If, like me, you took a laissez faire attitude to sleep last night so you could watch a room full of multi-millionaires spunking into each other’s pockets, you would have been shocked by just how beige that scenario could get. It was hosted by former child star Neil Patrick Harris, who more recently forged a career playing a chauvinistic business man in a chintzy Friends reboot. Harris was a competent host but by God, his jokes flopped harder than a seizing hake out of water. They were so safe that even the legendary PC Brigade wouldn’t have minded a racial gaffe. Perhaps the political seriousness is the reason behind the lack of yucks; a year when, in times of extreme racial tension in the USA, a film about the march in Selma, Alabama is largely ignored in favour of a movie about a guy playing Call Of Duty: Muslim Children, or Buddy Rich’s son, or whatever. But still, there’s no excuse for the distinct lack of gags at play here. I heard more jokes land at your dad’s retirement dinner. They weren’t just bad, they were totally empty, the kind of puns a caption writer would come up with, head in hands, in the precious last minutes of press day.
It was truly a shit show of the highest order. The emotionlessness wasn’t just in the bad gags, even the In Memoriam lacked the punch, the dead being illustrated like they were in an advert for a paint program on Windows XP. There wasn’t even space for a pan of the audience, so no celebs crying at the loss of a marketing executive or sound mixer no one knew existed. It was so devoid of human feeling that when David Oyelowo shed a tear or two during John Legend and Common’s musical number, the camera fixed on him like he was about to pull a mic out of his jacket and join in. The funniest part of the whole thing was literally when the director of Ida got played off but kept talking, but then he mentioned his dead wife.
On the plus side, Alex Zane’s agent is going to be feeling very pleased with themselves. On the exclusive Sky showing of the ceremony, Zane, still having not had a haircut, sat with Katy Brand, Boyd Hilton and Times film critic Kate Muir, seemingly simulating the exact conversations you’ll be trying to avoid when you go into work today.
So how could the Oscars have been made funnier? What could have been injected into the proceedings to make them more like a HBO Special than a toddler’s cremation? Here’s a few bullet points and tips, so that perhaps next year the whole thing won’t be about as engaging as a trip to the soap-on-a-rope manufacturing plant.
NPH's entrance. LOL!
- Neil Patrick Harris had a bit in which he ‘locked’ a briefcase full of Oscar predictions in a transparent box. On opening the box and reading out the predictions it was filled with all the laughs we enjoyed together over the evening. Naturally, as with most of Harris’ gags, it did not land. Instead he should have reeled off the list of confirmed kills by American Sniper Chris Kyle, all 160 of them. It’s the kind of meta-joke that’s funny, then not funny, and then funny all over again. Plus all those darn foreign names. It’s gold.
- A skit with SS Obergruppenfuhrer Reinhard Heydrich AKA The Butcher Of Prague and American Sniper Chris Kyle AKA The Devil Of Ramadi spitballing in the afterlife about what it’s like being the Satan of a region during war.
- John Travolta’s inappropriate touching of Idina Menzel’s face goes one step further as his fingers turn into tiny black snakes and tentacles which writhe up her nose and down her throat. David Miscavige runs on stage with a katana and beheads him.
- David Miscavige makes the age old quip ‘Take my wife... Please! She’s locked in my secret compound in the California hills and is threatening to dismantle my extremely lucrative space cult.’ Always kills.
- Matthew McConaughey wheels out a nude female tied to a log with rotting antlers attached to her head and a spiral etched crudely on her back. He gives a knowing look to the crowd (they know the reference), smokes a cigarette long and hard before pointing at her and saying ‘Take my wife... Please!’
- A hologram of Joan Rivers indignantly asking why she was left out of the dead people dedications, perhaps a gag about the academy 'Stooping lower than [her] tits and/or uterus.'
- J.K Simmons should have said: ‘I had to throw a chair at Miles (Teller, co-star of Whiplash), but to be honest, he’s lucky I didn’t solder a swastika onto his anus with a melted biro!’ This is a reference to HBO series ‘Oz’ in which Simmons played a neo-Nazi rapist.
- A hologram of Chris Kyle putting his widow in the sights of his rifle. ‘Take my wife... Please! I’m lonely up here.’
- Someone calling Benedict Cumberbatch a ‘Fucking limey son of a bitch.’
- Eddie Redmayne NOT pretending he was in the throes of motor neurone disease whilst giving his acceptance speech. Break character, man. Not cool.
- Eddie Redmayne doing the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge whilst accepting his award but instead of ice using a tub of crushed gold leaf and pulped dollar bills.
- Eddie Redmayne making reference to the fact that he has a ‘red mane’ and doing the charleston off stage with top hat and cane.
- Gilbert Gottfried hosting and presenting all awards and accepting all awards on behalf of all attendees.
- Alex Zane, Katy Brand and Boyd Hilton all stop talking about the Oscars and start writing gushing letters of thanks to their agents and managers, really thanking them a lot and acknowledging how unworthy they are to be anywhere near a TV camera in 2015, let alone the fucking Oscars for fucks sake.
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