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Daniel Craig

Oscar lip stains

By February 25, 2013 Film, Performance

I know viewers and pundits alike love to diss Oscar hosts after the fact but I watch the Academy awards to catch the glimpses of giddy joy from the creative class as they win the giant golden thumbs up from their peers. These people are just people, buffed and puffed as they may be. If you spend any time as I did in the decade I worked in television, you understand they are as vulnerable as anyone, no more heroic, nice or nasty than the rest of us. Bigger paychecks and egos to match but just people. The best moments are when they step out of rehearsed bits and slip on their ballgowns. It reminds us to remove the pedestal.
Every year I nod off at some point and wake up on time for the winners at the end. No, I’m not grey yet. There is simply always a duller than dull lapse in the broadcast when Oscar producers, clearly not interested in pacing rules, have left for the bar. I’m with them.
Here, in no particular order, are the slips and shine from my perch:

  • Seth MacFarlane’s smirk wore on me. He reminded me of those wisecracking popular bros in high school who always had sidekicks. Crass, obvious and not nearly as clever as they think.

  • Darling gorgeous Adele was strangely muted in her Skyfall performance but at the podium she was nothing but herself, unfussed by her surroundings, just plain tickled to be part of the party.

  • Melissa McCarthy and Paul Rudd are two of my go to cut ups but as presenters last night, I wished we all could have been in on the joke. It fell flat, they knew it. I still want to be on their team when they choose players in life.

  • The Bond tribute with no iconic soundbites from the parade of actors in the role over the years was a missed opportunity although I did love the Daniel Craig bathing suit shot.

  • Avengers cast ribbing one another about decades of self abuse proving once again that Hollywood loves a fallen hero.

  • Musical tributes throughout the show seemed misplaced even though I’m a song and dance sucker.  This isn’t the Tony awards where musical numbers are bread and butter of the show. The cast of Les Misérables was the only exception. It would have worked better had they been in costume but the emotion felt as raw as the first time I saw the show on stage.

  • When will the love in for Tarantino fade? I’m not buying. There is nobody who can convince me his original screenplay for Django Unchained was as worthy as the brilliant Moonrise Kingdom. If writers vote for writers, then that one is a puzzler. The emperor is naked, folks.

  • Oscar winner Brenda Chapman, first female director at Pixar, in her acceptance speech for best animated film, Brave: “I want to give a shout out to my wonderful, strong and beautiful daughter Emma who inspired Brave into being” and then the shot of said daughter smiling with a big lipstick  stain on her cheek. The mom in me (of daughters) cheered.

  • Similar lipstick mark on Daniel Day-Lewis’s face after accepting his trophy from Meryl Streep. The two shared a titan’s hug, which brought the actor to tears but in a typically elegant speech, he then flipped it to those who see him only as Intense Method Guy by showing, not only was he the most articulate, poetic, and modest guy in the room, but also the wittiest.

  • Is there anything sexier than actor Jean Dujardin, last wooing us in The Artist, describing women in his thick French accent? Read me the phonebook, Jean. Fifty shades of you and Liam Neeson and I’m done.

  • Weird presenter couplings like Daniel Radcliffe and Kristen Stewart. Both made millions with franchises but she looks eternally stoned while he is the earnest Harry who will continue to work and stretch himself. I’d hire him over her any day.

  • Ang Lee, thanking his Life of Pi cast, “You are all the golden statue in my heart”, sums up this sweet guy’s directing approach. As his frequent awards indicate, it works for him, and for all of us who see his breathtaking results.

  • After telling the world that his marriage is work (oops)!, a wound up Ben Affleck gave up another life lesson in his acceptance speech for Argo as best picture: “You have to work harder than you think you possible can, you can’t hold grudges  (it’s hard!) and it doesn’t matter how you get knocked down in life because that is going to happen. All that matters is that you gotta get up.” Truisms all but it helps having George Clooney as your co-producer: the guy has the Midas touch.

    Forgive me for yawning. For everyone wondering just how the Argo momentum went all the way to scoop best picture, remember: it is still an old boys club and the frat president is George.

Poignant moment of the night goes to Barbra Streisand singing The Way We Were. She introduced the song, after the memorial tribute montage, as a tribute to composer Marvin Hamlisch who wrote the Oscar winning song for the 1973 film of the same name. The voice wasn’t quite the same but few have her magic.When she sang “If we had the chance to do it all again, tell me would we?” and chuckled” of course,we would!”, she was speaking for all of us, remembering anything and everything.  I cried. Might have been the champagne but the tears were real. Are you surprised, dear readers?

Oscar was working his magic.

See my earlier Oscar snapshots and why I cheered at certain moments.

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