Hey, I said they should hire Chris Rock to present the Oscars again. Am I always wrong? The guy was on stage for 30 seconds and turned a weird and monotonous Oscar ceremony into something unforgettable.
Rock made a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith’s haircut: “Jada I love you GI Jane 2 I can’t wait to see it!” Problem is, Ms. Smith has a medical condition that causes hair loss. Did Rock know about this? no. Will Smith laughed at the joke initially, then looked at his unhappy wife and went into reverse. Toughness. Suddenly, Mr. Nice Guy wasn’t so nice. One of the biggest movie stars alive walked up to the stage and slapped in Chris Rock’s left jaw, though, to his disbelief, Smith forgot to say, “Welcome to Earth.”
They hire three women to perform, and the boys steal the show fighting.
“Wow! Will Smith just hit me! That was… the biggest night in television history,” Rock said, without exaggerating the facts. The guy must have worked in many slums when there He wasn’t a beginner, but I don’t think he’s ever been slapped in the face by a movie star before. Ladies and gentlemen, Chris Rock! Not only should he present the Oscars every year, he should be the next secretary of state. Talk about grace under pressure. When was the last time you got slapped in the face by a big guy? I bother people for a living, and that hasn’t happened to me lately. If it had been you or me up there, we would have been taken by surprise. Rock just moved on. He accepted as if he had rehearsed for a month.
Oh yes, and the Oscar was won by the biggest corporation in the world. Long live the weaker side! Apple TV+ surreptitiously won the Oscar for Best Picture, as the bosses of its arch-rival Netflix sought out the people in the marketing department to treat them the same way Smith treated Rock. Netflix has been trying to win an Oscar for ten years, has spent hundreds of millions of dollars on this project and still hasn’t come up with anything. Instead, Apple TV+, launched just two years ago, won with ‘CODA – A Rhythm of the Heart’, a dramedy about an adorable family of deaf people and their adorable daughter.
It was the first film to debut on a streaming service and the first film to debut at the Sundance Film Festival to win Best Picture. It also won Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor for the then-unknown Troy Kotsur, the first deaf man to win an Oscar for acting.
Meanwhile, Netflix was chasing the Oscars hard with his film “Attack of the Dogs,” “a dazzling evisceration of one of the country’s foundational myths,” according to the New York Times (i.e., it’s about a closeted homosexual cowboy). It was one of the biggest disappointments in the history of the Academy. With twelve nominations, it only won a single award – Best Director for Jane Campion, which it could hardly lose after everyone pointed out that only two women had won in the category before.
As good as Chris Rock be, Smith was also very good. Minutes after beating Rock, he won his first Oscar, as the father of tennis phenoms Serena and Venus Williams in ‘King Richard – Raising Champions’. He must have rewritten most of his rant in his head by the final hour because it all turned on how sometimes a man just needs to slap a comedian for insulting his lady: “Richard Williams was a fierce defender of his family” , he said (Williams is not dead, but whatever).
Smith spoke of how he “protected” the actresses in the film and said: “I was called in my life to love people and protect people”. He wept copiously, reversing the situation: Smith said he should have learned by now to “take abuse” and “have people disrespect you” and added: “You have to smile and pretend that everything is okay.” (I can hear Rock replying, “That was a joke, man! Are you an adult or not?”) Smith even apologized, but not to Rock: “I want to apologize to the Academy. I want to apologize to all my fellow nominees… Thank you, and I hope the Academy invites me back.”
Even before the Smith-Rock beef, it was a very awkward ceremony. Three athletes you probably wouldn’t recognize if you saw them at McDonald’s doing… a tribute to James Bond? A hip-hop homage to… ‘The Godfather’? A big production built around… a song that wasn’t nominated for an Oscar? Jokes from… Amy Schumer? After last year’s hard-to-watch Oscars, the mood was at least lighter this time around. Just a few references to Ukraine, including one by Mila Kunis, of Ukrainian descent, followed by a minute’s silence for that country.
