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Recapping 2020's Oscar Telecast: Not So Gay

Stage at 2020 oscars

 

According to Nielsen 62% of the viewers to 2020's Academy Awards telecast were women, so since the Oscars are considered the gay Super Bowl should I infer that the remaining 38% were gay men?  The rating for the telecast dropped 20% from last year (6 million fewer viewers).  Perhaps it was due to the alienation of two viewing groups - those who were upset over the under representation of women and blacks in key awards categories, and those who become tired of the constant harping about this under-representation. 

 

Besides a dearth of women and blacks in the major awards categories, the same absence seem to apply to those of the LGBTQ persuasion. Unlike the previous three years (when we had Green Mile; Bohemian Rhapsody; The Favourite; Call Me By Your Name; and Moonlight), there were no Best Picture nominations with gay themes.  Furthermore, there weren't a lot of gay "moments" in general during the telecast.  So what gay moments were there?  

  • Janelle Monae shouting out that she's queer
  • Elton John performing and winning Best Original Song
  • A Verizon Wireless commercial with a coming out theme
  • Billy Porter in all his fabulosity  
  • Judy, the movie about Judy Garland, won the Oscar for Best Actress

 

And now for some highlights/observations:

 

  • As Janelle Monae made her on-stage entrance at the start of the show, she noticed that the middle button on her blouse had come undone and buttoned it as she sang without giving it a second thought.

 

Janelle monae's popped button

Janelle monae

 

  • Mindy Kaling and Kristen Anderson-Lopez stood out in their vibrantly colored gowns in yellow and green.

 

2020 oscars mindy kaling

 Kristen anderson-lopez at 2020 oscars

 

  • Bradley Cooper usually attends the event with his mother so I was curious about the fellow sitting next to him, but was unable to find any mention of him in news reports the next day.  It seems the only Bradley Cooper chatter was about him being in the presence of his ex, Renee Zellweger.

 

Bradley cooper and mystery man at 2020 oscars

 

  • I chuckled when I saw Diane Keaton's coat because it was similar to a lost glove I spotted on a fence in my neighborhood a few weeks ago.

 

2020 oscars_diane keaton and keanu reaves

 Lost glove

  • Timothee Chalamet "owned" his offbeat formal wear.

 

 2020 oscars timothee chalmet

 

  • Taika Waititi, winner of Best Adapted Screenplay for Jo Jo Rabbit got my Oscar for Sexiest Man On Stage, with Oscar Isaac a close second, and Mahershala Ali third.

 

2020 oscars taika waititi

 

  • Disney chairman Bob Iger was in the audience, but may have been upstaged by another attendee, Amazon's Jeff Bezos.  (However, Iger's seat was much farther forward.)

 

Jeff bezos at 2020 oscars

  Bob iger at 2020 oscars

 

  • Did anyone else think that female conductor, Eimear Noone, bore a striking resemblance to actress Leslie Mann?

 

2020 oscars eimar noone conductor

 Leslie mann

 

  • A touching commercial from Verizon Wireless aired in the middle of the telecast.  It featured a young guy who said that he couldn't talk about his homosexuality face to face with his family, but after moving to New York his mother signed the family up for Group Chat, and now the things they couldn't say to each other in person were a lot easier to say when sent in a text.  He closed his story with, "I've never lived further away from my family, but I've never felt more connected to them."

 

Verizon wireless gay son

.

  • It was ironic that the best thing about the movie Rocketman, the performance of the actor who portrayed Elton John (Taron Egerton), was overlooked for an Oscar nomination, yet its bland song won the Oscar for Best Original Song for Elton John and Bernie Taupin.

 

Elton john and bernie taupin at 2020 oscars

 

  • Last week I was enthralled by the stunning 50-year-old J-Lo as she performed her physically demanding halftime routine at the Super Bowl, and a week later 82-year old Jane Fonda looked equally stunning as she closed out the ceremonies.  But why did she bring her coat with her - was coat check full?

 

2020 oscars jane fonda

 

Now, some final comments ...

 

  • King & Queen of the prom.

 

Scarlett johanssen and colin jost

 

  • Regal ...

Cynthia erivo  2020 oscars

 

  • Elton must have had a spare pair of eyeglasses.

  Billy porter at 2020 oscars

 

  • Where have you gone, Dolores Claiborne?

 

Kathy bates at 2020 oscars

 

  • The most touching moment of the night was actress Diane Ladd's reaction upon hearing the name of her daughter, Laura Dern, as winner of Best Supporting Actress.

 

Diane ladd and laura dern

 

 

  • Greta Gerwig vied with Mindy Kaling for most exquisite necklace.

  Greta gerwig at 2020 oscars

 

  • And lastly, as Salma Hayek so amusingly put it, she finally got to hold an Oscar on onstage.

 Selma and oscar 2020 oscars

 

 

 


2018 Oscars - Plodding and Predictable, But Still Enjoyable to Watch

Jimmy kimmel and oscar statue

 

Since I'm easily entertained I don't bitch and moan about the Oscars telecast since I always find it engaging (and since I record it I fast forward the lame parts of the show and get through it in about three hours rather than four).  I enjoy the spectacle as well as the anticipation of controversial remarks during acceptance speeches.  Furthermore, I enjoy the camera shots of audience reactions, the demeanor of  presenters and their fashion choices.  I've categorized my observations of this year's broadcast into the following categories: Thumbs Up; Thumbs Down; Touching Moments; Gay Moments; Eye Candy; Reaction Shots; and This & That. 

 

THUMBS UP


 

2018oscars5
The over-the-top, but stunning, set design (which changed colors throughout the evening)

 

Jimmy-kimmel-oscars-live-stream
Reflecting on last year's Best Picture fiasco, Jimmy Kimmel cautioned this year's winners, "When you hear your name called don't get up right away, perhaps give it a minute just to make sure."

