Oscar 2012: Post-Mortem

E:  My friends, I don’t think I’ve ever been so happy to be wrong.

Before I get into the entire night, and how my predictions went, and the speeches and the dresses, I just have to say:

Meryl Streeeeeeeeeeeeep!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Yes!

So, okay.  The predictions, they worked out – which is to say that in most cases, the favorite won.  To wit:

Best Supporting Actor

My Predicted Winner:

Christopher Plummer

How Sure Am I?

100%

The Actual Winner:

Christopher Plummer

I told you I didn’t need an alternate!  Plummer was gracious – especially in thanking his wife and praising his famous daughter Amanda – and funny – saying he’d give his award to Ewan McGregor if he was a good person, but he’s not – and classy and even rather daring in a velvet tuxedo. At 82, he became the oldest Oscar winner ever, though you’d never guess it from the spry, sprightly way he ran up to that stage.   (Fellow nominee Max von Sydow is also 82; go them!)

Best Supporting Actress

My Predicted Winner:

Octavia Spencer

How Sure Am I?

100%

The Actual Winner:

Octavia Spencer

No surprises here!  The room was on its feet (as indeed it was for all the acting nominees, something which does not always happen) as Octavia was helped to the stage.  (I know, I know, but I’d like to see Christopher Plummer go up those stairs in that dress.)  She looked beautiful, and she gaped like a fish, which was sweet and hilarious.

You know, it’s funny.  People get excited at other award shows, they cry, but they don’t lose the power of speech.  Spencer gave a really moving line at the BAFTAs about people thinking that the rest of the world didn’t care about American race problems, but her win proved that we all understand what oppression is.  Last night, she gasped.  She cried.  There’s just something different about the Oscars, you know?  When you die, that’s what’s on your obituary: Oscar winner.  It’s a whole other level.

Best Actor

My Predicted Winner:

Jean Dujardin

How Sure Am I?

55%

If Not Him:

George Clooney

The Actual Winner:

Jean Dujardin

Let me start here by saying how much I loved the individual tributes that last year’s winner Natalie Portman (and later Colin Firth) made to the five nominees.  Really wonderful.  I’m thrilled with this idea of extending the moment of congratulations, since the clips don’t always give you a sense of character.  I just approve so much.  The more indie films that end up in the Oscars (and there was nothing more indie than A Better Life, for example) the more necessary it is to let the world audience know why these people were nominated.  And it was so well written; it genuinely sounded like those were Natalie’s words (and later Colin’s), though I don’t imagine that she was actually the writer.

The adorable Monsieur Dujardin, too, was flustered beyond what we’ve seen him, and we’ve seen him win at SAG and BAFTA and in the comedy Golden Globes.  He was just stunned, and goofy, and his English clearly deserted him.  So, no impressive speech, but still, you get a really nice feeling with all that smiling and yelling in French.  He didn’t bring the little dog (Uggie – sorry for getting his name wrong) but he did dance a little at the end. Now to on auditioning for villain roles….

Best Actress

My Predicted Winner:

Viola Davis

How Sure Am I?
55%

If Not Her:

Meryl Streep

Actual Winner:

Meryl Streep

Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

I’d like to apologize for underestimating the gap between wins; it was 1982, not 1984, when Meryl last won an Oscar.  Sorry about that.  So yes, even more egregious than I thought. That is thirty years.  Thirty YEARS, people. I love Viola Davis, I really really do (and I totally respect her coming to the show with her real hair, even though I didn’t recognize her at all at first; she rocked it), and The Help has a much more complete and coherent structure and flow than The Iron Lady, but oh, Meryl was just staggering, simply staggering in that movie.  She’s so smart and funny and gracious and she was so clearly shocked and floored… I loved that she thanked her husband first, so the orchestra couldn’t play her off (like any orchestra would!), and that she thanked her make up artist with tears in her eyes.  How terrific that her husband was there this time – he’s not always. I loved her dress (and she’s hit or miss in fashion, so that’s great).  I loved her tears and her happiness for her friends.  I just loved it.  I loved every moment.  It was pure joy.

This is the time on Sprockets when we dance.  I mean, seriously.  If indeed half of America was sighing in disgust at Meryl’s first win in thirty years, I was not in that half.  I was in the dancing and prancing half.

So, it might sound dopey, but we did actually look up Colin Firth and Michelle Williams to see if they did in fact work together when she was 12, but no.  As you all probably could have told us, that was a total fabrication. (I knew it was a joke, I just didn’t know if there might be some truth in it as well.  I have to check.  I can’t help myself.)  I also had to look it up to see why she was there with Busy Phillips; I didn’t know they were Dawsons kids together.  Cool.

Anyway, I saw a backstage interview with Meryl where she stood with tears in her eyes, saying how  Michelle and Rooney weren’t even born when she won her first Oscar, and how Viola and Glenn are her old, dear friends, and how uncomfortable she feels winning instead of them.  She is just – she’s so smart, and funny, and classy, and I love her, and I couldn’t be happier.

Ahem.

Best Director

My Predicted Winner:

Michel Hazanavicius

How Sure Am I?

75%

If Not Him:

Martin Scorsese

The Winner:

Michel Hazanavicius

Michel, my belle!  🙂  Good for you, Monsieur.

Best Picture

My Predicted Winner:

The Artist

How Sure Am I?

