The year Lord of the Rings: Return of the King took home its big basket of Oscars, I was living with a woman I now call the Five Year Bitch. If memory serves, during that ceremony the cameras frequently cut to the actors who played the hobbits in Return of the King. For some reason, it tickled me that all four of them chose to sit together. Every time they would show up on the screen; I would cry out in a high-pitched, fake English accent, "We're the hobbits!" The Five Year Bitch enjoyed this at first but quickly grew annoyed and I knew the next time she went on one of her crying marathons, this running gag would be used as proof that I didn't really love her, that I didn't respect her, that most of her problems were my fault, etc. And I wasn't wrong.
That's the best Oscars memory I have.
The other Oscars memories are uniformly bad, and mainly involve the negative impression the two-faced douchebags of Hollywood leave when no one's around to write them dialogue. Like Michael Moore getting booed off stage one year and, the following year, every asshole who booed him championing Moore's cause because it had become more acceptable in the interim. Like Billy Crystal singling out Bill Murray's visible disappointment upon losing for Best Actor. Like Annie Lennox making a wet-faced monkey of herself and making sure that neither of the other two people who won Best Original Song for "Into the West" had time to thank anyone. Like every time the music drowned out the winners for things like Best Sound Editing and Best Costume Design because the winners aren't as rich and no one's ever beat off to them.
As pretty much anyone who watched it knows, last night's ceremony did not fight very hard to prove Mick wrong. I was only willing to stay up until a little after 10, and even then the only thing keeping me going was the furious stream of Twitter snark. It didn't take long for me to realize I was tweeting, and reading other tweets, on my Blackberry often enough that my eyes were on my phone more than they were on the screen. Patton Oswalt's tweets deserve more thanks for any enjoyment I received from last night's ceremony than anyone who took the stage.
Since I did not watch it to the end, arguably this list could not possibly be comprehensive, but if you tuned in last night you know that a list of reasons to hate the ceremony never could be comprehensive.
10. Celine Dion's commercial. I forget exactly what it was for, but at some point during the broadcast Celine Dion was in a commercial about the Lung Association or the Heart Association or some group that does really good things that you can't really criticize without looking like an assface. If Dion's going to be in a commercial, she shouldn't be allowed in a commercial you can't yell at without feeling like a jerk. Like British Petroleum. Or Evil, Inc.
9. The fact that every presenter and winner who otherwise had nothing funny or worthwhile to say referenced Melissa Leo's f-bomb for an easy laugh.
8. When Kevin Spacey opened his spiel with some awkward singing and twitter lit up like a fucking Christmas tree with predictions that Spacey would be next year's host. Yeah. We need more actors singing for the Oscars. Maybe they can get Christopher Walken as a tap-dancing host, too.
7. Toy Story 3 winning and/or being nominated for so many awards. I saw it. It was a good, fun flick. It didn't deserve to be nominated so much. It certainly didn't deserve to be nominated for Best Picture. And how the fuck was it nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay? Because it was "based on the previous films?" That's a bunch of bullshit. That's an amount of bullshit they needed a truck to deliver. In fact, not only is it bullshit, it's actually proof of how much the movie didn't deserve to be nominated so much. Saying it's actually an "Adapted Screenplay" and that it was adapted from the previous films is pretty much the same as saying that it was just another fucking sequel.
6. Trent Reznor got on stage and didn't say anything disparaging about any women he went out with. In fact, I think he said something nice about his wife. What the fuck, Trent?
5. The hosts. Franco looked like he would've rather been anywhere but on stage at the Oscars. Anne Hathaway, on the other hand, committed herself fully to the gig but just came off as annoying and over-eager to please.
4. Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis. I mean, were they even trying for a laugh? You have to work hard to be more awkward and annoying than Matthew McConaughey and Scarlett Johansson, and man did Timberlake/Kunis work hard.
3. Jokes about Charlie Sheen or any other celebrities currently stuck in the tabloid penalty box. Dear Hollywood, we do not need any more proof that your collective self is nothing but a big cool kids' table. We do not need to see any more of the hypocrisy of your actors whining about paparazzi as if photographers caused the Holocaust while simultaneously using tabloid-derived humor to make themselves sound funny and cool; like the teacher who picks on the unpopular kid to get the class on his/her side. Just stick to your other shitty jokes and stop throwing each other under the bus.
2. The King's Speech's success. It was a good movie, but it did not deserve all of its victories and it certainly did not deserve Best Picture. I saw half of the films nominated for Best Picture and with the exception of Toy Story 3 any one of those other films (True Grit, Inception and 127 Hours) were more deserving. I believe Colin Firth deserved his Best Actor win, but ironically I think that's part of why the film he won it for shouldn't have won Best Picture. I think Firth did his job too well. I think Firth did a magnificent job of portraying an ascending king who was held back by a speech impediment, who desperately wanted to be heard, who desperately wanted the approval of his father, who desperately wanted to prove he was worthy of his royal blood, and who at no point in The King's Speech seemed like he gave one hot shit about the horrorshow his country was about to be thrust into. I don't know if that was what George VI was really like, but that's the character Firth masterfully portrayed.
1. The very nature of the thing, and I doubt I'm the first person to say it. The Oscars Ceremony is an attempt to give recognition to people who get nothing but recognition. Which isn't to say that movie makers don't deserve the opportunity to honor each others' achievements, but the fact that there is actually an awards "season" is proof enough of the masturbatory aspect of the thing. We all contribute to the tugfest by watching and this blog is, admittedly, part of the collective jerk.