 

2018oscars9
Helen Mirren gamely played "Price is Right" model for the jet ski that would be awarded to the person who gave the shortest acceptance speech.

 

Taraji p henson
Perhaps the night's most provocative look was Taraji P. Henson's, who was in full 'Cookie' mode as she introduced Mary J. Blige.


 

THUMBS DOWN

 

Christopher walken 2018 academy awards
I don't recall what award Christopher Walken presented because I was just hoping he didn't fall because he seemed so frail. Also, with his pants hiked up above his waist he looked like one of the characters from "The Sunshine Boys."


 

Gael garcia bernal
The intro to the song "Remember Me" was sung by Gael Garcia Bernal and it was pretty painful (I found it more trying than Fergie's jazz rendition of The National Anthem).



Emily blunt
Emily Blunt's dress was somewhat of a matronly affair, what Mary Poppins might wear (perhaps it was intentional since she's playing Mary Poppins in an upcoming movie). The embroidered space on her bodice looked like it was missing a posting of "Today's Dinner Specials".

 

 

TOUCHING MOMENTS

 

Eva-marie-saint-oscars-20027962
Eva Marie Saint's comments before giving out the Oscar for Costume Design were touching and, at the age of 93, she was remarkably lucid.  I got a kick out of her calling Alfred Hitchcock, "Fred".  (Earlier in the evening Sam Rockwell called Philip Seymour Hoffman, "Phil Hoffman").



Timothee and armie
Timothee Chalamet and Armie Hammer look on happily as James Ivory accepted his Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar for "Call Me by Your Name."

 

2018oscars11
Frances McDormand's joyous expression when co-star Sam Rockwell of "Three Billboards" won for Best Supporting Actor.

 

Jordan peele
Jordan Peele's stunned, but happy, reaction after winning Best Original Screenplay for "Get Out".

 

2018 academy awards
I was smitten by Rachel Shenton, the writer of the documentary short "The Silent Child", which tells the story of a deaf four-year-old.

 

Miguel-oscars-remember-me-coco
The performance of the song "Remember Me" (from "Coco") for some reason made me teary-eyed, perhaps because I was thinking of a dear friend who died much too young at the beginning of the year.

 

Happy at oscar ceremony
Allison Williams watches proudly as her director, Jordan Peele, gives his acceptance speech after winning Best Original Screenplay for "Get Out".

 


GAY MOMENTS

 

Coco director
Adrian Molina and Darla K. Anderson, the openly gay director and producer of "Coco" (Best Animated Feature), thanked their husband and wife, respectively.

 

James ivory wins oscar
James Ivory's win for Best Adapted Screenplay for "Call Me By Your Name." And at the

 

Elio and oliver
One of the clips for "Call Me By Your Name" showed Elio and Oliver passionately kissing. This followed a comment earlier in the evening during Jimmy Kimmel's opening monologue directed at our homophobic vice president: "Hollywood doesn't make movies like "Call Me By Your Name" to make money, we make them to upset Mike Pence".


 

Daniela vega at oscars
"A Fascinating Woman" won for Best Foreign Film and the movie's star, transgendered Daniela Vega, had a regal bearing as she stood on the stage. Later she introduced the Best Song nominee from "Call Me By Your Name."

 

This is me from the showman
From the movie "The Showman", nominated song "This Is Me" could be adopted as a gay anthem, like "I Am What I Am" or "Born This Way."

 

EYE CANDY 

(Your tastes may differ)

 

Oscar at the oscars
Oscar at the Oscars (Oscar Isaac)

 

Chadwick boseman
"Black Panther's" Chadwick Boseman

 

Ansel-elgort-oscars-baby-driver
Ansel Elgort ("Baby Driver")

 

Jordan peele oscar winner
Jordan Peele

 

Oliver and elio
Armie Hammer

 

 

REACTION SHOTS

 

2018oscars
Margot Robie ("I, Tonya")

 

Sam rockwell 2018 oscars
Sam Rockwell

 

2018oscars8
Sam Rockwell and Common


 

Oscars4
Lupita Nyongo during the show's black & white newsreel opening

 

Actor from get out
"Get Out's" Daniel Kaluuya

 

Leslie manville 2018 oscars
Leslie Manville's look brought to mind the glamour of old Hollywood.

 

2018oscars10
Best Actor nominee Timothee Chalemet


 

2018oscars2
Jennifer Lawrence

 

Viola davis 2018 oscars
Viola Davis claps along enthusiastically to the rousing performance of "This is Me."

 

Oscars2018
Gleeful director Guillermo del Toro after verifying that his movie had indeed won Best Picture.

 

 

THIS AND THAT

 

Annabella s
At first glance I mistook Annabella Sciora for Tina Fey when she came onto the stage.

 

Viola davis 2018 oscars
The way she hobbled out to present the night's first award, it appeared Viola Davis was walking off a charley horse!

 

Mexican actor
I had no idea who two presenters were, so I had to Google their names. Wes Studi, a Cherokee actor, introduced clips from war-themed movies while Eugenio Derbez (pictured), a well-known actor in Mexico, introduced the song "Remember Me" from "Coco."

 

Mary j blige
And the Oscar for the night's most big-ass earrings goes to ... Mary J. Blige.

 

Benjamin bratt 2018 oscars
Benjamin Bratt kept his cool despite there being a huge piece of confetti, part of the "Remember Me" number, on his coiff.

 

Previous Oscar recaps:

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

 



 


 

 

 

 


Gay-Themed "Moonlight" Wins Best Picture at 2017 Academy Awards After "La La Land" Mix Up

Best picture mistake

 

At the beginning of February the Super Bowl became one for the ages when it became the first to go into overtime.  Then three weeks later the "gay Super Bowl", i.e., the Academy Awards, had an equally memorable ending when the wrong Best Picture winner was announced.  The actual winner, Moonlight, became the first movie with a gay main character to win Best Picture (and its all-black cast was also a first for a Best Picture winner).  However, it had to wait a few minutes before the cast could bask in glory because La La Land was first announced as the winner.  It somehow seemed fitting that "drama" would surround a gay-themed movie.  Below you'll find my observations about the rest of the telecast:

 

 Oscars billboard

 

A Parade of Dashing Presenters ...

