Three Reasons Why This Oscar Ceremony Was the Worst Ever

by DAVID MACARAY

Normally, I have little patience with people who criticize the Academy Awards, taking the view that something as trivial and inconsequential as the handing-out of movie prizes simply isn’t worth getting your knickers in a twist over.  It’s show biz.  It’s hype.  It’s glitz layered with more glitz.  Dude, don’t take it so seriously.  But this year’s Oscars put me in such a rotten mood, I was forced to bring out the long knives.

Here are the three worst things about the 2014 Oscar show.

1. Ellen Degeneres.  She ruined it.  I positively LOVE Ellen, and yet she ruined the show by turning a glittering movie tribute—an annual ceremony dedicated solely and exclusively to the motion picture industry—into a version of a television show!  Ellen did the one thing she was comfortable doing:  behave like a TV host.  Incredibly, she treated this gathering of Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science members as if they were a daytime studio audience, a TV game show crowd.

Keeping up a constant line of patter, she went out among them, she huddled with them, she mock-joked, she schmoozed, she hugged them, she kissed them.  Ellen also did what so many afternoon TV talk show hosts do:  She resorted to props.  She ordered pizzas as a gag.  She took selfies.  She asked audience members to go into their purses and wallets.  She dressed up in funny costumes.  I’m surprised she didn’t reach out with the mic and ask a couple, “So where are you folks from?”

2.  Too long.  The show ran half an hour late.  Had it ended at its scheduled time, 8:30 PM, it still would have seemed interminably long, but at exactly 8:25 PM (PST), they still hadn’t handed out Oscars in six important categories:  Best Original Screenplay, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Actress, Best Actor, Best Director, and Best Movie.  I looked at my watch and couldn’t believe it.  The show was supposed to over in five minutes, yet the best categories hadn’t been touched.

We can lay part of the blame for that on host Ellen Degeneres, for having spent so much cavorting with the audience, but the main reason the show ran long was due to all the commercials ABC chose to run.  If they had deleted only those repetitive Cadillac ads and the tedious promos for the ABC show, Resurrection, we might have finished with time to spare.

3.  No surprises.  Other than maybe, the song from Frozen beating out U-2’s Nelson Mandela tribute, there were no surprises, no upsets.  None.  The Vegas handicappers had this thing totally wired.  And because there were no surprises, there was no drama.  Blanchett won Best Actress, Nyong’o won Best Supporting, both heavy favorites.  McConaughey won Best Actor, Leto won Best Supporting, both heavy favorites.  Cuaron won Best Director for Gravity, as predicted, and 12 Years a Slave won Best Picture as every fifth-grader in America knew it would.

But you can’t blame anyone just because we all knew who was going to win.  Predicting the winners has become a science, something they’re getting better at it every year.  One problem is all the awards shows that precede the Oscars.  By the time March rolls around, we already know which actors and movies have won all the major awards.  Indeed, if 12 Years a Slave hadn’t won Best Picture, that would’ve been the Oscar’s lead story.  That’s what it’s come to.  Our shock at who didn’t win.

David Macaray, an LA playwright and author (“It’s Never Been Easy:  Essays on Modern Labor,” 2nd edition), is a former union rep. Dmacaray@earthlink.net

David Macaray is a playwright and author. His newest book is “Nightshift: 270 Factory Stories.” He can be reached at dmacaray@gmail.com

Like What You’ve Read? Support CounterPunch
August 03, 2015
Joseph Mangano – Janette D. Sherman
The Atomic Era Turns 70, as Nuclear Hazards Endure
Nelson Valdes
An Internet Legend: the Pope, Fidel and the Black President
Robert Hunziker
The Perfectly Nasty Ocean Storm
Jack Dresser
The Case of Alison Weir: Two Palestinian Solidarity Organizations Borrow from Joe McCarthy’s Playbook
Greg Fulton
Greece Succumbs to Imperialist Banksterism
Binoy Kampmark
Stalling the Trans-Pacific Partnership: the Failure of the Hawai’i Talks
Jose Martinez
Black/Hispanic/Women: a Leadership Crisis
Victor Grossman
German Know-Nothings Today
Patrick Walker
We’re Not Sandernistas: Reinventing the Wheels of Bernie’s Bandwagon
Norman Pollack
Moral Consequences of War: America’s Hegemonic Thirst
Ralph Nader
Republicans Support Massive Tax Evasion by Starving IRS Budget
Alexander Reid Ross
Colonial Pride and the Killing of Cecil the Lion
Suhayb Ahmed
What’s Happening in Britain: Jeremy Corbyn and the Future of the Labour Party
Weekend Edition
July 31-33, 2015
Jeffrey St. Clair
Bernie and the Sandernistas: Into the Void
John Pilger
Julian Assange: the Untold Story of an Epic Struggle for Justice
Roberto J. González – David Price
Remaking the Human Terrain: The US Military’s Continuing Quest to Commandeer Culture
Lawrence Ware
Bernie Sanders’ Race Problem
Andrew Levine
The Logic of Illlogic: Narrow Self-Interest Keeps Israel’s “Existential Threats” Alive
ANDRE VLTCHEK
Kos, Bodrum, Desperate Refugees and a Dying Child
Paul Street
“That’s Politics”: the Sandernistas on the Master’s Schedule
Ted Rall
How the LAPD Conspired to Get Me Fired from the LA Times
Mike Whitney
Power-Mad Erdogan Launches War in Attempt to Become Turkey’s Supreme Leader
Ellen Brown
The Greek Coup: Liquidity as a Weapon of Coercion
Stephen Lendman
Russia Challenges America’s Orwellian NED
Will Parrish
The Politics of California’s Water System
John Wight
The Murder of Ali Saad Dawabsha, a Palestinian Infant Burned Alive by Israeli Terrorists
Jeffrey Blankfort
Leading Bibi’s Army in the War for Washington
Mary Lou Singleton
Gender, Patriarchy, and All That Jazz
Robert Fantina
Israeli Missteps Take a Toll
Pete Dolack
Speculators Circling Puerto Rico Latest Mode of Colonialism
Ron Jacobs
Spying on Black Writers: the FB Eye Blues
Paul Buhle
The Leftwing Seventies?
Binoy Kampmark
The TPP Trade Deal: of Sovereignty and Secrecy
David Swanson
Vietnam, Fifty Years After Defeating the US
Robert Hunziker
Human-Made Evolution
Shamus Cooke
Why Obama’s “Safe Zone” in Syria Will Inflame the War Zone
David Rosen
Hillary Clinton: Learn From Your Sisters
Sam Husseini
How #AllLivesMatter and #BlackLivesMatter Can Devalue Life
Shepherd Bliss
Why I Support Bernie Sanders for President
Howard Lisnoff
The Wrong Argument
Louis Proyect
Manufacturing Denial
Tracey Harris
Living Tiny: a Richer and More Sustainable Future
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
A Day of Tears: Report from the “sHell No!” Action in Portland
Tom Clifford
Guns of August: the Gulf War Revisited
Renee Lovelace
I Dream of Ghana