1. Ellen Insulting Her Wife’s Arrested Development Costar
I don’t know about you, but if my wife had been flayed in the press for her plastic surgery, I would avoid digs like the one Ellen gave Liza Minnelli at Sunday’s Oscars.
2. Oscar Commentators Praising “Not Looking Old” and “Growing Old Gracefully” Simultaneously
The online attacks on Vertigo (1958) star and Oscar presenter Kim Novak for her looks were appalling, especially since this is a woman who left Hollywood at the peak of her fame and lived privately for decades because she couldn’t take the objectification she experienced as a bombshell in Tinseltown. She’s been lured back into the limelight in her eighties, and look how she’s treated. Because for what would we judge a woman who starred in the film now ranked best of all time but her looks?
Chicago columnist Mike Royko wrote that 1976 Oscar viewers were outraged about seeing silent film star Mary Pickford (who had “grown old gracefully”) on their screens because they wanted to remember her cute and pretty, like this:
Royko didn’t understand why people preferred “facial skin stretched out like a drumhead.” “They cheer the illusion of Zsa Zsa,” he wrote, “but they flinch at the reality of Mary Pickford.” In 2014 an elderly woman can’t get away with natural aging or plastic surgery unless her surgeon is some kind of Houdini. Novak had the right idea originally—just get out.
3. Bestowing Honor by Awarding on the DL
Do you feel honored for a lifetime of achievement if the Academy deems the moment you’re given the statue not exciting enough for the big night? I was reminded of host Chris Rock’s reaction in 2005 when the technical awards were given in the aisle and sometimes en masse instead of individually onstage: “Next they’re gonna give the Oscars in the parking lot. It’ll be like a drive-through Oscar lane. You get an Oscar and a McFlurry and keep on moving.”
I found the choice to separate the honorary and competitive awards especially disturbing given that the former are so often given to those the Academy considers unworthy of notice for years and belatedly realizes they unjustifiably snubbed; such as one of this year’s honorees, Steve Martin, and Cary Grant (yes, the only classic film star many people can name).
Unsurprisingly, honorary Oscars are frequently awarded to those who mainly appear in/write/direct comedies, so I thought Jim Carrey’s jokes and Bill Murray’s shout-out to Harold Ramis were timely reminders that comedians receive no credit unless they appear in dramas—and usually not then—until the Academy’s honoree-may-be-near-death-oops awards, honors that now aren’t even bestowed on the night itself. Classy.
What bothered you most about this year’s Oscars?