Monday, February 27, 2012

Oscars 2012

Photo from Just Jared
As the Superbowl is to football, so the Oscars are to movie lovers. You may not always be happy with the final contenders, but it's still a fun time to party and celebrate something that has added a lot of joy to your life.

The 2012 Academy Awards bore the theme "Back to the Movies." A good business move on the Academy's part to remind people of why it's worth seeing films in the theaters and not illegally downloading them on your smartphone. There's an elegance and, well, experience to traditional theater that most of us can appreciate even if our wallets can't, and it was fun to the red velvet, theater marquees, and popcorn on display.

Billy Crystal was a late but welcome addition to the show, replacing original host Eddie Murphy. An experience host, he smoothly handled the transitions and jokes, never going too far (well, except perhaps for kissing George Clooney? But seriously, who wouldn't want to kiss George Clooney?) and generally presiding excellently over the festivities. My only complaint is that the live captioning was so poor for the ceremony that I was unable to get the jokes at the same time as everyone else, which does tend to make things slightly less funny. Hopefully a captioned version of Crystal's opening song will end up on youtube at some point so I can properly appreciate that lovely bit of music.

Anyhow, overall it was quite a lovely show. Nothing over the top remarkable, but neither were there any parts that we felt we needed to switch the channel. Enjoyable, fun and elegant, it's what the Oscars should be. And let's not start about the gorgeous dresses on display... I already wrote a whole ode to the beauty over at Confessions of a Seamstress!

The presenters were overall quite good (although I felt Sandra Bullock fell a little flat), with the highlights being Robert Downey Junior and Gwyneth Paltrow bringing in their Ironman banter, and Emma Stone absolutely hamming it up (can't wait to see more of that girl in future shows!). Also fun was the brief appearance from Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy.

The awards were also fairly well appropriated this year. Especially perfect were all of the actor awards. Octavia Spencer was a must for supporting actress, as was Christopher Plummer for supporting actor who now sets the record as the all time oldest Oscar winner. Jean Dujardin was so lovely that even though I haven't seen "The Artist" yet I was absolutely delighted to see him win.

Perhaps the most difficult category was Best Actress. Every single woman nominated had played a difficult and unique role and I honestly could not have picked one. Apparently the Academy couldn't either, so they went with the most logical choice. Meryl Streep, who keeps getting nominated (a record 17!) but never winning. Apparently they always thought "Oh, Meryl will be back in another fantastic role next year, we'll let her win later."

Also fantastic was the fact that each of this four winners had unique and great acceptance speeches. Spontaneously joyous and surprised reactions from Octavia and Jean, and lovely bits of humor and wit from Christopher and Meryl.

Well folks, those are the highlights! If you didn't catch the show last night, hopefully this will direct you towards which youtube vids are worth looking up. And if you did -- what were your favorite moments?

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