By Hillel Aron
By Joseph Tsidulko
By Patrick Range McDonald
By David Futch
By Hillel Aron
By Dennis Romero
By Jill Stewart
By Dennis Romero
At this year’s post-Oscars Governor’s Ball, Sid Ganis should have been reviled and even exiled. Instead, the president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which produces the ABC telecast, was the man of the hour, congratulated profusely by the assembled moguls and talent. It’s no wonder, then, that this loopy show fails year after year, because smug Hollywood just keeps self-medicating. These machers are more willing to stuff the party’s organic Kobe beef cheeseburgers into their mouths than put their money where their show is. I’ll remember this stinko 79th Academy Awards more than previous years because it seriously stinted on the one thing the world has come to expect from Hollywood: glorious, unabashed excess. Tell me: Did the Academy’s accountants abscond in advance with the telecast cash? (For chrissake, the producers didn’t even spring for a translator for Lifetime Achievement award winner Ennio Morricone, leaving hapless Clint Eastwood to make sense of that bubbling barrage of Italian-speak.) The show was lacking in razzle-dazzle. It had no trash and flash. Why, the Lucky Seven Lounge in Reno does a better act even on a weeknight.
Halfway through this snore fest, I was certain that ABC was about to voluntarily pay the FCC $500,000 just to make Beyoncé’s boob pop out. Instead, the audience got to see Gwyneth Paltrow’s nipple and, as luck would have it, she’s only a double-A cup.
The show was tantamount to an amateur hour shot back in the 1950s. Obviously, AMPAS is unaware that the world now has color television. James Taylor performed Randy Newman’s song “Our Town” from Cars on a bare black stage with just a piano and a guitar. Ellen DeGeneres and the Pilobolus dance troupe made shadow puppets behind a white screen to simulate a lame joke about Snakes on a Plane. (Looked more like Lobsters on a Plane to me.) Jack Black, Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly performed on a stripped-down set decorated with just a piano and their tuxedos. I wasn’t sure that this was the Academy Awards and not Friday night at the Friars Club. Even Ellen’s monologue and running commentary were no-frills; they ignored topical jokes like Bald Britney and that dead blond bimbo. As a friend e-mailed me, “This was like a Reagan-era show.” The presenter list was even missing Sacha Baron Cohen, who could have at least injected some postmillennial humor. But he said he would do the show only if he could be in character as Borat, and the powers that be said, “No way.” Morons.
It was the night that the Academy finally killed off what used to be its showstopper of a movie-award ceremony. I and the rest of America are the ones who bore the scars of the Oscars Sunday night, while Hollywood giddily skipped out the next morning to the doctor’s office for an emergency round of Botox. (Will someone please send me the name of Sherry Lansing’s plastic surgeon? He did a fab job. Or maybe people just look great when Viacom’s Sumner Redstone is no longer browbeating them.)
Well, I say enough is enough. Who isn’t sick of getting stuck sitting through an ass-numbing show that runs on and on beyond reason with nothing entertaining to speak of? Or waiting a full 15 minutes for even the first film clip to be shown? As a comedian friend told me, “If this goes on any longer, they’re going to be reporting next weekend’s Friday-night box office, the obituary package is going to be out of date, and the ballots will be going out for next year’s awards.” This same frustration was echoed in this e-mail to my live blog on DeadlineHollywoodDaily.com: “If they show another montage, I think it should be of people killing themselves while watching the Oscars.”
Only the red-carpet arrivals didn’t disappoint. At first, Joan Rivers was trying to sound sane and not piss off the stars as they made their way down the gauntlet of media microphones. (After E!, and now the TV Guide channel, where’s left for her and Melissa to go if they blow this gig?) But then Joan’s Evil Twin took control: Interviewing Babel director Alejandro González Iñárritu, she asked, “Who’s the one person here you’d like to work with?” “Catherine Deneuve,” Iñárritu replied. To which Joan responded, “Well, she’s very, very snotty.” Then Melissa dissed Hollywood’s short Jews. On second thought, Joan and Melissa next year won’t even find work on local cable access.
E! Entertainment had its usual boobs coverage: Hosts were plugging the Victoria’s Secret custom bra given to the five Best Actress nominees so as to be able to use the word “cleavage” 800 times. Then E! was gushing about “spanks,” derrière-enhancement undergarments. I’m sure E! has planned a follow-up mockumentary about body image.