The Oscars were curious. So many people popped up to introduce themselves, so they could then introduce a person on-stage who was there to introduce either another person or a category, but then it also had the chutzpah to open with Janelle Monae (whose energy is decidedly cooler and higher than that of the Academy Awards and so accordingly I think people were not sure what to do with it when she roamed the front row encouraging them to sing with her, and then flopped onto the floor). They blew off the Lifetime Achievement Award winners, but then brought out Eminem to sing a song that won 17 years ago, which was better than any of today’s nominated ditties but which also then had weird technical problems beyond just needing to be bleeped every ten seconds. I did like the montage of nominated performances that preceded every category, because it freed them from having to pick one scene, which oftentimes was very hard to do in a way that complimented the acting itself (to wit: in Rami Malek’s last year, he was chiefly lip-synching; it was a terrible clip). They let Joaquin Phoenix ramble on and try to convince us to be vegan (in the middle of a strong opening and closing), and then sweet Renee got up there and went on for ages and got lost and fumbled her way back, with nary a peep from the orchestra… but then they TURNED OFF THE LIGHTS on Parasite? Surely that was a mistake?
In sum: Thank God for Parasite’s surprise wins, and for Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Will Ferrell being charming together, because after Janelle sang her final note it was a snooze.