 

The rock at 2017 Academy Awards
Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson

 

Gael bernal garcia
Gael Garcia Bernal (with Hailee Steinfield)

 

Riz ahmed
Riz Ahmed

 

Dashing vince vaughn
Vince Vaughn

 

And the Dashing Members of the Audience ...

 

Andrew garfield
Andrew Garfield

 

Best supporting actor
Mahershala Ali

 

Emma stone and viola davis husband
Viola Davis's husband, Julius Tennon and Emma Stone

 

Ryan gosling
Ryan Gosling during Emma Stone's acceptance speech (with actress Ruth Negga in background).

 

  • Granted, the telecast was slow moving but I think we can all agree that the various stage sets were beautiful to behold.

 

Leslie mann and john cho

 Hidden figures

 Oscar stage

 Salma hayek

 Jimmy kimmel

 2017 academy awards stage

 

  • Emma Stone's younger brother, Spencer, looked cute in a hamster/chipmunk-like way.

 

Emma stone brother spencer

 

  • Denzel did not look pleased after not winning for Best Actor, perhaps because he had a fiery acceptance speech planned whereas winner Casey Affleck seemed to be still in character from Manchester by the Sea, with his halting, uninspiring acceptance speech.

 

Denzel_1-large_trans_NvBQzQNjv4BqfmWw8ZtkYoKgUQYLfpqhYkNwENFDDZcUtBhjTKyeZIo
This camera shot was immediately after Casey Affleck complimented Washington, saying that he had honed his acting skills by watching his past performances.

 

  • Although it was emotion-filled, Viola Davis' acceptance speech after winning for Best Supporting Actress was oddly joyless.

 

Viola davis acceptance speech 2017 oscars 

 

  • However, she did manage to crack a smile later ...

 

Viola davis and husband

 

  • I love him to death, but isn't Lin-Manuel Miranda's "Hamilton" patter getting a bit tired?

 

Lin manuel miranda

 

  • The opening with Justin Timberlake boogying his way through the audience left me cold - was this the opening of the Grammy's?  How did they get everyone in the audience so jazzed?  And although his song, Can't Stop the Feeling, was a Best Song nominee, what about the mash-up with Lovely Day (a Bill Withers song).

 

Justin timberlake 2017 academy awards

 

  • The singer of the nominated song from Moana, Auli'i Cravalho, was slightly grazed by one of the huge flags being waved behind her, but she maintained her poise.  Although the song didn't win, hers was the best performance as John Legend's voice was weak and pitchy when he sang the two nominated songs from La La Land.  

 

Singer

 Aulii Cravalho

 

  • I liked Scarlett Johansson's coiff, which was a mash-up of New Wave and old Hollywood glamour.

. Scarlett johansson 2017 oscars

 

  • For the third year in a row Chris Evans was a presenter and continued his Oscar tradition of having the same look..

 

2017 oscars
2017

 

Chris evans 2016
2016

 

Chris evans 2015
2015

 

  • Besides the acceptance speeches made after Moonlight won its awards, the only other gay moment I recall was when Byron Howard, a co-director for Best Animated Film, Zootopia, gave a quick shout out to his husband, Shepherd, as the orchestra began playing.

 

Zootopia byron howard

 

  • I was amused by the running gag of animosity between host Jimmy Kimmel and Matt Damon, especially when the music started playing whenever Damon would speak.

 

Matt damon

 

Ben afflect and guest

 

  • The necklace worn by Alicia Vikander (Best Supporting Actress for The Danish Girl in 2016) was lovely.

 

Necklace

 

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2016 Academy Awards - #OscarsSoTedious

Chris.rock.2016oscarhostThe show was tedious, the "not enough black representation in Hollywood" guilt trip tested my patience, Chris Rock's nervous laugh after each of his quips was annoying, and Lady Gaga's overwrought performance of the song from the movie about campus rape (which few saw) had me rolling my eyes.  However, despite this litany of annoyances, there were bright spots.  And, the world demands gay commentary about our Super Bowl (even if it's a week late - but a true connoisseur of the Oscars needs time for contemplation).

 

 

 

THE AUDIENCE REACTS REACTS TO CHRIS ROCK ...

 

Brie.larson.laughing.oscars
It appears Brie Larson might be reacting to a photo of puppies, but this was her reaction to the the opening monologue.

 

Indianactress.laughing.oscars
Bollywood star Priyanka Chopra

 

Leonardo.laughing.2016oscars
Leo, laughing and scrubbed clean.
 
 
 
Mark.ruffalo.2016oscars
It was refreshing to catch Mark Ruffalo laughing (something his onscreen roles rarely call for).  Meanwhile, Priyanka Chopra was still giggling in the background.

 

Unsmiling.blackguy.2016oscars
Not everyone was amused.  Chadwick Boseman (who's portrayed Jackie Robinson and Jesse Owens) was shown on camera a number of times and he was never smiling.

 

CHRIS ROCK CONDUCTS 'MAN ON THE STREETS' WITH SEXY BLACK MOVIEGOERS ...

 

Blackguy.yellowhat.oscars
Mr. Snazzy Hat

 

Blackstud.oscars
Mr. Cleavage

 

Blackguy.chrisrock
Mr. Contemplative

 

Blackguy.hoodie.oscars
Mr. Hoodie

 

Blackguy.backwardbaseballcap.oscars
Mr. Jock

 

AND THE NOMINEES FOR MOST CRINGE WORTHY MOMENT AT THE PODIUM ...

 

Ryan-gosling-russell-crowe-oscars
This was a great bit of acting by Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe, who kept their humiliation over the idiotic patter they had to read from the cue cards undetected.

