The Second Annual More-or-Less Live Oscar Coverage — Updated with a Little Post-Mortem Snark

Just like last year, I’m setting this up so I can comment throughout the evening on the trainwreck (in my book) that is the year’s Oscars. Feel free to comment throughout, but remember, if you’re going to swear, let me know so I can clear your post.

Is anyone here really involved in this year’s competition? I confess I really have very little interest in most of the outcomes — and in fact (as I mentioned Friday afternoon on Jeff Messer’s radio show), I’m really rooting for things not to win in most cases. We shall see…




And indeed we did see — over a very long evening that offered some surprises, but not enough and not all of them were pleasant. I suppose I should feel all validated since I pegged Spotlight as probable Best Picture the morning we had the press screening. I think it was he best choice out of the nominated movies, but I much preferred Youth, The Hateful Eight, Clouds of Sils Maria, and Trumbo, but none of those were up. I’m still not sold on the idea that the Best Picture wasn’t also the best directed. It’s not like Spotlight made itself. Surely, Academy voters know that, but, hey they voted that awful song from SPECTRE as the year’s best…and don’t get me started on Room even being nominated for anything.




I’m sorry to see that the ratings were once again lower. Mostly, I’m sorry because they’ll blame Chris Rock, who is not, I think, the problem. In fact, I think Rock is the best thing to happen to the Oscars. The problem lies in a jaded moviegoing public that thinks it knows too much and is drowning in a sea of online information. By the time the Oscars get here, we’ve had a constant flow of awards for two months — Golden Globes, SAG, WGA, PGA, DGA, critics groups, individual critic lists, and, of course, the shadowy National Board of Review (nobody knows who these people are; I’m not convinced they exist). At one time, most of this didn’t matter. It was buried in the backs of newspapers. Now, if you are paying any attention at all, it’s shoved in your face. By the time the Oscars drag-ass in, the interest is gone. Most everyone is awarded out. I think the only real hope for them is to hold them between Christmas and New Years and avoid the crush. Maybe even earlier would be better.




Any other suggestions would involve changing the way moviegoers approach popular culture — turn the snark down, dial back the cynicism and realize that we only think we’re industry insiders, who have to keep track of absolutely every jot and tittle, obsess over box office returns (which really don’t impact most of us in any significant way), etc. How likely is that? Probably about as likely as me owning a Chuck Norris movie.




In the end, this was just an Oscar year like any other. They got some things right. They got some things wrong. Nothing here was anywhere near as embarrassing as voting Crash or Around the World in 80 Days or The Greatest Show on Earth for Best Picture. And at the end of the day…it’s a passing amusement of doubtful lasting value. The history of the movies isn’t written in Oscars. It’s written in much broader range than that encompasses — and thank goodness. If I was stuck with only Oscar winning movies, I’d quickly find a new interest.

About Ken Hanke
Head film critic for Mountain Xpress from December 2000 until his death in June 2016. Author of books "Ken Russell's Films," "Charlie Chan at the Movies," "A Critical Guide to Horror Film Series," "Tim Burton: An Unauthorized Biography of the Filmmaker."

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421 thoughts on “The Second Annual More-or-Less Live Oscar Coverage — Updated with a Little Post-Mortem Snark

  1. Ken Hanke

    I’ll start seriously monitoring this at 8 p.m., but if anyone has anything to say, have at it…

  2. Xanadon't

    Finally we’ll soon have an answer to the big question: Did Leo eat enough live fish to nab an Oscar?

    • Ken Hanke

      I thought it was whether or not he was cold enough, but then that sleeping in the dead horse biz was pretty impressive.

  3. Lydia

    So far I’m not rooting for anything in particular to win – apart from any of the nominees for Best Animated Feature besides Inside Out.

      • Lydia

        It was alright, but I had expected more going in. Plus it seems like Pixar/Disney automatically wins because they’re the most well-known studio.

        • NFB

          Pixar can be hit or miss for me but I loved Inside Out and wished it had gotten a BP nod as well.

  4. Edwin Arnaudin

    These screenplay clips really make me want to go back and read them…

  5. Edwin Arnaudin

    Please mention The Cobbler. Please mention The Cobbler.

  6. Andrew Leal

    Started already? Let me try to get my TV set up (at least the mouth pain has been quiet today).

      • Edwin Arnaudin

        I like them having the screenplay categories first. Mixes tradition up a bit.

