Monday, February 27, 2017

So, Those Oscars

So let's talk about the rest of the Oscars first. Or part of them. I confess I DVR'd them because I had dinner plans and so had watched enough Twitter to suspect nothing on the host side was necessary to watch. I made liberal use of the fast forward button. I was one of the handful of people who thought David Letterman's Uma Oprah but was funny at the time. But this many years later, not only has name humor been done to death, but it has evolved into hahaha some people have names I'm not used to which is at its heart othering and tired and should be retired.
Hosting the Oscars is a thankless gig but there's something especially fascinating to me about the Oscars complete and utter inability to end on time. I understand you can't predict how many people the winner will hug, how long they will take to get to the stage, and it's a challenge if they try to cut anyone off. But other awards shows figure it out in various ways. And when you are so clearly over time, why not trim some of the joke bits, or the salute to movie bits. But, like I said, it's so consistent that clearly no one cares.
I had been mentioning to folks that while I adore Lin Manuel Miranda I wasn't clear why he needed to perform because the nominated song was one that he co-wrote but does not sing. So having him do an intro rap for Auli'i was great. In fact I think the spacing of the nominated songs throughout the program worked well, it allowed them to each be appreciated on their own. This may be me, but the song performances are a large portion of why I watch.
So now, let's talk about the part at the end. Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway were out there, he opened the envelope and there was an issue. It wasn't clear what the issue was, people seemed to assume he was doing a bit or maybe couldn't read. So Faye took it and read "La La Land". The cast and producers made their way to the stage. But apparently, as Warren later explained, he had read the card thoroughly and realized it said Emma Stone in "La La Land" so was the card for the wrong category. (They apparently keep duplicates on both sides of the stage so no matter how presenters go on stage there's an envelope on their side.)
So long time watchers may recall there was an issue once before. Sharon Stone was presenting two awards, they handed out the first, and then realized they had given the wrong envelope to the winner as a souvenir, so were holding the envelope announcing the winner they had just announced instead of the second. She said, I have the wrong envelope, sent her co-presenter backstage and then said to the audience, so let's all sit here and try to have a psychic moment together. Her co-presenter came back with the duplicate envelope and they read out the winner. (I wrote this up and then googled to check my memory.  I had forgotten Quincy Jones was the co-presenter.  Vanity Fair has been recapping old telecasts, so here's a link to their coverage of that Oscars.)
Prior to last night, that's the only issue I can think of. Now, we know how I love deconstructing these things. Warren opened the envelope. Realized it was wrong. Tried to send a telepathic message to the audience and his co-presenter that there was an issue. Faye I think did what most would have done, took the envelope and read it herself. She may or may not have realized that it said Emma Stone or may have just skimmed for a movie name and read that.
Now Warren Beatty is watching the cast and producers get onto the stage aware that he has no idea who won Best Picture.  I don't know if the accountants backstage were also already aware there was an issue (One imagines the accountant might have been thinking, finally I'm done, wait, what did they just say?)
So then they had to interrupt an acceptance speech to say, um, sorry guys, this isn't yours, in a moment, that because there's never been an error like this, seemed like it had to be a tacky prank, but how could it be because who would do this?
So, sadness for the producers and cast of "La La Land" because that's a terrible emotional roller coaster. And yay for the cast and producers of "Moonlight" - both of these movies are going to stick in people's minds for some time now.