Last night was the Academy Awards, which means my Facebook feed was awash in comments from high school acquaintances along the lines of, “WTF was up with Kristen Stewart!?!? She was totally frowning and had some kind of bruise on her arm!!! What a slut!!! #TeamEdward.”
In my opinion, there were lots of moments last night more notable that Kristen Stewart’s facial expression. Here’s my list for best and worst moments from the interminable broadcast:
Loved It: Quvenzhané Wallis. The 9-year-old star of Beasts of the Southern Wild was the youngest Best Actress nominee to date. Not only did she rock a stuffed puppy dog handbag on the red carpet, she was unabashed in the fact that she was damn proud of herself. When they announced her name along with the likes of Jessica Chastain, Jennifer Lawrence, Emmanuelle Riva and Naomi Watts, Wallis spared viewing audiences the false modesty of batting eyelashes, shrugged shoulders and downcast eyes. Instead, she flexed her arms like a champion and grinned.
Hated It: So many of host Seth MacFarlane’s jokes! His opening musical number “We Saw Your Boobs” kicked off the tone for the whole man-cave of a night. While “We Saw Your Boobs” was technically a joke song about how MacFarlane “ruined the Oscars” delivered from future-dwelling William Shatner as Captain Kirk from Star Trek (still with me?), it was disrespectful and not even original. I have witnessed at least a half dozen bro types rattle off lists of the movies in which various female actresses bare their chests at various times in my life (…all during college). MacFarlane made a couple legitimately funny edgy jokes during the night—like when he ripped on his own movie Ted, saying it was a “mediocre effort” currently in Red Boxes outside of grocery stores being pissed on by bums—but others were so simply sexist, homophobic or racist that I was cringing during the whole show.
Loved It: Ben Affleck’s acceptance speech for Best Picture (Argo), where he addressed wife Jennifer Garner and said of their marriage, “It is work, but it is the best kind of work!” That’s a great perspective to hear in Hollywood, the land of far too many guy-gets-girl-then-they-kiss-and-ride-off-into-the-sunset-and-nothing-is-hard-for-them-ever-again movies.
Loved It: Adele’s energy. After her acceptance speech for Best Original Song for Skyfall, she did a shuffle-step past the microphone and shouted, “And my man—I love you baby!” Her co-songwriter talked for awhile, and then Adele took the mic again to announce to the room, “You’re all amazing!” With an attitude like that, no wonder she’s successful. We have no choice but to love her.
Hated It: Ah, but MacFarlane continued to scar the evening with terrible lines!
1. You know what makes a terrible punchline? Domestic violence. For the second time in a week, Rihanna’s relationship with Chris Brown is fodder for flippant public comment. MacFarlane shot a zinger at domestic abuse while introducing “Django Unchained”: “This is the story of a man fighting to get back his woman, who’s been subjected to unthinkable violence. Or as Chris Brown and Rihanna call it, a date movie.” Just sit for a second and think about who the butt of your jokes are, Family Guy. Is it making fun of a woman being beaten by a man? If so, pick a better target.
2. On Jessica Chastain star of Zero Dark Thirty, about Chastain’s character’s quest to find Osama Bin Laden: “She shows every woman’s innate ability to never, ever let anything go.”
3. On frequent presenters Salma Hayek, Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz: “We have no idea what they’re saying but we don’t care because they’re so attractive.”
Loved It: Helen Hunt’s navy blue gown from H&M. Foregoing a designer dress, Hunt literally walked the walk so many actors and actresses talk about in their acceptance speeches: You don’t have to be rich and famous to be somebody. She showed solidarity with the rest of the country, as we struggle through the terrible economy without the help of designer dresses. That said, she did wear $700,000 worth of jewelry. So. Maybe forget that thing I said about solidarity.
Image of Quvenzhané Wallis from artist Nicole Cuvin’s illustrated tribute to her character Hushpuppy.