By Valerie Milano
Hollywood, CA (The Hollywood Times) 2/24/19 – It was a tough year for the Oscars. Same time last year saw the lowest Oscar broadcast ratings in history. The remedy? Edgy, irreverent comedian Kevin Hart was selected as host. Only problem was, he turned out to be a little too edgy and irreverent for the PC police. Goodbye Kevin.
After the face plant that was the Hart fiasco, Oscar decided to play safe and have no host. Also a three hour curfew was imposed and nearly adhered to. An idea for split screen awards was drowned at birth. Too bad; having the commercial spots and the technical award sharing screen time might have alleviated the tedium of both.
Anyway, at five bells the curtain rose and we were expecting something to happen. Kicking off the show was a surprise performance from a tribute band (previously known as) Queen. Apologies to Brian May and Roger Taylor; but half the band absent Freddie Mercury will never set the true Queen fan’s heart a flutter, nor pry the description “Queen” from this writer’s lips. Give Adam Lambert a generous severance check and just stop please.
In place of the host monologue we got the SNL alpha/fem A-team of Maya Rudolf, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. They were one of the few host replacements to get real laughs of the right kind. Then they disappeared into the night and left a void that no subsequent presenter could fill.
What follows is a chronological list of high and low lights from the “Superbowl” of award shows, the 2019 Oscars:
Helen Mirren still slams after all these years.
Free Solo won best Documentary Feature. Well deserved. A monumental (literally) film making achievement.
Tom Morello’s excellent presenter’s turn supports my theory that musicians can become good actors, but great actors are rarely good musicians.
The movie “Vice” deserved the best makeup Oscar for turning a dishy Christian Bale into a butt ugly Dick Cheney.
Who decided that block long dress trails and industrial strength ruffles were this year’s fashion statement?
J Lo’s sparkle dress was so bright, I had to wear shades.
Hannah Beachler became the first African American to win an Oscar for production design (Black Panther). Pretty sure she’s the first recipient to read her acceptance speech from an I-phone as well.
If Tyler Perry is not going to show up as Madea, don’t’ bother.
Jennifer Hudson vs. Bette Midler. One of them is a great vocalist, one is a great singer.
Bohemian Rhapsody should be proud of its Oscar haul – which included best sound editing and sound mixing.
Trevor Noah was smooth as silk, hunky and funny to boot. Why wasn’t he the host?
Pharrell Williams wearing shorts and white socks is a classic example of somebody trying ‘way’ too hard.
Is it me, or was there a shortage of A-list presenters?
More Barbara Streisand pleeze…
Nice to see the queen of Country-Folk (Gillian Welch) finally get her close up.
Obviously Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga carried over their on-screen chemistry to their Best Song duet (Shallow).
Best Acceptance Speech award goes to Rayka Zehtabchi for making us laugh through her tears of joy. Only a guess, but this was the first, only, and last Oscar acceptance speech for a film about menstruation.
Good for Spike Lee. He’s paid his dues.
Least Suspenseful Oscar – Rami Malek (Lead Actor – Bohemian Rhapsody)
Biggest Oscar Upset – Olivia Coleman (Lead Female Actor – The Favorite)
It’s nice to see a foreign language film (Roma) win a biggie. (Best Director Alfonso Cuaron)
Oscar is at a crossroads; in a world of alternative platform and a cornucopia of broadcast awards shows, we don’t need no stinkin’ four hour Oscar yammer-fest to slake our celebrity jones. And, with the disappearing middle class goes the Oscar audience. To bask in the reflected glow of the beautiful people’s ridiculous good fortune, one must at least occupy the same time zone as the reflection. On the plus side, Oscar diversity and inclusion seems to have hit an impressive benchmark. Lots of award recognition drawn from a slew of successful, thought provoking films from makers of every ethnicity. Finally. There should be no controversy this year for Oscar. Not even the manufactured kind.
And probably, no ratings either.