The Moth Chase

Elevating the Art of Procrastanalysis – Academics wasting time on pop culture

And the Oscar goes to…

with 5 comments

Dear Natalie,

I am starting this post about 10:15 p.m. EST, so who knows how much longer we have till the end of Oscar night. I have to say, I am so jealous of your central time zone! Since our household is living under a nasty cold virus this week, I may not even make it to the end. But I wanted to take a quick moment to say – is it just me or is James Franco the most awkward goof ball out there right now? Give him a script and he can be hilarious, serious, profound, or ridiculous. Stand him up in a tux in front of a microphone and he looks like an eleven year old boy at a dinner who just farted and is trying not to laugh. Or like he is stoned out of his mind. I kind of love it, even though I feel pretty sorry for Anne Hathaway. Does it seem like she is hosting an entirely different show than the one James showed up for? Given that he is a Ph.D. student in my husband’s former Ph.D. program, I keep assuming he is waiting to get off stage to read the Fairie Queene. Watching Robert Downey, Jr. and Jude Law did you think what I just did – now that is a hosting pair I would watch all night! OK, I’m signing off but can’t wait to wake up and see what you thought of our hosts, any surprising wins or loses, and of course, the big win at the end of the night!

Kathryn

————————–

Hey Kathryn,

I have to agree – JF is so completely awkward and, yes, I kind of love it too. I’m a big big Franco fan (some time we should all rewatch and blog Freaks and Geeks together!), but public performances like this make me wonder why. And yet I can’t help but keep loving him. His jack-of-all-trades-master-of-some ways are intriguing to me. I realize that his weird installation art projects, phd in English, photography collections, stint on General Hospital and whatever other things he’s up to make him a wanker to many, but he strikes me as someone who’s having as much fun with what he’s got as he can, and I have to respect that. Now, I’ve never been a big fan of Anne Hathaway – she’s always seemed quite vanilla to me. But boy, did she win me over last night! She was endearing, funny, sweetly awkward in moments but mostly fantastically poised (but not as poised as Oprah – that woman can hold a stage).  And any one who can do a musical number (woh – I had no idea about those pipes) mocking Hugh Jackman in 6inch sparkle Louboutins automatically becomes my hero (btw – those shoes have long been my ultimate dream pair…I gasped to see them! I tried to try them on last year in a Neiman’s and was politely denied and told that they fit just like the 4 black pairs I had already tried on!)

Speaking of the fashion of the night – that’s mostly what I care about, anyway. I still haven’t seen The King’s Speech (which I really regret now), so the film winners were kind of ‘meh’ to me.  But the fashion – ah! So, my nominees for best dress have to go to Melissa Leo in Marc Bouwer (I know everyone’s hating on this – but I thought the neckline was stunning, and her styling blew it away. I don’t like lace, but I loved her in this), Cate Blanchett in Givency, Gwyneth Paltrow’s dress during her musical number, and I’m putting Mila Kunis in here just because I think she’s gutsy to wear a dress that ensures we won’t be looking at her face while she’s talking – any my winner, Cate Blanchett! That dress was a fantastical feast! Elegant, complex yet somehow also simple detailing. A true work of art, and she wore is beautifully.

My nominees for best accessories of course include Hathaway’s Louboutins, but also Hilary Swank’s Anna Hu cocktail ring and, it turns out, sparkly brown eyeshadow – everyone was wearing it! Much as I love my Louboutins, I audibly gasped every time the camera panned over Swank’s hand, and so she takes this prize for me. In fact, I think that ring might win my best, most favourite things about the Oscars all night long – stunning! There has to be a shout out though for emeralds – so many, and so lovely. I felt like I was in Oz!

