The 86th Academy Awards Afterparty: Will there be pizza?

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Despite my fascination with film, I consistently have never really cared for the awards ceremonies as I’ve always seen them as rather trifling procedures. The night of Sunday, March 2 barely amounts to more than a shallow beauty pageant. The proceedings inside L.A.’s famed Dolby Theater are in effect an incredibly expensive circus in which wealthy people converge on a single venue to watch their extremely well-off colleagues accepting gold statues as a way of validating that their work was actually experienced by more than just the people in that stuffy little room.

And don’t even get me started on the actual reporting on the event beforehand. Christ, the quality of the news on the Red Carpet makes a mockery of journalism to the highest degree. There isn’t an apology to be found or heard. Ever. Cameras (and conversations) prefer to be aimed towards fashion trends, intentionally converting performers into walking billboards for the young and impressionable. People aren’t really people in these moments. But that’s okay. . . .I guess. After all, these centers of attention are the same folks who gave us those great moments in the films we liked over the past year. Now it’s fun seeing Jennifer Lawrence stumble all over her real-life awkwardness. Or how about seeing sworn on-screen enemies pal-ing around together over a drink? That’s the stuff that causes the warm, fuzzy feeling in your tummy to grow intensely, apparently.

In spite of my ranting, the end-of-the-film-year presentation is actually greatly entertaining to watch. Why is that, you ask, understandably now confused.

Perhaps its partly because of the phenomenon of the fourth wall still protecting these successful and talented individuals from the claws of the public. We have a right to see our favorite action hero star stripped of his/her dramatic veil so we can get a better look into that person’s mind and see how they do what they do so well. Harrison Ford struggling to look sober during this year’s Oscars is one such insight that might well cause an obsession-fueled Twitter thread. Then there was Ellen Degeneres doing something as mundane as delivering pizza to certain members in the first few rows of the audience while Brad Pitt humbled himself by serving plates and napkins that caused us to nearly soil our pants from laughter.

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They aren’t on the silver screen at the moment, yet the likes of Amy Adams, Chris Hemsworth, the aforementioned Lawrence who can’t seem to catch a break from intentional or unintentional public embarrassment as Degeneres appeared to roast her before kicking off the ceremony this year, or a legend like Robert DeNiro — they all still possess a mystique we can never hope to chip away completely because they are in some way, shape or form still performing for us, the humble viewers. They give possibly the most honest performances of their lives before these particular cameras, but we will never get to be at the Oscar afterparty with them when they all shed the burden of the pretense and of the pomp and circumstance. And, possibly their clothes, too.

As a person who loves film I have been notorious for either accidentally or purposefully avoiding these sorts of events because a great majority of the time I either vehemently disagree with the ultimate selections or I just have no comment on what is going on at the time. There’s also that little issue I have with the false emotion surrounding it all. But nevermind that for a bit. This year I watched the Oscars from start to finish, even tapping into the Red Carpet action (which I will probably never do again, based on the intro paragraphs above). But with a few staggeringly honest acceptance speeches delivered by gold statue recipients, my faith in what these people are doing with their lives has been reinvigorated.

There were obviously the requisite number of speeches that dragged on for far too long, some that became dangerously close to sounding arrogant, and some that were borderline unintelligible. But thanks to highlights in Jared Leto (who took the stage for his snagging of the Best Supporting Actor Oscar), Lupita Nyong’o (with her remarkable work in 12 Years a Slave garnering her a Best Supporting Actress Oscar) and the potentially crowd favorite Matthew McConaughey (the McConaissance can now be officially acknowledged following his Best Actor prize) this year’s Oscars offered up strong doses of humanity and humility, a display of appreciation that extends to those who have spent any amount of time paying attention to them — that includes us bloggers! There comes that warm, fuzzy feeling again. . .

Dedicating three hours to watching the awards ceremony proves that this movie-watching business is indeed an addiction. It is equal parts exciting and frustrating knowing that famous names are to receive even greater plaudits than they have already earned in being cast into money-making machines. Such is the nature of their jobs. Everyone should save themselves a pat on the back for me. Especially Mr. McConaughey. I say good for him.

Refocusing quickly: I should stop trying to be as pretentious as I can possibly be by pretending I’m not part of this collective. The best movies, or at least what certain governing bodies decide are fitting of such a vague description, are reflective of our lives, of our cultures, and of our personalities. There are so many levels on which films can operate and days like Oscar Sunday are one way of expressing just how well the people involved in the art form have managed to do just that. I used to not want to admit this, but there might not be a better way of expressing just how diverse and effective a range the medium can be in defining who I am, who you are, and who we are together. I won’t always love the way everything is handled, but I am at least a little more grateful for what this day means.