 

Sarah.silverman
Sarah Silverman looked like linebacker ... or Margaret Dumont. Never a class act, what she talked about was on par with the maturity level of recent Republican debates.

 

Sacha.baron.cohen.oscars
I'm sure the movie studio that distributed "Room" was thrilled by Sacha Baron Cohen's crass commentary (thru his 'Ali G' character) that had nothing to do with the movie clip that followed.

 

JACOB TREMBLAY

 

Sweetphoto
In a sweet moment, Bree Larson immediately turned around and hugged her co-star upon winning the Oscar for Best Actress for "Room"

 

Jacobtremblay

 

Brie.larsons.two.men
As Brie Larson pointed out in her acceptance speech, Jacob was her partner in the movie and Alex Greenfeld (who reminds me of Adam Scott) is her partner in real life.

 

AND THE NOMINEES FOR CUTEST COUPLE AT THE PODIUM ...

 

Johnlegend.common.2016oscars
Common and John Legend
 
Jacobtremblay.abrahamattah
Jacob Tremblay and Abraham Attah
 
Samsmith.oscarwinner
Jimmy Napes and Sam Smith
 
Bearstory.patoescala.gabrielosorio
Pato Escala and Gabriel Osorio Vargas from Chile were winners of Best Animated Short for "Bear Story".
 
Lee.byung.hun_sophia.vergara
Perhaps more sexy than cute were South Korean movie star, Lee Byung-hun, and Sofia Vergara, who announced the winner of Best Foreign Film.

 

THERE'S ALWAYS ONE ..

 

Katewinslet.oscars
Kate Winslet looked more like a weary housewife from Tarzana than Hollywood royalty.

 

Devpatel.oscars
One the male side, Dev Patel was the most unkempt at the podium.

 

HOLLYWOOD ROYALTY (WHEN BRAD & ANGELINA, GEORGE CLOONEY, MERYL STREEP AND TOM HANKS AREN'T IN ATTENDANCE)

 

Reese.hollywoodroyalty

 Leo.hollywoodroyalty

 

TOM HARDY, TAMED

 

Tomhardy

 

OOPS ...

 

Sofia.vergara.sonofsaul
In announcing "Son of Saul" as winner of Best Foreign Film, Sofia Vergara pronounced Saul as "Sa-ool". (Just like she'd do on "Modern Family".)

 

THIS YEAR VERSUS LAST YEAR

 

CHRIS EVANS

Chris.pine.2016oscars
Chris Evans - 2016 Academy Awards
 
Chris.evans.2015oscars
And, I kid you not, at 2015's ceremony

 

LADY GAGA AND HER GENTLEMEN FRIENDS

 

Ladygaga.2016oscars
2016
 
Ladygaga.2015oscars
2015

 

AND THE OSCAR FOR BEST ADVERTISING DURING THE OSCARS GOES TO ....

KOHL's

 

Kohls.oscar.commercial
Kohl's aired at least four different commercials, each depicting a pleasant family moment (in this one big brother lets little sister have the front seat) and the grateful reaction, in which the family member reacts as if they've just won an Oscar, with an actual past Oscar acceptance speech dubbed in.

 

 BLING

 

Hollywood.royalty
Pharrell Williams

 

 THE WEEKND VS. SAM SMITH

 

The-Weeknd-Performs-Earned-It-At-Oscars-2016-VIDEO
Although I liked Sam Smith's nominated song, I was hoping "Earned It" by The Weeknd would win the Oscar for Best Song.
 
 
Sam.smith.2016oscars
Sam Smith has a great voice, but he needs to work on his tentative stage presence. His new hairstyle brought to mind George Michael, which is what Chris Rock alluded to when he commented that the George Michael hit "Father Figure" was a favorite of his.

 

 SEPARATED AT BIRTH ...

 

Costumedesignoscar
Best Costume Design Oscar winner - Jenny Bevan for "Mad Max: Fury Road"

 

Mrs.patmore.downtonabbey
Mrs. Patmore from "Downton Abbey"

 

And for recaps from previous Academy Awards ...

2015

2014

2013

2012


These Are a Few of My Favorite Things ... About the 2015 Oscars

Neilpatrickharris.briefsNeil Patrick Harris put another notch on his bed post after his latest hosting conquest - this time acting as ringmaster at the Academy Awards for the first time.  And while I like him just fine as an actor, his ubiquity as the go-to awards show host has worn thin.  I don't know, he's a bit too "clever" for my taste.  (And I found the routine about his Oscars picks, that dragged on throughout the show, particularly annoying).  Happily, I don't watch the telecast because of the host.  In honor of The Sound of Music's 50th anniversary (see below), here are a few of my favorite things ... about the telecast:

 

2015oscars

 

  • The three Chris' all looked dashing: Pine, Evans and Pratt.  (Too bad Chris Hemsworth wasn't in attendance.)

 

Chris.pine.2015oscars

 Chris.evans.oscars

 Chris.pratt.oscars

 

  • As did the three black actors, all Brits, whose names I can never remember: Daniel Oyelowo, Idris Elba and Chiwetel Ejiofor.  Of the three, Oyelowo had by far the most screen time, constantly shown in shots scanning the audience (and he always knew he was on camera).

 

David.oyeolo

 

Chiwetel.Ejiofor.2015oscars

 Idris.elba.oscars

 

  • And Lupita Nyong'o also brought her style and grace to the podium ...

 

Lupita.nyongo.2015oscars

 

  • Speaking of style and grace, Emma Stone looked regal and absolutely stunning  with her red hair and porcelain skin creating such a beautiful effect.  This may be my favorite photo of the entire telecast.

 

Emmastone.academyawards

 

  • The most adorable camera shot of the telecast had to be this one of Eddie Redmayne, who later won the Oscar for Best Actor.

 

Eddie.redmayne.2015oscars

 

  • Meryl Streep's intro to the "In Memoriam" segment was so touching and beautifully presented, like hearing a heartfelt eulogy.  I've replayed it repeatedly.  

