Hello darlings, and welcome to my annual skewering of the Oscars show, or as it's also known, The Gay Superbowl.
James Franco and Anne Hathaway are pretty and appealing performers, but they are not comedians, as they proved tonight at great length. James, keep your arms; cut off the adolescent joking. Yes, I know Anne made a movie with Barry Humphries, but comedy talent isn't contagious. Billy Crystal may not be much of a pleasure to look at these days, but he is actually funny. Steve Martin, thanks to way too many facelifts, looks these days like an old Chinese man, but he is actually funny. James, Anne, I like you and all, but stick to acting, and leave comedy to professionals.
"The Dance of the Brown Duck." Now there's a sledgehammer excuse for a joke. Fortunately, James Franco's obscenely skintight white leotard gave me something to hold my attention. Thank heavens no one told him about dance belts. And his butt in those white tights, well let's just say I "paused" on that image quite a while. It was my choice for Best Picture.
Anne Hathaway: "It used to be, you get naked, you get nominated." Anne dear, those are the AVN Pornography Awards.
If James and Anne are not comedians, Anne's mom and James's grandmother are really not comedians. But I'll give them this, I never made a joke about Lesbians in front of my grandmother.
Then, just to be cutting edge, we got a short tribute to Gone With the Wind, that 72-year-old movie about how sad it was that those damn Yankees destroyed the wonderful institution of slavery. Fortunately, the Governor of Wisconsin is trying his hardest to bring slavery back. The weird things for which conservatives get nostalgic.
Tom Hanks then explained how Gone With the Wind won Oscars for its use of cinematography and art direction to pretty up human enslavement.
When Wally Pfister won Best Cinematography for Inception, I was really hoping that, just as he was handed the award, he would have woken up. "Sorry, it was all a dream." (And Wally, just sticking an "P" in your name where it doesn't belong does not disguise the fact that your name is "Fister." Whichever of your paternal ancestors was first given that name was -- well -- not a man I'd want to shake hands with.) Pfister was wearing his glasses as a hat. I guess he has nearsighted hair. Pfister called Christopher Nolan "my master." Was slavery chosen as this year's theme?
Kirk Douglas asked Anne Hathaway "Where were you when I was making pictures?" Kirk, her parents weren't born yet then. Frankly, seeing a 100 year old Kirk lusting for a woman 80 years his junior was a bit creepy. Who does he think he is, Hugh Hefner? Well, now we know from where Michael Douglas got his hooking-up-with-a-woman-half-a-century-younger genes.
Did anyone but me notice that Helena Bonham Carter-Burton played the exact same character in both The King's Speech and Alice in Wonderland?
Kirk darling, I generally like any excuse to look at Hugh Jackman, but once you've read the nominees names, open the envelope already and read the damn winner's name. The show is always famously too long as it is. It's not supposed to be "The Kirk Douglas Hour." Kirk: "I will never forget this moment." Kirk, it stopped being a "moment" three unnecessary delays ago. This is now officially an "ordeal." Shut up and read the damn name! I was ready to cut off my own arm if only it would get us out of this category during my lifetime. Helena Bonham Carter-Burton actually fell asleep waiting for Kirk to tell her she lost. This could have been the first time the orchestra had to play the presenter off. I was ready to start yelling: "He's Spartacus!"
Melissa Leo had no trouble believing she won, she just couldn't believe Kirk would ever stop talking, and let her make her speech.
And then, after Kirk wouldn't stop talking, Melissa couldn't seem to start talking, and then she dropped the F-bomb at The Oscars. Classy Leo, classy. Her dress was apparently a mass of lace doilies sewn together.
You know, after it took Kirk Douglas an hour to present one award, Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis could have just cut their lame banter altogether, particularly since Ms Kunis has the comic timing of a glacier. I've seen continents drift faster.
They let Kirk talk for days, but they played off the Short Animated Film winners after less than a minute.
Toy Story 7, a second sequel, won Best Animated Feature over the sublime and magical The Illusionist? Idiotic. Grinding out another sequel to a played-out franchise hardly matches the artistry and magnificence of Jacques Tati's marvelous movie. Tati is a genuine genius of comedy, a master on a par with Buster Keaton. And let's not underestimate how hard it was for him to make a movie 29 years after he died. But then, The Illusionist is about human beings, while Toy Story 12 is about objects. Hollywood is always less concerned with people than it is with stuff.
Ultra-dreamy Javier Bardem came out and danced cheek-to-cheek with Josh Brolin, and rather than give us a good, close look at this supremely homoerotic moment, the idiots cut to a shot of that hussy who married Javier last year before I could get an indecent shot at him myself, and didn't cut back to the action until it was over. The only place I want to see Penelope Cruz-Bardem is divorce court. Little Dougie was so angry, he's put out a contract on the show's director.
