The 88th Oscars recap through tweets …


Bette Midler‘s tweet hours before the 88th Annual Academy Awards started says it all above. #OscarsSoWhite would and to a point should be the focus of the show because all the chaos that ensued once the nominations revealed a second consecutive year without a non-white acting nod deemed it so. However, the uproar was directed towards the Academy hastily and perhaps without complete merit. Yes this voting body needs an overhaul (and President Cheryl Boone Isaacs has said as much with the board’s decision to change their institution’s rules), but the real issue is a systemic one that should point to the studios themselves and Hollywood’s lack of faith in greenlighting work without a bankable white star at the fore. Are the new rules perfect? No. But they are a step in the right direction to at least ensure those voting for Oscars are aware of how the industry works today. That goes for race, gender, sexuality, technology, content, etc. There should be a vetting process to prove voters understand the current climate and will watch films regardless of tastes (beyond simply seeing if the person has an IMDB credit in the past decade). Give everything a chance and make an educated selection. Don’t choose between the two nominees you felt compelled to see, the others be damned. As The Hollywood Reporter’s “Brutally Honest Ballots” explain, too many voters don’t take the process as seriously as they should. But then Americans don’t when it comes to choosing POTUS either.

If anyone could find humor in the situation and make some good points while shoving the Academy’s nose in it too, Chris Rock was the man. What a coup to have announced him as the host before the hullabaloo even began. Rock would make them uncomfortable with purpose. But did he do it correctly?

I found the opening monologue to be hilarious, but as Shaun King says in the New York Daily News: he went too far. Making us laugh at jokes about rape and lynching—making light of those things at all—is not the most appropriate way to go about explaining the issue at hand. If anything it may belittle it. The discomfort is real, though, and it should make people think about how trivial the Oscars are to warrant such a response when real tragedies are occurring on a daily basis. That said, conjuring imagery of people’s grandmothers hanging from a tree may undercut the point.

As for the rest of his performance: it was hit or miss. I loved the video clips where black actors were spliced into Oscar-nominated films, but thought the Jack Black gag was uninspired. Many of his verbal jokes throughout the night followed suit. Some were biting and some fell flat. But that’s the way things go. All in all I thought he delivered one of the best hosting jobs in quite some time save the Girl Scout bit. Why would you rub it into the faces of those watching on TV that you raised $65,000 in a room full of rich celebrities when they have to go door to door in the hopes of a couple hundred? The joke had no payoff other than making people angrier at the one percent. And the interviews outside a movie theater? Hilarious, pointed in showing that the black community at-large doesn’t care about Oscar-nominated films, but also exploitative in a way that will make racists who don’t get the joke think the bit was showing “how stupid black people are”. Again, the way Rock mocked stereotypes was on a razor-thin line in which he might have been hurting more than helping.

On the awards: it all pretty much went as it should. The two biggest surprises were when The Academy gave awards to those who should have won (Mark Rylance for Best Supporting Actor and Ex Machina for Best Visual Effects). Watching Emmanuel Lubezki and Alejandro González Iñárritu win for a third and second year in a row respectively was boring, but I can’t say either didn’t deserve victory. I simply would have rather seen John Seale and George Miller go home with gold for doing an action film right. The Revenant is gorgeous to behold and a stunning feat of ambition, but Mad Max: Fury Road was contemporary. It pushed boundaries and delivered excitement like few films have recently. This is where new blood is needed in The Academy, so the changing styles won’t be lost while voters catch up with the evolution a couple years later.

Otherwise: Leonardo DiCaprio finally won (and the orchestra didn’t even attempt to cut him off despite saying the same things Iñárritu already did mere minutes earlier, fighting against the music). Spotlight stole Best Picture from The Revenant and The Big Short (the first PGA winner since 2009 not to take Oscar gold) and proved The Academy can get it right once in a while. Jacob Tremblay warmed our hearts with his youthful, fanboy enthusiasm climbing on seats to see C-3PO, R2D2, and BB-8 and praising Rock’s performance in Madagascar. And Brie Larsen was the epitome of class thanking TIFF.

As for Stacey Dash‘s appearance—it was odd and the “joke” didn’t work. It either confused people who didn’t know her comments on Fox News about doing away with Black History Month, angered those who don’t want her speaking for black people, or garnered cringes from those like me who saw it as belittling her point for laughs. Did she only say it for controversy or because she believes it? This stunt questions the validity of her stance for a gag that was probably better on paper than execution could ever prove. Here’s her take – link.

And now the tweets:



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