Tagged: Oscars

Links to columns on the Oscars, fast food joints, etc.


I don’t feel like writing much here today. Instead, here are links to some columns of mine that ran this week:

First, my News Watch column on fast food joints, which recounted a notorious trip to a Carl’s Jr. in Los Angeles years ago that went so badly that it was comical. 

(Pictured above: a typical Carl’s Jr. ad.)

Second, my cinema column The Last Word on the Oscars, recounting an Oscar telecast that went about as well as our trip to Carl’s Jr. did. The end of the show was such a train wreck that it was comical.

Finally, my legislature column John Cairns’ Leg Watch, in which I focus on the first day of the legislature’s return earlier this week. Not quite as comical.

Maybe tomorrow I will get around to talking about the WikiLeaks’ CIA leak and other major news of the week, but not right now.

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The accountants take the blame for the biggest gaffe in Oscars history!!

Well, the finger pointing has been on full-blast over the epic screwup last night at the Academy Awards seen by millions of people, in which Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway announced La La Land as Best Picture, when it was Moonlight that was the actual winner. It turned out they got the wrong envelope: instead, they opened a duplicate one pulled out of the wrong pile that announced Emma Stone, La La Land, as the Best Actress winner instead. 

Frankly, when I witnessed all this confusion on the Oscar stage erupting on TV, I thought this had to be some stunt, some joke — that maybe they were making fun of Steve Harvey’s infamous announcement of the wrong winner at the Miss Universe pageant last year. Then, when I realized this was no prank, and that they really had screwed it up, I was going “holy crap, it’s happened again!!” This was Steve Harvey, all over again! 

The accounting firm of PricewaterhouseCoopers, responsible for overseeing the results, has admitted responsibility for the messup, saying what happened was their fault. They have apologized, and they should apologize because this messup ruined what seemed like a good show, with Jimmy Kimmel particularly on fire all night. His fine hosting effort went head-first into the trashcan.

As for all the heat Warren Beatty has taken for that botched Best Picture announcement, I think the real reason he is taking heat is because he’s Warren Beatty and not for anything he particularly did wrong. I mean, he was doing his job! When Beatty opened the envelope he looked at the card and had a totally confused look on his face. Then, after he showed the card to Faye Dunaway, it was actually Dunaway who announced the winner. 

Honestly, folks, the blame here is all on the people who gave these two the wrong card! So this has nothing to do with Beatty. Give him a break!

This goes down as one of the most infamous moments in live-TV history, down there with Steve Harvey botching Miss Universe, Janet Jackson exposing herself at halftime in the Super Bowl, and the streaker who ran on stage during the Oscars years ago. Remember that? Some naked guy was actually shown on TV running onstage while David Niven was introducing Elizabeth Taylor back in 1974.

Here is a look at some of the crazy moments of the Academy Awards telecast over the years. Obviously, this sort of nonsense is nothing new for the Oscars, but Richard Roeper does declare it a new low for the Academy.

Oh, and as an aside, this was not the only gaffe during the Oscar show. The In Memoriam segment, which has become infamous over the years for its gaffes, did it again when they paid tribute to late costume designer Janet Patterson, but put up the wrong picture.

Well, at least the show wasn’t boring, for a change. Better luck next year, folks.

Update (Wednesday): it’s official, the two accountants responsible for this screwup have been permanently booted from the Oscars. 

I still cannot believe what I saw at the end of the Academy Awards!!

It is late where I am, so I will save my thoughts until later on this jaw-dropping mixup at the end of the Oscar show, in which Best Picture was mistakenly announced for La La Land when it turns out that Moonlight is the actual winner. 

I guess my real surprise is that such a mixup happened again, after the Miss Universe announcement debacle a year ago. What an insane Oscar night, folks. More soon.

What are you most excited about today? Daytona 500, or the Oscars?


As usual, the great American tradition of Oscar Night is colliding the same day as another great American event: NASCAR. Boogity Boogity Boogity

It seems like this happens every year, except this time the Oscars are up against the Great American Race, the Daytona 500! I guess the good news is this year they won’t be going head-to-head: the 500 is in the afternoon while the Academy Awards goes later in the evening. The only way there will be a conflict is if there is a rain delay or a lot of crashes and car-pileups. Right now, though, there is rain in the forecast — in LA.

