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    Bridge Ladies When I set out to learn about my mother's bridge club, the Jewish octogenarians behind the matching outfits and accessories, I never expected to fall in love with them. This is the story of the ladies, their game, their gen, and the ragged path that led me back to my mother.
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The Death of Oscar

I love old people as much as the next person, but even I was shocked by the tone of tonight’s 83rd Academy Awards. With all the hype surrounding relative infants Anne Hathaway and James Franco’s hosting debut, it appeared that this was the year that the Facebook generation might shake things up at the old Kodak Theater. But unfortunately, that was not to be. Yes, Natalie Portman, not yet 30, beat the long suffering Annette Bening for Best Actress, but other than that, Oscar was all about the Olds. And even James Franco had a hard time staying awake for his segments. Look, I don’t really have that many nice things to say. I think Helen Mirren looked fucking great. She almost overshadowed the ingenues, many of whom looked kind of whatevs. Jennifer Lawrence, for all her youth and beauty, looked a lot like an extra on Bay Watch, Betsy correctly pointed out. A lot of people weren’t even fitting into their gowns. Christian Bale had a bushel of ginger pubes on his face, and that was almost as distracting as his awful Australian accent on the red carpet (yes, I know he’s British). The biggest asshole of the night had to be Melissa Leo, for her appalling James Cameron-esque display upon winning Best Supporting Actress. I hate when people who know they’re going to win act all stunned and then take forever getting up to the damn stage, etc. Her expletive infused speech was just a sad commentary on what happens when we let these old people win stuff. Then she stole Kirk’s cane! (I was happy to see the old dildo used her left breast to prop himself up in response.) Whatever, they gave Best Everything to The King’s Speech, a film about a British guy who manages to get through a whole sermon without stuttering. The King’s Speech: soon to replace Cocoon on movie nights at nursing homes across the land. Awesome job, Hollywood! -The Hose

47 Responses

  1. Christian Bale. I agree. What is WITH the facial hair?

    I like Franco, but tonight he looked at times like he was about to have a seizure. The dragging, ominous voice, the strange, secret grin, and the way his eyes kept rolling up/back/to the side… oddly, he seemed most comfortable during his in-drag segment.

  2. I tuned in and caught the Oprah bit….what was that –a serious case of someone taking themselves too seriously. Tuned out shortly thereafter–got everything I needed to know from reading this post. Thank you once again!

  3. In my opinion (you can decide what that’s worth), the best presenters were Jude Law and Robert Downey, Jr. They were funny and unforced, and didn’t take things too seriously.

    Kirk Douglas was my next favorite—the man was funny and held the audience. He knew what he was doing . .

    Maybe we could cut Ms. Leo a small break? I don’t think she had a clue she was going to win. Plus facing a single camera can be easier (I’m told) than facing a theater jammed full of people. And say what you want, but the obeisance she gave Mr. Douglas was well done.

    And David Seidler’s speech was not only funny, poignant, and short, it gave me hope. I’m a late bloomer, too.

  4. I watched an old netflix movie.

  5. I thought James Franco was dreadful, so stiff…I give Anne Hathaway an A for effort at least. But it was hard to take her seriously when she came out every few minutes in new outfits like a Barbie….why are Brits so poised and gracious and Americans so self-indulgent and boring in their speeches? In all the youth adoration, I missed the appearance of yes–older—actors and actresses–the ones who get the standing Os like Lauren Bacall etc etc.

  6. I thought perhaps Russell Brand and Helen Mirren would make great hosts, and then Hollywood could have their “old” and “new” and we could actually sit there without cringing the whole time. BTW, notice that guilt trip Melissa Leo laid on her son for not being at the Oscars with her? Niiicccce. I love Melissa Leo, thought she was amazing in that film, and I was totally pulling for her, but she was a bit batwango there … Then again, I’d be thrown off-guard if my win was being eclipsed by the devastating spectacle of having a beloved Hollywood legend hobbled by age and a horrendous stroke present me with the award. That was sort of surreal. Poor Kirk, poor Melissa on that one.

