Congratulations, Hollywood! You’ve survived awards season: a grueling ten-week experience peppered with the twin terrors of routinely dressing up in evening wear—often requiring entire days of primping, pampering, and drinking—and sitting through three-hour events with open bars, thousand-dollar goodie bags, and gourmet meals as billionaires gleefully present each other with nicknamed awards for their yearly achievement of having only a single marketable skill.
The entertainment industry’s Super Bowl (a more apt ratings comparison would be, of course, the Puppy Bowl, which could have lent advice to the Academy, or perhaps its penguin cheerleaders for an Oscar halftime show), officially kicked off with a pre-show seven hours in advance (the Super Bowl’s is only six), as E! Online’s hosts strived to make three hour hair appointments worth the effort by trotting around an empty, water-logged Red Carpet, reliving the best moments of past Oscars and desperately chatting with personal assistants, limo drivers, and the broom-wielding officials charged with keeping the plush runner safe for four-inch Manolos and Liza Minnellis. The actual red carpet arrivals were less eventful. Pharrell Williams may have injected some life with his one-man crusade to introduce polite society to formal shorts, but the gowns were bland, the hair was adapted from the costuming department for The Wolf of Wall Street (think Early Windtunnel of Hairspray) and while Cate Blanchett and Jennifer Lawrence exhibited characteristic taste and style with their attire (and breakout star Lupita Nyong’o continued her streak of flawless beauty), not a single lady could hold a candle to Olympic breakout superstar color commentator Johnny Weir.
Like years past, the Oscars promised to be fresh, relevant, and youthful, often forgetting that the people who attend it have little concept of the outside world until it approaches them with a new kind of plastic surgery. Indeed, the most relevant part of the Oscars was the commercials for the upcoming Muppet movie, where the bad guys are Russians, making even the Muppets more insightful on current geopolitical events than Secretary of State John Kerry. The host, Ellen Degeneres, dressed inexplicably as a Baroque composer, tried her best to inject life—and, at one point, carbohydrates via pizza delivery—into her audience, but she was no match for the ongoing, soporific parade of people reading from TelePrompTers, and badly, especially for a band of artistes who are giving and receiving awards for reading lines into a camera. Ellen even tried to challenge this technological divide, forcing tight-lipped front-row denizens into cell-phone driven Samsung promotions designed to overwhelm social media (in fact, it did, but only after the Internet was through processing Benedict Cumberbatch’s photobomb of U2).
The winners, of course, were deserving, even if predictable. Lupita Nyong’o took home an award for Best Supporting Actress for her role in 12 Years a Slave, which also took home Best Picture. Matthew McConaughey gave a heartfelt speech after snagging Best Actor for his turn in Dallas Buyers Club. Meanwhile Gravity picked up every award that you had no idea how to judge for your home ballot, including Best Director for Alfonso Cuaron, and Leonardo DiCaprio was once again dealt a crushing defeat for playing Leonardo DiCaprio in yet another film. John Travolta, who has been almost completely replaced with plastic parts, won the award for worst turn as a presenter after barely even trying to pronounce “Idina Menzel” as she performed the hit song, “Let It Go” from the movie, Frozen. Travolta closely edged out Harrison Ford, who has an earring now, apparently, and the kind of voice you’d expect from someone handing you directions to a driving test at the DMV. And we all earned some well-deserved time off purgatory for having to sit through Bette Midler’s enthusiastic but ultimately sub-par performance of “Wind Beneath My Wings”—perhaps, without question, the single worst song of all time if you fail to consider anything by the Black Eyed Peas.
So, in all, America, another year of fabled film history passes, accompanied by such a laundry list of celebrity #firstworldproblems that it practically writes Spike Jonze’s next movie for him. All we have to look forward to is yet another year of movies two-thirds of us won’t see. At least it’s better than the 2016 field of presidential nominees, of course, as we were reminded when Sandra Lee, girlfriend of noted Democratic Hillary-challenger Andrew Cuomo showed up to Elton John’s viewing party in a black velvet trash bag.
Ah, hurray for Hollywood.