erik lundegaard

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: a fake Oscar from Archie McPhee in Ballard

The Archie: After a year with Mr. B, it's back with me. Unless I ship it to Jordy in Minneapolis.

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Posted at 08:38 AM on Mon. Feb 25, 2013 in category Movies - 2012 Oscars  

COMMENTS

Karen wrote:

The Archie is lovely, but I think Jordy would rather have the cash.

Comment posted on Mon. Feb 25, 2013 at 11:20 AM

Less-charismatic Megafauna wrote:

Opinions differ, I guess: http://www.vulture.com/2013/02/why-seth-macfarlanes-misogyny-matters.html This one written by a woman, so no fretting about misplaced chivalry is needed...

Comment posted on Mon. Feb 25, 2013 at 02:39 PM

Erik wrote:

Margaret Lyons' piece is better than most but it ignores several things, namely:

1. The context, or framework, in which the song was presented. (If he'd merely presented it, it wouldn't have been so funny.)

2. The assumption, my assumption anyway, that the joke is really on the guys who reduce the actresses and their performances to the moment when we can see their boobs. The song was idiotically, gleefully adolescent. That's why it's funny within the context in which it was presented. To me.

Oddly, Lyons likes MacFarlane's humor? I tend not to. But “We Saw Your Boobs” says much about guys, Hollywood, and what remains unstated in the bargain betwen the two.

Comment posted on Mon. Feb 25, 2013 at 04:13 PM

Abysmally Dreary Megafauna wrote:

I guess that's the thing: it's up to the audience to either laugh along and consider it harmless, or be pretty damn offended. And half the blogosphere is scratching its head trying to figure out how the hell it's even possible to laugh along. I can see that this is a kind of triple-bank-shot mockery of men, but to drag Jodie Foster's rape scene in “The Accused” into the joke is just blindingly unfunny.

I keep coming back to the question: How might Tina Fey and Amy Poehler have handled the same basic gag? I don't think it's impossible to mock (certain) men for reducing incredible actresses to whether or not they're on the “boobs” list in a way that's funny and still inclusive, but it's difficult. And that's what it comes down to for me: Why not host the Oscars in a way that's funny to everyone?

Comment posted on Tue. Feb 26, 2013 at 12:17 PM

Erik wrote:

“Why not host the Oscars in a way that's funny to everyone?” Impossible. You can't. Someone, somewhere, will be offended. Or not laugh. Humor is what it is.

Comment posted on Tue. Feb 26, 2013 at 01:00 PM

Clued-In Megafauna wrote:

When you piss off half your audience, you've probably missed the mark. Seth is whining that it's “impossible” to host the Oscars, comparing it to the Kobayashi Maru test, forgetting that a lot of other Oscar hosts have been very well received.

Not 100%, not even 80%, of the audience enjoyed Jon Stewart's performance, or Ellen DeGeneres', but they didn't spark anything like this kind of disappointment. And they didn't *bait* a chunk of the traditional viewership with a blatantly offensive routine.

I think the central point is that hosting the Oscars *is* a Kobayashi Maru test — if you're Seth MacFarlane, and you're incapable of writing humor that reaches out instead of divides. Why did the Academy choose him? Don't they usually pick safe-comedy hosts?

Comment posted on Tue. Feb 26, 2013 at 05:20 PM
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