A Post-Mortem of the 84th Annual Academy Awards

posted Feb 27, 2012, 11:22 AM by Terrence Moss   [ updated Aug 16, 2014, 9:36 AM ]
Of course, the ONE thing I NEEDED to happen at last night’s Academy Awards did not happen. The ONE category I needed to go my way did not – delivering my second major disappointment of the month (after the Patriots’ Super Bowl loss).

I love Meryl Streep as much as the next person and I’ve long been wanting her to win a third Oscar, but Viola Davis should have won the Oscar as Best Actress in a Leading Role for her performance in The Help. There is nothing anyone can or will ever say or do that will change my mind on that. I would not have minded being wrong in the 23 other categories as long as Viola won and I can’t begin to tell you how disappointing her loss was for me last night. You would have thought I myself had been nominated and lost to three-time winner Jack Nicholson for The Academy Loves Me Too

And while I’m thrilled that Octavia Spencer won, it does not abate any of my disappointment that Viola didn't as well.

I was so upset that not only did I walk from West Hollywood (where I watched the Oscars) to my apartment in Hollywood, but I stopped off at a 24-hour Ralph’s and picked up two slices of cake. I’m not going to tell you how many I ate, but I still wanted to eat a roasted chicken afterwards.

It's clear that the Academy has been dying to award Streep a third Oscar. I just wonder why this was the year. Was she more

deserving this year than in 2009 when she lost to Sandra Bullock? Was she more deserving this year than in 2008 when she lost to Kate Winslet (who is also great and was on her sixth nomination, but still)? Was she more deserving this year than in 2003 when she lost to Catherine Zeta-Jones (who was great in Chicago, but still)? Was she more deserving this year than in 1998 when she lost to GWYNETH PALTROW?

For the record, I left out her respective 2006 and 1999 losses to Helen Mirren and Hilary Swank because I can’t really argue those.

The focus of The Weinstein Company’s campaign for Streep was that she hadn’t won in 29 years. I was on that bandwagon for a minute, but I offer you this – 34 years passed between Katherine Hepburn's (the Streep before Streep was Streep) first and second Oscar wins during which time she lost eight times.

Regardless, if Streep had never won another Oscar again, it would have no bearing on her status as the greatest living American film actress. Nor would it preclude the fact that she has two other Oscars sitting at home.

All this having been said, other stuff apparently went on as well:

  • Octavia Spencer and Penelope Cruz were hands-down the best dressed of the night. Kudos to both for great hair as well.
  • Billy Crystal’s opening had some funny moments but nothing as iconic as his being wheeled out as Hannibal Lecter in 1992, but his song was overpowered by the music. And the inclusion of Justin Bieber in anything irks me.
  • Meryl Streep’s cupped-mouth hoot ‘n’ holler after Mark Coulier and J. Roy Helland won for Best Makeup for The Iron Lady was so delightfully down home.
  • Best Supporting Actress nominee Jessica Chastain is simply adorable.
  • Tate Taylor (writer and director of The Help) is one handsome feller.
  • Most of the montages were unnecessary but The Wizard of Oz focus group featuring the Christopher Guest players was pretty funny.
  • Who was the hot Cirque du Soleil guy lifting himself up and bringing himself down to the floor by his legs?
  • Who was the cute guy sitting next to Gore Verbinski’s wife (he won Best Animated Feature for Rango)?
  • I loved the backstage skit with Billy Crystal and Melissa McCarthy. How did she get that second leg up?
  • Emma Stone was so delightfully cute with her “this is my first time presenting an award” mugging.
  • I wish Melissa Leo had said, “Don’t worry, I’m not going to curse this time.” when she presented the Oscar for Best Actor in a Supporting Role. For those who don’t recall, she dropped the F-bomb last year when she won Best Supporting Actress for The Fighter.
  • Jessica Tandy’s 22-year reign as the oldest recipient of an acting Oscar (as Best Actress for Driving Miss Daisy) ended last night with Christopher Plummer’s win for Beginners.
  • The “What’s Everybody’s Thinking?” segment was so delightfully silly. The funniest was Viola Davis’s thought bubble about there needing to be more roles with strong black women not played by Tyler Perry.
  • I loved Billy Crystal’s joke after Academy President Tom Sherak's obligatorily dry speech -- “Thanks Tom for whipping the crowd into a frenzy.” 
  • Best entrance: Will Ferrell and Zach Galifinakis presenting Best Original Song
  • Just as I started thinking to myself that Best Documentary Short Subject winner Daniel Junge was really good-looking, he thanked his wife. I’m not saying it changed my thoughts, but it was ironic.
  • I love the Oprah cry.
  • It was a smart move on the Academy’s part to shift the honorary Oscars to a separate ceremony.
  • Esperanza Spaulding was rockin’ that afro. And her In Memoriam performance of “What a Wonderful World”, backed by a choir, was fantastic.
  • I'm glad they resisted the urge to give Whitney Houston a more high-profile slot in the In Memoriam segment. It would have been inappropriate. 
  • The In Memoriam segment was the best I’ve ever seen. I love what they did with the stills.
  • I’m glad there was no applause during the In Memoriam segment. That always bothers me. Probably because I’d be worried I wouldn’t get the loudest applause.
  • Gabourey Sidibe doesn’t always see reflections of herself in films but when she does, she “knows she exists”. I love that. So profound. I’m glad she was included in those segments.
  • Two great Billy Crystal lines -- “I’ve never had any of those feelings.” (in response to the actor/filmmaker vignettes about the power of movies) and “…whatever the French have in place of joy” (in response to something having to do with The Artist).
  • I loved the blue backdrop for the last few awards.
  • Best Actor nominee Demian Bishir (for A Better Life) looked really good.
  • Sandra Bullock was much better last year when she did the Best Actor tributes than Natalie Portman was this year.

