The Alternative Oscars

2012-02-28 07:11
Shaheema Barodien
Most Recycled Oscar intro
Let's just get this out of the way now: Last night's rather shambolic Oscar ceremony is all the fault of Brett Ratner's homophobic little tongue. The would-be Oscar producer's gay slur may haunt the Academy a while longer as his dismissal resulted in first choice host Eddie Murphy dropping out in a show of solidarity with his friend.

Audiences may have spent the whole night wishing they were in an alternate universe where Eddie was the host, which would have saved us all the agony of yet another "It's a wonderful night for Oscar, Oscar, Oscar!" song and dance medley from nine-time host Billy Crystal.

It was corny 14 years ago (and each time he's performed the tune since) and was an awkward start to the ceremony as the A-list audience half-tittered throughout. A rapid-fire, tension-filled Eddie Murphy stand-up routine would've brought the house down. Crystal was content to just amuse.

The traditional opening montage (is George Clooney contractually obligated to appear in these things?) in which Crystal was super-imposed into scenes from Moneyball, The Help and, more alarmingly, donned a ginger wig to play Tintin, was thankfully brief.

Best Onstage Cameo (Canine edition)
Uggie! Uggie! Uggie! The scene-stealing Jack Russell got his own seat at the theatre, as he celebrated six Oscar wins with his The Artist castmates. Wearing a bowtie, doggie bone collar and £120 000 in diamonds, the 10-year-old canine star grabbed the limelight from stars like Brad Pitt and George Clooney who left empty-handed on the night. Pity that "Consider Uggie" Oscar campaign didn't pan out.

Best Onstage Cameo (Vogue edition)
Angelina Jolie's right leg - so famous now it has its own Twitter account (25 500 followers and counting). Walking onstage to present the Screenplay awards, Angie extended a bony hip to strike a pose - straight out of the Tyra Banks School of Modelling - and make the most of the pelvis-length slit in her designer gown. Whatever she said after that moment went largely unheard...

Most Epic Eyeroll Award
This award belongs to Meryl Streep this and every other year. When her name was read, the shock was followed by a HUGE eyeroll! Accepting her third Oscar for Best Actress, the screen legend played down her popularity with a casual "whatever". Only The Streep could really get away with such flippancy, even as the much-favoured Viola Davis was denied her first Oscar.

Best Guess at the Evening's Location
"We're here at the beautiful Chapter 11 Theatre," quipped Crystal in his intro at the formerly named Kodak Theatre. The iconic film company filed for bankruptcy earlier this year, though the famous Hollywood venue still bears the name of the company.

Worst Opening Joke
"That was extremely loud and incredibly close," said Crystal, referring to the little-seen and poorly received Best Picture nominee. No-one reacted at first so Crystal re-used the joke a second later. Crickets. Yikes. Maybe the audio of the audience was just turned down very low?

Well Played Award
Accepting his Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar from Angelina Jolie, Jim Rash (best known as the cross-dressing Dean Pelton on comedy series Community) wasted no time in assuming the Angie right leg pose onstage. That was some quick thinking!

Best Future Oscar Host Award (Anne Hathaway edition)
Emma Stone and Ben Stiller proved the most entertaining presenting duo, playing on all those been-there-done-that presenter tricks and witticisms, and were delightful all the way through. Emma was truly ecstatic presenting her first award like a beauty queen on Ritalin. Bubbly and charming she and Ben were an instant hit. By comparison, the too serious and self-aware Gwyneth Paltrow and Robert Downey Jr routine was a downer.

Best Future Oscar Host Award (wacky comedian edition)
Will Ferrell and Zach Galifiklilkgjfg [as he referred to himself] came onstage to present Best Original Song like a couple of bumbling fools, each playing a pair of giant cymbals which kept crashing to the floor at the most inappropriate moments.

Best Exit Strategy
Accepting the Oscar for Best Film Editing for The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo Angus Wall and Kirk Baxter ran out of people to thank and promptly turned on their heels, with the one winner telling the other, "Let's get out of here".

The Tell It Like it is Award
Chris Rock - a seasoned voice actor in animated movies - didn't mince his words about how easy the job is, earning $1 million just for being wacky while being fed lines from behind a mic. Though his joke that black actors are only asked to voice donkeys and zebras gave his presenting stint some bite.

Most Duh Shucks Oscar Theme
The Academy spent the entire evening working vainly to justify their existence and the extravagance of their annual back-slapping ceremony. The awards was all about, erm, the movies and why we love them so. Movie stars like Tom Cruise, Edward Norton, Reese Witherspoon, Seth Rogen and *ahem* Razzie record holder Adam Sandler were included in a strange Public Service Announcement about their favourite movie moments. Some sentiments were sweet and heartfelt, others like Sacha Baron Cohen's, were a riot. "I always wanted to make the type of movies I'd like to watch myself. I just happen to like watching really sick stuff".

Best Comeback
"Thank you for whipping the audience into a frenzy". Billy Crystal has to rescue the sanctioned speech from dry and listless Academy president Tom Sherak.

Best Oscar reunion - Part 1
Natalie Portman paying tribute to the Best Actor nominees took a touching turn when she arrived at Gary Oldman, the same man who was out for her blood when she was just 12 years old in her movie debut The Professional. A pity that no mention was made of their decades-old connection in her rather generic tributes.

Best Oscar reunion - Part 2
Colin Firth made his tribute to Meryl Streep a fittingly personal one, recalling their time working together on Mamma Mia! where they sang and danced, he was gay and probably fathered her only daughter.

Best Acceptance Speech
Meryl Streep was so convinced she will never have the opportunity to appear on the Oscar stage again, she took the time to thank all the friends and colleagues she's worked with over her long and "inexplicable" career.

Rudest Speech That Was Intended to be Sweet
The Descendants director Alexander Payne ordered the audience to "hold the applause" while he took the time to thank his mother, who was in the theatre, while completely ignoring his fellow scriptwriting partners onstage with him, Jim Rash and Nat Faxon.

The (Nearly) Spot-on Prediction Award
Yeah, I'm going to give this to myself. I correctly called 11 out of the 12 categories I predicted - though I was very happy to get the Best Actress call wrong. Meryl Streep for Prime Minister! Though this was one of the easiest years to predict. The Oscars set out to make this year's awards a comfortable and familiar experience, setting up the eventual wins for throwback films like The Artist and Hugo with numerous trips down memory lane. Whatever 18-24 demographic they'd hoped to attract with that Justin Bieber cameo in the opening minutes likely got bored 20 minutes in and eventually tuned out. The Oscars are old-fashioned - and proud of it.

* Did you watch the Oscars last night? Which were your best and worst moments from the ceremony? E-mail us your own Alternative Oscars.


  • Karen - 2012-02-28 12:46

    Much as I enjoy your Alternative Awards I disagree with you about Billy Crystal, he was poised, funny and charming. This is not the Grammys./ Tonys or Golden Globes, a bit of style and taste is required. Cirque Du Soleil was AWESOME!

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