 

Meryl.streep.2015oscars

 

  • Has there ever been a more jarring juxtaposition between two nominated songs than the frenetic Everything Is Awesome (from The Lego Movie) and Glen Campbell's mournful I'm Not Going to Miss You (from the documentary about his dealing with Alzheimer's Disease)?  The Campbell ballad, sung by Tim McGraw, brought to mind the deeply touching song Keep Me In Your Heart by Warren Zevon that was performed at the 2004 Grammys after his death.

 

Awesome.2015oscars

 Tim.mcgraw.2015oscars 

 

  • One year after Pink wowed the audience with her rendition of Over the Rainbow, Lady Gaga did the same with her loving medley of songs from the Sound of Music (which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year).  However, the performance was marred for me by the sight of Gaga's numerous tattoos.  Not quite as numerous as Adam Levine's, but nonetheless a jarring disconnect from the movie.  The performance was capped off by Julie Andrew's warm embrace of Gaga.

 

Ladygaga.soundofmusic

 Ladygaga.oscars.soundofmusic

 

Lady.gaga_julie.andrews

 

  • Most Amusing Acceptance Speech - The director of Ida rambled on about the juxtaposition between the grim, gray world portrayed in the film in comparison to the glitz of Hollywood (which he referred to as "the happy center of noise and world attention").  Then he amiably spoke of his dead wife, parents and relatives and then mentioned his children (who, he added, "are all still alive").

 

Director.of.ida

 

  • Most Moving Acceptance Speech - Graham Moore (who won Best Adapted screenplay for Imitation Game) observed how unfair it was that he was getting accolades rather than Alan Turing, who was persecuted for being gay and committed suicide.  Moore then revealed that he contemplated suicide at the age of 16.  He urged young gay people out of the mainstream to "stay weird, stay different". 

 

Graham.moore.2015oscars

 

  • Looking at NPH in his tight wine-colored tux made me uncomfortable because I felt confined.  Reminded me of a little kid in a snowsuit.

 

Nph.tight.tuxedo 

 

  • Despite what I said earlier, I actually chuckled at a number of NPH's quips.  For instance in mentioning the gift bags given to nominees he noted that the $160,000 worth of merchandise and gift certificates in every bag included "an armored car ride to safety when the revolution comes".  (Julianne Moore loved that one).

 

Julianne.moore.2015oscars

 

  • In introducing Channing Tatum: "He's the real deal, pants down, I mean hands down."

 

Channing.tatum.2015oscars

 

  • The winner of the Best Documentary Short, Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1, wore a Cher-worthy gown covered with fur balls.  After she left the podium NPH said, "I liked that dress.  It takes a lot of balls to wear a dress like that."  (One thing he didn't joke about, however, was the Sony hacking debacle from the end of last year.)

 

Black.fur.balls.gown.2015academyawards

 

  • Gay Presence: Besides NPH, other gay persons who got camera time included the singing duo Tegan & Sara and journalist Glenn Greenwald.  (I originally listed Graham Moore, the Best Adapted Screenplay winner, as being gay but he told reporters that he wasn't.)  Additionally, Terrence Howard and Common mentioned gay rights during their time at the podium.

 

Glenn.greenwald.oscars

 

Tegan.sara.justjared

 

  • Reese Witherspoon presented a few minutes after a TV promo aired for a new ABC drama starring ex-husband, Ryan Philippe ...

 

Reese.witherspoon.2015oscars

 

Ryan.philippe

 

  • I so enjoyed Adam Levine's charged performance of his Best Song nominee Lost Stars.  This was the first time I was hearing the song and after replaying this clip countless times I ended up buying the song on iTunes (as I also did with Rita Ora's nominated song Grateful).

 

Adam.levine_lost.stars

 

Adam.levine.lost.stars

 Adam.levine.2015academyawards

 Adamlevine.loststars

 Rita.ora.oscars

 

  • I chuckled over diminutive Kevin Hart being one of the presenters for Best Animated Short (and I scratched my head over his choice of formal wear).

 

Kevin.hart.animated.short

 

  • Finally, regardless of what was happening up on stage Robert Duvall wore the same blank expression.

 

Robert.duvall.oscars

 

If you love the Oscars, you may find my recaps from 2014, 2013 and  2012 of interest.


The A+ List of Well-Known Gay & Lesbian Celebrities

Neil.patrick.harris NeilPatrickHarrisTonyAwardsShow2011_article_story_main Nph_motherAs I perceive it, Neil Patrick Harris, Ellen DeGeneres, Anderson Cooper, Ryan Murphy and Rachel Maddow are today's most overexposed gay personalities (or, as Barbara Walters might refer to them as, the most fascinating).  However, a Google search I did on more than 300 gay celebs turned up many others who seem equally high profile (the top 50 can be found at the end of this post).

 

 

Harvey.fierstein Melissa.etheridge20 years ago there were very few "out" celebrities so it made sense that the token few, e.g., Harvey Fierstein, Melissa Etheridge and kd lang, received extensive media coverage.  Since then there's been a proliferation of openly gay celebs (a good thing), but an inordinate amount of attention still goes to a rather select group. 

 

 

Calvinklein Steve.kmetkoOf the 300+ included in this analysis, the typical celeb had 500,000 search results.  They ranged from 16,000 (for Steve Kmetko - remember him?) to 19 million (Calvin Klein).  There were thirteen well-known LGBTs whose names each generated more than 5 million search results - I guess you can call them the gay A+ List.  At the other end of the spectrum, there were 50 celebs/former celebs with fewer than 100,000 mentions.  (For some perspective, I, a mere gay mortal, had 5,000).

