Monday, March 06, 2006

a view from the other side--UPDATED

although, mind you, not the other side of any issue that's important (maybe my utter failure at predicting the Super Bowl--and it's participants--has left me in a non-controversial mood even a month later).

I am going to be a bold voice that speaks out in favor of Jon Stewart's performance last night as emcee of the Oscars. I was very. . .ummm. . ."interested" in how he kicked the show off, seeings how the majority of his expressed leanings are quite to the left and the Oscars has become a showcase for the display of such leanings in years past. So I watched his opening with one finger on the remote so I could flick to a college hoops game the second Stewart turned me off.

It never happened.

I really wish I had TiVod the thing so I could share verbatim for you the gems he slid into the show (not just his opening monologue, but also throughout the night), but suffice it to say he hit some nails pretty deep into the wood. Examples (and again, not exact quotes):

- to Steven Spielberg, director of Schindler's List and Munich: Jews everywhere are so excited to hear the next story he tells about them;
- to the audience in general: "this will be the first time that most of you have voted for a winner";
- "you normally don't see this many big stars without having to contribute to the Democratic Party";
- noting the irony of Charlize Theron being nominated for "acting" as a woman judged by her looks in an industry where women work just as hard but get paid less--and then celebrating that "acting" job in the confines of a Hollywood party;
- describing the Wilson brothers as "two talented brothers--which is also how you can describe the Baldwin family" (for those of you who don't get that, the Baldwins have, like, 5 "acting" brothers);
- introducing the first big controversy of the night: did Perlman "finger-sync" his performance? (that actually got some pretty big laughs)
- unlike Captain Ed at Captain's Quarters, I very much like the scoreboard comparing Martin Scorcese to thoe rappers who pulled out best song. Shame to the Academy for honoring thuggery over talent, but bravo to Stewart for being willing to point it out;
- describing "Walk the Line" as "Ray" with white people. . .well, it didn't please Juaquin Phoenix, which makes it an "A" in my book;
- starting line was some variant of "good evening ladies. . .gentlemen. . .Felicity".
- on why "Cinderella Man" should have won the makeup award: "imagine how difficult it must be to make Russell Crowe look like he just got into a fight"
- the bit about VP Cheney winging Bjork when she was trying on her dress for the event was Funny! (and yes, that's a capital F)

And many many more. Honestly, I thought Stewart was very good--and very brave. And I also think that he will NEVER EVER be asked to return to the role of emcee--which is just about all you need to know about how he performed last night.

UPDATE: All right, brave is a little strong. Ultimately, he really had nothing to lose, and I don't think that looking at the mob at the Oscars invokes fear in somebody who is taking the stage and poking fun at the attendees. So we'll leave it at "he was good".