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Tyler

2013 Oscars--The Telecast

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He's a bit juvenile but is sorta a funny guy. I might tune in for the inevitable Stewie jokes. As crass as Family Guy is I still find myself watching it sometimes.


"The truth is you're the weak, and I'm the tyranny of evil men. But I'm tryin Ringo, I'm tryin real hard to be the shepherd." Pulp Fiction

Justin's Blog twitter Facebook Life Is Story

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Ah, well. He has all the dignity and sophistication of the Oscars themselves, so... just another reason I'll be happy to plan to do something else that evening.


P.S.  I COULD BE WRONG.

 

Takin' 'er easy for all you sinners at lookingcloser.org. Also abiding at Facebook and Twitter.

 

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Update on the online voting system. It's not going well, apparently.

Several members stressed that they carefully typed in their password three different times, were rejected each time and, after the third, were locked out of trying again until they contacted the toll-free help line. Some say they endured considerable wait times, only to be told that they could set a new password but would need to wait 24 hours for the password database to refresh before they could try again.

...

"It’s probably more difficult for members to log on than it is for hackers!”


It's the side effects that save us.
--The National, "Graceless"
Twitter Blog

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So I'm not watching the Oscars this year (no reason, just not able to get around to it)--but can I go ahead and make the first "Worst Oscars Ever" comment? Sight unseen, last year was definitely better. And I can't even remember if I watched last year's Oscars. I'm saying this under the profound conviction that last year's show is always better.

Edited by NBooth

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Academy Award Show Raises Ratings and Hackles

LOS ANGELES — Jewish, women’s and family organizations on Monday publicly flung knives at Seth MacFarlane’s off-color Oscar show. Hollywood for the most part stayed true to form and aimed its cutlery at his back.

Post-Oscar Monday found the movie capital coming to grips with a 3-hour-35- minute ceremony that climbed in the ratings but at its best seemed to hide a great year for film behind a flurry of musical numbers, TV memories and Michelle Obama. At its worst, members of the Academy of the Motion Picture Arts and Sciences said, the ceremony trafficked in offensive humor. . . .

But the ratings were good, and almost nothing counts for more where the Oscar enterprise is concerned. The show drew an average audience of 40.3 million viewers, up about 3 percent from 39.3 million viewers last year, according to the Nielsen ratings service. The audience among those between the ages of 18 and 34 grew 20 percent, to post an 11.3 rating, compared to 9.4 last year, when Billy Crystal was the host. . . .

New York Times, February 25

The Oscars 2013: Soft Power and Seth MacFarlane

If only it were an elaborate put-on—if only Stephen Colbert had been tapped to host. But his ironies might have hit where it hurts: Hollywood’s self-importance. And this year’s Oscars were nothing if not self-important. MacFarlane may have been struggling to play his part, but he looked quite satisfied doing so, and the overconfident simulacrum was the principal aesthetic mode of the movies that the Academy chose to smile on this year. The movies that were made seemed influenced by the 2012 electoral campaign, and the Oscar nominations seemed like a continuation of the campaign. . . .

Every one [of the nine Best Picture nominees] is a message film, every one comes packed with its op-ed moralizing or its didactic ambiguity neatly wrapped in its shadow-free cinematic prose or jingling and sentimental poetry. And, though I’m a great admirer of the First Lady, I found Michelle Obama’s appearance to open the Best Picture envelope, accompanied by the gold-braided honor guard behind her, wildly inappropriate in its affirmation of the hard power behind the soft power—the connection of real politics to the representational politics of the movies, of the peculiar and long-standing symbiosis of Washington and Hollywood—all the more so when the matter of access to inside-government information is a key issue with the making of “Zero Dark Thirty.”

So the movies offered patriotic lore and other sorts of issue-oriented advocacy, from the mental-health self-help support group of “Silver Linings Playbook” to the wan religious syncretism of “Life of Pi”—which is why the ceremony’s far-too-many overblown, overlong, overloud production numbers suddenly make sense. As I watched the broadcast, I was bewildered by the seemingly oblivious indulgence in mind-numbing pageantry—but, in retrospect, I see it as a way (likely unconsciously motivated) of throwing up a screen of razzle-dazzle that distracts from the ideological hard core and makes the point of the evening appear to be nothing more than splashy, even raucous, entertainment. . . .

