Saturday, March 5, 2016

Oscar Telecast Retrospective Part 4: Home Stretch

With six categories still to go the time crunch was clearly being felt by the producers, as they sped through the two music categories and onto the final four.

This is where I sounded my loudest cheer and my most prolonged groan of the night, in rapid succession.

Firstly, despite the fact that it was largely foreseeable for weeks in advance, hearing Quincey Jones announce Ennio Morricone (followed by “My brother, congratulino!”) was a tremendous thrill, as was watching him embrace fellow legend John Williams while the house rose to its feet. Bar none, the most special moment of the night.

Too bad it had to be followed up by this blunder. And I'm not even talking about the decision to give “Writing's on the Wall” an Oscar, but about Smith's oopsy- -daisy misinformation spreading of being the first openly gay man to win one.
You can forgive Smith for misquoting sir Ian McKellan (hey, we all make mistakes), especially when his heart was in the right place, but some of his post-show remarks have dug him into an even deeper hole, almost comically so, unwittingly turning him into this year's John Travolta. The social media fallout has even driven him from Twitter, making this the Oscar season's most entertaining epilogue.

We know who isn't laughing though. Dianne Warren. She really thought she finally had it this year. But 0-for-8 is enough for me to make another one of my pessimistic 'Deakins predictions':

Dianne Warren will never win an Academy Award.

Now this was just awful. Save this Ali G. shtick for something other than a Best Picture nominee clip.
In fact, save it all together.

Moving on to a trio of inevitable locks.

Inarritu collecting his fourth Oscar in two years still rankles, especially when I think to Linklater and Anderson getting blanked last year. He kept speaking for 45 sec. after the orchestra began playing him off.

The velvet-tuxed Eddie Redmayne emerged to present Best Actress. Baffling choice of clip for Blanchett, perfect choice for Rampling. Not that it mattered when Brie was such a lock. Playing the “Candy Mountain” song as Brie walked the aisle was another baffling choice, undercutting Room's dramatic tone. That along with Sacha Baron Cohen's irreverent bit would be enough to fool people into thinking it's a comedy.

Best Actor was next. Cranston's clip was a better showcase for his costar Elle Fanning than for him. Leo wasted no time getting up to the stage, knowing he would have an ovation eating into his speech, which was quite polished, on point, and frankly pretty great. Didn't care for the movie or the performance, but I'll not begrudge him the honour. You can't help but feel he's earned it.

The last award of the night, bestowed by the voice of God himself (Morgan Freeman) upon the excellent Spotlight. I jumped up and whooped! I can only echo Michael Keaton's excitement:
"Fuck yeah!"

Two Best Pictures in a row for the rejuvenated star. If anyone deserves a Girl Scout cookie, it's him. Will he be back next year for The Founder, or has the move to an August release torpedoed him already? Wait, I'm starting to think too far ahead again! We'll save that conversation for a few weeks from now...

Check back within the week for my highlights and pet peeves from the season, and then we'll put a cap on 2015 for good.


  1. As long as she keeps writing saccharine power ballads with on-the-nose lyrics (as much as that can sometimes be awesome), then yes, Ms. Warren will never win.

  2. I'd Say Swapping out Best Song for Best Stunt work would be a fair trade, especially since Best Song is being picky about which songs will be performed, let's not show favoritism or anything like that...