As an avid moviegoer, I usually enjoy the Academy Awards presentations. Not last night. Whoever produced the show left out one important ingredient. Entertainment.
It was a show designed with two purposes in mind. One, punctuality, to get it over with in the requisite two and a half hours no matter how awkwardly it was done. And two, to drain away as much spontaneity and humanity as possible. Even the emcees, Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin, seemed like scurrying little puppet clowns with little amusing to say.
Most embarrassing were the glowing “tributes” to the best actor and actress nominees. In each category, five of their peers emerged on the stage to speak about the actor or actress’s unbelievable talent and virtue. This while the camera panned in to sop up the phony emotions of the nominees.
It was so awful and amateurish I could hardly watch. The gods and goddesses that were the nominees of course were gracious and at the end blew kisses back at their individual“ idolators, ” no matter how they truly viewed the gushing praise.
I thought one of the nominees in particular, Helen Mirren, was disgusted with her tribute. Especially when it came to mentioning the tatoo on her left hand.
The tributes were cornball at best. They served no real purpose. Who could believe them? Take me back to the old days. The film clips are enough.
The program reserved the goofiest moments for awards to screenplays, original and adapted. As a film clip of the nominees’ best work was shown, an overlay of typed script appeared as the exact words were spoken by actors. And all with the sound of a typewriter punching in each letter. A typewriter in this age? The creators of these segments had to do something, I suppose, since typing on a computer keyboard is nearly soundless. But mindless just the same.
The show’s producers must think their audience is composed of idiots. They tried to make such categories as “sound editing” a mirage of excitement, explaining how those far behind the scenes technicians do their jobs. We’ve received this instruction in past years, over and over. It must have something to do with actors guild mandates. But who cares? Boring. The veteran viewer knows this is the time to visit the kitchen for snacks.
One could feel the heavy hand of efficiency pushing the winners off stage. One winner, I forget the category, was brushed aside in mid-sentence.
There was some revelation. Like when Jeff Bridges accepted his Oscar for best actor in the stupid film,“Crazy Heart.” I suddenly realized his hippie talk is real, that he just didn’t play Dude in “The Big Lebowski.” He is Dude, that he remains forever the Dude. No wonder there was no chemistry between Bridges and his “Crazy” co-star, the sophisticated New Yorker, Maggie Gyllenhaal.
There were good moments, though. Like when Ben Stiller made his presentation made up as an avatar and speaking Na’vi.
And then there was the moving acceptance “speech” by best actress, Sandra Bullock. Fine moments, yes. But not nearly enough of them.
The bewildering omission of Farrah Fawcett from the roll of industry deaths in 2009 is just another example of how amateurish the production was. Someone didn’t do the homework. Hopefully, heads will roll, and the show will get its act together by next year.