Has Twitter changed the Oscars?
I ask this because, several years ago, Dave Letterman was basically run off the stage for treating the Oscars with too much irreverence (remember his infamous Uma/Oprah bit?) and last night Ellen DeGeneres was serving pizza, collecting tips, and compelling Brad Pitt to hand out paper plates.
As stars have become more accessible thanks to Twitter and Instagram, it only stands to reason that they’d be more willing to let down their hair and show their human side at awards shows.
(All the more reason why Jimmy Kimmel’s pre-show shtick—where he climbed through a TV and berated a grotesquely slovenly couple for daring to live Tweet the Oscars—seemed so tone deaf and unnecessarily nasty. It was totally antithetical to the spirit of the show.)
Of course, the genius of choosing Ellen to host the Oscars is that she’s not really irreverent at all, certainly not in a way that has any teeth. She’s not Seth MacFarlane making rude jokes and smirking smugly at the audience. She’s not Ricky Gervais (who has hosted the Golden Globes, not the Oscars), gleefully skewering Hollywood culture with several surgically-placed barbs. She’s more of the “stars, they’re just like us!” school of irreverence, the kind of humanizing of celebrities—pizza! selfies!—that makes them more endearing, if slightly less glamorous.
So yes, Ellen was the safe, albeit entertaining, choice and the ceremony seemed to reflect that. There were no giant production numbers, no parodies of the nominees, and both the video montages and the songs were mercifully brief. (In the case of Karen O’s haunting “The Moon Song”—too brief.) (And what the hell was up with John Travolta butchering Idina Menzel’s name? I shudder to think what he might’ve done with Lupita Nyong’o’s name had he been announcing the Best Supporting Actress category.)
The dresses were uniformly gorgeous—although, again, safe (where are Cher and Bjork when you really need them?). My personal favorites, for what it’s worth: Lupita Nyong’o, Emma Watson, Olivia Wilde, and Cate Blachett. On the men’s side, Kevin Spacey’s navy blue tux was absolute perfection.
As for the awards themselves? They, too, were also pretty safe and predictable. (So predictable that I went 12 for 12 on my pre-show guesses!)
I was very happy across the board, although it hurt a little to see Leonardo DiCaprio lose again. What does this guy have to do to win an Oscar? Slither across a parking lot in a Quaalude induced haze? Oh wait, he did that already.
I was particularly thrilled that 12 Years a Slave won for Best Picture. And director Steve McQueen’s spontanous leap in the air when the film won—joyous and oh-so-human—was a fitting final image of the night.