Sunday, February 9, 2020

A Very Gen X Night at the Oscars

The oft overlooked Generation X had its night in the spotlight at the 92nd Academy Awards, sweeping the acting categories--plus a surprise performance from Eminem!

Here’s my take on it all.

Brad’s Goldilocks Speeches

Brad Pitt has made quite a splash on the awards circuit this season, also winning at the Golden Globes and SAGs.  At each event, his acceptance speech was just right.  

For such a hunky, good-looking guy, Brad manages to remain likable and down to earth.  Calling out his parents “in the Ozarks” at his Golden Globes speech made this multi-millionaire relatable to the common folks.

He was inspiring without being (too) political; in his Globes speech he said, "If you see a chance to be kind to someone tomorrow, take it.  I think we need it." 

And he inclined towards self-deprecation, as in his SAG acceptance speech: “Let’s be honest, it was a difficult part; a guy who gets high, takes his shirt off, and doesn’t get on with his wife.  It was a big stretch.”  This was met with cheers. 

And they even included poetry.  Tonight, he said; “I’m not one to look back, but this has made do so.  I think of my folks taking me to the drive-through to see Sundance, to loading up my car to come out here….to all the wonderful people I’ve met along the way; once up a time in Hollywood, ain’t that the truth.”

Kudos to Brad for consulting with great comedians and writers in preparation for his acceptance speeches!

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is a movie I haven’t yet seen.  So I can’t comment on his performance.  But I DO think it’s high time this gem of an actor received an Oscar!

Laura Dern Gets Her Due

Laura Dern claimed victory for her performance as the high-power LA divorce lawyer in Marriage Story.  

In her moving monologue from the movie, Dern rants about mothers being held to a “different, higher standard” than fathers.   On first take, Dern sounded unhinged--as the character seemed completely untrustworthy.  But on second take, it sold me.

Just like Brad, it’s HIGH TIME Laura Dern receives an Academy Award.

In her acceptance speech she called out her parents, two other action legends: “Some say you never meet your heroes, but I say if you’re really blest, you get them as your parents.  I share this with my acting heroes...Diane Ladd and Bruce Dern.  You got game.  I love you.”

Shady's Back

Eminem's proven that you can have a Third Act in your late 40s.  After releasing his album “Music to be Murdered By” last month, this 2003 Oscar winner finally graced the stage of the Academy Awards with his performance of “Lose Yourself.”

And the audience enjoyed it.  Cameras cut to audience members singing along and jibing in their seats.  Unlike Pitt or Dern, Eminem received a standing ovation!

Music is moving like that, I guess.  I LOVED this performance as well--my favorite part of the night.  What IS IT about Eminem that we all like so much?

Twitter had some fun with this performance; a screenshot to Martin Scorsese looking like he was sleeping through it quickly became a meme.

Reverend Joaquin

I guess we all saw this coming down the pike--the win and the speech, that is.  Joker is one of the two best movies I saw in 2020 (second was Uncut Gems).  So I can’t say Phoenix didn’t deserve this award.

But after his crass, dickish appearance at the Golden Globes; swearing in the acceptance speech, cutting down a reporter backstage; I found his proselytizing at the Oscars too much to bear.

His maudlin speech chided us for drinking cow’s milk and included a tear-stained reference to his brother, River.  Simply proving to us, again, that he's a good actor.

“Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it,” is how one Tweeter recapped it.  


And finally, Renee Zelleweger.  Her performance as Judy Garland in Judy was top-notch.  Especially so as it's one of her first performances after taking a six-year haitus from acting. 

But her speech was long and rambling.  Unlike Brad, who consulted the best and the brightest, Zelleweger, it seems, patched hers together with consultation from a verbose ten-year-old with ADHD. 

It went on and on, it making points that could have crescendoed, but instead were nearly incoherent given all the NOISE surrounding them.

For example, in an effort to shine the light on Judy Garland and how a common adulation for heroes brings us together, she references Neil Armstrong, Sally Ride, Venus & Serena Williams, Bob Dylan, Scorsese, the military, first responders more.  It was too much.

Well, anyway.  We’ll put that one in the books.  I kind of anticipated it’d be boring.

Oh, I’d be amiss not to call out her impressive arm muscles.  Quite an achievement for a woman in her late 40s.  That’s an honest remark, I’m not being catty.

Other Evening Records

Similar to a baseball, it’s hard not to examine the Oscars through the eyes of a statistician.  But I won’t get too cra cra and boring here. 

Except to point out that with 10 Nominations, Irishman walked away with zero wins.  Is that a record?

And that Parasite swept with Best Director, Best Picture, Original Screenplay and Best International Film without receiving ANY acting nominations.  That, surely, is a record.

Oh, and I’m still kind of reeling that Uncut Gems was completely shut out.  But discussing snubs at this point is kind of passé.

And what about you?  Did you like the Oscars?  

Were there any surprises in there for you?


  1. Nope. No surprises for me. I don't watch the awards shows because most of the show bores me. I rely on the news and beautifully-written posts like yours to fill me in on the details. I usually get recaps of the music too, but I'm sorry I missed Eminem's performance....I guess I'll have to Google a video of it :/ Thank you so much for the recap and the wonderful movie recommendations!


    1. Thanks for your nice comments, Ruth! Yeah, I agree, sometimes it's easier just read the recaps....the show itself is pretty long!


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