So another Oscars has come and gone and, surprise, surprise, "professional" reviews hated it. I used to be a professional reviewer for a newspaper, a talent scout for several multi-national corporations and have helped produce over a dozen TV shows, films and concert series. In other words, I have worked in the business in various roles and know what I am talking about. And here is my verdict on last night's telecast:
It was the best Oscar show in years.
Seth McFarland was hysterical all night long. I didn't hate the dance numbers. We had some surprise wins. The only beef I would have is that the Bond tribute clip show was terribly edited and somewhat short. Couldn't we have had Roger Moore at least show up to introduce the clip rather than Halle Berry who was in one of the worst Bond films ever? However, she did look fantastic so who am I to complain.
This you would never know from the majority of reviewers who have panned the show, calling it the worst thing since the Holocaust. Really? Worse than Letterman? Worse than the Franco/Hathaway fiasco? I kind of doubt it.
Here's the rub. If a vast majority of the public agreed with the professionals here, I would admit defeat and say that maybe it's just me who really likes McFarland's brand of humor. But according to message boards I have read today from a wide variety of sources from every section of the country, they overwhelmingly loved it. Sure you have a hater here or there, but most seemed stunned by the negative reaction to what most found very entertaining.
One post was from a couple in their sixties who lived in Florida. They had never heard of Seth McFarland before this. Obviously, Family Guy is not in their age group. But they went on to say they found him charming and funny and couldn't understand all the hate. I agree.
From Nikki Finke to Harry Knowles, Seth got blasted in the usual snarky tone I expect from them. But for the life of me I couldn't figure out why. What have these people seen that I missed? The truth is kind of disturbing.
The movie Ratatouille summed it best with the food critic admitting that bad reviews are a lot more fun to write and read than good ones. And he would be right. Heaping praise on a great film is cool but there is nothing better than ripping to shreds some god awful piece of nonsense that just stole two hours of your life. Winter's Bone I am looking at you.
But in the process of searching for the awful review to write, I think it sometimes clouds our judgement. Everyone was ready to hate the Oscars before they ever started because, let's face it, they usually suck bad. So Seth had the cards stacked against him before he even took the stage and when he didn't fly around the room on pink clouds telling the greatest jokes ever told, he was set up to fail.
Only the general public didn't see it that way and that is becoming more and more the norm for reviewers everywhere. They have become so high and pompous on their greatness, they seem to have forgotten that when one reviews anything, their opinion shouldn't be as important as to what the public will think. When AO Scott panned The Avengers he became a footnote for someone who's opinion matters at all anymore.
When I was a model scout with Willimena Modeling we were told don't think of the people we were scouting as someone you are attracted to but rather someone who could model. Trust me, some models who make tons of money are kind of homely up close. Most are stunning however. Reviews should be the same. If some thing is terrible, it's terrible. I don't care how you dress up films like Meet the Spartans or The Bounty Hunter, they suck. But when you start hammering things you don't like, and others might, you are performing a disservice to your readers. And reviewers should take this into account.
I found the Oscars a lot of fun. I am thrilled Christoph Waltz won in a surprise upset. I am not surprised Zero Dark Thirty got shut out and I guess Hollywood doesn't really like the Weinsteins or Spielberg for their meager wins.
I hope he hosts again, and as the ratings were up 20% from last year, he just might. And the critics will hate him again for it.