(It also doesn’t hurt that several of my picks were accurate this year!)

Take a look at my 2013 Digibread Awards to see what I thought were some of the year’s best. It’s a pretentious little post in itself! Did I mention I am a hypocrite?

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38 thoughts on “The 86th Academy Awards Afterparty: Will there be pizza?

    • Hey, that is a whole lot healthier than sitting there either A) playing drinking games to the nominees who you guessed incorrectly or B) the stress of worrying if Leo was going to win. . . too bad it was yet another foregone conclusion. Dammit

      All else was pretty as expected, so i can really relate to the indifference towards these kinds of things. 🙂 🙂

      • LOL it would be lovely if he won something already, but if he doesn’t that’s also alright, he is amazing whether they give him the statue or not hahahaha!

        Wow, lots of people doing lots of crazy stuff with Oscars! 😛

  1. Glad you took part in the festivities, Tom! I don’t mind the Oscar, I’d say it’s the Superbowl for movie lovers 😀 I love the whole pizza bit, I thought it was hilarious and a nice break from the usual stuffy-ness of these events.

    • Here! Here! Although I don’t exactly have a long relationship with Oscar, it’s quite over-the-top at times. A lot of it really is ridiculous.

      What offends you the most about it? Is it the predictability factor?

  2. I really feel that Award Season is getting too predictable, film wise. I mean, it’s fun to see all of our fav celebs make a fool of themselves, which only enhances their aura, if you know what I mean. It’s undoubtedly entertaining, it just sucks that we as cinephiles are able to predict who’ll win with such accuracy. I don’t know, I’m not making sense lol.

    • No I feel you man. Seeing actors/actresses out of their character is different and refreshing, but I still can’t help shake the feeling they’re not truly being themselves still. Not that they have to be. A camera is on their faces 99% of their lives. I’m not sure how I would deal with that to be honest. That’s why they get paid the big bucks!

      There was a lot of stuff I enjoyed here, but at the same time my idealist argument still stands. The Oscars can often be an overblown event. So many people’s opinions of what a great movie is don’t even factor into these nights. That’s alright though in the end, because we can still have our opinions and not care about what a majority thinks otherwise. That said, 12 Years a Slave I actually had no problem with winning. I actually hoped Gravity wouldn’t take it, that movie damn near cleaned house last night! 😀

  3. Great, great piece, Tom. While I’m an unapologetic fan of the Oscars and always think the show is so awesome, I have to at least agree with the red carpet thing. I think the chatter is so inane and the whole thing’s incredibly superficial (E!’s “mani-cam” is the stupidest thing I’ve ever seen) but I sort of dig that aspect of award season too, it’s part of the experience.

    The best moments were the selfie, the pizza bit, Pink singing and, of course, Alfonso Cuarón winning. My favorite speeches were Lupita Nyong’o and Jared Leto.

    Can’t say it was a surprise, but it was such a relief to see Jennifer Lawrence not win. Can’t say I had any big disappointments, thankfully. And the most awkward moment has got to be Kim Novak attempting to talk, or John Travolta epicly failing at saying Idina Menzel’s name.

    • Thoughtful comments are appreciated as always man!! 😀 😀

      I’m glad I’m not alone on some of the over-the-top antics on the Red Carpet previews. . .but I totally see where you’re coming from. It is part of the whole experience, it builds the drama up for sure. It’s also cool to see everyone gathering and hanging out. Seeing Jonah Hill drop in on Bradley Cooper’s interview was entertaining! And any chance I get to see Leo outside of his acting persona is welcomed in my book!!!

      God, John Travolta was terrible wasn’t he? I’m not sure if anyone else felt this way but did it seem like Menzel’s rendition of ‘Let it Go’ was a little off-key? She seemed nervous for some reason. And yes, Kim Novak was a disaster as well. I suppose in a way these aspects also make the ceremony all the more interesting. For the most part people have their shit together, but when someone says or does something unnecessary or unwarranted, they really stand out! Lol

      • Exactly. Seeing them hang out and be normal and goofy is fun.

        He was terrible and yeah, I too felt she was off-key. She looked so nervous.

        Hot messes like Kim Novak make the show even more fun!

