| March 26, 2020
Simply… a rundown of the show… with a few bits of commentary.
Janelle Monáe opens the show with an homage to a movie that was not nominated that turns into a really cool number paying homage to other movies that were not nominated. (There was a dancing Joker, and other costumes represented Dolemite Is My Name, Queen & Slim, US, Midsommar, and a couple of 1917 and Little Women dancers as well.) Then, the great non-movie performer Billy Porter, who we had a long time with in the also all-race, all-youth pre-show, turns up singing a song from the not-nominated for BP Rocketman. Monáe then comes into the audience in a Midsommar outfit and shouts out “the women, the black, and the queer.” Enormous energy. But basically a five-minute apology to open the show.
Rock and Martin kill it.
Regina King, last year’s Supporting Actress winner, as is traditional, announces Supporting Actor Brad Pitt.
Beanie Feldman announces Mindy Kaling to announce Animated Feature and Animated Short. Why are they doing the short after the feature???
First Nominated Song. Idina Menzel and women who voiced her role in other countries. Great idea. Not very good execution. Not a great song, which made it harder, as the choice suggested the song had the kind of world appeal that “Let It Go” did.
Kelly Marie Tran and Questlove intro an intro that sexualizes Keanu Reeves.
Keanu and Diane Keaton announce Original Screenplay. Nice nomination package, although a really odd set of choices from those movies. Bong’s first win.
Natalie Portman and Timothée Chalamet (with his Members Only tux) announce Adapted Screenplay. Taika gets an Oscar.
Presenters Shia LaBeouf and Zack Gottsagen for Live Action Short. Representation of cognitive disability, demanding an applause break, while based on its lack of nominations and its great-for-a-tiny-indie $20 million gross, you know less than half the people in the room had any idea who Gottsagen was and less than 10% of the television audience did. There was something insightful and beautiful watching LaBeouf help Gottsagen through the moment, which was clearly not easy for him.
Maya Rudolph and Kristen Wiig start their funny material at the 53 minute mark of the show. Production Design goes to someone other than 1917 at 57 minutes, the first crack shown. Costume is announced at the 1 hour mark of the show.
Second Song nominee with a chorus in the background that Oscar cameras emphasize, repeatedly focusing on its wheelchair-bound member. Commercial break at 1:04.
(A commercial for Quibi encourages short attention spans at serious moments. Ha Ha Fucking Ha.)
Oscar returns from a three-minute break with a pretty good package on docs. Mark Ruffalo does Best Doc and Best Short Doc, weirdly in that order.
Mahershala Ali announces Best Supporting Actress. Laura Dern gives a lovely speech and remains one of Hollywood’s most loved people.
At 1:25 in the show, the mysterious case of Anthony Ramos, who 1% or less of the audience has ever laid eyes on before, and will star in In The Heights this summer. He explains that he was in “Hamilton” (on Broadway) and intros Lin-Manuel Miranda for no apparent reason other than to let us know that he was invited to The Oscars as the ultimate plus-one or as an homage to Jimmy Kimmel pulling people in from the mall to be on the show in 2017. (The show’s producers don’t help the audience out.) Miranda intros a song package in less time than Anthony Ramos spent barely introducing himself.
A very clever package about how songs and the visuals of the movies become connected forever. The problem is, the package producers don’t seem to trust the moments in which the songs became indelible and on top of that, they include songs that aren’t actually indelible in order to have more moments of color and also include musical movie numbers, which are really not the point of the package at all. Why? We’ll know in a moment…
Eminem! 47-Year-Old Eminem. (At first, I thought Todd Phillips was rapping.) Why? He refused to show up at the Oscars 18 years ago when he won Best Song. The song was released as a video a month before the movie 8 Mile was released, which was great marketing for the film, as it was a massive hit when the film was released in November.
But why are we having this song honored in the middle of Oscar night 2020? Into The Unknown.
Salma and Oscar, with a great joke for Salma about holding an Oscar on that stage. Oscar, smartly, throws away the “Oscar not-so-white anymore” joke. Sound Editing and Sound Mixing.
Randy Newman sings his nominated Toy Story 4 song, which features the unfortunate lyrics, “Got nothing more to say, you’re not listening anyway.”
1:48 Anthony Ramos is back! Wait! It’s not Anthony Ramos. It’s Utkarsh Ambudkar. He says, “I do not belong here.” Millions agree. He’s another Lin-Manuel Miranda acolyte.
1:50 Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Will Ferrell announce Cinematography and Editing. Very funny.
1:58- 2:00 Picturing the Academy Museum with an announced opening date in December 2020… which follows earlier opening expectations in parts of 2019.
2:03 Zazie Beetz intros the black conductor for the show, Leno veteran Ricky Minor, who speaks of his love for Cynthia Erivo, who then performs her song from Harriet.
2:12 Comedy duo Rebel Wilson and James Corden don cheap cat outfits and make fun of their failed movie. Funny… but anti-cinema. Special FX.
2:16 Ray Romano and Sandra Oh, a wonderful TV star who has not been in a movie in five years, but is Korean-Canadian. Make-Up & Hair. Romano drops the Pesci-connected F-bomb. Oh responds with a brilliant retort of, “I think they will bleep that. Not everything is Netflix here.”
2:25 Penelope Cruz announces International Feature. Parasite takes its second award and Bong thinks his night is over. It’s not. Standing ovation suggests how the night will go.
2:28 Elton John is a colorful, American Bandstand-style presentation of one of his least-inspired songs.
2:35 Taika Waititi is the only nominee called upon to speak onstage with the now-required Dolby Theater acknowledgement that the theater is built on Native American land and then to announce The Governors Awards, which get no package… just a nod to Studi and Davis sitting in their seats.
2:37 Three superhero women, Gadot/Larson/Weaver, make fun of men and tell the audience that “all women are superheroes.” And they announce a female conductor will lead the orchestra for one number, doing the five Original Scores for three minutes. That’s three minutes of a three-hour-plus show. (What progress!!!)
Best Score. Hildur Guðnadóttir wins, as most of the precursors had predicted. Lovely speech.
Best Song. Elton John and Bernie Taupin suggest this is a defining moment after being one of the most successful musical duos in history.
2:51: Spike Lee comes out in a Kobe purple-and-gold tuxedo with Kobe’s number on the lapels to give our Best Director. Bong.
2:55 Spielberg introduces In Memoriam, throwing to Billie Eilish, who mumbles through “Yesterday.” The segment leads with Kobe Bryant, which seems odd. The package seems more than a little rushed, with just a 45-second non-singing break and no more than four seconds for any of the passed and no clips of anyone.
3:02 George McKay in the cheap seats. Makes a joke about multiple introductions.
3:03 Olivia Coleman does great announcing Best Actor. Joaquin wins and offers up a three-minute, 41-second stemwinder of a speech that will be historic, even if some people hate the film for which he won.
3:10 Rami Malek announced Best Actress, in a hurry. Renée Zellweger wins and decides to give her speech, regardless of the bomb that Joaquin Phoenix just exploded in the room. A more in-the-moment person would have known instinctively not to “have her moment” with a very conventional speech (that seems to have forgotten she already has an Oscar) for 3:57. It was almost as though longtime manager John Carrabino leaned over to her and told her to go longer than Joaquin. Not good.
3:21 Jane Fonda, new and improved fighting advocate, thanks to Greta Thunberg, arrives to announce Best Picture. She takes an extra beat after looking at the card before announcing… Parasite.
3:34 Show’s Over.
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