Did the producers give pride of place in the onstage performances to women in the hope that their work would dispel the rank odor of sexism that some of MacFarlane’s humor gave off? The gross miscalculation of the “boobs” number set the tone for the evening—the wrong one. It seemed as if MacFarlane wanted to announce his hiring of Mr. Skin as a musical consultant. I’ve long thought that the nudity of women in movies has often been used by producers as a sort of ugly rite of passage, a public refraction of the casting couch—but, rather than lampooning the industry potentates who pay for it and market it or, for that matter, the male voyeurism that they serve or the societal sexism that underlies the practice, MacFarlane seemed to be mocking and embarrassing the actresses themselves. . . .

Richard Brody, New Yorker, February 25

Oscar Watch: Was That Awful or What?

"We all die,'' Michael Haneke said in accepting the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar last night.

But few of us have done it as publicly and spectacularly as Seth MacFarlane did last night.

There are bad Oscar shows and there are unspeakable ones. Like last night's.

I've seen pretty much all of them since the late 1950s, and this is the absolute nadir. Which I didn't think was possible after James Franco and Anne Hathaway a couple of years ago. . . .

The relentlessly crass host wasn't the only thing that heaped disrespect on the Oscars and last night's winners.

For the first time that I can recall, the presenters were allowed to speak longer than most of the winners. Who in some cases were played off with weirdly inappropriate themes from classic movies (Quentin Tarantino got "Gone With the Wind'' for some reason).

One of the show's many low points came when the stars of MacFarlane's "Ted,'' including the title character, an animatronic Teddy Bear, were up to present.

Ted said that after the show, he wanted to attend an "orgy" at "Jack Nicholson's house.''

That would be the house where Roman Polanski admitted to raping a 12-year-old.

But then again, this is an Oscar show where the host joked about 9-year-old nominee Wallis Quvenzhand Wallis dating George Clooney (as the latter cringed) and also found domestic violence a hilarious subject. . . .

The evening's best acceptance speech came from the eloquent and funny Daniel Day-Lewis, who brought some much needed class to the proceedings.

Perhaps he can be recruited to host next year. Hell, even David Letterman would be preferable to MacFarlane, who should be hosting a banquet at a plumbing-supply convention.

Lou Lumenick, New York Post, February 25

THR's Chief Film Critic on Oscar's Biggest Mistakes

Since producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron banned the evidently stuffy "85th Annual Academy Awards" phrasing from Sunday's broadcast, that's the only name I'm going to use for the poorly managed affair that passed for Hollywood's biggest night. If this is supposed to be the entertainment capital of the world, how is it that most of the presenters seemed as though they had read through their routines no more than once, that Melissa McCarthy achieved the impossible by failing to elicit a single laugh and that the gathered co-stars of The Avengers showed so little rapport they looked as though they'd never met before?

Yes, the ratings were up, but that means as much as saying that a movie is good just because it made money; a strong young following for host Seth MacFarlane, tight competition among popular top-tier films and the relative obscurity of last year's big winner, The Artist, made the uptick almost inevitable. I've always gotten a kick out of MacFarlane's equal-opportunity offensive humor and like Family Guy and Ted a lot, but last night he was like an all-star who struck out a lot and batted .167 in his first World Series; notice how, during the second half of the show, he did virtually nothing but routinely introduce the next presenters. And from now on, I will like him less because of his John Wilkes Booth joke, which someone should have nixed ahead of time. . . .

Todd McCarthy, Hollywood Reporter, February 25

What Really Happened at the Oscars (Analysis)

I'm a huge fan of President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama, but I'm not sure why the first lady was asked to present best picture, especially if she couldn't do so in person -- it felt a little weird. Maybe just because there were a lot of nominees about American history and society this year, such as Argo, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Lincoln and Zero Dark Thirty? If so, that connection was never really established. Still, it was cool to witness history -- only once before had the White House directly addressed an Oscars ceremony, and that was in 1941, when President Franklin D. Roosevelt gave a six-minute address over the radio. . . .

Scott Feinberg, Hollywood Reporter, February 25

Oscar’s big Jewish joke

The inconvenient truth for traditionalists is that many of today’s Hollywood Jews are feeling far more comfortable in their Jewish skins than ever before. There is far more freedom and nuance in expressing Jewish characters, talking about Israel, and embracing the legacy of profuse Jewish power than in years past. It’s even become a bit of a joke.

Jews in Hollywood understand this; so do the industry’s non-Jews, like MacFarlane. It is simply a minority of old-time Jews with the loudest mics who see offense where most find humor. Seth MacFarlane isn’t poking fun at Jews because he’s anti-Semitic. He’s poking fun at Jews out of the seriously comic irony that in Hollywood, he is the outsider. If MacFarlane has no trouble owning the truth of Jewish accomplishment, why can’t we?