Here’s something that just occurred to me: does anyone think the Daytona 500 might have influenced the slogan of Donald Trump’s campaign for President?

The Great American Race?” “Make America Great Again?” (Another thing to think about: Trump’s second home is in Florida.)

Of course, these two events are going to have completely different sets of audiences. The Daytona crowd is about God, country, and country music: rabid Republican, rapidly populist, and therefore, rabid Trump. 

The Oscar crowd, though, is totally socially and culturally liberal and international in its outlook. And it couldn’t be less populistic, because it’s rich celebrities and industry people there. They’re also probably pro-Globalization there, too, because Hollywood does its business all over the world. In short, they’re Democrats

This piece in Fox News sums up the cultural divide for these two events. To me it really is a stark elitist-vs.-populist divide, and has been for years. And it kind of makes no sense, either, because lots of NASCAR fans love going to movies, too. But this isn’t about the movies; it’s about the Oscars. There is this general knee-jerk reaction to this awards show in particular, because most of these nominees are just too darned pretentious for the general population.

Anyway, I must be one of the few people interested in both these things. I will admit this: of these events today, I am far more excited about NASCAR being back. I gotta admit it, it’s more my scene than the Oscars with all their fashions and political speeches. Seriously, can’t we give the politics a rest, for a change? You can be darned sure there won’t be political speeches at Daytona, these folks will be too busy racing.

Also, at least with the Daytona 500 it’s guaranteed to be exciting and entertaining — something the Oscars usually are not. Oh, well, maybe with Jimmy Kimmel hosting it will be a livelier show. 

Update: Actually, based on the Twitter reaction from Saskatchewan, most people from around here were interested in the freaking Scotties Tournament of Hearts curling! To heck with that!!

Chris Rock kills at the Oscars, and other News from Nowhere this eve of Super Tuesday

Welcome to News from Nowhere for this Monday “Leap Day”. I guess everyone is still settling down after the big Oscar telecast last night. 

As I had threatened, I didn’t bother to watch most of the first part of the show — instead, I followed much of the reaction on Twitter. A far better way to follow this borefest, in my opinion, though I did tune in to the last hour on TV. It sounds like this was actually the most watchable Oscar show in years, believe it or not, mainly because host Chris Rock took everyone down a notch and put an end to the usual self-congratulation we have come to expect from the Academy. When he called Hollywood “sorority racist,” he nailed it exactly. 

Also, the entire night was helped by some big surprises, as Spotlight took Best Picture and Sylvester Stallone failed to win Best Supporting Actor to the shock of everyone. So in general, it was probably a more interesting show than usual, even though it went on way too long. Again.

In other news — we are on the eve of Super Tuesday, the slate of primaries impacting a large number of states and with a large number of delegates at stake. Based simply on what happened Saturday in South Carolina, Hillary Clinton should pretty much have the Democratic nomination all wrapped up as of tomorrow. Bernie Sanders really is sinking fast, and the South clearly has no use for him.

As for the Republicans, it looks like a near sweep is possible for Donald Trump, with Texas likely a holdout for Ted Cruz. And the endorsements have been rolling in for Trump. Among the latest endorsing him: David Duke of the KKK! 

Well, that has proved to be yet another farce. Trump’s clumsy attempt to disavow Duke’s dubious endorsement has proven to be yet another controversy for his circus act of a campaign

It’s stuff like this that would usually sink other people. It’s this sort of thing that makes it mind-boggling that Trump is actually ahead with voters. Yet it is also pretty obvious why Trump is winning. Nobody is speaking up for the blue collar workers in American politics anymore, and most definitely, not in the Republican Party! These blue-collar folks are being hit and socked by plant closures and jobs being shipped abroad. The trade deficit issue is real, and so is homeland security and ISIS. But the only GOP candidate even bothering to really give lip service to their issues is Trump, even though his general approach is just plain nuts.

Many commentators are already talking about how American politics is undergoing a realignment, with the old left-right divide giving way to some sort of populists-versus-the elites dynamic which Trump is capitalizing on. Peggy Noonan wrote something for the Wall Street Journal about it called Trump and the Rise of the Unprotected. Also, Laura Ingraham wrote a piece about how the traditional Republican leaders have for years ignored what the Republican voters really wanted.

All in all, it sounds as if the pundits have gotten a very early start on the analysis of Super Tuesday. The results are not even in yet!  Anyway, we should be in for an interesting night tomorrow.