  7. Here in Brazil we have simutaneous translation, which makes everything worse! I’ve been trying to turn it off, but I can’t… :(

  8. Xanadon't

    We gonna see 3 consecutive cinematography wins for what’s his name tonight?

  9. Andrew Leal

    So I got it on in time to try to get it to mute Timberlake.

    I also mistook the BIG SHORT clip for a MADOFF ad.

    • Edwin Arnaudin

      Pretty much everything she chose was good…other than Seventh Son.

  10. Andrew Leal

    And the “get off the stage” music is now…. Ride of the Valkyries.

    And J. K. Simmons is in the running for Impressive Facial Hair on a Presenter.

  11. Xanadon't

    They can cast her in as much as they like as far as I’m concerned.

    • Ken Hanke

      I have no issues with her, but The Danish Girl is another matter.

      • Edwin Arnaudin

        Danish Girl is textbook Oscar bait – stuffy as hell, but pretty (I guess).

  12. Lydia

    The thank-yous scrolling along the bottom of the screen are kind of a neat idea.

    • Ken Hanke

      There’s a stack of DVDs on my desk and I hadn’t seen that.

  13. Andrew Leal

    What would Edith Head think? (It seems weird to call costumes a “tech” category, to me anyway, but the VO lady just did).

  14. Ken Hanke

    Okay, they didn’t give costume design (for best rags and animal parts) to Revenant

  15. Andrew Leal

    And now “Que Sera Sera” to indicate Production Design.

  16. Lydia

    “I’d just like to say one serious thing-” *cutoff music starts*

    • Edwin Arnaudin

      Makes me wonder if George Miller actually has a chance for Best Director.

  17. Andrew Leal

    Trunky, Dane, Gatty,. Smitty, Leech. Names in Thank Yous that sound like either a punk band’s members or rejected Little Rascals.

    Also, were hairstyles that important to Elephant Man? And Ken should like the merkin joke.

  18. Edwin Arnaudin

    Reminder that 100-Year-Old-Man is currently streaming on Amazon Prime.

  19. Andrew Leal

    “Live and Let Die” suggests how they will actually decide the winners next year.

  20. Xanadon't

    Was busy pouring beers and whatnot but did I hear Leto reference The Overnight?

  21. Lydia

    “The minions are on their way!”
    We don’t need no stinkin’ minions!

  22. Edwin Arnaudin

    So far Chris Rock is an excellent host. You need a legit comedian for this job.

  23. Andrew Leal

    Not sure what to make of those trivia pop-ups for presenters. Useful sometimes in keeping track of nominations. Otherwise, we get “Chris Evans played two different superheroes.”

  24. Ken Hanke

    Sound editing…now that’s a real edge of your seat one…

  25. Andrew Leal

    So, how many winners tonight *haven’t* triggered the Valkyries?

    • Edwin Arnaudin

      Still no Oscar for stuntwork, but there are two for sound…

      • Lydia

        It was a few years before I actually understood what the difference between the two sound categories was.

  26. Andrew Leal

    They made them more interesting than usual by focusing on the actual sounds. (Not saying much I know, but)

  27. Andrew Leal

    At this point, they should just have a “To George Miller” sign made and hand it off.

  28. Andrew Leal

    I wish I’d seen the shorts, but the compilation didn’t open until Friday so I missed it due to mouth pain.

  29. NFB

    I don’t care if it is just a song 50 Hades of Gray should no be anywhere near the Academy Awards.

    • NFB

      And boy are those a&am dances and idea that should have been nixed right away

    • NFB

      And until the end of time it can be called an Academy Award nominated movie. Ugh!

    • NFB

      Whoever gave the green light to the S&M dancers should never be allowed to work in Hollywood again.

    • NFB

      He won a lot of the critics awards but seemed to run out of steam with SAG etched. Not a Hugh shock but a pleasant surprise. And no Stallone!!

      • From the clips, also seems like the only character actor performance of the nominees. (Not that they have to be, or often are anymore, but it went to a great performance *and* someone who spoke coherently.) Ruffalo looks like the next most deserving.

        • NFB

          Can’t say I loved Beidge of Spies but I dislike it and think Eylan e deserved the win.

    • Edwin Arnaudin

      They only gave us access to two. Requests for the other three were never acknowledged.

