Nobody likes the Oscars.
Maybe that's too broad an indictment, but if your only sources of feedback on the 87th Academy Awards were social media and blogs, it's easy to get that impression. 36.6 million people watched the ceremony last Sunday (down 18 percent from last year), and apparently every one of them resented the experience.
But even for a TV viewing population as bitchy as ours, the vitriol aimed at this year's ceremony (and its smirking host, Neil Patrick Harris) seemed a little excessive. There were plenty of legitimate reasons to complain: a painfully white group of nominees, another near three-and-a-half hour running time, no streakers; but it's the other stuff I'd like to take a closer look at.
Oh, and in case anyone cares, I went six for nine on my Oscar predictions. Curse you, Big Hero 6!
5. Sean Penn Makes A Funny
The Crime: - Announcing Best Picture winner Birdman -- and presumably feeling bulletproof because he won his second Academy Award for playing a minority -- Penn commented, "Who gave this son of a bitch his green card?" A reference to Mexican-born director Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu.
Was It Really That Bad? Iñárritu insists he found the joke hilarious. He directed Penn in 21 Grams and claims they have a "brutal" friendship that allows for such things. Could be. Still, maybe the most paleface Oscar ceremony in recent memory wasn't the best place to trot out your private Mexican jokes.
4. Welcome Back, Creeper
The Crime: The suit and Michael Jackson pancake makeup were bad enough, but then he had to play the part of your pervy uncle with a bad hairpiece:
How Bad Was It Really? Where do you draw the line between possible mental illness brought on by decades of Scientology and just being icky? Johansson apparently laughed it off afterwards, so the only person I feel bad for is Idina Menzel, who had to endure Travolta's pawing in front of millions.
Well, her and Kelly Preston, who's been ignoring my offer to co-star with her in a Metalstorm sequel since 1984.
3. Wage Equality, Shmage Equality
The Crime: Best Supporting Actress winner Patricia Arquette (Boyhood) did the *unthinkable* during her speech and issued a call for wage equality and equal rights for women.
Was It Really That Bad? Meryl Streep and Jennifer Lopez didn't think so. Fox News, on the other hand. Personally, I fail to see anything wrong with what Arquette said. If the leaked Sony emails showed anything, it's that even Hollywood has a wage gap problem.
Besides, we should be extremely wary of angering anyone who took down James Gandolfini.
2. The Decline And Fall Of NPH
The Crime: Unfunniness. Possible racism.
Was It Really That Bad? It wasn't good. The tighty whiteys, the opening number, the Edward Snowden "treason" joke. Harris never looked comfortable, and often came across as smarmy and condescending. That's aside from shit like asking David Oyelowo to take part in your dumb British punchline bit (after repeatedly mispronouncing his name) and making Octavia Spencer watch your Mystery Briefcase, itself the King Kamehameha of failed Oscar gags.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
1. In Snubmoriam
The Crime: The Oscars' yearly recap of the recently departed was missing some allegedly significant names.
Was It Really That Bad? Joan Rivers may have become most famous for talking shit about stars' fashion (not that they didn't deserve it), but leaving her out smacks of pettiness. Even worse, in my opinion, was leaving off Elaine Stritch (who just had a documentary about her life released), Richard "Jaws" Kiel (also one of the best parts of Happy Gilmore), Jan Hooks, and Taylor Negron.