...About Nothing. That pretty much defines the Oscar telecast last night. The stars looked lovely, but, in the end, the real "Stars" of Oscar night are appropriately the movies being celebrated. And hence the problem last night. Everybody all dressed up with nothing to celebrate.
The stars of the various nominated projects all made valiant efforts to gush about how honored they were to be part of such "important" movies, but most of them were long-ago bored with feigning awe at the brilliance, daring and genius of the gloomy and mediocre films that got them all on the red carpet this year. Laura Linney looked positively comatose as she answered for the 87 gazillionth time, how pleased she was to be part of a portrait of such "an original man" as the (perverted) sex researcher Kinsey. Cate Blanchett's eyes also crossed as she rehearsed once again what a challenge it was to recreate the (acerbic, sharp-edged) Kate Hepburn. Mike Leigh yawned out the obvious truth that his movie, Vera Drake was intended to be a warning that if we make abortion illegal, people like his character would be doing abortions again in back alleys. (What the hell is a back alley, anyway? Why is that worse than the Planned Parenthood facility sitting prominently on Vermont? I want to know...)
Chris Rock's jokes were so lame, it was quite clear that without the F-word, this comic doesn't have much else. He wasn't funny, and it wasn't clear that he had even seen any of the nominated films. And did he mean to subvert the whole evening by showing the interviews with all the black movie-goers who hadn't seen any of the nominated films? It was my favorite part of the evening.