The 2012 Academy Awards was a pretty tame affair, but I wanted to include the oddest moments of the night. A few of the mainstays made an appearance, such as Nick Nolte and Angelina Jolie. Most of the oddities involved a general attempt to breathe new life into the format by avoiding some of the presenter banter that usually make the Academy Awards shows tiresome and instead having more involved skits or hijinks by those presenters.
The ploy worked in some cases and seemed silly in others. Thanks to Billy Crystal and a few new ideas, this was a lot better program than the last two years.
Nick Nolte on the Red Carpet
Nick Nolte’s performance in Warrior was more impressive than I thought. Anyone who saw his appearance on the red carpet realized he’s either a losing his mind or losing his hearing. Louise Roe interviewed Nolte on the red carpet, asking him questions about his pinball machine and his pet crows. Nick Nolte seemed befuddled through most of the interview, though I get the idea he couldn’t hear what was being said (everyone else could hear).
Nick Nolte got animated when he talked about his pet crow, John David Crow II. He also enjoyed talking about his pinball machine that won’t go on tilt, so you can run up big scores, he explained. But he couldn’t seem to figure out what the questions were during an awkward give-and-take. Or maybe he’s just crazy.
Either way, I couldn’t help but notice Louise Roe was trying to bring out Nolte’s quirky side. Everyone else was asked questions about either their movie or their dress. He’s asked about his hawk-sized crow and his pinball hobby.
Bradley Cooper, Roulette Dealer
Bradley Cooper looked like he should be a roulette dealer or an Old West bartender with that mustache he was sporting. Is he filming some movie that requires that piece of hair or is that a fashion statement?
Bootylicious J-Lo and Cameron Diaz
When it cut back to Jennifer Lopez and Cameron Diaz to announce Best Makeup, they had their backs to the audience, showing their booties. I suppose J-Lo’s butt has that reputation it has to live up to. As for Cameron Diaz, I don’t know that’s exactly her profile, but I’m sure she’d been drinking by that part of the night, so it stands to reason.
By the way, does any 40-ish actress look like she’s lived a harder life than Cameron Diaz? I just get the idea she’s partied pretty hard these past 15 years. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but I remember she was so freaking hot in The Mask. Not so much anymore. I understand, forty does that to a person.
Not the Billy Crystal Jokes
Some people have criticized Billy Crystal for insensitive jokes or described them as awkward moments, but I didn’t see it that way. He’s being a comedian, so making fun of an 82-year old man’s age (who obviously still gets around really well) or Jonah Hill’s weight is not off-limits. People are too sensitive these days. Human needs a little bite to it. At least it wasn’t penis humor like the women from Bridesmaids.
Admiral Aladeen vs Ryan Seacrest
Sascha Baron Cohen pranked Ryan Seacrest on the red carpet before the Oscars, which deprived us of any pranks he might have pulled inside the Kodak Theater. Admiral Aladeen was showing Ryan Seacrest an urn when he bumbled and poured the contents of the urn on Seacrest’s tuxedo. As he continued to talk and Ryan Seacrest tried to break for commercial, Oscars security skirted Sascha Baron Cohen away.
I can’t help but think this event was staged, though I get the idea Seacrest might not have known it was staged. Either way, Ryan Seacrest probably needs someone to prank him every once in a while. We’re talking about a guy who got famous off American Idol, then was in the right place at the right time when Casey Kasem retired, then was in the right place when the immortal Dick Clark retired. I have nothing against Ryan Seacrest, but that kind of good fortune should require a few minor karmic paybacks every once in a while.
Pan Am Stewardesses
Say what you will about the popcorn ushers in stewardess outfits that looked like they were from a Britney Spears video, but the first thing I said to the room was, “Some airline’s going to bring those out of retirement one day and make a fortune.” Not that I really believe that, but the point being, they were hot. I mean, that was a really hot Britney Spears video.
Hottest at the Oscars
I thought Michelle Williams looked both classy and hot in her short hair and red dress. Mila Jovavich looked stunning, as always. Rooney Mara looked striking with her bangs, but I wouldn’t say she looked exactly hot (there’s a difference–I’m saying she stood out). Angelina Jolie looked like the skin was falling off her bones–she was emaciated, despite her strange attempt to look hot with that leg thrust thing (a move that was mocked by the screenwriters of “The Descendents”). Stacy Keibler, George Clooney’s date, looked stunning as always. Gwenneth Paltrow’s hair looked regal.
Oscar Winners – A Night in Paris
This ended up being a night for the French, though. Not only did Frenchmen win Best Actor and Best Director and a French film won Best Movie, but American films set in Paris also won other awards–a lot of them. Jean Dujardin won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his potrayal of a silent movie actor in The Artist, while Michael Hazanavicius won the Best Director Oscar for directing “The Artist”. The same film won Best Motion Picture.
Martin Scorcese’s “Hugo“, which tells the story of a boy living in Paris, France in 1931, won five Oscars. Most of these awards were for technical merits like sound editing, visual effects, and cinematography, but the blu-ray distributors can post “Winner of 5 Academy Awards” on the front of the box.
Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris” also won for Best Original Screenplay. As you might have guessed, this film was set in Paris, France, too. In this case, Owen Wilson plays a screenwriter in who is transported to Paris in the 1920s, where he meets such famous luminaries as F. Scott Fitzgerald, Pablo Picazzo, Cole Porter, Josephine Baker, and (at the crux of the story) Ernest Hemingway.
All in all, Paris and France were the featured elements of the night. Nobody acted too crazy, which means Billy Crystal didn’t much material to improv with. That isn’t to say Billy Crystal didn’t put on a good show, because he did. It just wasn’t one for the ages.
Billy Crystal Review
I was glad to see someone who was competent and comfortable on the stage do his thing. Two years ago, I came away thinking either Steve Martin or Alec Baldwin would have done a better job alone. Last year, I felt uncomfortable for James Franco and Anne Hatheway the whole time, hoping they’d succeeded, then seeing them go down in flames. So it was nice to sit back and watch an old hand take a comfortable stroll through Movieland.
By the way, I enjoyed seeing actors talk about the first movie they saw. I thought that was a great idea. I’m going to have to see “The War of the Gargantuas“, which Brad Pitt talked about in some detail. I came away thinking Brad Pitt would do really well in a job interview, but I guess that’s pretty obvious.
Also, my Oscar-watching group quickly figured out Morgan Freeman would have to be 10 years older to have seen the original King Kong (1933) when he was 6 & 1/2 years old. He was born in 1937, so you don’t have to look it up.