Best speech was a toss up for me between Aaron Sorkin’s incredibly classy, incredibly poised one, Luke Matheny’s sweet rambling crazy-haired, random thanks for mums doing craft services to the state of Delaware to a sweet, sappy shout out to his love, and Christian Bale’s awkward description of what the director’s job is: can you imagine any director who thinks his or her prime directive is to “translate” what the actors are doing so the audience can understand it? My hunch is that most directors imagine their art to be a bit more vision-making, non-actor centered that that. Here, Matheny wins for me in part because he had the hairdo to go with frenetic energy and he was as close as we got this year to a great Roberto Benigni moment.  Well him and Melissa Leo, I guess – but I found her speech mostly weird and even a little fake (although my husband pointed out that she was just overwhelmed – maybe I’m judgmental).

As far as Oscar gimmicks go – the 10 best pics running through the king’s speech was incredibly well done. Gutsy to anchor them all in one film, so thank God that film won. But I thought that showed some real creativity. Best of all, though – I’m a sucker for an autotune gimmick, and “He Doesn’t Own a Shirt” was pretty hilarious. It tied in nicely to the willing self-mocking of the younger, hipper Oscars.

If one thing stuck out to me most though, it was that these Oscars felt even more self-congratulatory than usual – am I alone in that? Between the “look how cool we are now” and the “oh yeah, we watch youtube” PS22 finale (which I found weird, not inspiring) and the “this oscar really goes to [fill in the blank]” and “I dedicate this to…” weirdness in speeches – the show did feel a little like it had lost its identity. And I wondered how much that floundery feeling left any self-congratulations look displaced and over-the-top.  What did you think?

I’m also wondering why they can’t design an envelope that is easier to open – everyone seemed to struggle with those.

You look very appealing to a younger demographic too, K,
xoxo,
Natalie

PS: for reviews of a few of this year’s nominees on our site, check out Black Swan, True Grit (Natalie), True Grit (Kathryn), and The Fighter

—-

Dear Natalie,

I cannot resist a quick additional note to say yes! to your fashion review. Cate Blanchett won the prize for me. The slight Roman illusion, the sparkle, the incredible blend of structure and give – absolutely stunning. In comparison with two extremes for me – Nicole Kidman’s way too much structure and Natalie Portman’s “I’m really pregnant” flow fest. Nicole looked like she really was wearing a body plate sewn onto a dress. And I get that Natalie is tired of awards season and ready for some preggo rest, but come on, she isn’t that big yet. Why not take a risk and do something a bit more structured and clingy?

Speaking of our leading lady, did you see this excellent piece in Slate on Natalie Portman as the perfect star for our overprogrammed generation? It was all I could think about when she opened her mouth last night. Even though I feel sort of indicted by the piece as well. Slate also has some pretty hilarious yacking on James Franco that I just discovered this morning. I wouldn’t be quite so hard on poor James, but funny nonetheless.

Final thought – what was up with asking Kirk Douglass to present? Some kind of reassurance that the Oscars aren’t *just* about the hip and young anymore?

Kathryn

5 Responses

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  1. I sure found a lot to agree with in K’s and N’s remarks. For me, too, it was pretty much most about the fashion. I loved M Leo’s lace dress, would love to see it close up. I was intrigued by the underlayer. Who knew lace could be so fashion forward? Also loved Cate B’s dress. With both of these I felt like I was seeing something really new, which is vary hard to do. Mila’s was beautiful, but we’ve seen it before. My “best of all” goes to Cate B. She wore art!
    I thought Melissa L’s speech was fake, even her f-bomb slip. JMS was out of the room for it, so I did a quick rewind for him and therefore saw it twice. I think she’d done that a time or two in front of the bathroom mirror at home. No? I could be wrong–but remember, she’s a good actress. Loved Aaron Sorkin’s speech last night; so relieved to see him apparently drug free!
    Didn’t know what on earth to make of JF, except I think K’s “goof ball” captures the spirit last night’s persona.