 

 

Natesilver TomdaleyNaturally, some of the names among the top 50 have been in the news of late, including newly out actress Ellen Page, figure skater Johnny Weir and stats guru Nate Silver (pictured, far left).  (Surprisingly, neither Michael Sam or Jason Collins were in this select group, ranking 59th and 61st).  By age, six of the top 50 were older than 65, with Giorgio Armani, at 78, the oldest.  Seven were younger than 30, with Tom Daley (pictured) being the youngest, at 19.  Ellen DeGeneres had the most search results for lesbians, but only ten others joined her.

 

 

Tim.cook.apple Annie.leibovitzActors, singers and fashion designers dominate the upper echelons of gaydom, comprising two-thirds of the top 50.  (The designers were, no doubt, boosted by their eponymous clothing labels.)  Outside of these fields we have  statistician Nate Silver; personal trainer Jillian Michaels; Apple CEO Tim Cook; photographer Annie Leibovitz; blogger Perez Hilton; interior designer Nate Berkus; and drag performer Ru Paul

   

 

Rachel.maddow Anderson.cooper.vanity.fair EllenshowAnd where do the five I thought were most overexposed rank?  Neil Patrick Harris is second; Ellen is fifth and Anderson Cooper, 30th.  Rachel Maddow and Ryan Murphy, however, are further down the list at 65th and 68th, respectively.  Still respectable but not nearly as high as I expected.

 

 

Robbie.williams Jason.wu JakeshearsWho was I surprised to see among the elite 50?  Besides Calvin Klein at #1, I was also taken aback by the inclusion of singers Robbie Williams (pictured, far right), George Michael, Mika, Tracy Chapman and Boy George; Jillian Michaels fom Biggest Loser; fashion designers Alexander Wang, Jason Wu (pictured) and Zac Posen; and British actor Steven Fry.  And those who I was surprised to see lower than the top 100 include ABC's Robin Roberts (#112); fashion guru Tim Gunn (#142); sexy Jake Shears of Scissor Sisters (#164, pictured near right); diving legend Greg Louganis (#177) and gay blogger Andy Towle (#294).

 

TOP 50 GAY PERSONALITIES
(Ranked by # of Google Search Results)
     
    Search Results
  Profession (In Millions)
Calvin Klein Fashion Designer 19.1
Neil Patrick Harris Actor 14.6
Elton John Singer/Songwriter 12.7
Marc Jacobs Fashion Designer 11.0
Ellen DeGeneres Talk Show Host 10.8
Michael Kors Fashion Designer 10.6
Robbie Williams Singer 10.0
Ricky Martin Singer   9.8
Tom Ford Fashion Designer   9.4
Mika Singer   7.1
George Michael Singer/Songwriter   6.7
Pet Shop Boys Pop Music Duo   5.8
Adam Lambert Singer   5.4
Giorgio Armani Fashion Designer   4.6
Tegan & Sara Pop Music Duo   4.5
Rosie O'Donnell TV Personality   4.3
Alexander Wang Fashion Designer   4.3
Ellen Page Actress   4.2
Frank Ocean Rap Singer   3.6
Portia de Rossi Actress   3.4
Tim Cook Business Executive   3.0
Johnny Weir Figure Skater   2.5
Jillian Michaels Trainer   2.4
Jason Wu Fashion Designer   2.4
Zachary Quinto Actor   2.3
Don Lemon News Anchor   2.3
Jodie Foster Actress   2.3
Tracy Chapman Singer/Songwriter   2.2
Perez Hilton Blogger   2.2
Anderson Cooper News Anchor   2.2
Jean Paul Gaultier Fashon Designer   2.1
Zac Posen Fashion Designer   2.0
Lily Tomlin Actress   2.0
Nate Silver Statistician   2.0
Andy Cohen Cable TV Executive   2.0
Ian McKellen Actor   1.9
Annie Leibovitz Photographer   1.8
Jesse Tyler Ferguson Actor   1.7
RuPaul Drag Performer   1.7
Boy George Singer/Songwriter   1.7
John Galliano Fashion Designer   1.7
George Takei Actor   1.7
Nate Berkus Interior Designer   1.6
Graham Norton Talk Show Host   1.6
Matt Bomer Actor   1.6
Wentworth Miller Actor   1.6
Stephen Fry Actor   1.6
Diana Nyad Swimmer   1.6
Tom Daley Diver   1.5
Chris Colfer Actor   1.5
(For period 3/20-24/2014)    

 


2014 Oscars Recap - Ellen DeGeneres Hosts a Kinder, Gentler Academy Awards

Selfie.at.oscarsAt first I wasn't enthusiastic about Ellen DeGeneres being host of the 2014 Academy Awards, but she eventually won me over (one of her charms is her ability to do this).  Her extensive mingling with the audience gave the telecast somewhat of a relaxed, "Golden Globes" feel.  Not only were the illustrious attendees good sports, they enthusiastically participated in Ellen's pizza delivery scheme and then a group selfie (right).  And I was thankful she didn't dance.

 

  • Ellen diverged from her anodyne presentation style just once, when she remarked, in the show's opening minutes, that the guy who came as Liza looked incredible.  (Liza was there, along with siblings Lorna Luft and Joey Luft, because of a tribute to The Wizard of Oz.)

 

Liza_2014oscars

  • John Travolta actually had somewhat human looking hair, but his mangling of singer Idina Menzel's name (inexplicably calling her Adela Dazeem) made his appearance a new classic Oscar moment.

 

Johntravolta.2014oscars

 

  • The cutest boy at the ceremony was Anne Hathaway.

 

Annehathaway.2014oscars

 

  • Jared Leto, made a moving acceptance speech upon winning the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor.  However, after mentioning the troubles in Ukraine and Venezuela, he failed to say anything about Uganda and its newly instituted anti-gay laws.  Considering the subject matter of the movie he won the Oscar for, this was an unfortunate omission.

 

Uganda

 

  • Leto's tribute to his mother, who was seated next to him in the audience, brought to mind a similar heartfelt maternal tribute by the late Philip Seymour Hoffman when he won his Best Actor Oscar for Capote in 2006.