      • Bill is pretty weird. I guess that’s how I identify and have come to love him so much. He’s one of my favorites. Hopefully he was wasted as shit, like Harrison Ford was. 😀 😀 😀

  4. Ive always been a fan of the oscars, I even use to rewatch taped versions of previous shows to prepare every year.

    i admit that lately there are less and less surprises which make it less fun.

    I thought the pizza joke was good, but they dragged it on too much thru the night.

    I also found that they rushed the end awards.

    great post Tom!

    • Ellen Degeneres was one of the better parts of the night I thought. I think when I started writing this entry I was venting some steam over the fact that the awards ceremony comes and goes so quickly and there’s so much hype building up to it that the moment itself can never possibly live up to the hype beforehand.

      It is a fun time of year, though, I have to admit. And as I said towards the end, I’m coming around on it all. It was great seeing some of the top acting categories and the associated speeches. They were truly great.

      Ultimately what it is, Rob, is I’m jealous that these people have so much money. . . 😛

  5. I love the Oscars. I don’t care two hoots about fashion but I have issues with them dolling up for the big show. E! seems to be fashion obsessed and there coverage sucks but ABC sprinkles in some good interviews.

    As for the awards, the predictability is disappointing. Is it because we have so much more access to these other awards than we did 10 or 20 years ago – awards that are precursors to the Oscars. Or does it tell us more about the Academy’s voting?

    • As far as predictability goes, surely the advent of social media doesn’t help things. We have SO many ways of getting ahead on the info now. I also think the more films that people like us see, the sharper our senses become — what comprises quality filmmaking is something we learn to pick up on, and this is enhanced with each poor film we see. With that in mind, things that make a huge splash like 12 Years a Slave, Gravity etc then become the focus of a much greater discussion, so it’s like cinephiles are made obsolete (in a way, I don’t mean to sound elitist by saying that) because the general public can easily see these things as ‘good filmmaking.’

      So when it comes time for the envelopes being opened, the names and titles are all but a foregone conclusion. It’s still exciting seeing everyone gather together and seeing the odd upset or two, but yes I would agree that some of the wind is taken out of the sails each year. At least something crazy didn’t happen this year like Philomena winning Best Pic or anything. (I haven’t seen it, and am sure it’s terrific, but there was no way it could have beat out what ultimately won the award).

      Sry, that was a huge complicated response hahaha

  6. Interesting post – I do agree that they talk about the fashion far too much and that it is really an expensive circus. But I can’t help myself from loving it! And the predictions game is fun – my predictions on the ‘main’ awards were correct all but one, although they were hardly surprising choices!

    • Hehe thanks! It’s a huge event, no doubt. I just think a lot less focus should be put on the dresses and clothes and they could spend far more time interviewing in greater depth some of the lesser-known stars. But I am an idealist. . .

      Thanks for reading!

  7. Surprises? None, really.

    Dissappointments? That 20 Feet From Stardom took documentary and The Great Beauty won Best Foreign Film.

    Best Moment? Nyong’o’s speech.

    Most Awkward? The woman who presented with McConaughey. By far.

    • Hahah agreed on the awkward moment. Was that Kim Novak, I think? Plastic surgery nightmares! Ack!!!

      Yes! 20 Feet from Stardom winning — what was that? How crazy! I physically reacted to that result and to ‘Her’ taking screenplay creds, but I was positively reacting to Spike Jonze of course. As much as I disliked The Act of Killing, to me that was the one that had it in the bag. . .

      • I figure docu was between Act and The Square. But the academy went for the light fare I guess.

        I missed the name live, but I have since read that it was Novak. Hard to believe.

  8. Not that many surprises I guess. I know Matthew McCon will win the Oscar but I am still pissed because Leo hasn’t got his. Oh well.

    • Leo has really gotten unlucky. Talented as he is, he’s in the fight for his life each and every year it seems. This one was no different. I was satisfied with McConaughey taking it, though. He was a revelation in DBC.

      • Yeah. Both Leo and Matthew are Hollywood’s true underdog. I am happy Matthew won the Oscar. Can’t wait to see him in Interstellar 🙂

  9. Not a massive amount of surprises to be honest, although with Gravity doing so well I was starting to think it’d win Best Picture. I thought it was a pretty strong ceremony this year and Ellen did a pretty good job.

    • I know Chris, Gravity was really cleaning house. I expected it to do well in the technical categories, but I wasn’t prepared for it to snag Best Score. Best Director was pretty obvious as well. For me it was a real toss-up between Cuarón and McQueen there, though. But like you say, this was a fairly predictable ceremony. But a fun one. My faith was restored seeing Spike Jonze up on stage as well. I loved ‘Her’ 😀

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