See You Next Tuesday is the Boomstick's regular column. On Tuesdays, I bring you the week's most laughable scumbags, idiots, and jerks for your reading and reviling pleasure. If you don't get the name, visit your nearest middle school playground and ask the first kid you see. You can read previous editions here.
This week's winner is:
This week's winner is:
Even though this year's Oscars didn’t suffer from a lack of award-worthy films or performances, they still suffered from the inevitable inequity between movies beloved by the Academy and movies that people actually pay to see in theaters. This is a problem the Oscars have wrestled with for years now, especially while, as the New York Times said, "the Academy’s membership process has produced an older group with more esoteric tastes." This was the reason behind the return to ten (instead of five) Best Picture nominees (which I discussed last year with mixed emotions). The Academy hoped balancing out the art-house favorites with popular choices would raise awards-night viewership. But even with ten movies, and even though this year's ten movies were a fairly good cross-section of the popular and the pretentious, the actual Oscar night just felt like a drag.
|Those are my special brownies!|
Increasingly, the Oscars are like going to a rock concert organized by an old lady – all chamber music and cucumber sandwiches when it should be electric guitars and beer; the pace and momentum are not what you expect -- it’s too soft, too slow, and a total waste of all the juicy talent the awards bring together. The show feels antiquated, and out of touch, and the star presenters seem to be going through the motions of some ancient ritual they don’t fully understand. It’s tradition for the sake of tradition; it’s prestige for the sake of prestige. And while I don’t think the value of the award itself (or the quality of work it celebrates) has diminished over time, the presentation of the awards has become increasingly stiff and insincere.
|City Slippers II: The Legend of Curly's Botox|
Take, for example, the unwise, reactionary decision to make Billy Crystal this year’s host. Last year, the trying-so-hard-she-must’ve-pulled something Anne Hathaway and the trying-so-little-we’re-not-sure-he’s-still-breathing James Franco were disappointing and much-ridiculed hosts. In a desperate reaction, the academy hired old-hat Billy Crystal to come back and host for his NINTH time. The Academy clearly thought Crystal was a safe choice, but they overestimated Crystal’s current popularity. He’s decades past his prime (he literally hasn't acted in a movie since 2002's flop sequel Analyze That), but even more than that, his entire approach to comedy is the stale, overdone stuff better suited to a Catskills audience. (I understand if you like Billy Crystal; I do, too. But this was not his best forum. As Ken Levine put it, he looked like "someone had replaced his face with a rubber mask of Jackie Mason" or, from the same source, "that his face now looks like it was carved out of an apple." Face jokes aside, his performance fell flat. Like he must've before the show. Onto his face.)
Not that it's all Crystal's fault, of course. His writers wrote standard, "blah" fare. He had to follow a bizarre, inexplicable Cirque du Soleil performance. And the actors presenting awards dragged the show down to a nearly lifeless pulse, which Crystal frantically (and increasingly sweatily) fought uselessly to revive.
|Would've made more sense last year when Black Swan was nominated.|
And that brings me to another point: I have never understood why these actors – ostensibly the best in the world – can't deliver lines off of a teleprompter to save their lives. Every single presenter (with the exception of the ever-charming Emma Stone) stumbled over the words, struggled to read them, struggled to say them, struggled with timing, and pretty much flopped. Why can’t actors read, guys? And if you know, year after year after year, that actors can’t read: why not let them memorize their lines? Maybe that's what you get when you hire a producer who thinks rehearsing is for fags.
So, Academy, better luck next year. Maybe 2013 is the year to branch out and hire some young, funny writers and some young, funny comics (Aziz Ansari? Will Arnett, anyone?). But more than that, maybe 2013 is the year to consider streamlining: replace the bland filler stuff, like the impressive but out of place Cirque du Soleil performance and the dozens of movie montages, with the actual AWARDS, and maybe more East-coasters won't already be asleep before Best Picture is even announced.