  30. Edwin Arnaudin

    “A Girl in the River”: hopping on the Gone Girl and Girl on the Train, uh, train.

  31. Edwin Arnaudin

    Screeners for half of these docs are sitting in a box in the guest room closet.

    • Edwin Arnaudin

      My live-action choice won. The most creative animation choice won.

  32. NFB

    By my count there are at least 6 categories left . Not sure I can hold out much longer.

  33. NFB

    Thomas Newman is like his cousin Randy was for a long time . Always nominated and always passed over.

    • NFB

      Seals the BP deal I guess. Why give it to him second year in a row if they aren’t going do BO?

  34. Edwin Arnaudin

    I didn’t think they’d give it to him 2x in a row, but he deserves it.

  35. Lydia

    Gotta credit him for talking all the way through the cutoff music. It was almost like it was purposely the background music for his speech.

  36. So they used “Big Rock Candy Mountain” as a cue. Mom’s comment: “They’re trying to diversify the music since they didn’t with the people.”

  37. Scott Douglas

    I was hoping Lady Gaga would sneak up and scare him again

  38. Edwin Arnaudin

    I guess my grandmother will think Leo is disgusting now that he’s stated for the world that global warming is real.

  39. SPOTLIGHT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! YEEEEEEEESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Edwin Arnaudin

      As predicted by me in the newspaper and on WLOS…but not if I had to bet money on it.

  40. Ken Hanke

    Delighted within this context. It ought to have been Youth or The Hateful Eight or The Clouds of Sils Maria, but…

  41. Scott Douglas

    Yes, the Vatican will obviously change their policies on sexual abuse strictly on the basis of the Oscars.

      • Edwin Arnaudin

        No, that one won 3. This may be the fewest in the modern era.

          • NFB

            This may be an all time low. So far I’ve gone back 50 years and every BP winner has won at least three total.

          • NFB

            Ah, Grand Hotel in 1932 won BP. It was not only it’s only win it was its only nomination.

            Not sure if there are anay others with only two wins or fewer.

  42. Edwin Arnaudin

    If you have Michael Keaton in your prestige picture, you’ll win the top prize.

  43. Ken Hanke

    Hey, thanks to everyone who participated or even just followed. We beat last year’s comments by nearly 150. And that’s with Xanadont mostly absent and Scott showing up late.

  44. This was fun (and I enjoyed large chunks of the show more than I expected, and managed to mute or miss much of the rest).

  45. Able Allen

    Just chiming in after the fact… live’s not necessarily my speed. I was also disgusted by Sam Smith’s win. That song is among the lowest of the bond songs IMHO and didn’t even deserve the nod. All of them that I had heard at all (haven’t managed to see Youth yet, sorry to let you down Ken) were none too good. Rough year for original song. Wish it had gone to the song from Hunting Ground for socio-political reasons. That, to me was the biggest WTF moment of the night, although there were several.
    Was thrilled to see Ali G make an appearance. I had been enthusiastically quoting him earlier in the day.
    Loved seeing Mad Max soak up the design/editing type awards. I got the most thrilling experience out of that movie and the look, feel, sound of it was unbeatable.
    Very pleased with Morricone’s win he has long deserved it.
    Also, it has been a long time since I was so impressed with Chris Rock. Louis C.K. was on point as ever.
    And way to go Rylance. I, unlike most of you it seems, really enjoyed Bridge of Spies, and I thought Rylance was the best part of it.

    • Ken Hanke

      I think even folks who didn’t like Bridge of Spies much (raises hand) thought Rylance was exceptional in it — and easily the best thing about it.

      As for seeing Youth, Able, it’s at the Flatrock Cinema through Thursday…

  46. Ken Hanke

    Oh, Reinaldo — outgays with Oscars would definitely include Bill Condon’s screenplay win for Gods and Monsters and Dustin Lance Black for Milk.

  47. T.rex

    I thought it was a great show. If Rock hosted it every year I’d be happy with that. The only thing I thought was awful was the set, pretty ugly.
    Its cool that Inaritu has has been given best director twice in a row.

    • Ken Hanke

      Its cool that Inaritu has has been given best director twice in a row.

      Not an opinion I can get behind…

      • T.rex

        fair enough, I just loved those two films although Im happy SOPTLIGHT won. Id like to think the win will tell the vatican to stop the child rape but it probably wont.

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