Slate Critics Debate the Merits of This Year’s Oscar Ceremony

All about the Academy Awards.
Feb. 27 2012 5:44 PM

Crystal Comedic Anemia

Slate critics debate the merits of this year’s Oscar ceremony.

(Continued from Page 2)

Dana Stevens: Cirque de Soleil performance seemed like another demonstration of my theory that at some point a bunch of guys met in a room with a whiteboard & said, "How can we stage a really out-of-touch ceremony this year? Something that'll have people scratching their heads in puzzlement?"

Troy Patterson: Chuck: Cirque may have nothing do with movies—give or take the Vegas scene in Knocked Up—but it has everything to do with pseudo-events. First the Super Bowl, now the Oscars. I complete expect to see them at the GOP Convention in Tampa.

Chuck Kallenbach: Not Angelina's leg, but the winner who parodied her silly stance, THAT was the best moment of the night.

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Dan Kois: Chuck, that was, as June points out, Jim Rash, an LA improviser/comedian who also stars on Community. Between that and the Bridesmaids—and the Christopher Guest & Co. bit—it's a good reminder that getting sharp improvisers who can think on their feet often makes for good TV.

Chuck Kallenbach: I don't watch Community, but all my friends do. Agreed that the TV folks knocked it out of the park, and I loved the Guest Oz thing.

Max Rohleder: Instead of all their little gags and nonsense presentations, they could have actually shown us the shorts. It would have been nice to see one of these ostensibly great pieces for once.

Troy Patterson: Max: HBO is airing Saving Face in early March.

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Dan Kois: Thanks everyone—I have to head out to a meeting. Dana and Troy have a few more questions in them, so fire away!

Alysia Abbott: I could have done with fewer, "Why we love the movies!" PSA-type productions. Was this included because of falling ticket sales? A fear that everyone is flocking to CABLE TV for the artful experience movies once delivered? As for the sweep of the night, I liked The Artist but couldn't enjoy their win because it felt like the predictable end-result of a moneyed thug insider (Harvey Weinstein) campaign. The sweetness of the experience of The Artist is drowned out by engine fuel of the Miramax machine.

Dana Stevens: Hey Alysia! Nice to see you on here. I'm finishing up my post to our Oscar chat right now & this is one of my main points. We get what movies are, and we like them already—that's why we're watching the damn Oscars! Agree also that The Artist is a sweet trifle of a film that feels a bit tainted by Weinstein's hype.

Dana Stevens: OK, y'all, I have to go blather in a different format now. Look for my final post to the Oscar dialogue in the next hour or so. Thanks to you all, and to God, Oprah and the academy.

Troy Patterson: OK, so: Who do we like for best actor next year: DiCaprio as Gatsby or Daniel Day-Lewis as Lincoln?

Isis Leininger: Larry King said it on the radio today: Did you laugh? Yes? So, there we go. Everyone just over criticizes it and forget to enjoy it. It was just the Oscars, people, enjoy it for what it is. Go criticize and worry about something else that actually matters.

Troy Patterson: OK, well, I do not see how to improve on the lovely notes that Dana and Isis leave us with, so I'll bet one Lincoln that DiCaprio gets an Oscar for playing James Gatz. Check back here next year to see if I owe you $5!

Dan Kois is Slate's culture editor and a contributing writer to the New York Times Magazine.

Troy Patterson is Slate's writer at large and writes the Gentleman Scholar column.

Dana Stevens is Slate's movie critic.

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