Nikki Finke: Live-Snarking The Oscars – Welcome To Harveywood!

Oscar Winners List 2012
Backstage At The Academy Awards
OSCARS: Who Wore What On The Red Carpet
OSCARS: Wins By Studio
OSCARS: Wins By Film
Sacha Baron Cohen Punks Ryan Seacrest: ‘The Dictator’ Spills “Kim Jong Il’s Ashes” All Over Red Carpet Host! (Ryan Unamused)

I’m live-snarking the 84th Annual Academy Awards for the outstanding film achievements of 2011 starting at 5:30 PM PT tonight. Comments will open when the show starts inside the Kodak Theatre. Come for the cynicism. Stay for the subversion. Add your comment. WARNING: Not for the easily offended or ridiculously naive.

This 84th Academy Awards show is supposed to be televised to more than 225 countries worldwide. So I’m tipping all you foreigners to something that Americans already know: The Oscars suck every year! And this year the Oscars are gonna suck worse than ever! Because we all know who’s going to win the marquee categories without a single envelope being ripped open.


No one in Hollywood wanted to attend the Oscars this year. For the first time ever, instead of execs fighting for tickets, studio heads had to beg their spouses to accompany them. Why? Because the moguls and their lackeys couldn’t tolerate the prospect at sitting through the interminable telecast only to watch Harvey Weinstein gloat because he’ll win Best Picture et al for the second straight year. Everybody agrees that The Artist is a fun pic but hardly Best Picture Oscar worthy. And yet almost everybody voted for it anyway. I can’t even blame Harvey’s usual Oscar tactics (paying Academy members to fill out their ballots, redoing voters’ kitchens and bathrooms…). Hollywood only has itself to blame for Harveywood and bringing Harv back from the brink of extinction. So when he turns into a monster again, just remember that I said, “TOLDJA!”

The anti-Artist protest began as early as the Red Carpet tonight. It was summed up by Kaui Hart Hemmings, author of the book The Decendants on which the pic of the same name is based. She tweeted: The Artist people were in line in front of me, and now I smell like cigarettes and entitlement.” Bitter much?

Morgan Freeman welcomes everyone to the 84th Academy Awards.

Billy Crystal stars in a silent black and white movie. Like DUH!

Billy Crystal as Coma Woman! Full-on kiss with George Clooney. ABC just lost every Red State viewer and probably won the GOP presidential race for Rick Santorum. Seriously, Academy, you clearly don’t want families to watch, do you?

Nice touch that shtick with Billy Crystal as Sammy Davis Jr. (I forgot he did that impression.) But Crystal’s plastic surgery is so off-putting. His face looks like it was ironed — and I swear I can still see the scorch smarks.

Since only 3 people saw most of the Best Picture Oscar contenders, of course Crystal’s movie reel had to include one popular pic — Mission: Impossible 4. My guess is Tom Cruise paid for the product placement of himself. (Not even M:I4‘s ads showed the actor!)

It’s Billy’s 9th time hosting the Oscars, and he’s already bombing with his jokes. “We’re here at the beautiful Chapter 11 theatre” — reference to the fact that the Kodak Theatre is bankrupt. Two home viewers got that.

Best line: “Enjoy yourselves. Because nothing can take the sting out the world’s problems than watching millionaires present each other with golden statues.” You won’t hear a truer statement all night.

Oh god, Billy’s mincing (i.e. singing and dancing) onstage. Make it stop! He’s 63 (some say he’s really 65) and could break a hip.

Did you notice why you can’t understand the lyrics to the songs he’s singing? Because of all the Botox, he can’t move his mouth.

Billy Crystal tweeted before the show, “Opening number changed. War Horse broke his leg, had to put him down.” Funnier line than anything onstage now.

Presenter Tom Hanks loves to pretend he’s The Mayor Of Hollywood. Onstage with that beard, he looks like the boat captain on a box of frozen fishsticks. (Isn’t he in a movie about a skipper vs the Somali pirates?)

“Hugo” (Paramount) – Robert Richardson

Art Direction
“Hugo” (Paramount) – Production Design: Dante Ferretti, Set Decoration: Francesca Lo Schiavo

So about an hour before the Oscars began, show producer Brian Grazer phoned me. I think he was worried what I would say about him during my live-snarking. I assured him that I wouldn’t make him the scapegoat for the inevitably bad show. Instead, I told him that I’ll keep reminding you readers that it would have been far worse under Brett Ratner!

