It wasn’t the funniest Academy Awards show. It wasn’t the most surprising Academy Awards show. It was definitely not the most interesting Academy Awards show. But watching the Academy Awards is kind of like going to see that great aunt you only see once a year — it can be long, boring, even funny at times. But eventually, while you are glad to get it over with, you’re also glad you went.
Except for a handful of moments, nothing exceptional went down last night. And despite the fact that the Israeli entry lost to the Iranians, it was a pretty good show.
After the jump, highlights of the show from a Jewish perspective (or in other words, from a general perspective):
1. Sacha Baron Cohen did actually get the nod from the Academy to show up dressed as General Aladeen from “The Dictator.” The Academy was afraid Baron Cohen will be, well, himself, even dressed up as a dictator. And he was. He walked around with two Gaddafi-esque female bodyguards and a golden vase carrying the “ashes” of the late Kim-Jung Il. The person who got to meet the remains of Jung Il was TV host Ryan Seacrest, who appeared in complete shock when he got the ashes all over his tuxedo. Watch the video here:
2. Billy Crystal tried to stay relevant with not-the-most-daring turn as host. He tried to not offend too much (unless you’re a black woman) and with jokes that while funny (“Puppets, acrobats, we’re a pony away from a bar mitzvah!”), still have a feel of being stuck somewhere in the 1980s. But hey, at least he was in a scene with Justin Bieber!
3. Israel once again left empty-handed. The Israeli entry “Footnote,” by Joseph Cedar (who was also nominated for “Beaufort” in 2007) lost the Foreign Film award to the Iranian “A Separation” by Asghar Farhadi.
4. Woody Allen was once again a no-show. The winner of the original screenplay award for “Midnight in Paris” chose not to accept his third Oscar and had Angelina Jolie accept it on his behalf.
5. Other Jews who didn’t win Oscars this year: Steven Spielberg, Jonah Hill, and the directors of “Moneyball,” “Midnight in Paris,” and the Polish film “In Darkness.”
6. However, the biggest winner of the night, “The Artist,” made the Jewish people proud, with director Michel Hazanavicius winning best director and producer Thomas Langmann accepting the best picture award (more about their Jewish connection here).
Sure, it may not have been the most memorable award show, but seeing a pissed off Ryan Seacrest was worth every second.