You’d think it’d be hard to sum up the Oscars, which clocked in at an astonishingly brief three hours and 50 minutes, in just two words. But this year it’s easy: Predictable and Boring!
A Host of Issues
We’ll start with the host. We knew Jimmy Kimmel would address last year’s epic Oscars flub, Weinstein, and the #MeToo movement. He should and he did. We knew he would do some sort of stunt involving “real people.” And he did. We knew he would pop up for quick one liners to move the show along. And he did. But nothing he said or did was jaw-dropping, crash social media worthy.
He wasn’t boring, but he definitely wasn’t edgy and was thoroughly predictable.
There were no Marisa Tomei’s or 3-6 Mafias emerging from this batch of nominees. Anyone who went with the favorites in their office Oscar pool had a high score. From Sam Rockwell as the first award winner (Supporting Actor) to Shape of Water for Best Picture at the end, nearly every nominee that was either a clear favorite or a close second won.
If there was anything resembling a surprise, it didn’t come until three hours into the show, when Remember Me from Coco won. This Is Me won the Golden Globe (and was performed brilliantly during the show) and was the favorite. We here at the Cocktail thought Miss Mary J. Blige would pick up the prize. So the song we had ranked third winning approximates an upset.
The Moment We’ve All Been Waiting For
As she has all season, Frances McDormand won for her vulnerable, acerbic, heart breaking performance in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. This is a spot where predictability would have been welcome. She is a tough, no-nonsense actress and we were all on the edge of our seats waiting to hear what she would say. Frances had good things to say, and when she set down her Oscar and patted it on the head, we thought she was just getting going.
While she did have a powerful message, and had all female nominees rise, it lacked the angry fire we expected. Maybe winning an Oscar diminishes the anger, it is a joyous moment after all. Maybe we’re just bitter because the over/under on her speech being bleeped was 1.5 and we took the over.
The best moment of the night may be when Allison Janney (predictably) won Supporting Actress. After taking an extra moment to bask in the applause, she said “I did it all by myself,” mocking those that thank everyone and their mom. It was a great laugh. She then went on to thank everyone and her mom.
Overdue Their Due
While acknowledging and mocking last year’s flub on Best Picture, producers never gave Moonlight their due. How great would it have been to bring the gang back, announce their name, play the music, and giving them a moment that wouldn’t always be tied to the team from La La Land? They gave us a great movie that will always be in Oscar lore, but will never truly belong to them.
They did bring back Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway to present Best Picture. It went fine. After last year we can’t call it Predictable. But we can call it Boring.
The Envelope Please
Speaking of last year’s disaster, did anyone else notice the envelopes this year had the category emblazoned in huge, 100 point type so everyone from the director to the people at home could see the category and, hopefully, alert the presenter to any issues? Oh what a difference a font makes.
The Critic’s Cocktail Recommendation
We had a bottle (or two) of Francis Ford Coppola’s Director’s Cut wine. Delicious. But nothing standout. Much like this year’s Oscars. While this show wasn’t the worst ever, it’s far from standout. Middling at best, it will be as memorable as John Nelson, Gerd Nefzer, Paul Lambert, and Richard R. Hoover, the winners for Visual Effects.