So in case you hadn’t noticed that night of inoffensive behaviour and backslapping called the Oscars happened this weekend. And truthfully, like ‘Lincoln’, the film for which Daniel Day-Lewis won his third Oscar and was anointed the best actor, like, ever for, the whole thing was three and a half hours of boredom.
There were long speeches punctuated by a sense of mock reverence for something which ought to be insulted for all its worth. It was dull, dull, dull, and for the most part, totally pointless.
But luckily there were two people who had a terrible night, and the day was saved.
No, we’re not talking about Jennifer Lawrence falling up the stairs on the way to collect her award – that was cute, and she is as the goofy, klutzy person who seems like she doesn’t belong alongside a bunch of plastics in Tinseltown. No, rather it was Seth McFarlane dying on his feet in front of the world’s second-largest television audience of the year (just behind the Superbowl, natch) and the moment that The Onion jumped the shark from being that funny website that everyone likes to being too snarky by half.
So first McFarlane. Family Guy is great, but there’s seemingly a reason why he stays behind the camera (or in a voiceover booth). A lot of people don’t like Ricky Gervais, and castigated him for his insult-heavy performance, but he managed to demonstrate that it’s possible to lay on the insults thick without actually just simply trying to cause offence.
McFarlane didn’t quite get that. And so there was good reason for his flopsweat halfway through the night and his “oh boy, tough crowd” self-references. When you start insulting Jean Dujardin, who frankly did nothing but make a really sweet film called ‘The Artist’ a while back, and make a joke at the expense of Rihanna and Chris Brown’s battling relationship, you know you’re in deep shit.
The Daily Telegraph in the UK weren’t amused:
Within minutes of his first routine — the one that needlessly insulted Jean Dujardin for his low profile since winning last year, and threw in a dismally unfunny remark about the torture in Django Unchained resembling what Rihanna and Chris Brown would call “date night” — he was laboriously trying to bypass criticism. […] The problem is, MacFarlane’s mere awareness of his obvious horribleness as a presenter was no inoculation against it. He’d deliver would-be risqué cracks, most of them just lamely nasty, and serve up a coy grin afterwards to take the edge off.
It was, simply, a total misjudgement of taste. It’s fine though: McFarlane looked embarrassed enough at himself that he’ll probably turn down an offer to host next year even if the Academy were insane enough to offer him it.
And speaking of bad taste, how about The Onion? I’m not going to give the poor taste joke any more publicity than it needed, but insulting a nine-year old who is having the biggest, coolest night of her life with a word that offends an awful lot of people probably isn’t the way forwards.
Hollywood’s kinda struggling at the minute. Box-office takings are down and the movies they’re putting out are largely repetitive dross. They didn’t need two people having a terrible Oscars night to make things worse.