Hollywood Jew, Jewish Journal, February 25

Dismal show a gaffe-fest

Hey, Oscar: We saw your boob Sunday night. His name is Seth MacFarlane.

MacFarlane’s tone-deaf, unfunny, sexist, puerile, straight-from-the-ninth-grade-locker-room “We Saw Your Boobs” routine about nekkid actresses was lower than a cockroach’s pedicure. Charlize Theron’s pained reaction shot (which was part of the act, but fitting anyway) spoke for the world: Several of the actresses MacFarlane mocked were shown in rape scenes.

Jennifer Lawrence, you weren’t the first to fall on your face last night. And the burst bathroom pipe backstage wasn’t the only thing stinking up the place.

MacFarlane, who was hired by first-time Oscar producers Neil Meron and Craig Zadon to bring back some life to the wax museum, instead led a night of gaffes, awkwardness and slights that concluded just as inappropriately as it began, with a surprise appearance by Michelle Obama as the Best Picture presenter.

Michelle Obama is not a neutral ceremonial personage, like the queen of England. She is a partisan political figure. Hollywood liberals, this isn’t hard: Picture how you’d have felt if the climactic moment in 1985 were handed over for the purpose of glamorizing Nancy Reagan, with a phalanx of uniformed troops grinning nervously behind her. “Creepy South American totalitarian lite vibe,” tweeted Walter Kirn, and he writes for the liberal journal The New Republic. Even President Ronald Reagan never busted in live on the Oscars, and Reagan was an actual movie star, academy member and former president of the Screen Actors Guild. . . .

Kyle Smith, New York Post, February 26


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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/Film's post-show podcast noted that the producers, Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, also produced Chicago, which garnered two separate tributes during the telecast.


It's the side effects that save us.
--The National, "Graceless"
Twitter Blog

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Message from VES Chair Jeffrey A. Okun

We are at a tipping point in our industry – no matter where you live or work. It has become painfully obvious that while profits abound for producers and distributors, our budgets are being squeezed to the point of jeopardizing our jobs and the quest for a reasonable life style for VFX artists. This was evidenced by the Protest yesterday at the Oscars. There is just a lot of anger and frustration out there and it has taken tangible form at this time.

Add to this heated time what occurred on the Oscar broadcast when LIFE OF PI wins the award and the team is effectively censored from making any statement about our plight. Not to mention the further insult of the Jaws theme being used.

During the Oscar-cast I received a call from Variety (they amended the article to add my comments). I WAS ANGRY and OUTRAGED. I am still angry and outraged.

But what was printed in the article was taken out of context, which I am personally very upset about. What I said was: Change needs to happen. That I supported the protest and even more the protesters. I said that what we need is a clearer sense of strategic thinking about what we should be asking for with the support of the entire VFX community. I felt that to organize a formal protest without well defined goals was not the best way to capitalize on the anger in our community (although I was heartened to hear that hundreds of artists from our community took part). . . .

Visual Effects Society, February 25

DAILY | The VFX Community’s Beef with Hollywood

Sunday night’s presentation of the Oscars struck a few sour notes that are still reverberating on into the week. Eventually, we’ll tire of the debate over whose jokes were funny and whose were simply offensive, but another issue raised over the weekend will not be going away any time soon: the standoff between animation and visual effects (VFX) artists on the one side and Hollywood’s studios on the other. . . .

Fast forward to February 11. Rhythm & Hues filed for bankruptcy and laid off around 200 of its 1400 employees. The reasons behind the company’s troubles are “myriad,” as Brent Lang put it in his story for TheWrap the following day, but the crux is this: “Countries like Canada and the United Kingdom offer generous tax subsidies that have lured away effects work in recent years, contributing to the closures of more than a half-dozen visual-effects shops in California.”

Two weeks later, this past Sunday, just hours before the Oscars, VFX Solidarity International staged its Piece of the Pi Protest, “a demonstration,” noted Cartoon Brew‘s Amid Amidi, “at Hollywood Blvd and Vine Street demanding more equitable treatment of animation/VFX artists.” Then, the evening and the awards. And the Visual Effects Oscar goes to… Life of Pi. VFX Supervisor Bill Westenhofer rattled off his thanks, but when he turned to the crisis his and other VFX teams are facing, he was gonged off stage with the theme from Jaws. In an angry open letter to Ang Lee—who, it should be said, has expressed his concern—posted at Indiewire, VFX artist Phillip Broste of Zoic Studios, noted that this came “after a fabulously insulting and dismissive introduction from the cast of The Avengers, at least two of whom spent fully half of their film as a digitally animated character.”

