Not being at an Oscar party this year where I would have had to worry about being sociable, or keeping cheese dip off of my tux, it was nonetheless a challenge to stay at home with the family and try to sit through an excruciating 90 minutes of red carpet arrivals followed by a roughly almost four hour (felt like more) plodding lead by Neil Patrick Harris.
Other than a re-enactment of the Birdman scene where he ended up on stage (after threatening the drummer from Whiplash, Miles Teller, with a few slaps) where he ended up looking like a Calvin Klein ad (in black socks), I was never sure whether he was ad libbing mispronunciations of star’s names or had been scripted via teleprompter, but there were lots of limp gags including his predictions of who would win. He really bombed. Surprisingly. Except his comment about “tonight we are here to honor Hollywood’s best and whitest—I mean brightest—this was a snub to Selma, which deserved a lot more recognition, but was ignored largely by the Academy this year. But Harris looks like he’s in good shape.
This is a show not for those serious about film or where it’s heading (or where it’s not). It’s for star worship. And, like the Super Bowl, almost an afterthought. A highly touted event that comes after the Super Bowl to fill in the long cold nights until we can hope for the first glimmers of Spring. It’s Hollywood congratulating itself, and trying to drum up more glamor and PR to drive more people to the movies. A 600 billion dollar plus business—Hollywood provides lots of jobs and film is one of our main exports. In other words, it’s an event completely worth watching.
Last year, I took the Oscars as an opportunity to comment on the cosmetic surgery that the stars had had, both good and bad, because both the good and the bad were so obvious. This year, there was a lot of good, and not a lot of bad, to my eye. Perhaps it was all covered with makeup. This year was the year of the white smile. Everyone’s teeth seemed whiter (hard to get that effect in HD), prettier, and younger. Can teeth be too white?
As far as the fashion, Gwyneth Paltrow wins as the most beautiful woman in a horrendous outfit. Lady Gaga, as the most courageous (in a custom-made Alaia dress wearing red dishwashing gloves). Her performance introducing Julie Andrews was electrifying…and Julie Andrews gets my vote for most beautiful almost octogenarian.
Now, to the men…Benedict Cumberbatch—I heard him interviewed this week on NPR and watched him on the red carpet and at the awards—what an amazingly eloquent spokesman for the business and mechanics of acting for television and film, for the struggle with the difficulty with new found fame, and for the odd cerebral and dysfunctional characters that he plays and how we associate him with genius.
In the interview he proves that he actually owns the precocity of his characters and can speak about them vividly. But what an odd looking gentleman—his face is too long, too thin, his cheeks too large, his eyes too far apart—yet it all pulls together and is carried convincingly by his intellect. Neither he, nor Philly’s own Bradley Cooper, won in the Best Actor category last night. We were rooting for Cooper, who we very much enjoyed seeing on Broadway earlier this month (Carol and I had the pleasure of meeting him backstage after the performance). He’ll be back, I’m sure of it.
Men also dominated my award for worst hair. In the uncombed category—Wes Anderson. In the coifed category-Jared Leto with his rock star long locks.
However, I wonder how all the men in Hollywood who presented at the awards have a full head of hair without any recession of the hair line (except for The Rock)? Google any of them by name from 2006 to figure out the answer. My professional opinion…Microfollicular hair transplants.