelings.”  “The Wizard of Oz” bit with the Christopher Guest regulars was OK amusing.

The Cirque du Soleil act was pretty entertaining (only one slight slip up by one performer).  They should do it every year.  It broke things up, and is better than performing Best Songs—which they left out this year.

Oscar trivia appeared mid-show: 9 SNL cast members who are Oscar nominees (only a few were revealed), sent us scratching our heads at my Oscar party. They are: Dan Aykroyd, George Coe (obscure early cast member; short film nominee), Joan Cusack, Robert Downey Jr., Michael McKean (song), Eddie Murphy, Bill Murray, Randy Quaid, Kristen Wiig.

Odds and ends: I wish they’d go back to the Best Supporting Actress Award as the first given, starting on a “technical” award is always a bore; the band in the balcony was a strange shot to see over and over (the music was good, just the shot was weird); I’m so glad they continued the reading of the name of the movie when announcing winners for the technical categories before the names of the winners, so viewers at home could score their ballots; Descendents co-writer (TV’s Community co-star) Jim Rash mimicking Angelina Jolie’s stance was hilarious and Alexander Payne’s thing about his mother was good too; not just your TV award: the audio was strange at times (weird piercing/beeping sound as people spoke).

La Streep triumphs! Oscar records scorecard time: Meryl Streep is now only one of five actors who have won 3 Oscars (the others: Walter Brennan, Katharine Hepburn [won 4], Ingrid Bergman, and Jack Nicholson).

To sum it up: Billy, we’ve missed you! Another good one, Billy on Academy President Tom Sherak’s speech: “Thank you Tom, and thank you for whipping the crowd into a frenzy”—haha! Billy, please come back next year.

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