Other news: 

TSN TradeCentre was a bust! Very little happened at the NHL trade deadline today, so we were reduced to seeing Martin Biron firing T-shirt cannons at Jennifer Hedger. Surely, an all time low for TradeCentre.

In other NHL news, people north of the border are already starting to freak out of the prospect that no Canadian teams will make it to the NHL playoffs, and what this shocking turn of events will mean for NHL rights holder Rogers. (Answer: it means more people will tune in to “Rogers Blue Jays Baseball” instead, come April.)

In other sports, last week was the first Entry Draft for something called the Global Poker League, and you can read more about it here. Basically, it’s poker turned into a team sport, with a number of franchises all around the world. 

People are touting this concept as something that will spark the next “Poker Boom,” but to me the whole idea sounds crazy. I watched some of this GPL Entry Draft on Twitch last week, and the selections by some of these “franchises” were insane. I’ve literally never heard of many of these people. And also, from what I read at least one big name, Antonio Esfandiari, unexpectedly decided to opt out of the whole thing entirely! In any event, we shall see how this concept all turns out. At the very least, these “games” will prove ready filler programming on sports TV channels — particularly in Canada with none of their NHL teams in the playoffs.

News from TV news! Gord Martineau retired today as anchor of Citytv Toronto! This all happened rather suddenly. So another name from my time living in Toronto has departed the scene.

And George Kennedy missed out on being in the “In Memoriam” segment of the Oscar show by one day. The former Airport and Naked Gun actor died today

That is it for now.

Work update: I am “boycotting” the Oscars. I wish I were kidding!

I just thought I would let people know that I have been run off my feet this week with assignments. Too many late nights. Tomorrow is no different. 

I have a heap of sports assignments from morning until night. For that reason I likely won’t even be able to watch any of the red-carpet run up to the Academy Awards and might not even be able to watch the first part of the show! So yes, you can say I am “boycotting the Oscars”, just like these other #OscarsSoWhite protesters are doing tomorrow.

This is probably just as well, as my interest in tomorrow’s “only-whites-get-nominated” Oscar telecast is probably at an all-time low. And not just because of this controversy/travesty that I am mad about like other folks are. I just think the Oscars are elitist in general, and that the most powerful people in Hollywood and a lot of the major stars are absolutely out of touch with the masses. Sorry if I just sounded like a broken record again, but I have felt this way for a long, long time. Hopefully, Chris Rock will go on the Oscar stage tomorrow and really let Hollywood have it. All these folks deserve to be taken down a notch.

The other thing is that my work assignments as of late have basically kept me away from the cinemas, so I haven’t seen any of the Oscar contenders and really have no strong opinions one way or the other on which movies ought to win or lose! 

Anyway, those are my thoughts about tomorrow. Hopefully next year will be different.

Oh, and in political news tonight, Hillary Clinton has clobbered Bernie Sanders in the Democratic South Carolina primary by something like 50 points! Seriously, it really was that big a rout. Bernie ought to quit.

My final word on the same old lousy-as-usual Oscars show

This will suffice as my last word about the Oscar show on Sunday that seems to be getting panned left, right and centre by everyone. 

Obviously I agree with the criticism, but to be honest it was no worse a show than it usually is. It had its moments — Lady Gaga and Julie Andrews, Sean Penn’s remarks about green cards, and some of the speeches were interesting. 

And yes, Neil Patrick Harris was terrible, but in fairness, he was better than James Franco. A lot of his problem was due to the stupid writing from the writers and the stupid routines he was made to do. That, plus the fact that this host plays before the toughest, most uptight audience imaginable. Some people are now saying they should put in Tina Fey and Amy Poehler up there instead as hosts, based on how well they did at the Golden Globes. It sounds like a good idea, until you realize what kind of humorless crowd they would be dealing with here.  

As for the annual travesty that is the “In Memoriam” segment, everyone is screaming about how Joan Rivers was excluded, except Rivers really didn’t do much in the movie industry beyond only a handful of things. She made most of her impact in the comedy world and on television. 

In the award categories, I cannot honestly say whether the Academy got it right or wrong for a lot of them because I haven’t been able to get to these movies over the last month and a half. I notice the Boyhood fans, however, are livid and are convinced that movie got robbed. 