With artists working nights and weekends and still worrying about holding on to their jobs, and VFX companies squeaking by on the thinnest of profit margins while studios farm work out abroad, tensions were already high; but the producers and director of Oscar’s big show exacerbated them unnecessarily. . . .

David Hudson, Fandor, February 26

“It Takes A Village To Make A Car Wreck” & Other Thoughts On The Oscar Show

Interesting conversation this morning… how much do you blame Seth McFarlane – who is a reasonably talented singer, dancer, and tooth whitener – and how much does last night’s debacle of lowered taste land on Meron & Zadan, producers of Smash and The 85th Annual Academy Awards? . . .

I apologize for saying this aloud, but if there was a show designed to reenforce the stereotype that gay men hate women, this was it. So I can’t just assume that the jokes were not tacitly approved – and/or enjoyed – by the producers.

Moreover, the cutaways in the show (some of the few) to Academy boss Dawn Hudson laughing her ass off, reenforced my worst concerns about the current trajectory of this organization.

It takes a village to make a car wreck. . . .

And then you get to the show… the show where someone thought it would be funny to play someone off with an increasingly loud Jaws theme as someone tried that speak after, likely, the greatest public honor they will ever receive. In the case of the first play-off, the winner was trying to mention the bankruptcy if Rhythm & Hues in the face of winning Oscars for Life of Pi.

There were not 1, but 2 tributes to Chicago… which coincidentally, the producers of The Oscars produced a decade ago.

There was, what seemed to many, a truncated In Memorium segment so we could get to Barbra Streisand singing. . . .

The James Bond thing laid a big fat egg. People loved Shirley Bassey, but almost exclusively because she IS Shirley Bassey. And then, for an un-BP-nominated movie, we ended up with Adele being a second segment, completely removed from that presentation. . . .

McFarlane was okay. He is a good joke teller. He dances a little. And he looks good in a tux. But the material was in the toilet a large percentage of the time.

One win was the Sound of Music joke… which was imperfectly set up, but fitting. Jennifer Lawrence falling up the stairs and accepting had charm and surprise. And Daniel Day Lewis won the night with his Meryl Streep joke, which worked on so many levels.

But the core of the show they put on last night is not the core of what Oscar is about. It’s about celebrating the best work of the year in movies. And it very rarely felt like that last night. More like they deigned to interrupt the mediocre but beautifully costumed and production designed show from the summer stock troupe now and again to give out an award. . . .

David Poland, February 25


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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So I'm not watching the Oscars this year (no reason, just not able to get around to it)--but can I go ahead and make the first "Worst Oscars Ever" comment? Sight unseen, last year was definitely better. And I can't even remember if I watched last year's Oscars. I'm saying this under the profound conviction that last year's show is always better.

And the prophecy is fulfilled. Seriously, the Oscars just can't win.

Somehow I think that even if Tina Fey and Amy Poehler did do the Oscars, they'd be getting morning-after razzies, too (we'd undoubtedly be getting comments about how the show seemed to "swallow them up," that the energy and charm they had during the Golden Globes suddenly fizzled when they were forced to perform on a larger scale).

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And the prophecy is fulfilled. Seriously, the Oscars just can't win.

Somehow I think that even if Tina Fey and Amy Poehler did do the Oscars, they'd be getting morning-after razzies, too (we'd undoubtedly be getting comments about how the show seemed to "swallow them up," that the energy and charm they had during the Golden Globes suddenly fizzled when they were forced to perform on a larger scale).

Lo, I tell you beforehand: Next year's Oscars will be widely adjudicated better than this year's Oscars.


“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” — Flannery O'Connor

Writing at the new Decent Films | Follow me on Twitter and Facebook

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Perhaps, but I wager we'll see plenty of "safe and boring" complaints.

I definitely think there's a generation gap at play here. The under-30 viewership for these Oscars increased by 20%, with an even higher percentage increase among the under-30 male demographic, a demographic which has often proved elusive for the Oscar telecast. I'll further submit this anecdotal evidence: most of my coworkers (who are primarily under 30 and male) thought McFarlane did a great job.

Edited by Ryan H.

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Perhaps, but I wager we'll see plenty of "safe and boring" complaints.

I definitely think there's a generation gap at play here. The under-30 viewership for these Oscars increased by 20%, with an even higher percentage increase among the under-30 male demographic, a demographic which has often proved elusive for the Oscar telecast. I'll further submit this anecdotal evidence: most of my coworkers (who are primarily under 30 and male) thought McFarlane did a great job.