 

Philipseymourhoffman.bestactoroscar

 

  • One of the co-winners for Best Make Up, Robin Matthews (Dallas Buyers Club), made a very poignant remark during her acceptance speech about AIDS awareness among today's younger generation.
  • Kim Novak's appearance was a sadly embarrassing one.  There was a jarring disparity between the voice of an 81-year-old woman coming from a body that resembled a blow-up doll.  Her appearance and somewhat confused state reminded me of AbFab's Eddie.  Novak's appearance might not have been so distressing if she had been paired instead with Bill Murray as her co-presenter rather than Matthew McConaughey.  Then an hour later 68-year-old Goldie Hawn, desperately clinging to her once youthful days of the 1970s (or trying to compete with daughter Kate Hudson?), presented an award.  Struggling with aging is the unfortunate reality of Hollywood.

 

Kimnovak.2014oscars

 

  • Honor Roll of Dashing Men: Leonardo DiCaprio, Michael Fassbender, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Brad Pitt and Chris Pine.

 

Leonardo.dicaprio.2014oscars

Chiwetel.2014oscars

 

  • The two best looking presenter couples: Jason Sudeikis & Kate Hudson and Chris Hemsworth & Charlize Theron.

 

Chris.hemsworth_charlize.theron

 

  • 48 persons were honored during the "In Memoriam" segment (well above the typical 25 or 30), including Shirley Temple, Deanna Durbin and Esther Williams.  It was capped off by a divine appearance by Bette Midler.

 

Bette.midler.2014oscars

 

  • Pharrell William's performance of his nominated song Happy was the most entertaining of the Best Song performances, especially when he went into the audience and danced with Lupita Nyong'o, Meryl Streep and Amy Adams.  Another Best Song performer, Idina Minzel (aka Adela Dazeem), came in for a rough landing at the end of her song, Let it Go, from the movie Frozen.  Lastly, guitarist Ezra Koenig's red socks perfectly matched the gown of singer Karen O during their performance of Moon Song from the movie Her.

 

Pharrell.williams_lupita.dyongo

Karen_O_Moon_Song_a_l

 

  • Upon receiving her Oscar for Best Actress, Cate Blanchet said that receiving the award from Daniel Day Lewis "exacerbated the honor."  Unfortunately, exacerbate means "to make something worse."  She probably meant to say something like, "enhanced the honor."

 

Cateblanchet.2014oscars 

 

  • Matthew McConaughey, who looked so dashing, gave an acceptance speech for Best Actor that not only was vapid and egocentric, but didn't once allude to the subject of his film.
  • Upon winning Best Picture, Steve McQueen, director of 12 Years a Slave,  managed to ramble on and thank two dozen people without mentioning one cast member.

 

Some reviews of the telecast criticized it for being boring.  Granted, there were no surprises as far as winners go, nonetheless I was entertained.  Those who were unenthusiastic may have been disappointed by a lack of rudeness or mean spiritedness - the norm of reality shows that blight the TV landscape.      

 

 

 

 

 


"Valley of the Dolls" - A Delightful, Trashy Mess of a Movie - And a Classic

Neely_helenlawson_fightValley of the Dolls was a huge best seller when the novel was published in 1966.  And it was an equally popular, although critically panned, movie that was released just before Christmas in 1967 (Dec. 15).  After adjusting for ticket price inflation, the $44 million it made at the box office (making it the 6th highest grossing movie of the year) is the equivalent of $300 million today.  Despite the date of its release, it would never be considered a holiday classic, but it's a beloved camp classic of many gay men.  (Perhaps the various Housewives iterations on Bravo were inspired by this movie? )

 

Valleyofdolls_neely2The movie tells the cautionary tale about the sordid underbelly of show business - Broadway as well as Hollywood.  Neely O'Hara, portrayed by Patty Duke, is "discovered", rapidly ascends to stardom, gets hooked on booze and pills and is discarded.  Judy Garland was the original choice to play the bigger than life Broadway star Helen Lawson.  (However, it was Neely O'Hara's character whose professional life mirrored Judy's in terms of pills and liquor).  20 years after VOD was released I was introduced to the movie by my gay boss.

 

Bitchy_fags_valleyofdollsIn keeping with the attitude toward gays in the 1960s, the portrayal of homosexuals in Dolls was not a positive one.  They were dismissively referred to as "fags".  Today, nearly 50 years later, this portrayal is  somewhat amusing and instructive of how attitudes have changed. 

 

Helen.lawson_treeThere are so many wonderfully awful scenes to relish.  For example, Neely being discovered at a telethon; a montage of Neely's typical crazy day as she rises to stardom; the song "Come Live With Me"; Helen singing "I'll Plant a Tree" in front of Calder-like mobile (pictured); Neely and Helen's confrontation in the lounge at a restaurant; Neely grasping for her "dolls".

 

Here are a dozen of my favorite lines:

  • This IS an exciting business! (An agent's assistant while watching from the side of the stage during Neely's breakout performance at a telethon)
  • The only hit that comes out of a Helen Lawson show is Helen Lawson, and that's ME, baby, remember?  (Helen Lawson, after demanding Neely be fired because she was taking attention from her.)
  • I'll plant my own tree and I'll make it grow ..." (Helen Lawson singing her show stopper, "I'll Plant My Tree)
  • I'll go out the way I came in. (Helen Lawson, in the ladies' lounge at a restaurant, after Neely pulled off her wig and flushed it down the toilet.)
  • I'm not the butler, Neely. (Neely O'Hara's husband) You're not the breadwinner either (Neely's snarky reply).
  • Mother, I know I don't have any talent, and I know all I have is a body, and I am doing my bust exercises. (Sharon Tate's character, Jennifer, on the phone with her disparaging mother)

 