As for the predictions, I came in at 15/24. It should have been 16, but well…I supposed I’m going to eventually have to get over that – which I will. Oscar or no Oscar, Viola Davis is a fantastic actress and respect within the industry for her talent grows with each and every project. You can’t ask for much more than that.

Except for maybe an Oscar.

Billy Crystal made a comment about a bunch of millionaires awarding themselves gold statues. So in the grand scheme of things, does any of this matter?

Yes. Duh.

Here’s how I fared in the other categories:

Best Picture
My Prediction: The Artist
The Winner: The Artist 

Anyone who says this wasn’t a Best Picture because it doesn’t have the dramatic heft of typical winners doesn’t know how to enjoy movies anymore.

Best Actor
My Prediction: Jean Dujardin, The Artist
The Winner: Jean Dujardin, The Artist
If you check out my Facebook page, you’ll see that I’m now hyphenated. Dujardin mentioned a wife in his acceptance speech so I was momentarily over him but he was so cute at the end of it that now I’m back…under…him.

He’s the best looking Best Actor Oscar winner EVER.
Best Actress
My Prediction: Viola Davis, The Help
The Winner: Meryl Streep, The Iron Lady

Despite my disappointment, I did enjoy Meryl’s speech. In my heart of hearts, I’m happy she won. I’m just more upset that Viola didn’t.
Best Supporting Actress
My Prediction: Octavia Spencer, The Help
The Winner: Octavia Spencer, The Help
I’ve loved Octavia Spencer since her multi-episode stint during the first season of Ugly Betty. It was so funny to me that she has been so well-composed at every other award show but almost fell apart at the Oscars. Her speech was the best of the night – so honest, emotional and in the moment. I’m glad she received a standing ovation.
Best Director
My Prediction: Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist
The Winner: Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist
Best Adapted Screenplay
My Prediction: Peter Straughan & Bridget O’Connor, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy
The Winner: Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon and Jim Rash, The Descendants
I loved Jim Rash’s mock “Angelina” extended leg pose. I also loved when Alexander Payne thanked his mother for letting him “skip nursery school so they could go to the movies.”
Best Original Screenplay
My Prediction: Woody Allen, Midnight in Paris
The Winner: Woody Allen, Midnight in Paris
Best Film Editing
My Prediction: The Artist
The Winner: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Best Cinematography
My Prediction: The Artist
The Winner: Hugo
Best Original Score
My Prediction: The Artist
The Winner: The Artist
Best Original Song:
My Prediction: “Man or Muppet”, The Muppets
The Winner: “Man or Muppet”, The Muppets
Best Art Direction
My Prediction: Hugo
The Winner: Hugo
Best Sound Mixing
My Prediction: Hugo
The Winner: Hugo
Best Sound Editing
My Prediction: Hugo
The Winner: Hugo
Best Costume Design
My Prediction: Jane Eyre
The Winner: The Artist
Best Visual Effects
My Prediction: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2
The Winner: Hugo
Best Animated Feature
My Prediction: Rango
The Winner: Rango
Best Foreign Language Film
My Prediction: A Separation
The Winner: A Separation
Best Makeup
My Prediction: Albert Nobbs
The Winner: The Iron Lady
Best Documentary Feature
My Prediction: Paradise Lost 3
My Winner: Undefeated
Best Documentary Short Subject
My Prediction: God is Bigger Than Elvis
The Winner: Saving Face
Best Live Action Short Film
My Prediction: The Shore
The Winner: The Shore
Best Animated Short
My Prediction: A Morning Stroll
The Winner: The Fantastic Flying Books of Dr. Morris Lessmore
All in all, it was a well-paced show. Billy Crystal, as always, was an able host. That’s all he needed to be.
Given the Cirque Du Soleil performance and the multiple montages, I am surprised it came in only eight minutes over. At one point, I thought they might actually come in early, then I laughed and said to myself, “these are the Oscars.”
This was a nice distraction. We now return to mourning Whitney Houston. 

Jim Rash is my hero. 

All photos courtesy of deadline.com, but they don't know it. 

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