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Monday, March 5, 2018

The "Inclusion Rider" Oscars

I enjoyed last night's 90th Annual Academy Awards, and I give Jimmy Kimmel - in his second consecutive year as host - a grade of A. He's such a likable guy with a quirky sense of humor, and I think he is a good fit for the Oscars. As for his opening monologue, his most interesting joke was about character actor Carmine Caridi, who was the first Academy member to be expelled (film producer Harvey Weinstein became the second in October 2017): "In 2004 he was kicked out for sharing screeners. Carmine Caridi got the same punishment as Harvey Weinstein for giving his neighbor a copy of Seabiscuit on VHS." I thought it was funny. As for Mr. Caridi, he appeared in The Godfather Part II and Part III and played Cloris Leachman's boss on her sitcom, Phyllis.

Now let's move on to the best and the worst of the evening:

Best Comedy Bit: Kimmel's prize pack of a jet ski and a trip to the Lake Havasu Days Inn in Arizona, which Phantom Thread’s Oscar-winning costume designer, Mark Bridges, won by giving the shortest speech of the night.

The "Game for Anything" Presenter: Dame Helen Mirren, who ended up on a jet ski by evening's end.

Best Celebration of the Past: I liked seeing the clips of the Oscar-winning performances from the last 90 years.

Most Unexpected Dedication: Sam Rockwell, who deservedly won Best Supporting Actor for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, dedicated his award to his "old buddy", the Oscar-winning actor Philip Seymour Hoffman, who died in 2014 (I thought he said "Phil Hartman" at first).

Best Comedy Bit Runner-Up: The Get Out guy, who would scream at anyone whose speech went on too long (but he never did).

Best Dressed Guy: I liked Armie Hammer's Giorgio Armani red velvet suit.

Hollywood Royalty: It was wonderful to see 93-year-old Eva Marie Saint (who won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar in 1954 for On the Waterfront) and 86-year-old Rita Moreno (who won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar in 1961 for West Side Story). Moreno also receives my Best Dressed Gal Award for wearing the same dress that she wore to the 1962 Oscars.

Hollywood Newbies: I had no idea who presenters Ansel Elgort and Eiza González were (Wikipedia has now informed me that they were both in 2017's Baby Driver).

Too Boring to Be Seen: Although I agree with Kimmel about the Scientific and Technical Awards being too boring to be included in the telecast, I disagree about the Governors Awards, which were held in November 2017 and gave actor Donald Sutherland a deserving Honorary Award for his contributions to cinema (the Oscars used to present these awards during the telecast).

Best Original Songs: None of them wowed me like "The Way We Were" or "Last Dance" (yes, I love the music of the 1970s).

Most Unexpected Oscar Winner: Former basketball player Kobe Bryant, whose Dear Basketball won Best Animated Short Film.

Best Speech Runner-Up: Allison Janney, who won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for I, Tonya, and gave a nice shout-out to actress Joanne Woodward (she studied with Paul Newman at Ohio's Kenyon College, and he and Woodward encouraged her to continue acting).

Next Year's Hosts: Presenters Tiffany Haddish and Maya Rudolph made me laugh.

Well-Deserved Standing Ovations: Both James Ivory and Jordan Peele made history in their wins for Best Adapted Screenplay (Call Me by Your Name) and Best Original Screenplay (Get Out), respectively. At age 89, Ivory became the oldest person to ever win an Oscar, while Peele became the first black screenwriter to win in that category.

Dog Humor: Kimmel amusingly poked fun at Barbra Streisand's cloned dogs, Yentl and Lentil (their real names are Miss Violet and Miss Scarlett).

The Susan Lucci Award (in honor of her 19 nominations to receive a Daytime Emmy): It only took Roger A. Deakins 14 nominations to finally receive an Oscar for Best Cinematography for Blade Runner 2049 (he was previously nominated for such films as The Shawshank Redemption and Fargo).

The Always Controversial In Memoriam Segment: As usual, some folks are furious that their favorite star was left out - and Oscar winner Dorothy Malone should definitely have been included in my opinion. However, only 45 people out of a list of 800 were able to be featured in this year's annual tribute. So do we really want an hour-long segment in order to include everyone? Or should we just not feature a tribute so that no one gets excluded and upset (before 1994 there was no annual tribute)? Maybe the tribute should be limited to only Oscar nominees and winners - or perhaps they should just run a crawler at the bottom of the screen during the entire telecast with everyone's names. Just some ideas.

Best Barbarella Joke: Presenter Jane Fonda compared the sets for the Oscars to her infamous 1968 film - "They’re just like the Orgasmatron in Barbarella".

Biggest Mystery: Why was presenter Jodie Foster on crutches? She joked that Meryl Streep I, Tonya’d her, but she actually injured herself while skiing. And she and Jennifer Lawrence (who worked together on Foster's 2011 film, The Beaver) presented the Best Actress Oscar instead of Casey Affleck (last year's Best Actor winner) because he reportedly decided not to attend due to his sexual harassment allegations.

Best Speech: The fabulous Frances McDormand, who won her second Oscar for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, and who urged all of the female nominees to stand up in order to remind everyone that they had stories to tell and projects to be funded. And what did she mean by mentioning the words "inclusion rider"? Apparently it's a stipulation that A-list actors can ask (or demand) to have inserted into their contracts, which would require a certain level of diversity among a film's cast and crew.

Best Post-Oscar Reunion: A guy was arrested for stealing Frances McDormand's Oscar at the Governors Ball, but her representative Simon Halls (aka Matt Bomer’s husband) later reported that "Fran and Oscar are happily reunited and are enjoying an In-N-Out burger together."

Best Return: Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway, who once again presented the Best Picture Oscar - and this year (thankfully) everything went smoothly.

The Oscars Love Mexico: Considering how our current President feels about Mexico, it seems only fitting that a Mexican, Guillermo del Toro, won two Oscars for Best Picture and Best Director for his film, The Shape of Water.

And that, folks, is my review (click here for a complete list of the winners). I didn't do well with my predictions - correctly selecting only 9 out of the 24 categories. However, I did much better with my predictions (7 out of 9) in this year's Razzie Awards, which were announced on March 3. Below are the "lucky" Razzie winners:

Worst Picture: The Emoji Movie
Worst Actor: Tom Cruise in The Mummy
Worst Actress: Tyler Perry in Boo 2! A Madea Halloween
Worst Supporting Actor: Mel Gibson in Daddy's Home 2
Worst Supporting Actress: Kim Basinger in Fifty Shades Darker
Worst Director: Tony Leondis for The Emoji Movie
Worst Screen Combo: Any two obnoxious emojis in The Emoji Movie
Worst Screenplay: The Emoji Movie
Worst Prequel, Remake, Rip-Off or Sequel: Fifty Shades Darker
The Razzie Nominee So Rotten You Loved It: Baywatch
Barry L. Bumstead Award: CHiPs
Razzie Redeemer Award: "A Safe Hollywood-Haven where talent is protected, nourished and allowed to flourish with proper compensation."

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