Watching the Oscars while sick offers a cocktail of kicks. While I don’t recommend it entirely—stomach flu has zero charm unlike its cousin, the common cold which allows for chicken soup—I will say this for it: delirium rids the thing of any heft. Bereft of appetite, I opted instead for the swish banquet and found it missing, I don’t know…taste? Is Mel Gibson really there, sitting in the front rows? Surely my fever is running high. You know it’s bad when Ben Mulroney is asking the most intelligent questions of all the red carpet worker bees. He was polite and up to speed on creative projects and carried on with a tone just this side of schmooze, any gush factor turned low. I want to book him for my next party.
Galling was that tour bus of “regular folk” herded into the Dolby theatre. The producer in me was immediately suspicious: surely these were hired actors? No one with an eye on the network clock would risk such a stunt. Nope. As we would see later on, control was not in the hands of the production team that night. Look, cried the Hollywood elite, the unwashed masses are here. Let us greet them with our godly embrace. Run along now-this is rarified air. Recently released from jail, “Gary from Chicago” is now an internet meme and about to find out what happens when fame moves in and eats everything in your fridge.
In a month when astronomers discovered seven earth-sized planets orbiting a nearby star, the Envelope Switch Crisis has been through the wash cycle and thrown to conspiracy monkeys to duke it out in the jungle of alternative news. Perhaps the guy who caused the error will face down some avengers in a dark alley somewhere. Most of those involved agree they all behaved very well, it they do say so themselves. What class we all have. Nobody even threw a punch.
It should have been a great moment for African American people, but there’s always a catch.”Here’s your Oscar, but some white folks get to touch it first.”
What worked for sick girl? Here follows only what I can remember:
- the inspiration video segments. Artists telling each other what inspired them was touching and appropriate fare. This is what the Academy should be focusing on. I can never figure out why they don’t spend more time on the craft itself. Instead, celebrity is the currency of the day. More how they do it, then what they all look like when cleaned up and given five million bucks of jewelry to wear and a stylist to dream up a wow gown.
- Mahershala Ali’s lack of ego. “As actors, we are in service of these stories”.
- All the shoutouts to the moms. Because duh.
- Best writing went to two sublime scripts. Best adapted screenplay to Barry Jenkins and Tarell Alvin McCraney for Moonlight. Best original screenplay to Kenneth Lonergan for Manchester by the Sea. The world is round after all. These wins will mean more people will see both films which are hardly rah-rah-round ’em up movies. But they should be.
- The trio of winners for Best Makeup (Suicide Squad) arrived on stage and asked each other who should speak first, but Alessandro Bertolazzi grabbed the mike and shouted ” I WAITED FOR 50 YEARS SO I WANNA TALK!”. I’m thinking of stealing that for my talk show.
- Viola Davis is the reminder every young actor needs to be prepared and act actorly, for god’s sakes. Best moment came when she called out her costar and director Denzel Washington: “Oh captain, my captain…”
- The Jungle Book’s win for best visual effects. Here’s a film that should have been in the group of best pictures and given a best director nomination for Jon Favreau. The film was made entirely on a bluescreen stage in LA. All of the animals and the jungle itself were computer generated. The only live action came from the wonderful Neel Sethi playing Mowgli. And it was a vibrant and stunning film. A sequel is already in the works. The same team will reunite with Favreau for a live action remake of The Lion King
- Justin Timberlake and the Tennessee Kids getting the whole building to forget their finery and get down, first to his own nominated hit Can’t Stop the Feeling but then to the awesome Bill Withers Lovely Day. From my lump on the couch, this felt like a welcome cleanse. Sorry JT, I didn’t boogie along but I’ll take your cheese anyday. That is when my appetite returns. “Got this feeling in my body.” Yup.
That’s all I can remember. More on the other side of wellness.