Deadblogging the Oscars - 2013
My nephew, Jordy, 11, won our Oscar pool from way over in Minneapolis. I came in second. The torch has been passed. Or the Archie McPhee's Oscar statuette anyway.
I'm not much of a fan of the morning-after overanalysis of the Oscar show: who wore what, who said what, OMG. The Oscar show isn't meant to be watched and analyzed as if it were a movie up for an Oscar. It's an excuse to throw a party, drink a little too much, talk back at your TV. If I was sitting on the couch taking notes, I might've been as disappointed as Nikki Finke. Although hopefully less self-important.
As it was, I thought Seth MacFarlane was fine. Richard Brody on The New Yorker site accuses him of being a parody of a host, a kind of SNL version of what a controversial host might be, but I liked the sensibility he brought. Brody makes some salient points but he's wrong in one regard. He says MacFarlane never conveyed “authentic joie de shtick.” Again, I don't watch, or much like, MacFarlane's shows. Way too many misses among the hits. But you can't watch five minutes of them without realizing their creator is a huge movie fan. What was that “Sound of Music” takeoff if not the authentic joy of a movie lover being able to act out a scene from a favorite movie in front of the moviemakers themselves? Plus the “We Saw Your Boobs” number has way more subtext than Brody, or anyone, seems willing to admit. It's saying outright what's merely alluded to.
Brody sniffs at it:
The gross miscalculation of the “boobs” number set the tone for the evening—the wrong one. It seemed as if MacFarlane wanted to announce his hiring of Mr. Skin as a musical consultant. I’ve long thought that the nudity of women in movies has often been used by producers as a sort of ugly rite of passage, a public refraction of the casting couch—but, rather than lampooning the industry potentates who pay for it and market it or, for that matter, the male voyeurism that they serve or the societal sexism that underlies the practice, MacFarlane seemed to be mocking and embarrassing the actresses themselves (as Charlize Theron’s ice-cold gaze, caught on camera during the number, made clear).
First, I'm pretty sure the reaction shots of the actresses involved were pre-taped and part of the bit. Weren't they wearing different clothes, for example? Second, anyone who doesn't own up to the power there, to the power of sex and beauty, and to the culpability from all involved, including the women who dress up and dress down, is mistaking completely what Hollywood is about. Brody's chivalry might be better practiced elsewhere.
This E! writer is worse. He condemns MacFarlane for the sexism in the boobs number then drools over an imagined shirtless-as-Oscar Channing Tatum a paragraph later. Dude, your double-standard is showing.
As for the awards themselves? “Argo” wasn't bad, “Pi” wasn't bad, “Les Miz” wasn't bad. The evening was a celebration of the not-bad. Which is what the Oscars are.
But Daniel Day-Lewis is genius. So we got that.
The Archie: After a year with Mr. B, it's back with me. Unless I ship it to Jordy in Minneapolis.