Feb 27, 2012

REVIEW: The 2012 Oscar telecast

Something about the coy, deep-suction wonder with which Meryl Streep greets the attention being paid her makes it almost impossible to actually pay her that attention without feeling beside the point somehow, like a crack-dealer watching their customer get high. Maybe in 30 years time Emma Stone will be exactly the same way but last night, her bright, vivacious presentation was easily the highlight of the show — a vivid flash of adorable flesh tones. But it's weird how the Academy's fierce determination to win the all-important youth demographic translates — by some infernal game of chinese whispers — into a droopy, rheumatic telecast hosted by an over-rouged Billy Crystal, whose face is so round and lifted this days it looks like one of those optical illusions that would register as a human face equally well hung upside-down. Count in wins for Christopher Plummer (82), Meryl Streep (her third), two cinematic tributes to the silent era, a fabulously long 'In Memoriam' section, and it was hard to shake off the odor of camphor and mothballs clinging to the whole enterprise. You felt like getting up and walking around in the ad breaks just to check your circulation, or that no-one had died. Imagine what would happen if the producers ever decided to 'go old.' Thank God for Stone, Chris Rock and Sacha Baron Cohen, the win for A Separation, for the editing Oscar given to The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo's Kirk Baxter and Angus Wall, the clips from Bridesmaids, for Dujardin's sacre-bleu freak-out, for Plummer's poise, Gwyneth's dress, Angelina's leg, and the electrical pulses that seemed to shoot between Colin Firth and any of the female nominees he happened to be addressing, but particularly Michelle Williams. I half expected her to bat her eyes and reveal the words "I-love-you" stenciled on her eyelids in Chanel mascara.

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