This year’s 84th Annual Academy Awards was a strange night indeed. The night was filled with “OMG” moments. Even from the very beginning when Sacha Baron Cohen
the actor from the film Borat
spills what he said were the ashes of the late Kim Jong-il all over host Ryan Seacrest on the red carpet. “Whaa?” That’s what the entire night was like for me. It all felt very strange.
- Billy Crystal does blackface at the Oscars…Whaa?
- Sean Diddy Combs won an Oscar for the documentary film Undefeated…Whaa?
- Gabby’s hair…Ummm…
- Octavia Spencer gets a standing ovation for winning Best Supporting Actress…Okaay… It was a great performance, but a standing O?
- T.J. Martin becomes the first African-American director to win an Academy award for Undefeated and then drops the “F-bomb” during his speech…For real?
- Meryl Streep wins for Best Actress…Again?
Strange happenings indeed.
Even stranger, is the spark of controversy over Billy Crystal’s “colorful” jokes while hosting the Oscars. After Octavia Spencer won her award Crystal says,
“After I saw The Help I just wanted to hug the first black woman I saw, which from Beverly Hills is about a 45 minute drive.”
Next, during a comedic segment were the camera pans over to certain celebrities to show what they are thinking, Billy’s statement about what Viola was thinking left you thinking…”Whaa?”
When Viola noticed that the camera was on her, you could tell she braced herself for what was to come. Crystal joked that Viola was thinking,
“I want to thank my agent, I want to thank my writer and director for creating the role of a strong black woman that wasn’t played by Tyler Perry.” [Shakes head in disbelief]
It felt like a low blow at Tyler Perry
who seems to get no respect from Hollywood for his film-making. Perry, by the way, took in $16 million Oscar weekend for his new movie “Good Deeds
.” The interesting thing about Mr. Crystal’s jokes was that it’s hard to tell if they were mean-spirited or just ill-advised. With this being such a big night for Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer and The Help why cast a shadow over that moment by pointing out various elephants in the room. That is, lack of options for roles for strong Black actors (Tyler comment). Or, the fact that “white guilt” is still very prevalent in our society with his joke about wanting to hug a black woman. Or, maybe that was his point to bring dialogue about these issues.
As for Billy Crystal doing blackface, in his defense, theGrio
“…the Davis impression was a bit he made popular back during his days on Saturday Night Live. His exaggerated portrayal of the latter-day Davis (always performed in blackface) was a regular character, and Crystal even once played him alongside Rev. Jesse Jackson when he hosted SNL in 1984.”
Now, let’s talk about Viola Davis who was absolutely stunning in her green dress. I have to say that it seems a little strange that there is more hoopla over Viola Davis’ new natural hair (see post),
than over the fact that an African-American won an accolade that no other Black director to date can claim. Not to say that Black hair is not a big issue, because it is. It’s exciting to witness the times changing right before our eyes. (See post on naturalhair predictions for 2012.)
Although our girl didn’t win, I can only imagine what a relief it must be for Viola Davis that the Oscars are finally over. She can now get back to her family and focusing on her work. Esperanza Spalding gets an honorable mention for fiercest afro!
On a lighter note…did you guys see Chris Rocks hair?? That unshaped afro was fabulous! He gave us a little bit of “Pookie,” but clean, you know? Here’s a thought, when Chris Rock does racial jokes, it’s artfully funny—Billy Crystal, not so much. Chris Rock was a breath of fresh comedic air as he introduced the award for Best Animated Film.
“I hate when people go on TV and tell you how hard it is to do animation … No, UPS is hard work. I’ve done some animation … It’s the easiest job in the world. I go in a booth and I go, ‘what’s the line?’ And the guy goes, ‘it’s time to go to the store.’ And I go, ‘it’s time to go to the store!’ [Said in an urban dialect] … And then they give me a million dollars.”
He further jokes,
“I love animation because in the world of animation, you can be anything you wanna be. If you’re a fat woman, you can play a skinny princess. If you’re a short, wimpy guy, you can play a tall gladiator. If you’re a white man, you can play an Arabian prince. And if you’re a black man, you can play a donkey or a zebra.”
With that joke alone there’s no question why “#ChrisRockforOscars2013” is trending on Twitter. Of course, (seriously) reports are coming in that Chris Rock has now pissed off the voice animation community with his comments. Whaa?
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