And now... When Meryl Streep showed up to give out the Best Actor trophy, I had to head to Google to remember what she won for last year. Oh, dear.
This year's annoyance factor started on the Red Carpet. Just when you thought there could be no more annoying human being on the planet than Ryan Seacrest, along came Kristen Chenoweth, whose idea of interviews was to compare her diminutive stature to everyone who came along. Hugh Jackman, Queen Latifah, Adele, Bradley Cooper's mother... Yep. Kristen Chenoweth is smaller than each of them.
And just when it seemed Cheno had the annoying thing all wrapped up, Seth MacFarlane entered the building and blew all other contenders out of the water in perpetuity throughout the universe. Instead of Bob Hope or Billy Crystal, we're now stuck with the likes of MacFarlane, the unfunny plastic man with the perpetual smirk of self-satisfaction, the one who used his hosting gig to push his TV show, his movie, his album... He started out with a song about boobs. Keepin' it classy, Academy.
The highlight for me was the salute to movie musicals, and I thought all three of the featured numbers -- Catherine Zeta Jones doing "All That Jazz" from Chicago, J-Hud belting out "And I Am Telling You" from Dream Girls, and all the major players from Les Miz plus members of the current touring company (including IWU's Casey Erin Clark) going big with a rousing "One Day More" -- came off very nicely. I wondered if we might get to see some of Oscar's earlier musicals, however. Like Liza Minnelli and Joel Grey popping up for Cabaret. You know they can do it. Or even something from Mamma Mia, Moulin Rouge, Oliver!, Gigi... Notice no one said a word about Nine, either, even though Daniel Day-Lewis was right there.
I love Adele, the winner for Best Song, and she sounded fine on "Skyfall," the winning song from the James Bond movie of the same name. But the song itself? Kind of blah. In comparison, Shirley Bassey brought down the house with her rendition of "Goldfinger," a 50-year-old Bond song. Wowza. More Shirley Bassey, please!
In terms of the awards, I don't have any real quibbles. Argo was a welcome winner for me, as was Best Director Ang Lee. Life of Pi was a hugely difficult movie to make, Lee is lovely, and he's a U of I alum. Oddly, Argo also has a University of Illinois connection, since Christopher Denham, who played one of the Americans stuck in Iran, earned his undergraduate degree in Urbana, too.
The only acting award that seemed up for grabs was Best Supporting Actor. Tommy Lee Jones was the early favorite for his role in Lincoln, although Oscar prognosticators have been opining that his cranky attitude at the Golden Globes was pushing voters away, helping Christoph Waltz (Django Unchained) pick up his second Academy Award in that category in four years.
I'm down with Argo screenwriter Chris Terrio winning in the Best Adapted Screenplay category, but Quentin Tarrentino for Best Original Screeplay for Django Unchained over Tony Kushner and Lincoln? Well, it was expected, but it's still stupid.
Oh, and Quvenzhané Wallis was cute as a button in a bright blue dress with one of her trademark puppy purses as an accessory.
To see Theron, Chastain, and a whole bunch of other gowns and the glitter, and a few guys, too, head over to the Tom and Lorenzo blog, where you can see it all and voice your opinion.
So that's the Oscars. On to another year. Who will we be talking about in February 2014? Daniel Day-Lewis going for his fourth? Meryl back at the podium? More Spielberg and less Tarantino? Seth MacFarlane not even invited to attend? A girl can dream.