    Valerie Stevenson

    February 28, 2011 at 11:11 am

    • I thought the same thing about ML practicing her speech in front of the mirror – and it’s that she’s a great actress that makes me wonder if she was being genuine. If that was acting, it was pretty terrible acting! (Natalie)

      themothchase

      February 28, 2011 at 12:34 pm

  2. What, no discussion of the fashion faux-pas? How about Heidi Klum’s crazy mirror-ball-and-turquoise Julien MacDonald dress (and whose husband wants to be the one wielding the Windex?)… or the thrift-store-crochet-looking top of the otherwise pretty Dolce & Gabbana dress Scarlett Johansson wore?… and I’m afraid I can’t agree on the Cate Blanchett dress, Natalie: that oval cutout was just too odd!

    Anne Hathaway’s stylist team should get an award next year, though: she looked great in every outfit.

    Heather Tomlinson

    February 28, 2011 at 11:48 am

    • I don’t know, Heather, about an award for Anne H’s team–it’s a degree of difficulty thing. How hard is it to make Anne Hathaway look great in, well, anything? I know what you mean about Cate’s cut out. I looked at it a long time because it was so unusual, not at all something my eye was used to. I think it would be interesting to see possible alternatives to the shape. My eye wanted the cut out circle to be somewhat (not a lot) smaller, or, I’d like to see how it would look elongated–I guess that would make it an oval, huh? But even given the oddness factor, I thought it was way cool!
      In rereading what I wrote this morning, I’m vowing to never again join a blog before I’ve had a cup of coffee. Not only were there the obvious typos, I wrote “…it was pretty much most about…” and THAT is embarrassing. I’m going to go sit with JF.

      Valerie Stevenson

      February 28, 2011 at 1:58 pm

  3. ok, a lot to react to on this one. first, the hosts: anne is beautiful and energetic (and wow, “the pipes” is right) – everything worked for her except the blue saran-wrap dress. james…um, maybe it’s because i’m a guy, but i’m not really a fan. that natalie portman article cited above could have just switched her name for his. unless, as i’ve read, that his “performance” at the oscars was to make a point about fame and celebrity. and if it was, he convinced me. (and these videos lead me to believe that was the case: http://www.whosay.com/jamesfranco/videos)

    it made me feel sorry for anne…and i think that was kind of selfish. how can someone be that good in front of a camera on the whole and then just suck the life out of a live room (and broadcast)?

    on the awards. supporting actress – i was rooting for amy and i too thought leo’s speech and “awed” expression were just annoying. she wasn’t that ridiculous when she won the golden globe, why put that on? also have a soft spot for helena bonham carter…and think it’s hilarious that she dresses like belatrix lestrange in real life.

    supporting actor – i think the most difficult category this year. christian won and should have won, but wait until you see geoffrey in “the kings speech”…if only his character had been on drugs instead of just absolutely amazing. mark was the best part of “the kids” and jeremy was also great in “the town”. “winter’s bone” is sitting next to my tv, as yet unwatched.

    best actress – i really like natalie, but i’ve yet to see black swan. i mean, i loved her from the beginning – i can’t tell you how many times my friends and i watched “the professional” in high school. and “v for vendetta”…leading to her rapping on SNL = hilarious. “garden state”, perfect movie for that time of life. and last winter when i saw her in nyc at a restaurant, i never dreamed she’d get knocked up by a DANCER before i could ask her out…geez.

    oh yeah, the category – as i said, “winter’s bone” is in waiting – but jennifer looked AMAZING at the oscars, especially compared with her character. michelle is a favorite and i need to see “blue valentine”. i’m guessing many feel bad for annette, but i felt like her nomination was going to be automatic because she played a lesbian – the movie was good, but not best picture material (see previous comment about mark). i’m not a fan of subject-based nominations.

    best actor – it was colin’s turn. and he really did earn it. javier isn’t going anywhere – we know he’ll be back. and if jeff keeps this up, same for him. james…the jury is still out in my opinion. i’d rather see if he can make it back. and jesse…he WILL be back again. he was awesome and has been great in the past, but not really in “oscar fare”. (if you haven’t yet, see adventureland and zombieland. trust me, pleasant surprises.)

    JB

    March 3, 2011 at 10:43 am


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