The Deep Dish On the Oscars
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A recent survey by the LA Times revealed that the 5765 members of the Academy (the people who vote for the Oscars) is nearly 94% Caucasian and 77% male with a median age of 62. Again this year, it seemed like the producers were appealing to this white bread audience with the Oscar show. It was classy and safe, but uninspiring.
Given the flurry of early award shows and publications handicapping of the winners, almost every category was easily predicted. The only shocker of the evening was Kim Novak. Her heavily tweaked face was scarier than she was in Hitchcock’s “Vertigo.” The irony that she presented the award for “Frozen” was not lost on her face. If she’d popped a stitch, her co-presenter Matthew McConaughey might not have survived to pick up his Oscar. Enough already.
Although there were no gay shout-outs of love in any of the acceptance speeches, we were represented. Front and center was the host, Ellen DeGeneres. Effortlessly funny and likable, she only made one subtle reference to her preference for pussy with the comment about Jonah Hill’s prosthetic penis in “The Wolf of Wall Street.” She said, “you showed us something in that film that I haven’t seen for a very long time.”
She also made a drag reference with Liza Minnelli, “I have to say, one of the most impressive Liza Minnelli impersonators I’ve seen in my life. Really, seriously, good job, sir.” Sadly, any self-respecting drag queen would never let herself look that bad.
Of course, “Dallas Buyers Club” put a solemn spotlight on the ’80s AIDS crisis with both Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto taking home the awards. It must be said that Leto’s performance was a first to win for a transgender character. Of course, he’s presumed to be straight, but there sure was a lot of love for his date, his mom. Ditto Jonah Hill. Are they trying to tell us something?
The indirect gay spotlight was Pink’s moving tribute to “The Wizard of Oz.” She knocked it out of the park vocally, but she still looked butch, maybe because of that unflattering ruby red dress,
Hopefully, nobody gay had anything to do with that set design (we don’t want the credit). At first, the stage was crammed with giant plastic Oscars surrounded by beer kegs. Later, it looked like somebody threw up a few million roses left over from a high school float.
Most of the presenters were a yawn, but Jim Carey looked dashingly handsome in his blue tux. For those who are too young or unschooled in movies to get it, that was a spot-on impression of Bruce Dern’s stern acting style. The other dated reference was Jamie Foxx’s slo-mo running tribute to the theme from 1981′s Oscar winning song “Chariots of Fire.”
The staging of Pharrell Williams “Happy” brought the infectious fun of the video to the stage and we loved the ladies dancing with him in the front row. It was my favorite song, but “Let It Go” won and Idina Menzel’s performance was “wickedly” fabulous. Not so much for John Travolta’s introduction. His bumble sounded more like he was ordering Indian food than presenting a singer. DeGeneres made a point of saying Menzel’s name correctly three times after the song. BTW, that was a fun ring/bracelet thing that Menzel wore.
I own a Samsung phone, but even I was a bit put off by the obvious product placement of their newest device (Samsung was also the show’s major sponsor). Ellen made a big deal out of taking selfies with actors in the front rows, which became the biggest re-tweet ever. I was surprised that that pizza gag (which pushed the limits of her wacky charms) didn’t feature product placement from Pizza Hut.
Speaking of sponsors, the best movie montage of the night was not on the show, but during the commercial break. Pepsi’s mini can commercial featured a clever reworking of classic movie lines in new contexts with Cuba Gooding, Jr. providing the inevitable punch line.
Most of the women looked tasteful and gorgeous in their gowns. Sadly, there weren’t any fashion disasters. Guess all those high profile stylists have taken the fun out of star faux pas. Apparently, Bette Midler did NOT spend the bucks on one. Her frock for the lovely rendition of “Wind Beneath My Wings” looked like it was made from upholstery fabric.
Overall, it was another yawn year for the “gay Super Bowl.” Just like Ellen has become a part of mainstream America’s inoffensive culture, this show has lost any spark or surprise that would leave us flooding Facebook with delicious dish…or pizza.
Jerry Williams reviewed movies for WTVR-TV for 14 years and for Style Weekly for 10 years. When he launched his own website in 1998 at TVJerry.com, he took his reviews to the Internet. Through those hundreds of reviews, Jerry kept his sexual orientation muted. So, he's excited to be adding "gay angles" to his postings for GayRVA.com.
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