It was a very good year for women, for fish and for non-pros next door in a multiplex theater. Not such a good year for high-speed water conveyances, set design and big-box shop shipping containers. Here are some of the high/medium/low moments of Oscars90.
“Congratulations, I’m very happy for Guillermo [del Toro]. You made a beautiful movie. And thanks to Guillermo, we will always remember this year as the year men screwed up so badly, women started dating fish.”
JET SKI: THE BEST LEAST-EFFECT RUNNING GAG IN OSCAR HISTORY
Kimmel’s offer to award a Jet Ski — shown off by spokesmodel Helen Mirren — to the shortest acceptance-speech giver was mostly ignored by those who decided it wasn’t worth the pain they would suffer if they neglected to give a shout-out to spouses, kids, agents, managers and publicists. Cinematography winner Roger A. Deakins said it best, telling viewers, “I’d better say something, or else they’ll give me a Jet Ski,” while Gary Oldman deadpanned, “Obviously I’m not going to win the ski.” So ineffective was Kimmel’s scheme to shorten the show it ran about 15 minutes long.
FRANCES McDORMAND WANTS ALL HOLLYWOOD TO REWRITE ITS CONTRACTS
Accepting for Best Actress, McDormand said she had “two words to leave you with tonight: inclusion rider.” Backstage she explained, “You can ask for, or demand, at least 50% diversity in not only the casting but the crew.”
WHO BEST DESCRIBED OSCARS’ ORGY-OF-EXCESS SET?
“Are these sets great?! They’re like the Orgasmatron in Barbarella,” snarked presenter Jane Fonda. Kimmel also was among those who weighed in: “For all those who say we’re all a bunch of out-of-touch Hollywood elites, I’ll have you know, each of the 45 million Swarovski crystals on stage tonight represents humility.”
GAL GADOT’S REAL-TIME SCATHING REVIEW OF THIS YEAR’S OSCARS
Wonder Woman star Gal Gadot, part of Kimmel’s celebrity expedition from the Dolby in search of real people at a nearby multiplex, gushed, “This is so much better than the Oscars!” as she flung candy at theater-goers who were trying to watch a sneak peek of A Wrinkle in Time.
WEIRDEST FETISHIZATION OF PACKAGING
Those 60-second Walmart “movies” about their boxes. Not what’s in them.
BEST ENTRANCE BY A PRESENTER
Lights come up, Rita Moreno appears, arms raised, nominations card shoved in bodice of her gown — same one the 86-year-old spitfire wore to the Oscars in 1962 when she picked up the statuette for Best Supporting Actress, for her role as Anita in West Side Story.
MOST UNINTENTIONALLY CREEPY AD
Doctor gives his son instructions on going to his prom and treating his date with respect — remotely, via his Nest door camera.
BEST ACCEPTANCE SPEECH EVER, NEARLY
“I did it all by myself,” Allison Janney boasted in accepting the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress. If she’d left it at that, she’d have won the Jet Ski hands down, and made Oscar acceptance-speech history, though it might have cost her a connection or two in the industry.
BEST REFERENCE TO LAST YEAR’S BEST PICTURE SNAFU
In nods to last year’s Envelope-gate, Kimmel promised there would be no repeat of 2017’s Best Picture snafu but advised nonetheless,”This year, when you hear your name called, don’t get up right away.” And the Academy tried to create a “moment” by giving last year’s bungling Best Picture presenters Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway a do-over. But presenter Mark Hamill stole this show when, opening the envelope for best animated short, he muttered to himself, “Don’t say La La Land! Don’t say La La Land!”
MOST OBVIOUS, YET SUCCESSFUL, “MOMENT” CREATION BY OSCAR PRODUCERS
Kumail Nanjiani and Lupita Nyong’o, presenting for Best Production Design, delivered what Oscar producers clearly had scheduled as a planned “moment” for two immigrant nominees. She’s from Kenya and he’s “from Pakistan and Iowa — two places that nobody in Hollywood can find on a map.” They then dropped the code word “dreamers”: “Dreams are the foundation of Hollywood,” Nyong’o said. “And dreams are the foundation of America.” Said Kumail, “To all the dreamers out there, we stand with you.”