How is Toy Story 42 an adapted screenplay? Was it based on the novel Toy Story Yet Again? Just because it was not at all original doesn't make it an adaptation. It was an original screenplay, not an adaptation.
When Aaron Sorkin won his Oscar, I expected him to give his speech as he walked up to the stage. Seeing someone saying Sorkin's words, in this case Sorkin himself, while standing still just seemed weird.
They gave Paddy Chayefsky's Oscar to Aaron Sorkin? How did they manage to pry it loose from the Chayefsky Family?
You know Aaron, when they are playing you off, it's not a good idea to list the same name more than once.
How I wish the screenplay excerpt from The Fighter had just said: "Mickey hits the other guy in the mouth. The other guy punches Mickey in the stomach. Mickey retaliates with a round house swing. The other guy strikes back with a left jab." Instead it was just more dialogue.
David Seidler, who won for writing "The Stuttering King," may know how to type, but he apparently has no idea what a microphone looks like.
I really wish Anne Hathaway was actually as funny as she thinks she is, but she isn't. I don't blame Hugh Jackman for bailing on her.
Gorgeous as James Franco's chest is, he simply hasn't got the tits for that gown.
Helen Mirrin came out and Frenched Russell Brand. Poor woman, though she had to do worse things back in Caligula. Brand and Mirrin were basically doing "Translator," a standard improv game you can see any improvisational comedy troupe in the country do. Way to think inside the box, Oscar banter writers.
Now Susanne Bier, who picked up the Best Foreign Language Oscar, has got the tits for James Franco's frock.
You know, if getting kissed by Russell Brand is a requirement to receive your Oscar, I for one, would just tell them: "Keep it."
Is Geoffrey Rush playing Lex Luthor in the upcoming Superman movie?
Why did Christian Bale wear a fake beard to The Oscars? Is he afraid of being recognized as Batman by supervillains in the audience? Or has he had a really severe facelift, and that was pubic hair? And Bale winning over Mark Ruffalo? But Mark is such a hottie, and Bale, particularly with that scouring pad on his chin, is a nottie. Well, maybe winning that Oscar will help him with his infamous anger-management problem.
Every time I see Australia's favorite son, Hugh Jackman, I am struck with an irresistible desire to go down under.
This overlong show did not need to waste more time with a medley of movie music. Why didn't the orchestra play itself off?
I didn't recognize Matthew McConaughey wearing a shirt. Too bad he didn't have time to shave before the show.
The guy who won Best Sound Mixing has three wives? What is he, a Mormon?
Marisa Tomain did the recap of the Not-Good-Enough-For-Prime-Time Oscars. God forbid these Oscar winners should actually get their names spoken. Oh well, James Franco called them "nerds"; that will have to do. (James, it's The Oscars, not an elementary school playground. And without those "nerds," you'd have had to cut your arm off for real.)
But, thanks to Franco, I learned for the first time that England once had a queen named "Ewizabeff."
Gorgeous Cate Blancette said of her movie Lord of the Rings, that it "transported audiences around the globe to a magical world we never could have imagined." Oh really? Because J.R.R. Tolkien managed to imagine it.
Rick Baker, who won the first Oscar for make-up ever given, some 30 years ago, picked up his seventh for The Wolfman. Who knew CGI constituted "make-up"? (But I loved the movie.) Neither make-up winner acknowledged the late Jack Pierce, who originally created the wolfman make-up back in 1941, even though I know Pierce was Baker's idol.
Alice in Wonderland won Best Costumes. Who knew CGI constituted "costumes"?
Wow. Tim Burton sort-of combed his hair for The Oscars! Instead of his usual electrified rat's nest look, he was wearing the 1980 Mitzi Shore hairdo. (For all my old pals from The Comedy Store.)
They're still giving out Best Song Played Over the Closing Titles? That award has been a laughing stock ever since it went to It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp, a "song" which doesn't even have a melody. I expected that after that ditty won, all the previous Best Song winners would have sent their Oscars back, saying: "Well it's worthless now."
George Clooney looked awful!
Luke Matheny, the winner for Live Action Short Subject, was wearing Tim Burton's old hair.
The fake musicals bit was a new, rock-bottom low for comedy at The Oscars. Not only was it painfully unfunny, but the over-electronisized vocals were unlistenable ear torture. Do they have something against the human singing voice?
How on earth did they manage to squeeze Oprah Winfrey's mammoth ego into the tiny little Kodak Theater? Is there anyone in show business more full of themself than Oprah? It was all the people she presented the Oscar to could do to try and get to the mike with Oprah refusing to budge out of their way or get off camera. I expected Oprah was going to tell the Oscar audience to look under their chairs: "There's Oscars for everybody!"
Fortunately for Banksy, he lost his Oscar, and didn't have to reveal his secret identity to the world.