As for the Oscar show itself — it has really lost its way, folks. Then again, this is nothing new, the show has been boring for years. They need to figure out some new way of doing things at the Oscar show to make it seem hip and relevant — at least at the same level as the Grammys. At least that awards show makes an honest attempt at aiming for an audience of actual music fans. I dunno who the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences thinks the audience is for their production, but it sure seemed like this show isn’t made for actual movie fans at all, but for the “elites.” Whoever they are.

It’s not just the awards show aimed at elites, but the pre-show, too! I notice people are getting more and more fed up with the red carpet coverage of these fashions that most ordinary people at home cannot afford, anyway. Plus, you also are getting these inane questions on the Red Carpet posed to female actresses about what they are wearing (something the #AskHerMore campaign was railing against). So in general, everyone is fed up with this. There is this big desire from the public to see the Oscars, from start to finish, be a celebration of movies and actually be about movies, but it isn’t happening. Instead, what we get is a boring and self-serving show for and about rich people.

From my standpoint, it says it all when you can miss a full hour and a half of the awards show, as I did, and yet feel you missed nothing even when you were gone. That is my rant on the Oscar show for this year. 

Pleased to see I didn’t miss much of the Oscars while I was away covering the sports

Checking my Twitter feed upon my return, it sure looks like I missed nothing from tonight’s Oscar show, which looks like it is just as long and boring as it usually is. I was actually on assignment covering an exciting local SPHL senior league hockey game.

After I filed that story, I was able to catch Patricia Arquette’s Best Supporting Actress speech online, and just saw the In Memoriam segment live, which is always a barrel of laughs because of who gets omitted.

Other than that, I feel like I missed nothing from the telecast and I probably am going to continue to miss nothing, as I now switch the channel to TSN to the UFC Fight Night going on in Brazil. See you later.

Do you even care anymore that the Oscars are on this weekend?!

I am less excited about this Sunday evening’s Oscar show than I have been in years. All I really care about is whether or not Julianne Moore wins Best Actress for Still Alice, just because she’s so awesome. But that’s about it.

The headline at Drudge Report dubbed it “The ‘Dullest’ Show on Earth” and then linked to this Hollywood Reporter article, which skewered the current crop of Best Picture nominees for being the lowest-grossing in years and which further illustrates the gulf between the Academy and mass audiences.

But this has been going on for years. There was once a time, years ago, when movies that really made an impact in the popular culture with the mass audience could also be nominated and win an Oscar — Rocky, for example, or Patton or The Sting or even Titanic.

But these days we seem to get two sets of movies — one set aimed at mass audiences (many of which are not that good, either), and another made to meet the narrow confines and standards of “awards season” voters and other upper-crust people. And for the most part, neither of the two shall meet in between.

And so we get Best Picture nominations for movies like Boyhood, and Birdman, and a host of others most people haven’t seen or really cared about all year.

This divide is exactly the reason why people are tuning out of the Academy Awards — because these days the “Oscar movies” appeal to the “elite” crowd and not the masses or ordinary moviegoers. About the only movie nominated this year for Best Picture that really appealed to both Oscar voters and a mass audience is American Sniper.

I am also almost willing to bet you it won’t win — because it’s too popular. I’d like to be wrong, though.

Anyway, that is my rant out of the way. Here is a link to the Grantland Oscar Preview page, which might help you get excited about the big awards show. Or it may not.

Congrats to Ellen for crashing all of Twitter with that Oscar “selfie” pic last night

MY RANT ON HOW TO FIX THE OSCAR TELECAST IS NOW UP

IN MY OPINION, THE SETH MACFARLANE OSCAR SHOW WAS THE USUAL MESS

I’m planning to do a big writeup in my cinema column about the Oscar show from last night. While it had it’s interesting moments — the Michelle Obama presentation of Best Picture direct from the White House being one of them, the James Bond tribute being another — I think the whole show was pretty much a mess. Not any worse a mess than previous years were, but a mess nevertheless.

On the one hand, there were some good moments and even some funny ones, but just as often this show really embarrassed itself, like when Seth MacFarlane made that joke about an actor getting into Lincoln’s head. Yes, Seth, 150 years is too soon to joke about that . A thousand years is too soon as well. Way to throw away the class, dude. 

On the other hand, the producers would counterbalance all this downmarket nonsense with all these highbrow musical numbers, with all this stupid singing and dancing that most people at home don’t want to see (particularly the guys)!

