It came, it went, but it didn’t really conquer. The Oscars, however good the show is, always gets its share of brickbats. And they’re usually hurled at the host. Billy Crystal and Whoopi Goldberg were pretty much the last of the Mohicans, following which it’s all been downhill.
But this time around, there was a ray of hope in the shape of Seth MacFarlane — creator of Family Guy. Generally considered to not only be a funny guy but someone who can cock a snook at the Academy. Or so you’d think. But sadly, all we got from MacFarlane was a pretty boy who simply seemed to hit all the wrong notes. Not that the jokes were too risqué. They were just not funny. He did show that even he can sing and dance, if not host. And for our Sajid Khan, he gave us his talking bear Ted. That's about all you can give him credit for.
Since what we see in this year’s Oscars is usually replicated in next year’s Filmfare’s, here’re the best moments from this year’s Oscars, some of which Bollywood could make all its own.
Kill the playback singer. This year’s Oscars were dedicated to music in films. Which made for a fabulous show. Because you had Shirley Bassey (who seems to be frozen in time), Barbara Streisand, Norah Jones (who might as well have been a mute going by how audible her voice was) and Adele – belting out songs. There was a song about boobs by Seth MacFarlane. Then Channing Tatum and Charlize Theron danced to The Way You Look Tonight. Daniel Radcliffe and Joseph Gordon Lewitt tap-danced to He’s Got High Hopes. And finally John Travolta appeared without his masseur, but in his memory methinks, and said that he had “a big treat for everyone”. The cast of Les Miserables appeared and sang albeit a little nasally. All in all, the Hollywood A-list actors showed that there's really NO big deal about dancing and singing beautifully in a film. And they didn’t whine about how they’d practiced their steps for 8 hours and done singing practice for another 8. Since they’ve borrowed dance skills from our cinema, maybe our stars could return the favour and borrow some acting skills from them. You know, try and play a mentally challenged on-the-breadline woman, without also sporting perfectly plucked eyebrows and beautifully waxed legs. Just saying. Speaking of music, the Jaws theme which was played to cut off long speeches was quite an inspired moment.
Having a shit host is the great equaliser. If we have SRK and Saif cracking masturbation jokes and KJo dressed as a maitre d, they have Seth MacFarlane being as unfunny as he could possibly be. Either he was really nervous at hosting the Oscars, or he’s just funnier when he’s scripting a show rather than performing. There were jokes about racism, domestic abuse, the gay men’s chorus, Clooney’s love for women. Only thing was they weren’t particularly funny. Although I did like his bit about how Daniel Day Lewis is so into method acting that when he bumped into Don Cheadle in the studio lot, he might have thought of “freeing” him. So take solace SRK and Saif, you are not alone.
Breasts are passé. It is the year of the underarm. Going by the amount of underarms we saw – from Bassey to Berry to Jennifer Lawrence, you felt like you were in a Dove commercial. And since Anushka Sharma’s been flashing her white armpits in our face every time we switch on the telly, Dove might well be the sponsor of choice for next year’s Filmfares.
All hail Bombay Ang Lee. India wasn’t deprived of its moment in the sun. Bad enough that Tabu couldn’t be spotted on the red carpet this time, and my name is Lakkhan Anil Kapoor wasn’t invited and neither was Anupam Kher there. Even his premiere party for Silver Lining Playbook in Mumbai was scrapped. But just as India was desperately trying to find a connection to Bradley Cooper, Ang Lee won for Best Director. And he said Namaste. Oh my god. Could we be luckier? This was like Hindi Chini Bhai Bhai, all over again. We crown you Bombay Ang Lee – whether you like it or not. You love us. You really love us.
Bring me the head of the first lady. And finally, what Bollywood MUST, absolutely MUST borrow from this year’s Oscars is that come next year, we will have our very own Gursharan Kaur announce the Best Film at the Filmfares. And behind her, should be standing the band members from Raju Wedding Band. Why on earth was Michelle Obama beamed in from the White House to present the Best Film? You almost expected Sarah Palin and Paul Ryan to appear next and belt out a duet. Did it have anything to do with the fact that Argo is based in Iran?
Is this some subtle commentary on US’ political stance? A little nod to Hollywood for doing its bit to erase the humiliating memory of the hostage crisis? These are questions which will never be answered. Thankfully, it was Jack Nicholson who had to introduce her, because nothing can shock him after all he’s seen over the decades. If anything was bizarre about the Oscars, it was this. You forgot all about MacFarlane’s suspect hosting skills, once you were greeted by a beaming Michelle smiling down from a massive screen hanging over Nicholson’s head. Poor Kristin Stewart who everyone on Twitter thought was on Vicodin, must have thought that the hallucinations were kicking in a bit too early.
While the Oscars is always worth a watch, it really didn’t match up to either the BAFTAs or the SAG. Which are also three hours shorter. And have had brilliant hosts. If it wasn’t for the song and dance, I for one would have shoved my head into a gas oven an hour into the ceremony.