Billy Crystal! Finally someone funny. But then he went and ruined it by doing a tribute to Bob "Right-Wing Jerk" Hope. Billy said he never met Bob, which explains why he would want to salute him. Sadly for me, I did meet him, several times. We shared the same birthday, except Bob wasn't good at "sharing." The best thing about Bob is that he's dead, and they ruined that too, by giving us a visit from Bob's ghost. I woke up screaming!
Much as I enjoy looking at Jude Law, his "comic" banter with Robert "Horribly Miscast as Sherlock Holmes" Downey Jr. was very lame indeed.
I love my DVR. My pausing on James Franco's butt in his white tights for so long earlier made it possible for me to fast-forward through the Best Song performances.
I have to remind myself that Randy Newman won his Oscar for writing his song, not for his singing of it. As a vocalist, he's right down there with Bob Dylan. At least his speech was one of the very few actually funny performances all evening.
I used to love Charlie Chaplin's gorgeous ballad Smile, and then I went and heard Celine Dion sing it. Another one bites the dust. But then I saw the sublime cunning of it. They had Celine singing over the dead people montage so that, instead of feeling sad for the great ones who died last year, we would actually envy the dead. The show ran so long, they had to do a last-minute re-edit of the montage, because several more people had died just since the show started, some of them suicides in the audience. I half-expected Kirk Douglas to show up in it.
I was very relieved to see I was not in the Dead People montage this year, but then up popped the face of wonderful Lionel Jeffries, and I was sad all over again. And what a gorgeous shot they used of beautiful Susannah York, so worthy to have been the mother of Superman.
Lena Horne was truly a giant talent, but that's hardly an excuse for exposing us to Halle Berry. I hope she was limoed in and out, because I have friends who live near the Kodak Theater. At least they played Lena singing Stormy Weather, to wash Celine out of our ears.
Okay, the deep blue gown Anne Hathaway wore after Halle left the stage was stunning.
Tom Hooper won Best Direction for that stuttering king movie, but by that point in the evening, the Best Direction would have been "faster and funnier!" (I always believe the Best Direction is "Up," though there's a lot to be said for "West.")
Oops. While Annette Bening-Beatty was on stage, Warren Beatty had a quick affair with her seat-filler. Warren, that's not what "seat-filler" means.
I'm sure wonderful, 300 year old Eli Wallach, Jean-Luc Godard, Kevin Brownlow, and Francis Ford Coppola felt deeply honored to have their Oscar presentations occur elsewhere, elsewhen. You're great, you're just not good enough to speak on the TV presentation. We need more time for Anne Hathaway to laugh at her own not-funny jokes. Godard didn't even bother to show up, and who can blame him?
Coppola received the Thalberg Award. On any other TV show, that's what you would call a "Lovely Parting Gift."
Nicole Kidman, eat something! I'm begging you. If you get any skinnier, you'll have an exo-skeleton. I ran Ray Harryhausen's 7th Voyage of Sinbad for a young friend last week, and at the end of the picture, he thought Sinbad was sword fighting with Nicole.
Every clip they ran from Winter's Bone made me want to see it less.
Natalie Portman? Really? Are they serious? She can't even speak well. She always sounds like she's talking around a pebble in her mouth. How is The Black Swan a Best Picture nominee this year anyway? It came out in 1942. Tyrone Power was totally dreamy in it. I was rooting for Annette. She also has my same birthday, only she knows how to share.
Javier Bardem was nominated for Biutiful which he is, no matter how it's spelt.
I haven't seen The Antisocial Network yet (The whole point of Facebook is to be able to de-friend and block people for daring to have an opinion different from yours on some trivial matter. You like chocolate better than vanilla? You're blocked!), so I didn't know David Selby was in it. How cool to unexpectedly see him in a clip. His Richard Channing on Falcon Crest remains one of my favorite anti-heroes ever. And the man does one hell of an Abraham Lincoln.
Colin Firth won Best British Actor for playing King Porky Pig. Come to think of it, the current English monarch is a fairly porky pig herself.
It's a good thing I set the DVR to record the show after The Oscars, or I'd never have known what won Best Picture, as that was when they officially went into overtime.
Want to cut an hour from the Oscar show? Just read the titles of the films that were not nominated for Best Picture. There were only two: Tron Legacy and Jackass 3-D.
Best Picture The Stuttering King? Are they serious? The King's Speech is just an overlong episode of Masterpiece Theater that got released into theaters by error.
Why do they have an "Oscar Finale"? After sitting there for 127 hours, all anyone wants is to hit the bar. Having a mass of schoolchildren singing the Gay National Anthem (odd selection) to the backs of a bunch of stars and directors stampeding to the exits was just cruel. To all future Oscar show producers: when the Best Picture Award has been handed out, IT'S OVER!
As is this column. Cheers darlings.
To read more of Tallulah Morehead, go to The Morehead, the Merrier, or buy her book, My Lush Life. Also, you can read Little Dougie's contributions to the newly published book Creatures of the Night That We Loved So Well: The TV Horror Hosts of Southern California by James Fetters.