90%

If Not:

The Descendants

The Help

Hugo

No surprise – the charming black and white ode to old Hollywood wins  – the second silent film to do so in history, and the first in 83 years.  This time Uggie did make it on the stage.  And how sweet was director Michel telling his wife Berenice Bejo that she was the inspiration and the soul of the movie?  Aw.  Did anyone else think the producer who spoke first looked like Peter Lorre, or was that just my family?   Fun that it won the Independent Spirit as well as the Oscar – that pretty much never happens.  Now I’m very curious to see if The Artist will get the box office bump I expected it to get from the nominations. It’s really very enjoyable; it surprises me so much that so many people have been scared away by the silent film part.

But maybe I’m not a good person to judge, because I will see almost anything.  I really enjoyed this year’s crop of movies; I know they weren’t the most popular, and I expect a lot of discussion about that in the coming week, but still

So, okay.  For the big 6, I got 5 right.  In the “Other Categories” section, I correctly guessed a few more – both screenplays, score and animated feature.  I had a gut feeling (which doesn’t count because I didn’t mention it) that The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore would win animated short in part because the title is just so darn awesome; I’m so happy it did. Flying books?  What’s better than that? I really really want to see it.

Okay, so.  The make up win for The Iron Lady was one of my favorites of the night.  I just think it’s spectacularly hard to age people well, and I’ve never seen anything done nearly so well, ever in my life.  Really, it was spectacular, and the win was so deserved.

Moments that I enjoyed; Orla George giggling and squeaking as her father (Hotel Rwanda director Terry) accepted their award for live action short for The Shore.  I loved comedian Jim Rash imitating Angelina Jolie’s posture (what was up with that? she’s so gorgeous, and it was such a dress, but, weird.  Also, her arms are scary skinny,) when he accepted his award for writing The Descendants. I loved the shout outs to the people of Italy and Iran.  I thought Chris Rock was laugh out loud funny, I thought Emma Stone and Ben Stiller were hilarious, I loved Miss Piggy’s hair and her inclusion.  I’m still mad about the song thing, but I’m super happy for Bret McKenzie and (the sadly unthanked) Jason Segal.  Circe Du Soleil were fantastic, but really, they could do that but not play more than 10 seconds of each nominated song when they had time for that?  Will Ferrell and Zach G were so fricking hilarious with those cymbols! I loved the shocked editing team from The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, who basically just stood there looking stunned and left. Too funny.  I liked the Hugo technical winner who thanked everyone who was ever born or reborn or would be born, there or not there – “and if I’ve forgotten anyone, you know who you are.”

Oh. The continuation of the Scorsese drinking game from SAG?  Too damn hilarious.  Especially considering the location of those nip bottles.

And of course, I enjoyed Billy Crystal as always. My favorite line of his was probably when he thanked the president of the Academy for “whipping the crowd into a frenzy.”  Hee.  I liked the Christopher Guest “lost focus group” bit, mostly for the wonderful players who showed up.  We were just missing Jane Lynch!  Loved Catherine O’Hara’s bit singing the rainbow song about the dirty climbing monkeys. “I feel that way too sometimes,” she said.  Hee.  I loved the bit with Melissa McCarthy and her very lovely shoes.   Oh, and wow, Esperanza Spaulding!  What a voice!  (And hurrah for the Boston connection; she’s a Berkley College of Music alum.)

And finally, at the end of this long and verbose post, my favorite dresses.  Jessica Chastain; Nina Garcia was right, she really did look like she stepped out of a Pre-Raphaelite painting.  That black Alexander McQueen with gold embroidery was amazing.  I loved Milla Jojovich’s white embellished column, Penelope Cruz in billowy periwinkle, pals Gwyneth Paltrow and  Cameron Diaz in sleek white.  And speaking of Diaz, she and J.Lo looked great together, and there whole little bit where they turned their backs on the audience?  Cute.   Kristin Wiig looked pretty fantastic, as did ferociously awesome arm candy Stacy Keebler.  Natalie Portman was adorable in polka dots – something I wouldn’t have thought was Oscar-appropriate – and I’m dying to find a picture of the back of Michelle Williams gorgeous tiered coral dress.  Internet, you’re letting me down; clearly there was something cool going on there, but you won’t show me what.  **Updated: I found a nice clear picture, but I don’t really know how I feel about it.  Thoughts?

Okay, so.  I think I am going to go sleep for a week.  (Oh, how I wish I could.)  I’ll be back later with a rundown for you of the films I would have nominated if I’d had the chance.  I want to leave you with Laura Ziskin’s words from the In Memoriam segment:

“In my vision, the hero always wins, the boy always get the girl, and cancer is no more.”

Peace, and happy viewing.

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9 comments on “Oscar 2012: Post-Mortem

  1. Richard says:


    The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore. See it before the copyright expires

  2. MMGF says:

    It’s taken me almost an entire week to stop jumping up and down long enough to officially reply with my excitement (and surprise!) about MERYL!! Wow, is it about time. And it couldn’t have happened for a better performance. The movie may not have been the best one she’s ever been in, but the performance was just ridiculously outstanding.

    • E says:

      I know! Yes, it was a problematic movie, but she was just astounding, just astounding. It makes me so happy too. (I hate seeing people grumble about how Harvey Weinstein won it for her; gives props where props are due, people!)

      • MMGF says:

        Bah. She won it because she was remarkable. Those scenes where she was playing elderly and affected by Parkinson’s? Well, come on. When have you ever seen anything that good. (And I’m willing to already respectfully disagree with her own assessment that she’ll never be on stage accepting an Oscar again.)

  3. Isabel says:

    Colin Firth and Michelle Williams worked together in the movie A Thousand Acres (1997)

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