The 85th Academy Awards show is in the books and I for one would like to thank the Academy for spending 2 hours handing out Oscars for things like production design, makeup, hairstyling, and sound mixing, so the awards for stuff like best actor, best actress and best picture would come on after midnight. Only the inflated egos and hedonism of an industry like Hollywood could take 4 and a half hours to celebrate…itself.
I watched the first 2 hours or so with Pam and Jon, and before hand, just to make it fun, we all printed off our own ballots and voted for everything ourselves. Let me tell you, trying to decide who did the best job of sound editing for 5 movies you haven’t seen isn’t as easy as it looks! Anyway, at least now, we had a little competition going to make the evening more interesting.
I was feeling smugly confident after forging ahead with my brilliant pick of Christoph Waltz as best supporting actor and “Brave” as best animated feature film. But then things fell apart as my voting strategy in the short film categories failed miserably. Since not only had I not seen any of the nominated films,( where does one go to see short films?), I voted for the entry that sounded the most ethnic, the one that perhaps had been made about the most persecuted minority, counting on Hollywood’s propensity to throw bones to minorities by giving them “little” Oscars. Well, “Fresh Guacamole” and “Asad” let me down big time. It was all downhill from there. I did manage to correctly predict the winners for best actor and best actress but that was about the extent of my prognostication skills.
What I did find interesting was that in the entire 2 and a half hours that I watched, I heard not one single political joke, not one snarky putdown of the occupant of the White House. During the administration of every Republican president in my lifetime, it has been an article of faith that the Oscar ceremony was the ideal time for “speaking truth to power”, so actors great and small would routinely take shots at the President over the various injustices that he was trying to inflict on the country, from failing to adequately fund AIDS research to cutting funding for PBS, but this year, nary a peep of complaint from the glitterati. Not only that, I learn this morning, that the First Lady actually made a satellite appearance to present the Oscar for best picture, the shining jewel of the night. Wow! I guess all those fundraising events in Beverly Hills paid off for the President in more ways than one. The most hilarious thought of the night turned out to be trying to imagine any Republican first lady being awarded with such a plum assignment. Yes, here’s Barbara Bush live from Kennebunkport to present the Oscar for best picture, or let’s give it up for Laura Bush as she makes her way to the podium to award Quentin Tarrentino with the Oscar for best director. Hilarious.