The huge mistake at this year’s Oscars
THANK heavens for the fashion.
If not for J Lo in that stunning mirror-ball dress, Angela Bassett rocking a one-shoulder fuchsia gown and Constance Wu in dazzling yellow, there would be almost nothing worth watching at the Oscars any more.
As feared, the 2019 Academy Awards was a diabolic display of self-congratulatory tedium. Sadly, the fun police have sucked out what little entertainment was left in Hollywood's night of nights. Oh, how I long for the halcyon days of Jack Palance doing one-armed push ups and Roberto Benigni climbing over chairs.
What set this year's ceremony apart from the 90 shows that went before it is the fact that it was (apart from Olivia Coleman's garbled speech and Lady Gaga's duet with Bradley Cooper) almost entirely devoid of any real entertainment. And isn't that what these people are supposed to do - entertain us?
Once upon a time you could guarantee only the crème-de-la-crème of the A-list were at Hollywood's night of nights, but come 2019, the star power was lacklustre. Nowadays they seem to let anybody in.
Instead of the likes of Reese Witherspoon, Meryl Streep and Jack Nicholson on the red carpet we have B-grade actor Molly Simms and Disney Channel's Laura Marano strutting their stuff.
And in presenting, gone are the days when Billy Crystal got the party started with a hilarious musical number or Chris Rock poked fun at the gobsmacked glitterati.
Sadly, much like our very own Logies, hosting the Oscars has become the job that nobody in show business wants to do any more.
It's understandable, I guess. Awards hosting has become a thankless job in the age of social media where everyone is primed to look for controversy and outrage.
And while some foolishly believed that the upside of a hostless Oscars would be a show that didn't drag on til the wee hours, we mortals at home, paid a hefty price for the stars getting to their glamorous afterparties a little faster.
A host, whether good or bad, helps set the tone of a show and give it some cohesion. Without one it lacked focus and the all-important laughter.
As we all know, comedian Kevin Hart was pressured to step down from the hosting job because of homophobic gags he'd previously made. He was deemed an inappropriate choice in the post #metoo era of "tolerance and equality". Yet in a staggering display of hypocrisy, Trevor Noah - a comedian who very recently made a highly offensive joke about Aboriginal women - was a presenter.
Noah was one of the show's revolving door of people from "all walks of life" who were invited to fill the breach for Hart. A nice idea in theory. But when you have people like Keegan-Michael Key (a relatively unknown TV actor), Jose Andres (a chef), and Serena Williams (a star in sport but not the silver screen) hitting the Oscars stage you have to wonder who on earth was booking the talent.
Unfortunately, even those with the right cinematic credentials didn't hit the mark either.
Comics Amy Poehler, Tina Fey and Maya Rudolph were forgettably funny. Unlike when Poeher and Fey hosted the Golden Globes and famously made cracks about Bill Cosby being a date rapist and Leonardo DiCaprio being a womaniser, this year, they played it safe like everyone else.
Without a host to get the crowd in the mood, it fell to the aged remaining members of Queen aided by American Idol winner Adam Lambert to open the show. And while the Freddy Mercury biopic, Bohemian Rhapsody, was nominated for a slew of awards, rock music doesn't really feel like the right vibe for the Oscars. Frankly, I felt sorry for those poor stars dancing awkwardly in their seats while shoehorned into their couture ensembles.
"We Will Rock You," Lambert promised us in that opening number. But from the looks on the audience's faces, none of them quite believed that was what was going to happen.
And with good reason it turned out. Yawn.
Siobhan Duck is a journalist for the Herald Sun.