Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Another Oscars ceremony comes and goes

I don't have a lot to say, one way or another, about this year's Oscars.

And don't take that as some kind of passive-aggressive complaint about it. I mean exactly what I say: I don't have a lot to say.

But I believe philosophically that it's the responsibility of a film blog to at least stop and acknowledge the Oscars once a year on the morning afterward. Even if your postmortem doesn't amount to much more than this post will amount to.

That's a fairly big change from the way I handled the Oscars on this blog just two years ago, when I built up to the telecast with a week's worth of Oscar-themed posts. I even used a little Oscar logo at the top of each piece, to denote its status as part of a series.

But I think that year may have been the aberration, rather than this one. For some reason, that year I felt an unusual amount of pre-show enthusiasm. I didn't particularly care about either of the films vying for best picture (Avatar and The Hurt Locker) and I knew the top two acting awards were going to go to performances from movies I didn't think were so great (Crazy Heart and The Blind Side). For some reason, though, that year I had a lot to say.

But I think this year is more the norm, or at least the new norm. One big difference is that 2010 was the last year I didn't have a child. There was nothing to impede watching the show in real time, and there were fewer distractions in general.

This year? We didn't start watching the show until other people had been watching it for more than two hours. The show starts at 5:30 in LA, and that's when we start feeding our son dinner. After that he's got a bath and story time -- not to mentioning pooping time, which is a period of unspecified activity that lasts maybe 10 minutes in between dinner and bath time, in the hopes that he will not poop in the bath. (Something that has happened less than five times, but has traumatized us enough that we've added pooping time to our regular evening routine.) I was just relieved as hell that the DVR was faithfully recording it when we turned it on two hours later.

However, last night we did rise to the occasion of making up some homemade appetizers to eat with a yummy cocktail that involves pear liqueur and rum. I made some chicken strips covered with bread crumbs and my wife made some chorizo empanadas. After the difficult day we had (some unwanted gardening busted our water pipe, leaving us without water for about five hours), we couldn't believe we actually pulled it off.

I guess that's a moment every parent who loves the Oscars reaches -- at some point, real life just forces itself to take precedence.

But now that I've wasted your time on a bunch of preamble, I will make a few isolated comments about the show. These are not in any way intended to compete with the hundreds of other Oscar postmortem pieces that were written last night and today, so don't come away disappointed.

1) I was glad that The Artist won best picture. It was the nominee I had ranked second highest out of the eight that I saw, and the one I ranked higher (Moneyball) didn't have a snowball's chance. If I had been on the losing end of the head-to-head duel among the top two contenders, as I have been numerous times in the past (including last year), The Descendants would have won. So I'm glad it didn't and that I could have one of my alternating years of feeling satisfied by the film that won.

2) I don't care if the show was a bit boring, I was overjoyed to watch Billy Crystal for three hours. The great thing about Crystal is that even when a joke doesn't work, he's such a professional that it doesn't throw him, and he always manages to pass it off in a jovial way. I just loved his enthusiasm, the fact that he did his usual song, and the fact that in a year of nostalgia-themed movies, he gave us a dose of nostalgia for Oscars past. I'm writing this before I've even read any comments about how he acquitted himself, and for this I am glad -- he will at least be untainted for a bit longer in my mind. And so what if he were riffing on songs that the youngest people in the audience didn't know -- if any year at the movies has tried to tell young people to learn their history, this was it. (Possible favorite moment: Realizing, a few moments later, that "Hanks ... is a memory" was the only reference to Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close in the opening number.)

3) As much as it kills me to say anything positive about her, Angelina Jolie has really nice legs.

See you back here tomorrow with our regularly scheduled Audient piece.

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