The 89th Annual Academy Awards ceremony celebrates the film industry's best and biggest in cinema for the year 2016 with host Jimmy Kimmel, including awards for best actors, directors, songs, original screenplays and motion picture.
Very funny intro from Ellen but mostly average show from there despite mostly worthy winners
One of the downsides of living 5 hours ahead of EST is that some bigger US events cannot be watched live; of course the upside to that is that if you record them and watch them the next day, you can probably save yourself at least half the running time by fast-forwarding the commercials or other "filler" material. I mention this because I was very surprised by how quickly this Oscars flew by when I was doing it through adverts, bits that weren't working and so on. It started well enough. Although Ellen's opening bit lacked the showmanship or spark of some other years (noticeably there was no musical or montage element) it was still very funny and her lines mostly got the right balanced of mocking but without offending.
From there though, it didn't have too much to recommend. Montages came and went for little reason or benefit – in particular with some odd choices for clips, with the animation sequence particularly heavy in modern films and for some reason lots of Kung-Fu Panda. The Best Song performances were pretty decent but not so great. The frequent return of Ellen was a mixed bag; some of her asides were really good but the selfy joke worn thin and the Pizza delivery guy bit didn't seem to have legs or a punchline once the original novelty of seeing stars with pizza wore off. Of course the show is about the awards and for this year, although it was mostly predictable, the majority were at least worthy winners with generally a good split for performances, with technical awards going to Gravity on the whole. The acceptance speeches were mostly safe, but there were some howlers and of course generally it is a bit cringe- inducing to watch the very rich and famous award one of their own, which mostly is what was happening.
Although they are a bit hard to watch, at least the speeches generally strike you as real, which is more than can be said for the presenters of awards. It always surprises me that people who act for a living and can deliver all sorts of characters cannot come out and talk about an award or a person without coming over like they are reading off cue-cards with no more than one or two word per card. There are some exceptions of course but generally these segments are clunky and odd, with most of the scripted bits not working particularly well. Harrison Ford sticks in the mind as he talked through the first three best picture nominees like he had just been woken up seconds before he did it, while Matthew McConaughey and Kim Novak's bit was awkward for so many reasons. These ones stuck in my mind but generally the show had the usual stiff scripted intros that nobody enjoys doing or watching.
It was a very safe show it must be said; solid winners without too much controversy, a presenter who got it right from the start in terms of gently ribbing but not offending and all the usual flaws and weakness of this big bloated show. I must remember next year to just watch the monologue and look up the winners – fast-forwarding can cut out a lot of the fat, but when the rest is just the same old same old then it probably isn't even worth that much time.
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