You know how one of the advantages of the web is that you can react to news and events IMMEDIATELY? Well, what I’m about to do is the opposite of that.
On Oscar night, my job for EW was to email in quipperies about the broadcast, which they’d insert into their Oscar coverage in this week’s coming issue. Once they'd picked through my work and taken what they needed, I had a lot left over, so I figured I’d use them here. Waste not, want not, that’s what I say. Except when I’m eating whole-wheat pasta, as I did last night, and had to throw it away because it was so nasty. Then wasting is okay. But I digress.
So now, here is my minute-by-minute take on the Oscars, just 4,320 minutes after the Oscars actually ended. (I’ve also annotated them with the opportunity of reflection.) And, as usual, I must add that my views do not necessarily reflect those of Entertainment Weekly. Actually, since these were cut by Entertainment Weekly, I can say that they undoubtedly don’t reflect those of the magazine. Boy, life is so much simpler when you can remove the word “necessarily,” isn’t it?
After Regis Philbin talks about the upcoming musical performances, pre-show co-host Samantha Harris excitedly announces that “nobody does a big production number like Oscar!” I dream of a day when someone invents an award show entirely devoted to production numbers! Kind of like the Tonys, except it’s exactly the Tonys.
The show is supposed to start, but I can’t figure out whether I’m watching the opening credits or whether Michael Bay has shot a UPS ad.
Stewart’s joke about his porn name being Olympia Dukakis is slightly lost on a distractedly self-involved audience, who think they just heard that Dukakis is doing porn. Side note: if she did, Moonstruck is perhaps the easiest movie title ever to come up with a porn pun for.
Stewart, joking about the two Democratic presidential hopefuls, says that usually “when you see a black man or woman president, an asteroid is about to hit the Statue of Liberty,” and director Louis J. Horvitz cuts to a reaction shot of Wesley Snipes and Spike Lee. I wonder whether one of tonight’s montages will be “80 Years of Oscar Cutaways to African-Americans After a Reference to any African-American is Made.” That would mean more air time for Lou Gossett Jr. than he’s seen in years.
Barbra Streisand reminisces about her saying, “Hello, gorgeous,” to the statuette she won in 1969 for Funny Girl. It’s all part of her 14th farewell tour for that anecdote.
George Clooney introduces the first retrospective montage, which celebrates 80 years of great Oscar moments like the David Niven streaker and Chevy Chase saying, “Good evening, Hollywood phonies.” It also celebrates one year since the last time we saw those clips.
Ratatouille winner Brad Bird imitates his junior high school guidance counselor asking, “What do you want to do with your life?” It is clear that Bird has a rich inner fantasy life in which he grew up in the middle of a Twisted Sister video.
Amy Adams does a musical number from Enchanted. The rotating scenery behind her, however, is doing a tribute to the ‘80s puzzle The Missing Link. (Note: it is no wonder that this joke was cut. I may be the only person who remembers the Missing Link toy, and only because I randomly found it stuffed in my childhood desk at my parents house. After playing around with it a while, I realized that fun has come a long way since the ‘80s.)
The Golden Compass beats Transformers for best visual effects, and people are shocked…to learn that there was a movie version of The Golden Compass. (Note: This joke, I realize, doesn't pass the logic test. People know there was a Golden Compass movie, they just didn't want to go see it. Even if I didn't work at an entertainment magazine, I would have been extremely aware that there was something out there involving Nicole Kidman talking to a polar bear that I didn't want anything to do with. In fact, the only thing I'd ever want to see involving Nicole Kidman and a polar bear would be a steel cage match.)
A montage of past best-supporting-actor wins ends with Cuba Gooding Jr.’s famous leaps for joy. But now that we know that story ended with “…and then he starred in Daddy Day Camp,” it doesn’t seem all that uplifting anymore.
