Did you hear that? The giant sigh of relief that America let out as soon as the credits started to roll on the 83rd Academy Awards? The entire Oscars telecast played out like an episode of Saturday Night Live, from the sketch leading into the strange “Hi Mom, Hi Grandma” format of the opening monologue to Anne Hathaway singing and hosting Florence Welch of Florence + the Machine (as she did on SNL back in November) to the closing moment when the “cast” of winners came out on stage as Staten Island’s PS22 Chorus sang “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.”
The kids at PS22 are adorable, but even their enthusiasm couldn’t save what was – by all accounts – the worst Oscar telecast of all time. Twitter was overwhelmed with jokes about James Franco looking as if he’d gotten high before the show. Anne Hathaway’s chipper “I’m just happy to be here” attitude was charming at first, but viewers grew steadily weary of her attempts to compensate for Franco’s apathy. Ironically, his hipstery disposition may have been the only proof we were watching the “young and hip” Oscars, though oddly, in hindsight, it seems 94-year-old Kirk Douglas was the hippest dude on stage tonight.
The “highlights” of this show filled with lowlights (Gwyneth Paltrow singing country with her eyes closed using Barbra’s white mic???) were as follows:
CATE BLANCHETT’S DRESS – I loved it, truly. I plan to make a similar dress for myself using a lavender doily and my 5-year-old daughter’s pop beads.
CELINE DION’S AMERICAN CANCER SOCIETY COMMERCIAL, FOLLOWED BY CELINE DION SINGING TO PHOTOS OF DEAD PEOPLE.
THE COMMERCIAL FOR MODERN FAMILY – crammed more excitement into 30 seconds than the entire 3 hour show.
BARACK OBAMA AND KEVIN SPACEY – talking about their favorite song from a movie. Aside from Morgan Freeman, was President Obama the only black man who got any face time tonight? Thankfully Kevin Spacey wasn’t the only lesbian to get a shout-out.
BILLY CRYSTAL – appearing out of nowhere, seemingly to take over for the drowning young hosts, and then leaving after sharing a strange Bob Hope anecdote. (My pal, Daily Show producer Rory Albanese, nailed that moment in a tweet: “The hosts made me miss Billy Crystal, Crystal made me wish for Bob Hope and Hope actually made me laugh and he’s dead.”)
AND THE ONLY LOL-INDUCING MOMENT OF THE WHOLE SHEBANG, LUKE MATHENY AND HIS GORGEOUS JEWFRO – “I shoulda got a haircut.” No, boo, we love you just the way you are. You made America’s night!
The PS22 Chorus just sang admirably during the live opening of Jimmy Kimmel Live!, and though these kids are great, I think they’re more fun to watch on YouTube. Not because they don’t perform well live, but because there’s something special about seeing them in rehearsal mode on their home turf, where the power of arts education to move young people is really evident. It feels like peeking in on a kid in front of their mirror belting into a hairbrush. Here they are, singing Katy Perry’s “Firework” during a press conference for the Oscars.
You can follow the PS22 Chorus on their blog.