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film criticism by maryann johanson | since 1997

QOTD: What did you love and hate about the Oscars?

Joaquin Phoenix Oscars

Complaining about the Oscars are about as traditional as the Oscars themselves. But, man, was this the worst Oscars ever, or what? Perhaps unsurprisingly, host Seth MacFarlane went directly into Family Guy mode, trotting out every racist, sexist, homophobic angle he could come up with. As Salon noted:

Seth MacFarlane’s opening number featured numerous musical numbers — including one mocking actresses who’d played nude, in an apparent tribute to the theory of the male gaze.

Even the stuff that started out funny — such as William Shatner’s arrival from the future to stop MacFarlane from committing the worst Oscars ever — dragged on way too long and eventually ended up feeling like its own gosh-darn pretend-apology boys-will-be-boys justification: Hey, I’m smacking myself for being a naughty boy! Ain’t I cute?

It’s enough to make me wonder whether the anomalously clever MacFarlane I saw in Ted wasn’t actually there at all.

MacFarlane aside, then there are the things that the Oscars are supposed to be about: the movies, and the people who make them. (Though, as always, you’d be forgiven for guessing from what ended up on screen that the Oscars are actually about long musical numbers and not letting winners speak.) The awards were spread around a lot, to the point of one category — sound editing — seeing a rare tie. I’m happy with Argo winning Best Picture, though I do think Django Unchained is a better film, if only by just a smidge. I’m delighted that both films won the screenplay awards — though, seriously: Tarantino couldn’t do up his tie? — particularly since I thought they should but figured they wouldn’t. (For those subscribers who got my predictions earlier in the week, I made guesses in 23 of the 24 categories, and got 13 of my will-win’s correct. Which is only slightly better than chance. See the complete list of winners here.)
What did you love and hate about the Oscars?

(Joaquin Phoenix GIF from Gawker.)

(If you have a suggestion for a QOTD, feel free to email me. Responses to this QOTD sent by email will be ignored; please post your responses here.)

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