The general consensus is that the 84th annual Academy Awards were a giant mushroom cloud of boring, unfunny failure, dropped from the broken-down Enola Gay that is Billy Crystal. You know it’s going to be bad when there’s blackface in the first five minutes. In a Midnight In Paris send-up. With Justin Bieber. The song parodies were painful. (If creepy middle-aged dude is the vibe the Oscars want in a host, let’s make it someone likeable next year: Jeff Goldblum for Oscars host!)
That being said, the evening wasn’t a total loss. Here were the real winners of Oscar Night (sorry, Hugo).
As we mentioned in our morning links, he told the only truly funny joke of the entire evening. While talking about his career animation, Rock told the crowd: "If you’re a white man, you can play an Arabian prince. And if you’re a black man, you can play a donkey or a zebra!" If only he had called Billy Crystal out on his B.S. while he was up there, too.
"I proudly offer this award to the people of my country, the people who respect all cultures and civilizations and despise hostility and resentment," Farhadi told the crowd. Of all the victories at this sad, sad awards show, Farhadi’s was the most important. A Separation was the first Iranian film to ever take home the golden statuette, and one for which he faced detraction in his home country. A reminder that film can be subversive and teach us things and inspire nations without ham-fistedness or celluloid gloss.
Poop as a Plot Device
In the Best Supporting Actress category, it was in a pie (The Help) vs. in a sink (Bridesmaids) by Octavia Spencer and Melissa McCarthy, respectively. Pie won.
Regardless of what you thought of The Help, it’s hard not to root for Octavia Spencer. She looked stunning, for starters. And she was genuinely excited—none of that Taylor Swift "Really? Me?" false modesty nonsense. And her speech was a real, wonderful, genuine Oscar moment – until she got cut off by some jerks. (Losers: Whoever Decided to Cut Off Octavia Spencer)
We’re sad we didn’t get to see "Man Or Muppet?" performed, but one half of Flight of the Conchords took home a statuette for it and gave an adorable speech. It’s enough to make you hope he does another TV show, just so he can get one step closer to an EGOT.
Team Christopher Guest
Although The Wizard of Oz thing was weird and sort of out of nowhere, you can’t really go wrong with Fred Willard, Christopher Guest, Jennifer Coolidge, and the whole Guffman gang. To come: who-is-christopher-guest.tumblr.com.
Winner: Javier Bardem
In Alexander Payne’s acceptance speech for The Descendants, he said he dedicated the award to his mother because she insisted he do it after Javier Bardem dedicated an award to his mother. So, way to make Javier Bardem look like the the greatest son ever, Alexander Payne’s mom.
His speech and Octavia Spencer’s were the only true "Oscar moments" of the night. After he accepted his first Academy Award ever for Beginners (meaning, as the Internet pointed out, he has exactly as many Oscars as Three Six Mafia), he was whisked off into the Alps with his family by a cabal of friendly nuns.
His cameo in the all-star celebrity orchestra was a nice surprise.
Sorry, weird, bigoted parents group that tried to boycott JC Penney. You lost this round. And we, the viewers at home, got an ad campaign that was actually more entertaining than the awards themselves.
Sure, everyone expected Viola Davis to win, and she probably should have won. But Meryl’s "whatever" was a breath of fresh air in a night full of ego-stroking and false modesty. She was even dressed like an Oscar. Haters gonna hate.
The dog from Hugo didn’t get to go onstage after the Best Picture announcement. The most celebrated Jack Russell Terrier since Eddie on Frasier may also be the most overexposed thespian dog in recent years, but come on. There was a dog in a bowtie on stage at the Oscars. If "funny" and "entertaining" are nowhere in sight, at least give us something cute.
People Who Love Hearing Celebrities Talk About How Much They Love Movies
So, uh, no one.