How I Saw It
Alicia Vikander in Belle-inspired yellow by Louis Vuitton. That was my favorite dress of Oscar night – so much that I don’t even have a second.
Oscar night is my favorite. Michele, on my right in this picture, decorated in one gorgeous color based on the Oscar theme this year, “We all dream in gold.” We ate, we talked, we laughed. We watched every minute of the show and re-watched a moment or two. We cheered when Leonardo won. I love this night.
In case you missed it, this was the Oscars in which there was (for the second year in a row) no diversity in the acting categories. Jada Pinkett Smith did not attend because of it, and Chris Rock still hosted but did not have a single joke off-topic. No good ones anyway. For the first time in my personal Oscar-watching history, I was pretty happy to not be in that room. There were jokes so far beyond the realm of laugh at-atable I would not have known how to behave. And that was just in the monologue. All in all, Chris Rock had a ridiculously hard job, and I would have done it differently but can hardly criticize.
Just a couple more bad things happened – the bear in the audience? NO. Just so much no. I did not enjoy that, and I really don’t think Leo did either. The thing Jared Leto made me Google that I really wish he hadn’t – not cool. And at about 8:56, I was pretty frustrated with Mad Max for all the wins because they were totally hurting my predictions board. Beyond all that, there was good stuff.
Like this line from the winner for production design: “It never ceases to annoy me how many people it takes to make me look competent.” This was a creative way to say thank-you everybody and a classic statement about the million(ish?) people it takes to make a movie.
I also loved these parts, and I’m going to list them quickly because almost all of them are about Jacob Tremblay.
–When C-3PO, R2D2, and BB-8 came on stage and cutie patootie Jacob Tremblay leaned over and strained his neck for a better view.
–When the Inside Out guy said, “We get to make stuff.” And making stuff helps us cope.
–When Louis CK explained how important the Oscar would be to the winner of documentary short, because they certainly aren’t making any money from what they do. “This Oscar’s going home in a Honda Civic.”
–The part where Brie Larson and Jacob Tremblay’s clip from Room had just finished, and they gave each other a high five.
–When Leo won.
–Lady Gaga’s powerful performance, or rather, the powerful moment when survivors of sexual assault appeared on stage with her.
–Ryan Gosling, i.e., “Agree to disagree.” (The mix of heart-wrenching and lighthearted throughout this show doesn’t create an emotional roller coaster at all.)
–Mark Rylance winning for supporting actor, which hurt my predictions board (everything I read said that Stallone would win) but thrilled me beyond words, because I had just seen his wonderful performance that day.
–Spotlight winning Best Pic because despite Revenant predictions almost all along the way, I had a feeling this should be the winning story. It brings up all the sad of a terrible phenomenon and the personal faith crises that inevitably followed, but it makes us think about such important things, like the fact that we must help each other in this sometimes horrifying world.
–And finally, these events for filling my winning row in 2016 Oscars Bingo: Someone thanks their parents, 6+ people accept one award, Alejandro Iñárritu wins, Brie Larson wins, and Leonardo DiCaprio (finally) wins.
Near the end, best director winner Alejandro Iñárritu spoke on the topic at hand in a way that makes wonderful sense if it could only be true, that one day the color of our skin would become as irrelevant as the length of our hair.
I don’t know how to fix the lack of diversity in Hollywood, in any other workplace, in my own writing, or anywhere this side of the sun. I’m pretty sure last night’s many jokes, bits, and montages on the topic didn’t do a ton for the cause. But I do still believe film is a great and beautiful way to help each other see some things for the first time and familiar things in a new way, and that is why I still love this night that celebrates a ton of hard work in that pursuit.