As an under 30 male, I thought MacFarlane did a terrible job. Compared to him, I thought Hathaway and Franco were good, and before Sunday night I didn't think that was possible. There will be critics of any Oscar host, but I think "safe and boring" would, among most people, be viewed as an improvement over MacFarlane, especially considering the Lincoln joke, the awkward/unpleasant actress song, and the attractive flying nun gag. I am aware this probably makes me very much out of step with my demographic, but I'm used to that.

Edited by Evan C

"Anyway, in general I love tragic artists, especially classical ones."

"Even the forms for expressing truth can be multiform, and this is indeed necessary for the transmission of the Gospel in its timeless meaning."

- Pope Francis, August 2013 interview with Antonio Spadaro

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Iranian news censors Michelle Obama’s Oscar gown

During Sunday's Academy Award's telecast, First Lady Michelle Obama made a surprise appearance, handing out the award for Best Picture via satellite from the White House. However, the Iranian news agency Fars not only took exception to the honors bestowed on Ben Affleck's film, which won the night's biggest award, they offered a less-than-subtle critique of the First Lady's dress.

Since Mrs. Obama's gown exposed her shoulders in a way that would violate the codes of modesty enforced in many Muslim nations, Fars photoshopped a picture of the First Lady, with the result offering significantly more coverage of her shoulders and chest. The digital alteration was discovered by photojournalist and blogger Golnaz Esfandiari. . . .

Yahoo! Movies, February 25

630-MichelleObama-022513-jpg_170800.jpg

Edited by Peter T Chattaway

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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ChristianityToday.com hasn't reviewed any movies for a couple months, now (a few TV documentaries aside). But today their women's blog posted this:

- - -

We Saw Your Satire

Why the Oscars' boob song made us laugh. . . .

At worst, the song was merely the puerile snickering befitting a 13-year-old boy.

At least, it was Oscar-appropriate burlesque.

At best, it was even more: biting social satire.

Skipping over the MacFarlane-as-adolescent interpretation ("What do you expect from the creator of Family Guy?"), let's consider the act as burlesque. Burlesque humorously caricatures a serious work by making it ludicrous or even vulgar. It would be hard to get a better textbook example of the genre than MacFarlane's song, which reduced serious film scenes, some involving rape and abuse, to the exposure of the actresses' breasts. The entrance of the cabaret dancers, a staple of burlesque, cued us to the song's context within a long tradition of low art.

While burlesque is sheer mockery for the sake of laughs, satire serves a higher purpose. "I Saw Your Boobs" may rise to this level, even if unintentionally so. Satire—the ridicule of vice or folly to achieve correction—often looks childish on the surface, since it generally deals with the baser aspects of human nature. Puerility is in the eye of the beholder, so those who can't, or won't, see beyond the surface-level titillation remain near-sighted indeed. Unfortunately, as another writer has said, they will know we are Christians by our lack of irony. And sometimes by our lack of humor.

Perhaps everything we need to know about these matters can be learned from the ancient Greeks. The ancients used the word "obscene"—literally meaning "against the scene"—to designate anything that distracted inordinately or unnecessarily (gratuitously) from the unity or artistry of a work as a whole. The foremost category of the "obscene" for the Greeks was violence. While Greek drama gets filled with murder, mayhem, patricide, fratricide, and suicide, none of these events occur onstage. Though crucial to the plots, such events in classical drama are narrated by a character after the fact. The Greeks well understood human nature: our natural, visceral reactions to the dramatization of violence, as well as sex, can distract us from the aesthetic and ethical experience of art. For similar reasons, Aristotle, in his Poetics, rates "spectacle" as the least important element of the drama because, like "obscenity," spectacle is a distraction.

Certainly, what proves to be distracting—whether because it is "obscene" or "spectacular" and so on— is culturally determined. Bare breasts in some cultures are the norm, but in a culture in which female breasts are as fetishized as they are in this one, their exposure works "against the scene" as MacFarlane's version of "The Emperor Has No Clothes On" demonstrates, even if supposedly in jest. . . .

A silly song certainly might go a long way toward showing how ridiculous and ludicrous that same patriarchal system is in sacrificing art in order to cater to puerile tastes, and in trafficking in the "obscene" (in the classical, not the puritanical, sense) in order to titillate. If we can see in "I Saw Your Boobs" the satire often implicit in burlesque, then we can recognize the inherent correction in its reduction of women and their works to their body parts. It is ridiculous to so trivialize—and this is the very correction satire offers if we are willing to let ourselves laugh at it first. Sometimes laughter is the best medicine.

Karen Swallow Prior, her.meneutics, February 28


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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