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25 February 2019

Oscar rocks, rolls out 'non-hosts'

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Original Queen members Brian May (guitar) and Roger Taylor (drums) with Adam Lambert. (Courtesy: spin.com)

For those of you who might have missed the non-hosted 91st Academy Awards Sunday night on ABC, here's all you need to know to keep up with the conversations at the iphone charging station or flavored-water machine today.  Of course we used to have these after-event debates around the water cooler, but try finding one of those these days.

Best Oscar opening since Billy Crystal was wheeled out muzzled a la Hannibal Lecter in 1992, or as I prefer to call it:  Queen for a night: I knew former American Idol contestant Adam Lambert and Queen, who have been touring together lately, were going to perform in honor of Best Picture nominee Bohemian Rhapsody.  I didn't know they were going to open the show, though.  

That was a very smart move on the part of Oscar producers.  Queen and Lambert -- fog bellowing, guitars and Lambert screaming -- rocked the Academy Awards like never before.  Combine that with the comic relief of aging white guys in the audience trying to -- not dance, exactly, but sway along with the blazing sounds -- and the Oscars opening was a winner no one expected.

A toast to "non-hosts" Tina Fey, Amy Poehler and Maya Rudolph:

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Maya Rudolph, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler "non-hosting." (Courtesy: slate.com)

 Kevin Hart bowed out of hosting duties this year, so inquiring minds wondered how the Academy Awards could possibly hit the airwaves without a host.  Not a problem.  Fey and Poehler, hosting vets of the Golden Globes, and Rudolph were brilliantly sharp and funny.  They set the mood perfectly for a night that moved along nicely for a change.

Shallow had real musical depth: For me, I thought the fourth, fifth, or sixth version of A Star Is Born (I lose count) was mediocre at best, except for Lady Gaga's singing (and acting!).  So I wasn't expecting much when I learned that Gaga and Bradley Cooper, who co-starred, directed (sort of) and swept up after "A Star Is (Was?) Born" were going to warble the tune Shallow during the ceremony.

Boy was I wrong.  (Do you see a trend developing here?)  Someone had a really great idea to open that segment with a bare stage.  As stagehands rolled a piano to center stage, Ms. Gaga and Cooper left their front-row seats in the audience and strolled on stage.  Shallow lived down to its title in the movie, I thought, but Lady Gaga and Cooper really brought it on the Oscar stage.  They didn't quite kiss as Gaga's piano notes faded and Cooper leaned in, but ... Darn it, it looked like they really wanted to.

Spike Lee did the wrong thing: The audience and this scribe loved the fact that veteran filmmaker Lee finally got his "LOVE, HATE" hands on a golden statuette for writing the seething historical drama-with-comedy BlacKkKlansman.

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Spike Lee having a big night. (Courtesy: google.com)

His rant for racial equality sort of fizzled because Lee couldn't read what appeared to be his own scribbling on a couple of sheets of yellow legal pad paper.

My huge faux pas of the evening: We always play a little game called "Guess Who'll Win the Oscars" at our house.  If we haven't seen all the movies in a category, we just guess.  The good news is that I guessed correctly in the Documentary, Short Subject when I picked Period.  End of Sentence.  I thought it was probably about grammar, which I champion on a daily basis.

That, unfortunately, is not what Period.  End of Sentence is about.  Not by a long, long shot.  Oopsie!

If you'd like a full list of the winners and nominees (Courtesy of CNN.com), click here.

For now, that's enough Oscar talk to make you look knowledgeable around the flavored water machine or iphone charger.  (Except for the Period.  End of Sentence, mishap of course.)

OK, that's enough Oscar talk.  Back to work everyone!

 

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