Oscar Roundup — So, how did Seth MacFarlane do?

ImageHe wasn’t the first choice to host the Oscars. And he joked about that. But he never seemed uncomfortable up there, even when a bit bombed. And kept bombing. (The Captain Kirk visit in the lame opening).

“Constrained” is the word that Variety used, and that seemed echoed by MacFarlane loving friends of mine on Facebook. It’s the nature of the job. He was front and center — A LOT — but there’s only so much of an imprint, so much edge he can give to a show that’s by it’s nature, stodgy and self-serious.

So, Daniel Day-Lewis got inside Lincoln’s head, earning a John Wilkes Booth groaner. There were plenty of those, mixed in with some zingers. His humor is sophomoric, if you know “Ted” and his TV work. Tasteless? Rarely.

He was Chris Rock good. Not Letterman bad. No matter what this guy says. Not Franco and Hathaway flop. Not Rob Lowe epic awful, no matter what this woman says. Just Chris Rock, “good enough” to not be a “problem.”

MacFarlane gave the Academy pretty much what they signed up for — a few gay jokes, a Hitler gag (The Von Trapp Family Singers, my favorite bit of the night), a decent selection of one-liners, a charming “The Way You Look Tonight” rendition, shocking to anybody who doesn’t know he cut an album of pop standards, and a graceless “We Saw Your Boobs” number that seemed to draw horrified reactions from actresses who have gone topless in the audience (Naomi Watts) and a “You got THAT right” from actresses (Jennifer Lawrence) who haven’t.

The show was long, and felt like it. Not nearly as long as I feared — with the Bond and the musical tributes hither and yon.

The “Ted” bit was more technically impressive than funny. But that’s MacFarlane’s area of humor — orgies and gay gags and pop culture references and LOTS of movie riffs. I dare say his fans dug him more than he won any converts, but you had to know movies to get what was going on. And if you do, he did fine.

And after all — he accomplished this epic feat.

The “In Memoriam” worked better than it has in years, with Barbra Streisand singing about Marvin Hamlisch.

The James Bond tribute was a bust. Period. Underwhelming. Bond showing up at the Olympics with the Queen was so much better. Shirley Bassey was a shadow of the Bassey I saw and interviewed on a tour a dozen years ago. We all get old, and great singers lose chunks of their voice with time.

They should have done ALL the Oscar nominated songs. Period. Adele shined, though her dress did her no favors.

Kristen Stewart looked blitzed (a leg injury? Limping? Painkillers, maybe?). Rene Zellweger took MANY hits for her somewhat altered appearance. Joaquin Phoenix looked bored, eating peanuts or snapping gum or something.

The “Chicago” tribute was — pointless. Because “the show isn’t gay enough.”

The reviews aren’t bad, overall.

Unless, of course, you count the folks at Gawker, who took a shot at Michelle Obama giving out best picture.

“Life of Pi” took home the most Oscars, with 4. “Argo” landed 3.

Spielberg got snubbed. Again. Tommy Lee Jones got robbed. I’ll bet if he’d grinned at the Golden Globes, he’d have raised his stock. Christoph Waltz was better than his betters? No, he wasn’t. Neither was the movie. Tarantino took screenplay honors for “adapting” “Django” into an “original” script. Whatever.

“Zero Dark Thirty” was lucky to tie “Skyfall” for best sound editing. We haven’t had an Oscar tie vote in this millennium.

Daniel Day-Lewis gave the best speech, and landed some of the best jokes — as his and Meryl Streep’s vaunted reputations. Christoph Waltz was properly humble.

Other people who knew they were going to win failed to come up with much memorable to say. Anne Hathaway should have lost the laundry list. “Playing people off” with the “Jaws” theme? Priceless.

The producer of “Paperman” celebrated the animated short’s win by throwing paper airplanes, and getting kicked out of the theater.

The Onion made a good joke about sound editors all going for some sort of Edgar Winter look-alike hairstyle/beard thing. And then ripped the little girl (a little bratty, childish and self-celebratory, to be expected) with the C-word and was caught doing it. Endless abuse for that. Twitter. Where Bad ideas find their way into the world.

And that’s it. Not that much controversy, Christopher Plummer charming, Ben Affleck breathlessly celebrating the “Argo” best picture win, and “Brave” giving Pixar another reason to consider itself the Tiffany movie studio.

Waltz was the only big surprise, Ang Lee less so. S

About Roger Moore

Movie Critic, formerly with McClatchy-Tribune News Service, Orlando Sentinel, published in Spin Magazine, The World and now published here, Orlando Magazine, Autoweek Magazine
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