Grazer told me that the show’s theme tonight is to celebrate watching movies in theaters “as we rapidly ascend into VOD”. (That’s video-on-demand for civilians.) “Too many people are seeing movies alone or at home with 2-3 people. We want to celebrate the collective community experience which is my indelible memory of movies, magnified by seeing it with hundreds of people. Otherwise, it doesn’t have the same emotional impact,” Grazer told me. Exactly what about this show illusrates that?

Who wants to be in the middle of a J-Lo-Cameron Diaz sandwich? Too bad it’s wasted on the zillion men watching the Oscars. All gay, they’d rather fix both actresses’ awful hair.

Costume Design
“The Artist” (The Weinstein Company) – Mark Bridges

First mention of Harvey Weinstein so far — many more to follow. Ad nauseum.

“The Iron Lady” (The Weinstein Company) – Mark Coulier and J. Roy Helland

Uh-oh, the men didn’t mention Harvey. They’ll never work again for The Weinstein Co. But no worries: everyone else in Hollywood will reward them!

These filmed vignettes were directed by Moneyball‘s Bennett Miller.

With all her money, Barbra Streisand couldn’t afford shampoo?

Hey, Adam Sandler won the most Razzies today for the worst movies of 2011 with 11 nominations for that abomination Jack & Kill. I mean, Jack & Jill.

Just remember, I’m not nasty. My fingers which do the typing are the meanies. Blame them, not me.

Sandra Bullock is great no matter what lame material she’s given. (From my peanut gallery: “Did Sandy Bullock get that outfit from the old Star Trek wardrobe? She looks like an alien ambassador.”)

Foreign Language Film
“A Separation” (Sony Pictures Classics) A Dreamlab Films Production, Iran

First movie from Iran to win the Foreign Language Oscar. This guy went through hell and back. A shoo-in because of that. Reminds us that good movies can have great cultural impact. As long as Hollywood isn’t making them.

Christian Bale is even hunkier as he ages. Go ahead and make my day and scream at me, Christian. Let me be your whipping gal.

Actress in a Supporting Role
Octavia Spencer in “The Help” (Touchstone)

Foregone conclusion and well-deserved. Spencer reveals genuine emotion which is rare for this show. “Thank you, Academy, for putting me with the hottest guy in the room… Thank you Steven Spielberg for changing my life. Thank you Stacey Snider for changing my life,” she says as tears stream down her face.

She also thanked The Help‘s writer/director Tate Taylor who changed agencies last week (from WME to CAA). I heard from a good source that he told CAA he doesn’t care what he does next “as long as it’s not a movie about pussies in pain…”

Focus group on The Wizard Of Oz? Genius concept, poor writing. But I Love the Second City/SCTV reunion. Of course, no one under the age of 55 has even heard of it… Way not to attract a younger audience, Acad.

Justin Bieber was in the opening film? I missed him. I must have thought he was one of the Disney dwarves…

Film Editing
“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” (Sony Pictures Releasing) Kirk Baxter and Angus Wall

This pair won last year for The Social Network. Obviously, the Academy gives Oscars to people who survive working with that pain-in-the-ass David Fincher.

Sound Editing
“Hugo” (Paramount) – Philip Stockton and Eugene Gearty

Sound Mixing
“Hugo” (Paramount) – Tom Fleischman and John Midgley

Surprising that Hugo is winning so many technical awards. On the other hand, with a cost of $200+M, it probably employed every member of every craft guild in Hollywood and beyond, and they all voted for it. The Graham King Films/Paramount 3D pic has only made domestic $69.3M and foreign $46.4M for a worldwide total box office of $115.8M. In other words, it’ll never earn out.

Was that Miss Piggy or Penelope Ann Miller? They both looked like pork sausage stuffed into their dresses. And Kermit looked as green as every movie executive during the last half of 2011 when the box office was slumping badly and their bonuses were vanishing.

Why the Cirque Du Soleil segment? Was this some sweetheart deal between the Academy and the Kodak Theatre which houses the Cirque show the rest of the year? What a stretch to make this have anything to do with the movie biz. It would have been more entertaining to watch the writer’s room. (more…)

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