Sunday was Hollywood’s biggest night! No host? No problem! Never have a host again. Olivia Colman? She did that! Gaga and Bradley? Folks, find us off the deep for this ‘ship!!!
Here are all the moments we hated most. :)
Oscar As Brand Activation
The problems with the film Green Book, the people involved in making Green Book, the campaign surrounding Green Book, and awards won by Green Book are too numerous to mention, but director Peter Farrelly really put a cherry on top of that shit pile on Sunday night while receiving the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay.
At the tail end of his list of thank yous, Farrelly pointed to his watch and said, “Shinola watches! Unbelievable! They’re saving Detroit!”
Here’s where I must admit that I haven’t actually seen Green Book, BUT I’ve been told by my colleagues that Shinola plays no role in the movie, which means the shout out was just...an ad? (In a statement to the Detroit Free Press, Shinola said Farrelly has been “a friend of the brand for years.” Aw!!!!!)
Beyond that, it’s a gross mischaracterization of a company that has used Detroit as a marketing tool in its faux “Made in America” claim, and invented a whole new way to exploit the city all while soothing gentrifiers and perpetuating a (white) savior narrative. Hmmm. On second thought, maybe this connection makes perfect sense. —Caitlin Schneider
Rami Malek “Forgets” Freddie Mercury’s Name
When Rami Malek went up on stage at the Dolby Theatre to accept the Oscar for Best Actor for playing Queen singer Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody, he personally thanked the following people: His mother, who was not seated with him near the front of the theater, and whose whereabouts he did not actually know (she was in the rafters); his family; his late father; “all of you”; “everyone who has had a hand in getting me here”; The Academy; “people who took a chance on me every step of the way”; Bohemian Rhapsody producers Graham King and Denis O’Sullivan; “everyone at Fox”; production company New Regency; Queen (the band); the crew and cast of Bohemian Rhapsody; “each and every one of you”; “everyone who believed in me”; his co-star turned girlfriend Lucy Boynton.
Notice anyone missing from that long list of thank yous? Malek referenced Mercury during his acceptance speech—as a gay man and immigrant who “lived his life just unapologetically himself,” a useful euphemism for a movie that views even the subtext of homosexuality as lurid—but never actually said his name.
It’s a fitting end to what has been an excruciatingly tortured Oscar campaign for the film, like the result of a blood oath with a demon: In exchange for Rami Malek winning his Oscar, it would be for a performance perhaps most charitably compared to sketch comedy (so, 80 percent costuming—and in this case, 99 percent teeth), and in a movie that is essentially an authorized biography of the band (so, sanitized and not how it happened), and whose director (Bryan Singer) was fired before its completion.
At the very least, I suppose, Malek’s speech and reticence to speak about Mercury more directly was perfectly symmetrical to the movie’s own squeamishness toward the late singer. —Aleksander Chan
WTF Was With Those Ads??
If you watched the Oscars, you now have a passing awareness of a new television program called Whiskey Cavalier—which I can only assume some kind of crime noir about a bad boy protagonist with a past—because it was advertised nearly every commercial break. But the creators of this program took it still a step further, with annoying native-feeling advertising invading the broadcast as well.
But this program I will never watch wasn’t alone. Upon returning from multiple commercial breaks, we were greeted by something called “Marriott Bonvoy” displayed on the on-stage screens. Again, I will not learn what this is because I so resented the intrusion. Bonvoy? Not like BON-CLOYING!!!
As I venture down this road, I’m reminded of so many other awful ads, such as Google co-opting classic movies to sell us in-home surveillance, and Charlize Theron pretending to drink a Budweiser. The Super Bowl for ads, this was not.
We’re at nearly historic low viewership for the Oscars, and yet advertisers made it even more miserable for those of us that soldier through. Thank god that’s over with (until next year). —Katherine Krueger
The CIA’s Tweets About Black Panther
Joining everyone else on your timeline for the fun was none other than the Central Intelligence Agency, which for some unknown reason took a break from plotting coups or whatever other evil shit it does to tweet a bunch about the fictional technology in Black Panther.
If Wakanda was an actual place, the CIA would have helped install an American-friendly dictator there by the Nixon administration at the latest. There’s a reason Michael B. Jordan’s Erik Killmonger was the actual hero of this movie. —Paul Blest
Everything About Green Book Winning, But Especially the John Lewis Part
The indignity of the multiple Oscars (including Best Picture) won by Green Book—a movie as mediocre in its execution as it is pernicious in its peddling of trite racial fantasies—will linger for some time to come. Each successive win felt like a slap in the face. The Best Picture acceptance speech, which only emphasized just how thoroughly this movie foregrounds white people, was nauseating.
Perhaps no part of the victory lap, though, was as awful as seeing civil rights icon John Lewis brought out to attest to the movie’s feel-good bona fides.
Now look: far be it from me to attack John Lewis for thinking Green Book was something that I deeply did not think it was. He’s John Lewis and I am, uh, not. The real offense lies with the people who asked him to lend his moral authority to a movie that is so unworthy of it. Green Book has no real interest in its black characters, the civil rights movement, or even the seminal guide for black travelers that it takes its title from. It is, in short, an offensive fraud of a movie, and the Oscars should be ashamed for using Lewis to try and distract from that. —Jack Mirkinson
A profligate and indulgent spectacle of excess, draped in countless layers of undeserved self-congratulation, marinated in class war, seasoned with the plausible deniability of the wealthy ruling elite who wield fame as a tranquilizer gun to quiet a disturbed nation’s sense of upheaval, this annual event would be struck by a providential asteroid were there a just god anywhere in our cold, uncaring universe. —America (Hamilton Nolan)