    Overall, the worst broadcast in the history of the Oscars, and that includes last year when it seemed the children of the producers had commandeered the cameras.

  7. awful.

    it was like watching the office only there was no funny, just all cringe-worthy moments that make you want to turn away (except for Siedler’s late-bloomer speech…that i liked).

  8. I skipped it, but now I’ll have to track down David Seidler’s late-bloomer speech.

  9. I know Melissa and she’s a lovely woman. I’m pretty sure that she was simply overwhelmed. Five years ago, she wasn’t getting much work and things were super tight for her. Last night she got an Oscar. It doesn’t get more surreal than that. At times like that, you think you’re prepared, but you can’t really know how it’s going to feel until it hits you. For all of her accomplishments, Melissa isn’t used to this kind of attention. I know this because every time I pitch a profile on her, I’m told that she’s not famous enough!

    As for her son. She raised him alone and I’m sure she was trying to be supportive of his work, but was genuinely bummed that he wasn’t there.

    I agree that it was a lame award show and I feel bad that Melissa rambled. But there is relevant context!

    • She’s a very good actress; Frozen River is a must see.

    • Yes, but she was favored to win. She won every single possible award under the sun for this role – as she deserved to – The Globe, the SAG, the Film Critics Circle etc. And I’m sorry, but those ads that she took out for herself in the trades were retarded. Who does that? It’s tacky. And to go up there in front of a billion people and scream out the word FUCK at the motherfucking Oscars, it’s just sad. Have some dignity. -Erin

      • One man’s “tacky” is another man’s “ballsy”. Usually the studios and agents take out ads — hers didn’t and she was worried that her chances would suffer. It isn’t just about the glory of winning, it’s about securing a career for a post-fifty actress who knows what it’s like to worry about the rent. I agree that she shouldn’t have said “fuck” — but she’s a salty talker in life and I’m telling you that from what I know and what I saw, she was shaking and looked like she was about to pass out.

        But back to taking out the ads. As artists we’re all told and encouraged to be our own publicity machine. Melissa was working it and would she make other choices — yeah, maybe. But, having been in that situation myself (of having to generate my own press — not the Oscar part!) it’s pretty hard to know what’s too much.

        Had she not taken out the ads and lost (which would have been entirely possible — it’s a bit like politics that way), how would she feel then? I think she figured it was worth the shot and my guess is, that it was.

      • Yeah, the taking the ad out thing is pretty tacky, but I’m mindful of a job-wanted ad Bette Davis once took out in The Hollywood Reporter when her brilliant career had come to a screeching halt. It worked for her. As has been pointed out, if you aren’t getting your drum banged, better do it yourself. Can’t really fault her for that.

    • She’s a fine actress and until Frozen River, a small film that received rave reviews for her acting, she wasn’t getting much love in the industry. That film literally revived her career and she’s hit the road running since. Unfortunately, I was very disappointed with her F-Bomb outburst. I don’t buy that she didn’t mean it. I suspect she did it for effect and with full intent. I won’t take away her talent. She’s dynamite as an actress and apparently has overcome some tough times. I’m pleased she’s doing well now. But still…I was disappointed with her outburst.

    • Am I the only one who thought her expletive was the best part of the show?

  10. Actually, I was rooting for Toy Story 3, but I usually go for the underdog. I haven’t seen the movie yet, but I’m sure I will; mostly what I watch these days are kid movies and you know, some of them are pretty good. Whoa, this is scary.

  11. Wow. Just wow. How old are you?

    I feel like I’ve stumbled onto a blog written by a teenager not an adult.

    If you’d logged into oscars.com and gotten their all access pass, then you could have kept the cameras on all the PYTs and not had to watch all the old people, but maybe you’re not old enough to have a credit card…

    • The blog was right on. Kirk Douglas was a dirty old man. He gave me the creeps. All my good memories of him will be overshadowed by this one.

