This was probably one of the most exciting years to tune in to the Oscars because of all the controversy surrounding it with #OscarsSoWhite, Jada Pinkett Smith declaring a boycott of the event and the cast of Straight Outta Compton not only be snubbed for nominations, but also not being invited to attend at all! Long behold, I had my TV turned to ABC at 8:30PM SHARP to watch the “drama” unfold.
Chris Rock’s opening monologue was good overall. I think he balanced comedy with some jaw-dropping statements, threw a little shade at Jada and made valid points about the Hollywood diversity issue. He played both sides of the fence; while he explained that there are bigger issues at hand than Will Smith not getting an Oscar nomination (because I truly believe Jada was mad that her HUSBAND wasn’t nominated, not that any person of color wasn’t nominated) he also explained why people of color are so outraged, which is that there needs to be more opportunity. This was valid and clear as day. But he should have stopped there.
Chris Rock lost me when the night continued to be all about the diversity issue. Ever heard the expression “less is more”? I think less definitely would have been more in this case. The bit where black actors were cast in white roles like Tracy Morgan in The Danish Girl just fell flat to me. I wanted to laugh, but I didn’t. I think the opening was strong enough to set the tone for the night, but we should have moved on from there.
What REALLY threw me off (and probably the lowest point of the night) was when Chris Rock brought Stacey Dash on stage as the “minority outreach director” for the Academy. I understand that shock value sells, but this was SO awkward. The audience, both in the theater and at home, did not know what to do! I also think that Stacey Dash is a disgrace and should not have been given the honor of ever touching an Oscar stage. And it just felt like it was all done in bad taste. One thing that stuck out to me is that Stacey Dash said “Happy Black History Month” even though she stated in an interview that she doesn’t believe there should be such a thing as Black History Month. So who was she making fun of? What was she trying to say? It just felt a little sarcastic and mean-spirited to me. Goodbye, Stacey Dash!
The rest of the show was a snooze fest until Lady Gaga’s epic performance of “Til it Happens to You.” I don’t know if Gaga is on a mission to make every last person in America cry this year, but it’s only March and so far she’s doing a great job. The performance had a powerful message about sexual assault, perfectly emphasized by dozens of assault victims joining in. I also thought it was pretty cool that Joe Biden introduced Gaga and urged us all to pledge to stand up against sexual assault. It was nice to see a man take this type of stand, especially in the midst of all the Kesha drama.
Kevin Hart’s diversity speech would have been cool, but it was overshadowed by all of Chris Rock’s diversity jokes so it just served as another “womp womp womp” moment.
Congratulations, Brie Larson! I’m not familiar with much of her work, but she went and hugged every single sexual assault victim from Gaga’s performance so she seems like a real gem. I like to see nice people win.
And lastly, LEO FINALLY GOT HIS OSCAR!!!!! Probably the most well-deserved, long-awaited win in a very long time. He deserved it for Titanic, he deserved it for What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, he deserved it for The Basketball Diaries and he deserved it for Wolf of Wall Street, so I’m happy he finally won.
Overall, the Academy Awards were ‘okay.’ I wasn’t too impressed, but I wasn’t majorly disappointed. I want James Corden to host next year!