I credit co-hosts Schumer, Regina Hall and Wanda Sykes at least trying to be funny. But they had no relationship together, just as they had no record of working together. Why were they on stage together? I have no idea. Especially when Chris Rock and Tiffany Haddish, two extremely funny people, were hanging around.
Appropriately for the evening, the hosts joked about how terrible some of the nominated films were: Sykes said, on the laborious ‘Attack of the Dogs’, “I’ve watched this movie three times and I’m still halfway through.” Fair. “This year we saw a terrifying demonstration of how toxic masculinity has turned into cruelty against women and children,” Hall said. “Damn Mitch McConnell! ” added Sykes, in a joke that appeared to have been written by an intern, or perhaps by automated joke software. Later, Sykes presented a “Texas voter registration” card that “comes pre-shredded.”
Schumer, who had promised before the show that he would try to play Ricky Gervais , was willing to mess with the crowd. Some of her jokes look pretty good on paper. Referring to Aaron Sorkin’s terrifying film Introducing the Richards, she said, “It’s groundbreaking to make a Lucille Ball movie without even a funny moment… It’s like making a Michael Jordan biopic and just showing the bus rides. between games.” Unfortunately, Schumer is one of those comedians whose mannerisms make it impossible for you to laugh. “This year, the Academy hired three women to present because it’s cheaper than hiring a man,” she said at the start of the show, offering exactly the kind of alternate reality cliché you’d expect from a woman with a salary inversely proportional to her talent. (Schumer lives in a $ million apartment, indicating that she is the first comedian in history to earn a million dollars for every person on earth who finds her funny.)
The only funny joke during the opening monologue was when Hall said, “ You know, we’ve been dealing with Covid for two years. It was very difficult for people.” “Just look at Timothée Chalamet,” Schumer continued, and the camera cut to JK Simmons. But the joke would have worked better if the audience really knew who Timothée Chalamet was. Chalamet was wearing a shiny tuxedo over his bare chest, the sight of which suggested that he is a) on an unannounced hunger strike, b) has never seen the inside of a gym, or c) is actually a seventh grader. ” came from Sykes: “We’re going to have a great night tonight, and for you guys in Florida, we’re going to have a gay night. Gay Gay Gay Gay Gay.” Bravo bravo bravo bravo bravo. Sykes got a laugh as he returned from a break dressed as Richard Williams, father of tennis players Serena and Venus Williams, then the skit faltered when Hall appeared as Tammy Faye Bakker, and completely fell apart when Schumer came down clumsily as Spider-Man.
Overall, the ceremony suffered from the same problems as usual: despite shifting the delivery of eight technical Oscars to a pre-show ceremony, the broadcast still managed to be one of the longest in history at nearly four hours. The star power was missing, which is why we had to suffer seeing John Leguizamo saying that the model for the Oscar statuette was Latin, so, “If you win, will have ½ inch of Mexican on their hands.” A big flashy musical number gave us “We Don’t Talk About Bruno”, even though that song didn’t have been nominated (Disney inexplicably pushed “Dos Oruguitas” from Charm; lost to Billie Eilish’s song for the James Bond movie).
Beyoncé is a huge star, however, and she opened the show with the first live performance of the nominated song. Oscar, “Be Alive”, from ‘King Richard – Raising Champions’. Which reminded us all that it’s a terrible song that couldn’t be saved by armies of dancers wearing yellow tennis ball outfits and performing on the courts where Venus and Serena Williams learned to serve.
The sweet moments came from newcomers like Ariana DeBose, who won Best Supporting Actress for ‘West Side Story – Amor, Sublime Amor’, and Best Supporting Actor Kotsur, the deaf actor who said in sign language that when he visited the White House, “I was planning to teach them a profanity-filled sign language, but Marlee Matlin told me to behave.” Kotsur said his father was the best sign language in his family, but after a car accident he was left paralyzed from the neck down and cruelly unable to use his hands.
A The final award ceremony was touching – or unbearable, depending on your point of view: to honor the 50 th anniversary of Cabaret, Liza Minnelli appeared by surprise, but she was in a wheelchair and looked extremely fragile. In a night of surprises, this was the most undesirable.