Stewart’s joke about Hal Holbrook doing the cabbage patch gets a blank stare from the actor, who either has not heard of the dance, or prefers the Ickey Shuffle.
After Javier Bardem concluded his acceptance speech in Spanish, Best Short Film winner Philippe Pollet-Villard delivers the bulk of his in French. This is Lou Dobbs’ least favorite ceremony since the great Benigni insurgency of 1999. (Another note: I am glad this was cut, because upon reflection, I realized that I made nearly the exact same joke last year when I wrote a timeline for the Oscars, specifically linking Lou Dobbs, Roberto Benigni, and immigration. It turns out that when it comes to immigration, I only have one joke, and sadly, it includes Roberto Benigni.)
When the best supporting actress nominees are introduced, Ruby Dee looks shocked by her own American Gangster clip. Did she think she was there to get an honorary Oscar for her work in Baby Geniuses? (Note: Thanks, IMDB! When I need to fill in a punchline blank with someone’s most embarrassing filmography entry, you’re always there!)
After trading famous movie lines with James McAvoy as a bit of lame stage patter, presenter James Brolin apologizes to Jack Nicholson for doing a bad impression of him. I demand that Bruce Vilanch apologize to me for his bad impression of stage patter.
When the Coen brothers win for best adapated screenplay, Ethan just says, “Thank you very much.” Now we know which one’s the Teller.
The stunned sound-editing team for The Bourne Ultimatum are struck so speechless by their victory that Per Hallberg can’t remember director Paul Greengrass’ last name. Here’s a mnemonic for Hallberg: “Green grass will grow on Mars before that director will ever hire you again.”
Best Actress nominee Cate Blanchett cringes at her film clip for Elizabeth: The Golden Age the way people at a 20th high-school reunion shudder at their old yearbook pictures.
Jack Nicholson introduces a quick review of every best picture winner in the history of the Oscars, and I am convinced that this award show is going to conclude with a written test.
Someone comes on stage to announce the Best Original Song winner, and it is either John Travolta or an old Wooly Willy magnet game. (Note: See, in my mind, Travolta's incredibly bizarre hairline looked less like hair than a bunch of metal filings all arranged on his head. Which made me think of the old Wooly Willy game: it's like Travolta's barber just gave him hair by waving a magnetic pen over his head, arranging little bits of metal. To me, it was a funny image, and yet unfortunately EW hasn't yet developed the technology to have me stand next to every reader and explain all of my jokes in excruciating detail. Dare to dream.)
Jon Stewart brings back out Once’s Best Original Song winner Marketa Irglova to finish her speech, as she’d been cut off before she could thank anybody. As for the Best Sound Editing guys whose speeches were cut off: learn to sing and then maybe you’ll get 10 more seconds, nerds!
The annual vacillation in applause during the In Memoriam shout-outs leaves a weirder taste than usual when Heath Ledger emerges as the victor in the applause-off.
So let me get this straight: as a tribute, Army soldiers in Baghdad are beamed in to introduce the documentary short-subjects, while the very next category – feature documentary – is filled with three out of five films excoriating what the U.S. did wrong in Iraq? This is like inviting George Lucas to introduce the montage, “George Lucas ruined Star Wars.”
The rousing gallop of the Raiders of the Lost Ark score causes my heart to race in anticipation of the new Indiana Jones movie. But best original screenplay presenter Harrison Ford’s slow delivery makes my excitement melt like the face of a Nazi. They can speed Indy up through movie magic, right?
And that’s it. Well, I had jokes about the Best Director and Picture wins, but those ended up in the magazine, which comes out Friday. Which, come to think of it, is two days after I’m posting this. Hey, looks like I’m comparatively punctual after all!
If you liked these incredibly specific jokes about something you only vaguely remember by now, stay tuned: tomorrow I'll be back with some old jokes about the 1998 midterm elections that I found in an old notebook! If you're a fan of Delaware's 12th district runoff, then you're gonna want to bookmark this page.
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