Nothing too offensive. Nothing too funny either.
Chris Rock’s forgettable opening routine, despite being distinctly and identifiably Rock, was thoroughly disappointing. Rock’s comedic flair was lost the minute he donned a tuxedo. Merely tangential racist ironies, almost political prodding and hardly offensive jabs characterized Rock’s opening act and his ensuing one-liner introductions.
Nothing too shabby.
Like Rock’s performance, most fashion pieces were on the safe side. Most women opted for muted, pastel couture gowns, the most ostentatious color being red. The majority shared the same clean tailored lines and tight skirts evoking Ariel the mermaid herself. There was also a noticeable absence of bling; a significant number of stars chose small, modest earrings and showed off bare necks. Most men chose simple black tuxedos, the riskiest being a white tie on a white shirt. A grand applause to Johnny Depp, who conjured an evil Col. Sanders in his stiff-collared black and blue tuxedo. A fake eyelash short of lackluster, the red carpet display for this year’s Academy Awards attempted to evoke the classic, Old Hollywood of the ’30s and ’40s; instead, pretty stars stumbled into an unexciting pageantry that culminated with a shrug. High glamour and low glitz, the fashion turn-out was not boring enough too be disappointing but too secure to be stimulating.
Nothing that made any sense.
Of the five nominated songs from a motion picture, Beyonce performed three. Beyonce, in her least booty-shaking yet equally va-va-va-voom dress, sang “Vois Sur Ton Chemin” from Les Choristes en francais with an angelic army of pre-pubescent boys. The neo-diva, whose arms and torso wiggled as much as her voice, looked as uncomfortable as the chorus members would have been in a girl’s locker room. The next performance was Andrew Lloyd Webber’s original composition for Phantom of the Opera. Beyonce, once again, sang with overly embellished vocals, failing to bring life to the formulaic ballad, “Learning to be Lonely.” To compensate for her lack of vocal authority, she wiggled her way through the song. The following act, Counting Crows’ “Accidentally in Love” was received politely mostly because neither the audience nor the performers knew why they were on stage in the first place. Antonio Banderas and Carlos Santana shared a humble stage in their performance of “Al Otro Lado Del Rio” (“On the Other Side of the River”). Santana delivered intricate yet unpretentious acoustics while Banderas hit every note with genuine passion. The last song was an awkward, excruciating three minutes for both Beyonce and her partner Josh Groban. Beyonce’s musical melodrama was an ill-fitted match to Groban powerful, technically flawless though admittedly young voice.
Most of the presenters flawlessly and respectfully read proper — if not mundane — introductions to each award category. Robin Williams provided much relief from the hohum pace of the show when he presented the award for best animated film, marking the only remarkable remark as easy as it may have been, “They tell me now that SpongeBob is gay. SquarePants is not gay. Tight pants maybe. SpongeBob HotPants? You go, girl!” To solve the inconvenience of having non-beautiful people consuming precious award time hiking down from their nose-bleed seats and further thanking more people no one cares about, producer Gil Cates had a brilliant idea: let us not bother. Some of the awards were presented in the aisles (e.g. best make-up) while other categories were bestowed a little more prestige yet equal humiliation. A few categories called each nominee to line up on stage