For the first time in at least a decade, I actually thought the Oscars were entertaining and even well planned. That there were some smart tweaks–the order change (with more exciting awards earlier), the ticker-tape names at the bottom so that the speeches were less listy and long winded. And of course, the main reason the Academy nailed it this year is this guy:
How did he do it? He took the controversy over the Oscars being too white, and not only did a hilarious commentary on just how true that concern was, but managed to slam the self-serving among the protesters (i.e., Jada), and–in a moment of brilliance–helped explain why people are able to think their acts aren’t racist, when they are:
“…is Hollywood racist? Is it ‘burning cross racist’? No. Is it ‘fetch me some lemonade racist’? No….Hollywood is ‘sorority racist.’ It’s like, we like you Rhonda, but you’re not a Kappa.”
He didn’t let up throughout, his interview of Compton moviegoers was perfection, and Tracy Morgan’s Danish girl is something I’ll re-watch again and again. And that Girl Scout cookie joke was a nice riff on Ellen’s pizza trick.
And then there’s the fact that Spotlight won, when we all feared The Revenant would. DiCaprio’s long-deserved win (“About time!” screamed someone behind me). And, of course, his predictably classy speech. The tribute to Star Wars composer John Williams, and Jacob Tremblay’s adorable response to it.
There was the moving Lady Gaga performance with other rape survivors backing her up, and the Biden reminder that our culture is part of the problem.
Socially relevant, entertaining, and–for the Oscars–fast paced. My own proof? This is my third year watching it in a theater with others. The first year, I left early. The second, I was one of the few holdouts (of an initially crowded theater) by the snoozing end. This year? All but a few of the crowded theater were still there, clapping and smiling and having a blast. That’s how it should be.