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85th Annual Academy Awards: The Good, The Bad, and The Bin

Luke Miksa's: The Negative Space Bar

Olly Moss

Olly Moss

THE GOOD

  • Bond love

On the 50th anniversary of the James Bond franchise that started with Dr. No in 1962, I thought it was a real treat to see The Academy acknowledge such an iconic and enduring series. The montage was okay, but Shirley Bassey sauntering on-stage for a belting rendition of Goldfinger was spectacular, as was Adele‘s performance of the Best Original Song winner, Skyfall.

Honestly, the only way this tribute could have been better is if they gathered all six Bonds together to take a bow (but I would assume that would be nigh-on impossible).

Slight negative: They couldn’t get someone with a bit more positive influence on the franchise to introduce the package other than Halle Berry (who showed up dressed like Gozer the Gozerian)?

  • Flight w/ sock puppets and other MacFarlane gems

In possibly the most criticized and scrutinized gig in all of show-business — and coming out with very mixed reactions — I thought Seth MacFarlane did a respectable job as host. It wasn’t all smooth sailing — a lacklustre crowd and casual sexism/racism really didn’t help his cause — but skits such as ‘Flight with Sock Puppets’ and the very Family Guy-esque Sound of Music bit before Christopher Plummer’s introduction were tremendous.

It’s strange that my least favourite moments in Family Guy are whenever it spontaneously breaks out in to song, but I guess the Academy Awards is the perfect stage because I enjoyed every one of his numbers (as long as you tuned out before the closing piece).

  • The Affleck redemption

I was genuinely happy for Ben Affleck finally completing his triumphant comeback on the grandest stage of them all. It must be sweet satisfaction for a man with so much early buzz — and Oscar glory — seemingly flush his career down the toilet with a long run of bad choices, a run that took nearly ten years to recover from. Affleck has effectively gone from Gigli to one of the most lauded film-makers today.

Now, tell me again why he did not receive a nomination for Best Director?

  • Deserving winners
via Getty

via Getty

As a whole, a large majority of the night’s winners were appropriately awarded. I was very happy to see the amazing Paperman get a nod for Best Animated Short, Searching for Sugar Man winning Best Documentary Feature, and although he deserved it more for some of his previous work, I was glad to see Quentin Tarantino picking up an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay for Django Unchained.

  • A tie!

A bit of an exciting moment was when Mark Wahlberg announced the winner of Best Sound Editing as a tie between Skyfall and Zero Dark Thirty; only the 6th tie in history! I wasn’t sure if it was a ruse, seeing as this award was co-presented by (a visually impressive) Ted, but there it was: each award being presented to a different member of Hans Gruber’s Die Hard thugs.

  • Jennifer Lawrence

My (totally healthy) crush on Jennifer Lawrence escalated rapidly throughout this entire awards season. Every late-night talk show appearance and every press interview was totally endearing and she comes across as a super level-headed, easy-going and self-aware kind of person; all culminating in this amazing post-show moment with Jack Nicholson:

THE BAD

  • Brave wins Best Animated Feature

While the majority of award winners were all deserving, some expected and some surprising, the only real miscarriage of justice was Brave winning Best Animated Feature. After all these years I guess Pixar have a force-choke on voters despite the quality drop of recent output; Wreck-It-Ralph and Paranorman were head-and-shoulders above Brave in all areas.

  • Paul Rudd and Melissa McCarthy

I watched it again. I still didn’t get it. Rudd and McCarthy seemingly had no plan and what resulted was the longest, most awkward minute of the night. They tanked. Hard.

  • The Chicago obsession

I’m not sure if anyone noticed, but this year marked the tenth anniversary of Chicago‘s Best Picture win. I’m sure you noticed, because it was brought up in no less than three separate segments; including a musical performance by the ageless Catherine Zeta-Jones as well as the entire cast taking the stage to bask in their own now forgotten glory (including Renee Zellweger refusing to read the winners, in another awkward moment).

THE BIN

  • Cutting off the VFX winning speech

There was an unfortunate situation involving Rhythm and Hues Studios, the visual effects company behind many top-notch films spanning nearly two decades.

Despite filing for bankruptcy only a fortnight ago, the company was honoured for their impressive work on Ang Lee’s Life of Pi, winning the Best Visual Effects Oscar. During the acceptance speech the company’s reference to their financial situation was interrupted by the designated play-off tune of the evening; John Williams’ classic Jaws theme. Although pretty humorous in any other context, the impeding dread of the Jaws score ironically playing over concern about a real industry threat was — although coincidental — extremely degrading and borderline censorship when their microphone was completely cut off.

It was a very bleak and poignant affair, especially considering a large number of visual effects employees — many having lost their livelihoods — were protesting outside the theatre throughout the proceedings.

  • Kristen Stewart

The always peppy and captivating Kristen Stewart was at it again, this time sporting a hefty limp and some bruises suggesting she just went the distance with Apollo Creed. She may have picked up Rocky Balboa’s brain damage as well, seemingly losing interest in the middle of her own small presenting role with Daniel Radcliffe.

  • Channel 9’s cuts

If anyone asks why I detest Australian broadcast stations so much, here is a shining example: After Argo grabbed the Picture Feature Oscar, there was one more commercial break before being ‘treated’ to the final musical number with Seth MacFarlane and some Tinkerbell sized woman by the name of Kristen Chenowith.

Except in the Australian broadcast, they went from commercial straight to the afternoon news, where they proceeded to inanely talk about Oscar fashions and other assorted garbage. To reiterate: They interrupted the actual Academy Awards broadcast with a news report featuring people I don’t know discussing the ceremony STILL IN PROGRESS.

No excuses. In a digital age where information — and alternative programming — is merely a click away, networks seem to be doing all they can to irritate and drive the audience away. But this is a much larger problem to be discussed on another occasion.

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