At a not-too draggy 215 minutes (give or take three), the 92nd Academy Awards once again sped down the same host-free track as last year, but allowed slightly more room for filler. After an intricate, audacious opening number by Janelle Monae and that Billy Porter guy who tends to wear the loudest outfits at any given awards ceremony, the audience was allowed one (1) segment for stand-up comedy, tag-teamed by former hosts Steve Martin and Chris Rock in a joint achievement in short-term blame-shifting, before the rest of the night barreled onward through the 24 aired categories and an offhand shout-out to the four winners whose lesser Oscars were deemed not fit for telecast. Considering those names included Geena Davis and David Lynch, that was one heck of an inconsiderate yadda-yadda.
That being said, it was an evening of surprises for moviegoers, even for those of us who’d seen more than half the nominees last year. The following works won all the awards, from most to any-at-all, with links to past MCC entries for reference where applicable:
Parasite: 4 – Picture, Director, International Feature, Original Screenplay
1917: 3 – Cinematography, Sound Mixing, Visual Effects
Ford v. Ferrari: 2 – Film Editing, Sound Editing
Joker: 2 – Actor (Joaquin Phoenix), Original Score
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood: 2 – Supporting Actor (Brad Pitt), Production Design
American Factory: Documentary Feature
Hair Love: Animated Short Film
Jojo Rabbit: Adapted Screenplay
Judy: Actress (Renee Zellweger)
Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (If You’re a Girl): Documentary Short Subject
Little Women: Costume Design
Marriage Story: Supporting Actress (Laura Dern)
The Neighbors’ Window: Live-Action Short Film
Rocketman: Original Song (“(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again”)
Toy Story 4: Animated Feature
Shutouts in the major categories: Harriet, The Irishman, Knives Out, Pain and Glory, Richard Jewell, The Two Popes
We pause here to present the only part my wife Anne ever cares to watch, the annual In Memoriam segment. Count ten or more offensive omissions and win fabulous prizes!
For your entertainment and time code follow-along, rather than indulge in the 3000-word simulated live-blog summaries I used to compile for friends, enclosed instead are the results of my live-tweeting the entire ceremony, which was nearly half an hour longer than last year’s. A selection of annotations are included at the very end of this entry for value-added context in chronological order but without footnoting asterisks. They’re an optional feature because sometimes it’s a different kind of fun reading jokes that made sense in the moment but then degenerate into bizarre non sequitur eight hours later. My four cups of coffee are wearing off and my usual unstoppable urge to overexplain myself is ebbing. I recommend reading lots of professional Oscars summaries first, memorizing their emotionless contents, then returning here to enjoy a few now-disposable gags. I can definitely tell you whenever actors’ names are invoked who weren’t nominees, it means they were among the numerous presenters on stage in all the colors of the wind, none of whom ever admitted to being tonight’s Secret Oscars Host and only a few of whom offered political commentary for a change, though in his rambling, halting acceptance screed against the injustices of unjust injustice, Joaquin Phoenix nearly overcompensated for all of them. Enjoy!
Random annotations, but in order as promised:
- Josh Gad demonstrated Idina Menzel’s name isn’t that hard to pronounce.
- For her performance of the Best Original Song nominee “Into the Unknown” from Frozen II, Menzel was accompanied by multiple Elsa songstresses from other countries’ dubbed versions.
- The montage editors apparently thought Marriage Story was a three-minute short film with only the one scene.
- Peanut Butter Falcon costar Zack Gottsagen was the first presenter with Down syndrome in Oscars history. He was understandably nervous, more well-spoken than I would be on that stage, but the crowd patiently let him nail his lines right before his co-presenter stepped up and botched the Best Live-Action Short Film’s name.
- Only one tweet is not about the Oscars, but rather references a commercial for an ABC sitcom I don’t feel like catching.
- Any Christians who complained about the Super Bowl halftime show’s standard content level for like the seventeenth year in a row should consider balancing the scales by checking out This is Us costar Chrissy Metz’ performance of the Best Original Song nominee “I Stand with You” from Breakthrough, possibly the only nomination for an overtly Christian film within my lifetime. Aesthetic warning: it was written by the normally secular Diane Warren, whose ten previous nominations include that one absolutely grating song from Armageddon.
- Anne and I are probably skipping C2E2 this year, but I couldn’t resist plugging them anyway because they’re generally an awesome place to be.
- Academy Award Winner Eminem never bothered to show up at the 2003 ceremony when “Lose Yourself” from 8 Mile won. And now he did, to widespread consternation and a smattering of Twitter eyerolls from folks who didn’t get his unexpected appearance.
- I still don’t know who the one surprise rapper was. We middle-aged folks sometimes do appreciate unironic, plain-spoken introductions.
- I tried not to pick on actresses’ dresses or makeup while I was watching despite temptations at more than one point, but Cynthia Erivo’s tall, stiff, Kenner Star Wars-looking cape broke my resilience.
- Did Cats costars James Corden and Rebel Wilson actually mock their own work with Universal’s blessing? I mean, I suppose no one can threaten to cut off their royalties what with those prospects having been below zero anyway. It’s surprising to see such a large studio give up on protecting its product no matter how deeply, publicly flawed it might be.
- Still waiting on that Ray Romano transcript, dear internet.
- Yes, thanks for noticing, I did indeed hurriedly copy “Guðnadóttir” off her Wikipedia entry with seconds to spare, then hovered over my pending tweet and waited to hit “Paste” if she won, and thus was the prophecy fulfilled. Accuracy is cool whenever I can achieve some.
- The outrage was deafening when presenter Jane Fonda tried to end the telecast on orders from management before the Parasite crew was finished expressing their grateful disbelief. That 100% nonpartisan moment was far more unifying and uplifting than any of the evening’s political commentary.
I think the Oscars are finally getting it right all the way through. No mistakes, no dull moments. They even bypassed the Cecil B. Demille Award! No major tribute to any legends, not even Kirk Douglas!
I was happy with very nearly every singe honoree they chose this year, but the removal of the Honorary Oscars and other tributes has been one of my least favorite aspect of recent ceremonies…especially this year, when David Lynch was given an offscreen Oscar and denied the chance to take that stage. That’s absolutely a missed opportunity for what could’ve been a fascinating moment of TV.
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Yes, I agree. There are all these more organic, historic and human moments that are being brushed aside.