Oscar Bad 2005

Aww, yesterday made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Now for the bad moments of the 77th Academy Awards. Let me clarify that this isn’t commentary on who won or lost. This is strictly Oscar night events.

The Bad

Chris Rock: In a year when conservative groups are putting up billboards across from the theater thanking Hollywood for re-electing Bush, was it a wise decision on Chris Rock’s part to begin the event with a steady stream of anti-Bush material? When the President of the Academy is trying desperately to target a wider audience, was it such a good idea to sign off on Rock’s monologue, so likely to prove how out of touch Hollywood is with the rest of America? Maybe it wasn’t such a hot idea to hire Rock in the first place; he treated his assignment like it was just another stand-up act, and that might not be entirely his fault. He was being himself. Constant race references are Chris’s schtick, and ordinarily I think he’s a funny guy. I just didn’t need his schtick at the Oscars.

Oprah’s “Fight the Power” fist: That was an eye rolling moment if ever there was one.

The video montage: A tribute to movie heroes and heroines began the ceremony partially on a standard screen and partially on a series of single screens suspended above the audience. “Now we have a new kind of hero” the narrator intoned as a clip of Michael Moore from Roger and Me came onscreen. If Michael Moore is your hero, you live in a very sad world of your own. Trust me, I don’t share it. Throughout the evening the ceiling screens flashed images of movie stars fading in and out, the broken imagery seeming vaguely appropriate.

Robin Williams: He wanted to do a song about Sponge Bob that referenced Dr. Dobson by name. Fortunately in the name of humor he was asked not to (the tape over his mouth was a reference to his being ‘censored’). Never mind that we’re all bored of that controversy. Never mind that he had the facts wrong. And never mind that his material was lame, lame, lame. Jack Nicholson impressions again? Nicholson wisely skipped this year.

Adam Sandler’s tag presentation with Chris Rock: Sandler pretended he was presenting with Catherine Zeta Jones, that she couldn’t make it, and that Rock would read her lines. Of course every line was about how sexy Catherine is and Rock was supposed to respond as her. I’m not complaining as a prude, my problem with this is that it’s been done before. At the Oscars during the 1970s. Everything old is new again. Or at least it’s trying to be.

Selma Hayek: It’s nice to have a Spanish language song nominated for an Oscar. Did it need to have lyrics waxing nostalgic about Communism? And Selma’s glowing description of The Motorcycle Diaries as a film about “two young idealists” is an interesting euphamism for “positive depiction of Che Guevara.”

And just for kicks, I’m going to throw in the very worst moment of the evening:

Sean Penn: Penn took Rock’s harmless ribbing of Jude Law and made it a personal insult, asking us to excuse his stunted funny bone as he leapt to the defense of someone who didn’t need it. Congratulations Sean, you gave this year’s most pathetic and embarrassing performance that ground the whole night to a screeching halt. Not only did you sound like you’d been drinking, but you proved once again that there isn’t an ounce of comedy in your body. I’m quoting James Lileks here: “What a humorless, self-aggrandizing lemon sucker.”

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