The Big Picture

Patrick Goldstein and James Rainey
on entertainment and media

« Previous Post | The Big Picture Home | Next Post »

Oscars: Most embarrassing moments -- so many to choose from!

Melissa_leo This was the year my son, who is 12, decided to watch the Oscars with me. He's normally much more of a fan of the Grammys--which at least has a little hip-hop street cred--but he'd seen a few of the Oscar movies and was curious to figure out what all the hoopla was about. Well, all that curiosity lasted for about 90 minutes. Then, clearly bored, he left the room, saying he had to--gasp--do his homework. As for the show itself, he asked, "Do you really have to watch the whole thing?"

My theory is that he was turned off by all of the winners who thanked their parents, since at 12, the idea of parents being even remotely cool is a horrible prospect to consider. And it was weird to see how much parental love was in the air. In fact, so many winners thanked their parents that I almost thought I was watching the Country Music Awards, although at the CMAs most of the winners give an extra shout-out to God, not to their agents and publicists. The show itself was pretty snoozy. You know things have gone badly when the most endearing acceptance speech of the night was given by a boyishly, frizzy-haired winner of the best live-action short, who also thanked his mother.

As for the most embarrassing moments:

--Having academy boss Tom Sherak and ABC's Anne Sweeney eating up two minutes of airtime bragging about the academy extending their deal with the network. Who cares a fig about that?

--Of all the people in the world, why did the academy pick Oprah to introduce the best documentary feature? Tell me, exactly how many of those documentary filmmakers have ever appeared on her show?

--Why was the orchestra playing Aaron Sorkin off the stage halfway through his acceptance speech, drowning out the man who would clearly be the most articulate person to take the stage all night long? 

--If the academy wants the winner's speeches to be shorter, couldn't they simply tell everyone that they can't thank their agents, managers, publicists, fitness instructors and any other support personnel? It's gotten so bad I was worried that one of the winners was going to thank the reporter who did the nice puff piece in Entertainment Weekly too. 

--What exactly was Billy Crystal doing on stage, trying to milk a few laughs from the crowd? As Ken Levine wonderfully put it: "Watching Billy Crystal deliver that painfully desperate monologue was like looking at the nude photos of Nancy Sinatra in Playboy that she took when she was 54."

--I'm betting $100 that the academy gave that extra special "in memoriam" tribute to Lena Horne because--whoops!--the academy was feeling guilty that it didn't nominate any black people for Oscars this year.  

--Kirk Douglas is a movie god, but after having suffered a stroke, his speech is so slurred it's often impossible to understand him. Did the academy really think it was a good idea to make him a presenter, especially when his ad-libs clearly unhinged poor Melissa Leo so much that she shot off an F-bomb when she took the stage?

--In the midst of his otherwise coherent acceptance speech, did Christian Bale actually forget his wife's name? Or was he just really choked up?

--And maybe I'm just sensitive about this because I'm a writer, but wasn't it a little embarrassing for all those actors--Colin Firth excepted--who managed to thank their team of publicists and agents, but not the person who wrote the script that propelled them to Oscar glory?

--Patrick Goldstein 

Photo: Melissa Leo after receiving the supporting actress trophy from Kirk Douglas at the Oscars.

Credit: Gabriel Bouys / AFP/Getty Images


Comments () | Archives (19)

The comments to this entry are closed.

I think the most embarrassing moment was the vulgar comment by Franco about the movie titles "Winter Bone" and "Rabbit Hole." What was something so adolescent (and gratuitous) doing in a show watched by millions of families?

Billy crystal was a brief relief from the terrible show. Christian Bale seemed choked up. Melissa Leo is not polished... like her character..I think Amy Adams would have been a better choice because she was truly acting. You cant pick on Kirk Douglas but it got a tad awkward. Colin Firth is brilliant. Aaron Sorkin while bright and talented is pompous. The show is too long and this year especially bad writing...Bring on Ricky Gervais...He may offend some people but they need a sense of humor and he does not say anything that we all don't know.....he is hilarious!

Good points except for "Poor Melissa Leo". She was so theatrically over the top that I think the "F bomb" was planned.

No disrespect intended towards Kirk Douglas, but his "performance" at the Oscars was embarassing and painful to watch. The fact that he went on for so long made things even worse.

Note from a churl.

A "movie god" . . . . I dunno. A matter of opinion I guess. As for presenting at the Oscars - not such a great idea. Give him props for bravery in appearing before a huge live audience - they love longevity - and the zillions tuning in. But the chops are really long gone. R.T.B.H. - retire to Beverly Hills.


Colin Firth desperately needed Geoffrey Rush onstage to whisper in his ear.

Anne Hathaway's juvenile "woooo-OOOO" screams over what sounded like tepid applause---Oscar's forgotten how to put mics in the audience, and never realized he had to tell the hostess not to sound like she's at a little league game. It was if she was continually embarrassed for the old-fart quality of the show, and felt she had to gin up the unfelt enthusiasm.

Whereas Franco was comatose up there, squinting into the camera, squirreling up his face, mute for minutes on end, what an actor!

Those two should be permanently banned on the stage except as winners or, in Anne's case, a singer.

Yay to those who hope to see Kevin Spacey as host. Tho he would be saddled with garbage from the "writers". For that reason, i nominate Bob Hope's true successor in umbrage, Stephen Colbert, who would bring his own writers. And it would be hilarious throughout the long night.

How can anyone blame Kirk Douglas for Melissa Leo's lapse in decorum? She had a white trash moment! What a shame she didn't have enough class to keep her foul mouth shut. How embarrasing. She does get credit, however, for owning up to it and being contrite. Jame Franco was an unmitigated disaster! Simply dreadful. Bring back Billy Crystal!

--Did the academy really think it was a good idea to make him a presenter, especially when his ad-libs clearly unhinged poor Melissa Leo so much that she shot off an F-bomb when she took the stage?--
Poor Melissa Leo? Really? She did not need anyone to 'unhinge' her. She is tacky, phony, classless and unhinged all on her own.


You aren't really surprised that actors "forgot" to thank the screenwriters now, are you? Go back and watch Jimmy Stewart and Cary Grant give their acceptance speeches for their honorary Oscars; they thank not only the great directors but the great writers who wrote the parts for them. Today's stars either have convenient short-term memory loss, or they think it's only themselves and their "team" that are the keys to their success.

« | 1 2


Recommended on Facebook


In Case You Missed It...

Stay Connected:

About the Bloggers



Get Alerts on Your Mobile Phone

Sign me up for the following lists: