Tuesday, March 5, 2013

I Miss the Elegance of the Oscar Ceremonies of Old

When did the powers that be decide that crass and obnoxious should be be the theme of the Oscars?

Needless to say I was not impressed with the young man who was chosen to be the master of ceremonies this year. I don't enjoy people being made fun of--and even though the audience laughed, I'm not sure they did either.

I miss the David Niven kind of host who can be sophisticated even when a streaker ran across the stage. Surely we still have some of those celebrities in Hollywood.

The female stars did look elegant in their beautiful gowns. Those who won were gracious in their thank-yous. And there was some marvelous entertainment. I loved Les Miserables, the movie, and the presentation at the Oscars was wonderful. And how great it was to see and hear Barbra Streisand and her wonderful voice.

I had to chuckle at Daniel Day Lewis's comment about all the different men his wife has had to live with when he's playing a role. Years ago, my husband was in community theater and he stayed in his role through the duration of he play. I lived with a gangster, a detective, a black man (hubby was in A Member of the Wedding playing a part none of the blacks would play because it was too Uncle Tom), and he placed a Chief in the Navy in Mr. Roberts when he was a Chief in the Navy. The easiest of these men to live with since it was type casting. He even wore his real uniform.

I love the Oscars even when I'm critical of the hosts or actors who have to throw in political comments.

My father worked for Paramount Studios when it was one of the top studios. He was a master plumber and as such got to know many of the stars. There were only a few he respected because of their lack of morals and kindness towards others. Besides finding and fixing broken pipes and other such problems, he often had to figure out how to make something that involved water could work in a movie. He knew exactly how things worked and when we were at the movies pointed out things like vapor trails in the sky that shouldn't be there, telephone poles before telephones, painted backgrounds, toy trains instead of real ones, an ocean scene that was done in a tank on the back lot. Of course filming on location and computers have changed all that.

We always watched the Oscars as a family once they were on television. My dad told us his opinion of each star as they appeared. My sister and I loved it. He made us feel like insiders.

I liked the winners this time. I loved Daniel Day Lewis' portrayal of Lincoln.

What was fascinating about Argo is that though everyone knew it was going to end well, it didn't keep our hearts from beating faster and wanting to urge them to hurry as they headed for the grand escape--and that's what made Argo Oscar worthy.

What was your opinion of the Oscars this year?



  1. I stopped watching the Oscars years start to finish years ago for a few reasons:

    1) With our 24/7 media and tech access, there’s no such thing anymore as “missing it”—you can see the gowns, watch the awards you’re most interested in, see and listen to any and all parts of it on demand at any time later. The thrill and suspense have been chipped away at by this and other media access.
    2) They are, I believe, a faulty and rigged system that while it does still recognize good work, lots of good work is just shoved aside, pushed into the cracks. The cradle to grave journey of a film put into the process seeking recognition and awards is just very kludge and fraught with problems.
    3) It’s a huge vanity event for a number of privileged and spoiled citizens more like the rest of humanity than they like to admit who really, really need to get over themselves.
    4) Moving to up to 10 best picture nominees was dumb and is being implemented poorly (not being more inclusive of the smaller or less tent-pole big pictures, just putting more of the box office winners into the hat, generally)
    5) The show is too long, particularly for our current times of lower attention spans. As the suspense of the awards has shrunk so has the patience of an audience sitting through what are the more obscure awards as a build-up to the “big” categories. They producers should shrink this show to a flat 90 minutes of key awards for acting, producing, directing, writing, and best pictures (documentary, short, and feature). Maybe they could split the telecast into a first half of the editing, sound, etc. awards and let people opt or not to watch that first 90 minutes (as is done with some of the national dog shows, etc.) OR just move those more supportive arts awards to the earlier banquet and ceremony that has already been created for the technical Oscars. The nominees for such sub-ordinate awards are indeed important to film-making and those in the industry are very interested in the category, but as a national televised event to a general audience made up of end-product consumers, they are not of much interest.
    6) I think very highly of our First Lady, but I thought it was silly and shallow to have someone in her role in our society presenting an Oscar. Same thought I had when Bill Clinton introduced the film Lincoln at this year’s Golden Globes. I don’t like the extreme smudging of the line between entertainments and serious politics and policy in our society.
    7) It’s an awards show and easy for me to let slide down to the bottom of my priority list.

    I didn’t watch a lot but I too, though I’m a fan of Seth MacFarlane, didn’t care for much of what he and his team put together for the show. BUT, I blame NOT him as much as I do the money-grubbing show producers and the Academy itself because they KNEW who and what this guy was about when they hired him and it was a stupid risk they took because it was also a publicity (read: advertising dollar draw) stunt on their part. They themselves revealed in their choice for host and their lack of shepherding of the program their own lack of regard for the industry, the award, and those who work in that world.

    1. I agree with every things you wrote. Unfortunately, politics and celebrities have become far too close. Makes the celebrities think they actually know something.

  2. I didn't watch it, Marilyn, but have gone to see it online after hearing some of the outrage. Not impressed. I, too, blame the producers of the show. They knew they were getting someone who does racist, misogynist, and otherwise offensive humor. He's famous for it. Vicky's right. It was a publicity stunt, and the shows and artists who were up for the awards were the butt of the stunt, as was the audience.

    My brand-new laptop (replacement of the dog-destroyed laptop) crashed yesterday. (Right after blizzards that left me without power and internet in the last two weeks!) I have it functioning today, but am going to leave it with my IT expert son to overhaul while I'm gone to Boston for a conference this week. So I will be missing from the etherverse until early next week. Didn't want you all to think I wasn't reading and responding to the Gang.

  3. I guess maybe for me, the Oscars are much less relevant than they once were. The studio with the most money invested wins. The most talented are not necessarily on the podium. But, not sure they ever were. Vicky, it seems to me you hit the nail on the head. I do not watch the award shows, 'cause they all appear to be rather incestuous....if you award me I will fawn all over you. And finally, I think that actual class is no longer a good thing in Hollywood. First of all most of them would not recognize class if they fell over it. And when beautiful women sit in an audience laughing at someone belittling and objectifying women, it is no longer my kind of entertainment.


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