thinking big: feminism, media, and pop culture

GLG Reflects on the Oscars

In gender, Oscars, race on February 27, 2012 at 2:13 pm

This year’s Oscars were, as many on Twitter noted, fairly boring and quite frustrating: the show felt like Hollywood was congratulating itself over and over again. Billy Crystal made a series of uncomfortable racist jokes; then the Oscars poked ungracious fun at the beautiful and talented Melissa McCarthy. Every movie montage we were forced to sit through was filled with a plethora of white actors reflecting on how important the movies were for them, and The Artist swept the awards. Then there was the Cirque du Soleil bit, which was just plain confusing. Read on for GLG’s thoughts on the Oscars, or check out our Twitter feed from the night @GirlsLikeGiants

Best Dressed?

Phoebe: I think my favorite dresses were Octavia Spencer’s and Meryl Streep’s. They both looked so glamorous, so sparkly, and so classy. Plus, I was really glad that Octavia won, maybe next year the Academy can move beyond The Help towards more roles, with less stereotypes, for African American women. I mean we can always hope …

Chelsea B: My vote is split between Glenn Close and Octavia Spencer. They both looked so beautiful. Angelina Jolie also looked beautiful, but I always think she does and she doesn’t get any creativity points for a black sheath. She does get points for how happy the whole @AngiesRightLeg thing makes me.

Sarah T: I loved Octavia’s dress–she sparkled like a diamond. I was also drawn to the classic Hollywood glamour of Penelope Cruz‘s off-the-shoulder ball gown and Jessica Chastain‘s ornate black-and-gold number.

Best Oscar moment? Were there any?

Phoebe: Definitely the two best Oscar moments were Chris Rock. Hilarious. And then Emma Stone (so much funnier than Ben Stiller, with whom she was paired). Chris Rock was amazing as he suggested that voice work for animation was different than real work and then poked fun at the white academy. As @brycepeake said on Twitter during the show “Dear academy white people, Chris Rock is making fun of you.” And, @KristenWarner tweeted, “The thing about Rock is this though: He’s, in Natalie Portman’s words, ‘mean.’ They want white man nostalgia. Not mean. Not truth.” And Chris Rock’s performance just made Billy Crystal look even worse (if that was even possible). And then there was Emma Stone, shockingly reminiscent of over-enthusiastic Anne Hathaway last year. I think I recall someone on Twitter suggesting next year should be hosted by Chris Rock and Emma Stone. Now that, I would actually be excited to watch. Also, Christopher Plummer won for The Beginners, which was quite cool. And Esperanza Spalding’s singing over the “in memorium” montage was beautiful.

Chelsea B: I second Phoebe on the Chris Rock moment. I also liked how whenever Billy Crystal sat down next to someone in the audience as part of his routine, they looked completely appalled and embarrassed, mirroring my feelings about him perfectly. Also, I was admittedly delirious by the time we finally got around to the Best Picture win (and I am completely apathetic about The Artist), but I was delighted that they brought the little dog on stage.

Sarah T: Here is the part where I have to admit that I was hosting an Oscars potluck party and thus missed like 60% of what actually happened during the ceremony. But I did catch the Chris Rock part, and I thought he was (as always) so sharp and funny. I also loved the speeches of Octavia Spencer and Christopher Plummer. Oh! And everyone at the potluck was very intrigued by the pretty violinist they kept showing up in the balcony. What’s her story? Inquiring minds want to know!

Worst Oscar moment?

Chelsea B: Billy Crystal in blackface in the opening montage was beyond inexcusable and set the bar pretty high (or would it be low?) for “worst moment.”

Sarah T: Definitely the blackface was the worst part. I can’t understand how he/the Oscars producers/writers/etc. ever began to conceptualize that that was okay. What a disgrace. I also found myself being even more disappointed than I was expecting at Viola Davis’s loss. She is such an amazing actress, and while The Help was seriously flawed, she was flawless in it. I’m sure Streep is great in The Iron Lady (I haven’t seen it), but to me it felt like this really ought to have been Davis’s night. And with her powerful, illuminating conversation with Tavis Smiley and Octavia Spencer on my mind, I just kept thinking about how the decks are stacked against black artists in Hollywood.

Phoebe: All of them, save for the few I mentioned above. And I agree on the definite worst and most inexcusable moment was Billy Crystal in blackface. I have never been one to watch or love awards shows, and the Oscars definitely did not make me feel inclined to watch more awards shows. Also, the Oscars just reinforced to me that TV is so much more awesome as did some of the Oscars commercials for Revenge (what a terrible yet awesome preview) and GCB; which looks somewhat intriguing mostly because I love Kristin Chenoweth; and then there was The Hunger Games preview. And then there was Angelina Jolie’s serious showing of leg.

Feelings on movie montages and Billy Crystal as host?

Phoebe: I have bad feelings all around. Just really bad feelings. Billy Crystal in blackface was perhaps the worst. And I still am confused as to why Sandra Bullock claimed to speak Mandarin with a German accent, but really spoke German. That just seemed like a serious fail. I feel like this NY Times article, “Even the Jokes have Wrinkles,” makes some pretty good points about why the Oscars kind of sucked this year (again).

Chelsea B: So boring, offensive, and awful. I am confident that even with zero relevant experience or knowledge, Bieber would have done a better job hosting. And all the montages made me sleepy and regretful that I was missing out on the Kim & Kroy story just to watch Hollywood pat itself on its own self-indulgent, racist, sexist, and irrelevant back.

Sarah: Normally I am all about a good movie montage–I don’t know, I just like seeing all the best parts cut together like a good Girl Talk song; it’s invigorating. But I agree that these particular montages were snoozefests, as well as incoherent. The themes were like, “Movies that have happened before right now.” Similarly, Billy Crystal had a lot of goodwill built up in my heart based on When Harry Met Sally and The Princess Bride (“Have fun storming the castle!”), but he lost it within the first few minutes of the broadcast with the blackface, and with the bad, tasteless, not-funny jokes that followed.

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  1. Did not see the beginning – blackface – unbelievable! Definitely liked Chris Rock – refreshing and Meryl Strep’s response – she seemed genuinely surprised and expecting Viola Davis to win.

  2. What ya’ll said.

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