  12. It’s never about old and young as the beautiful late bloomer speech confirms. It’s about pretending to reward art when the little gold man always shys away from controversy

  13. It’s an old show trying to recruit a young audience in order to survive economically and “artistically.” They hired young hosts because they wanted to draw the kids but got nervous about offending anyone and stuck with safe jokes and stale routines. What’s surprising? Trying to kiss 100 celebrity (or non-celebrity!) asses at once does not make for funny or interesting.

  14. I haven’t watched the Oscars in years – and yesterday, too busy enjoying a late Mardi Gras season to care. Ah, if you could have seen the costumes and performances in the French Quarter…

  15. On another note- Brett, you are a true gentleman.

  16. Actually, my response to the Oscars last night is diametrically opposed to the apparent consensus. It was well done. Well paced, no dragging self-indulgent and snoozer filler. It went from one presentation to another quickly and efficiently. I thought the way they previewed some of the contenders was clever: i.e. the script segment where they showed a scene and the script superimposed beneath the action. There was little to cheer about for song or theme music. None of them were anything to be remembered. Gweneth Paltrow has a pleasant voice but I thought the little singing Anne Hathaway did shows she can sing circles around Gweneth. Yeah, Franco looked as if he was toking between stints but Anne was game and quite sweet. While I’m not all that into women’s fashions, I thought most of her dresses were very attractive, though changing every five minutes was a bit much. Kirk Douglas was sweet and game and one of my favorite actors. But I was a bit uneasy through the entire segment, I was just afraid for him, that he might forget or stumble or something. He looked just so frail. But bottom line I thought the Oscars last night was among the most breezy and non–plodding in many a year. The section on those academy members who have passed was tasteful and heartfelt and so much better than years past when they read their names and you got the impression that the level of clapping they received was indicative of their popularity. That always bothered me. So, overall I thought it was a very positive experience, not without a few misses, but obviously I’m a minority here.

    • I totally agree with this. And I thought Melissa provided some much needed humor. Oscar bashing is a time-honored sport that will live on as long as the Oscars themselves. Long live the Oscars.

  17. What, or who, is ‘The Hose’?

    • Notorious, possibly mythical, literary agent who claims that she’s looking for “stuff that’s so edgy that it’s been rejected by every other agent.”

      • So edgy it fell off the cliff?

      • Not so much a literary agent anymore, actually. Just a regular beotch.

      • The Hose is entitled to her perspective. For the most part she was right on…a bit cruel, but maybe she wears cruel shoes…those stilletos…they can be lethal weapons.

      • Not so much a literary agent anymore? What does that mean? You’re not allowed to quit; I can’t tell you how much comfort I get knowing that one agent is actively -looking- for stuff that every other agent rejected.

  18. I believe the description you are looking for for Christian Bale’s accent is “18th century chimney sweep”.

  19. Oscars? What Oscars? No one in France gives a merde…


  20. Coulda used a little Charlie Sheen.

  21. Best commentary I’ve read thus far on the Oscars and the first person to point out the Melissa Leo cop a feel that totally happened in the name of support with a cane.

    • Actually, I think, and rightly so, that he was irritated she took his cane and was brandishing it. The guy needed the damn thing to support himself so he retaliated by grabbing her boob. It’s all in the eyes of the beholder. And he got aholder good.

  22. I found it heartening that a 74 year old won the best screenplay and a 49-er the best adaptation. This anti-oldster manifesto sounds like it was scripted in some mid-level D-girl’s office off Culver Blvd., rather than in wise and sophisticated New York. Art, writing, craft are things informed by time, practice and experience. I think it is wonderful that these qualities were recognized and given preference over the puerile commercial yearning for the the next “fresh face” and the market dictates of the 14 year old demographic.

  23. You hosed it. Fuck. What a sideshow.

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