By now, if you weren’t watching last night’s telecast of the Oscars, you’ve heard about the escapades of the host Seth McFarlane, who doled out tasteless joke after tasteless joke, most of which made fun of women. In fact, his opening monologue was so bad, I was tempted to turn off the TV, but if I had, I would have missed the best parts of the show.
For the first time in quite a while, the show had a theme – Music in the Movies. The show was saved by some very stirring performances, as well as a tribute to some of the best musical moments on film.
For example, the Academy’s rather lame tribute to 50 years of Bond movies was saved by the emotionally (although rather overdramatic) performance of Goldfinger by Shirley Bassey, reminding us that these Bond movies have given us some incredible songs sung by some of the industry’s top stars. The current Bond movie, Skyfall, was a prime example, as the title track, performed by Adele (who later won the Oscar for Best Original Song) provided one of the most inspiring moments of the show.
In fact, this was a very good year for original songs in the movies, with nominees Before my Time (from the documentary Chasing Ice, performed by Scarlet Johannsen), PI’s Lullaby (from Life of Pi), Suddenly (from the musical and Best Picture nominee Les Miserables), and Everybody Needs a Best Friend (from Ted, and ironically co-written by Seth McFarlane).
Other memorable moments were the Academy’s tribute to musicals (including stirring performances from Chicago and Dreamgirls), which was made all the better by the amazingly talented Jennifer Hudson’s rendition of And I am Telling You).
But the biggest surprise was saved for the annual In Memoriam portion of the show, when Barbra Streisand gave a beautiful rendition of the 1973 Best Original Song winner, The Way We Were, penned by Marvin Hamlisch, one of the Academy members who passed away in 2012.
All in all, music saved this year’s Oscar presentation. Long live music!