The joke circulating around Twitter last night was that everyone tuned in for the Oscars, only to see the Tony Awards break out.

That Chicago musical number was my big moment to tune right out despite the fact Catherine Zeta-Jones is still a babe. Plus, I almost died when I saw Barbra Streisand go out there to sing during the In Memoriam segment, which, incidentally, the Academy managed to screw up yet again with their omissions (ie. Andy Griffith).

It seemed this show had no clue what audience it was trying to appeal to — a high-brow crowd, or a young and hip audience. But they appeased no one. Streisand and Chicago drove away the young and hip while MacFarlane and his idiot bear creation Ted drove out the highbrow people. So at the end of the day we a got a show that was a mess. Again. Period.

What the Academy really ought to do is chuck what they are doing with the awards show and make the whole Oscar weekend more of a big celebration of the movies. I think the folks at the Academy need to hire the people in charge of the Super Bowl.

Seriously, the Super Bowl is something everyone looks forward to every year: the ad agencies go all-out with their best commercials of the year, the musical numbers are top flight and usually not a source of derision (save for Janet Jackson’s infamous wardrobe malfunction). Plus, they honor their own with the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award presentations, the introduction of the Hall of Fame inductees and the Vince Lombardi Trophy presentation itself.

Lately, even the action on the field has been half decent. But the key is, the Super Bowl is packaged as a big celebration, a big party wrapped around a football game.

That’s what the Oscars ought to be: the Super Bowl of movies, a celebration. But we aren’t getting that sense of fun. Instead, we get an over-long, uneven production every year that is never any fun for anyone to participate in or tune in — especially these hosts. Plus, you have these actresses who are continually being judged on their fashions on the red carpet. The whole night is a pressure-cooker — basically, a night of misery.  It shouldn’t be that way.

Anyway, I just stole the thunder right out of what I was going to say in my movie column, but I just had to rant and rave about what the Oscars ought to be about in the future, because what it is now just isn’t working for me. And keep in mind, I’m about as big a movie fan as I am a football fan. 

As for the awards themselves, I was very happy to see Argo win Best Picture and even happier that Quentin Tarantino won for Original Screenplay for Django Unchained. He called this year the Year of the Writer. Right you are, Tarantino.

For the full list of winners, you can find that here.  

I FIND MYSELF MORE INTERESTED IN NASCAR THAN THE OSCARS THIS YEAR

Usually I am all hyped about the Academy Awards but for some reason I was still more interested in the Daytona 500 even though there was that awful wreck the other day that sent many fans to the hospital.

Amazingly, no one has died. Even more amazingly, they pushed ahead with today’s race in spite of the tragedy. I think maybe what happened the other day was kind of on the minds of the drivers, because there wasn’t a lot of wild and crazy passing in the race.

Anyway it was Jimmie Johnson who won — again. So much for all the hype about Danica Patrick.

As for tonight’s Oscars, I’ll watch the usual parts of the show like their annual list of deceased people, just to see who got omitted again so that everyone gets all upset. But I don’t know if I am going to watch the whole thing. I might cut out during the boring parts and watch Family Guy instead.

I notice the host tonight is the usually funny Seth MacFarlane, a choice that I believe is sure to go down like a lead balloon with these uptights in the audience. I read this Oscar show may be a little less reverential than it usually is — less of this glitz and glamour and more humor.  The Oscar show usually lays it on thick with putting Hollywood on a pedestal and all that nonsense.

That’s what the audience in the hall expects — this audience filled with stars and industry big shots. They usually are demanding a show that is reverential of Hollywood. Unfortunately, it makes it hard for a funny host to be able to be irreverent, or for that matter, funny, at all.

This audience is, without question, the toughest crowd in comedy. They just don’t have a sense of humor. I’ve seen one funny comedian after another go down in flames at the Oscars over the years. So good luck to Seth MacFarlane tonight. He needs it, more than you know.

Also, they are planning a tribute to 50 years of James Bond 007 movies tonight, and the rumor is they are going to bring back all the guys who played James Bond for the show tonight. We’ll see if it happens.

Basically, that’s about all I care about tonight — I’m not that interested in the Oscar race like in past years. For more about tonight’s show, here’s a story here. Also, the red carpet live streams are on at KTLA and OntheRedCarpet.com.