Sharon_tate_vod

  • I have to get up at five o'clock in the morning and SPARKLE, Neely, SPARKLE! (Neely)
  • I wouldn't pay any attention to that. You know how bitchy fags can be!
  • Ted Casablanca is NOT a fag... and I`m the dame who can prove it.  (Neely)
  • Don`t worry, sweetheart. If the show folds I can always get you a part as understudy for my grandmother. (Neely to Helen)
  • They drummed you right outta Hollywood! So ya come crawlin` back to Broadway. Well, Broadway doesn`t go for booze and dope! (Helen to Neely)
  • Now you get outta my way, I got a guy waitin` for me. (Helen) That`s a switch from the fags you`re usually stuck with! (Neely) Helen Lawson: At least I never had to MARRY one! (Helen)

 

There are camp classics that are fine movies such as All About Eve and The Women, then there are the trashy classics such as Show Girls, Mommie Dearest and then there is ... Valley of the Dolls

 

In the fall of 1996 there was an off-Broadway production of Dolls they played at Village in the Square in Greenwich Village (Bleecker St.) starring Jackie Beat as Helen.  It was a parody which seemed odd considering it was already laughable in its original release.  I saw it twice.  

 


The 2013 Academy Awards: A Post Mortem

2013_oscar_winnersThe 2013 Oscars telecast was a rather tedious affair, largely characterized by the awkward reaction of the audience at LA's Dolby Theatre to host Seth MacFarlane's borderline tasteless attempts at humor.  However, I wasn't too troubled as it was nice to see a fresh face.  On what it is considered our big night, our Super Bowl, gays were mentioned three times.

 

 

  • The Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles appeared on stage.
  • After the chorus' appearance, MacFarlane told William Shatner (who was visiting from the future) that he wasn't a member of the chorus, to which Shatner replied, "Oh, trust me, in July 2015 you join the chorus".
  • Later in the telecast MacFarlane announced that the musical Chicago was being honored for winning Best Picture 10 years ago, "because we're afraid the show wasn't gay enough yet."
  • By far, the highlight of the night for me was Dame Shirley Bassey, who appeared at the end of a tribute to 50 years of James Bond movies and performed the theme from Gold Finger.  It was a very electric performance (such expressive use of her hands and arms!) and the audience gave her quite a reception.  Later, at the end of the "In Memoriam" tribute, Barbra Streisand came on stage and, in tribute to Marvin Hamlisch, sang The Way We Were.

 

Shirley_bassey

 

  • I loved hearing last year's Best Actor winner, French actor Jean Dujardin, pronouncing the names of the Best Actress nominees.

 

Jean_dujardin.imdb

 

  • Although it was a nice surprise to see the Gay Men's Chorus of LA on stage, unfortunately, it was during the frat boy number I Saw Your Boobs. (Whose sprightly melody I can't get out of my head.)  I don't know what the connection was between the two.  Mercifully, they were on screen just 15 seconds.  And Although I'm not certain, I believe they may also have provided background vocals for Adele later in the telecast. 

 

Gaymenschorus_losangeles_academyawards 

 

  • Charlize Theron and Channing Tatum did a very nice Astaire/Rogers dance number at the beginning of the show, performed to The Way You Look Tonight.  And Catherine Zeta Jones killed during her All That Jazz number. 

 

Charlizetheron_tatumchanning

 

  • Beards (the facial hair type) were the look for men as evidenced by Ben Affleck, Hugh Jackman, Jean Dujardin, George Clooney, Bradley Cooper, Tommy Lee Jones, Bryan Cranston, Chris Pine, Justin Theroux and Ann Hathaway's husband.  (I lost count at ten.)

 

Beards_2013_academyawards

 

  • Melissa McCarthy's and Paul Rudd's banter fell embarrassingly flat (and like last year, her gown resembled a shapeless sack); Daniel Radcliffe and Kristin Stewart had no chemistry whatsoever; the usually stunning Nicole Kidman looked a bit wilted; and Rene Zelwegger looked uncomfortable when she appeared on stage with her fellow cast members from Chicago.

 

Paul_rudd_melissa_mccarthy  

 

  • Thankfully, 75-year-old Jane Fonda looked incredible because her gown was bound to draw attention due to its canary-yellow color.  And co-presenter, Michael Douglas (68 years old), also looked great.

 

Janefonda_michaeldouglas

 

In closing, one thing I'll say in Seth MacFarlane's favor is that he has a very nice speaking and singing voice.

 

Seth_macflarane_oscars

To read my comments from last year's Oscar telecast, double click here.

 

 

 

 


Madonna Wins a Golden Globe for "Evita" (January 19, 1997)

Madonna_evita On January 19, 1997 Madonna won a Golden Globe for Best Leading Actress in a Musical/Comedy for her portrayal of Eva Peron in the movie Evita.  In a role she seemed born to play, she beat out Barbra Streisand, Glenn Close, Debbie Reynolds and Frances McDormand.  Looking quite chic, Ms. Ciccone was a study in quiet reserve as she gave her acceptance speech (after all, she was now a serious actress!).

 

 

 

 

Madonna_dicktracy A_league_of_their_own Too often Madonna gets a bum rap for her acting ability (let's not forget that Meryl Streep was in She Devil), but she's given a number of good performances.  For instance, I liked her in Desperately Seeking Susan; Dick Tracy (pictured, far left); A League of Their Own (near left); and the documentary Truth or Dare.  Of course, she's also made her mark musically with hit songs such as Get Into the Groove; Crazy for You; and This Used to be My Playground.  (And in 2012 she won her second Golden Globe for the song Masterpiece from the movie she directed WE).  At the 1991 Oscars Madge performed Sooner or Later from Dick Tracy and it was notable for being one of the few times she displayed nervousness as her hands were visibly shaking during the peformance. 

 

Madonna_vogue_cover After her triumph at the Globes it was disappointing that Madonna failed to get an Oscar nomination.  However, two months later the original song "You Must Love Me" from Evita won the Oscar for Best Song which she performed - with no shaking this time.  So, don't cry for her ...