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20 thoughts on the Oscars, mostly involving blackface Billy Crystal

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Thought 1: Whatever your feelings on Billy Crystal in blackface, surely we can all agree it was less disturbing than the way his face looked the rest of the telecast. (He’s crossed that fine line between “Botoxed” and “embalmed.”)

Thought 2: Apparently, there was a production meeting when someone said: “We have two Best Song nominees, one of which involves Muppets… meaning we could have a song performed by Muppets, who are beloved by children of all ages. Instead, let’s feature some dumb-ass Cirque du Soleil thing and Billy doing blackface.”

Thought 3: Brad, please make Angelina eat something. Thanks.

Thought 4: Why does Hollywood hate Harry Potter? There are eight movies, each of which earned roughly a billion dollars while generating good reviews. Yet it can’t win Best Makeup.

Thought 5: I wonder if it was Billy Crystal or a producer insisting: “Dammit, this broadcast needs a Sammy Davis Jr. impression!!!”

Thought 6: Seriously, how does Harry Potter not win Best Makeup? It has dozens of actors who are completely transformed into creatures with appearances suggested by the text, but not yet fully conceived, meaning the work is an act of both fidelity and imagination. Whereas for winner Iron Lady, the challenge was: “Make white woman look like different white woman.”

Thought 7: Brad, please make Chris Rock eat something. Thanks.

Thought 8: I like to think that Max von Sydow went to a fortune teller and she said, “The Best Supporting Actor trophy will be won by an 82-year-old who was not born in the United States” and he was feeling pretty good about his chances until someone mentioned Christopher Plummer’s from Canada.

Thought 9: When Plummer spoke about what an honor it was to be in such an esteemed group of nominees, he may not have been aware that group included Jonah Hill.

Thought 10: The Oscars were supposed to be hosted by Eddie Murphy, though he dropped out to make Norbit 2 or whatever the hell it is that he does with himself nowadays. Maybe, just maybe, when Billy Crystal was invited to take over, he said, “I’d love to do it, but I think this year the show really should have an African-American host as originally intended.” Then he thought to himself, “Maybe it can, after all…”

Thought 11: When Murphy left, was any serious consideration given to have Coming to America costar Arsenio Hall host? (He had his own talk show, people!)

Thought 12: I’m pretty sure Clooney and Pitt had a bet going on who would get more reaction shots. The winner: Martin Scorsese (it still won’t make up for Goodfellas losing to Dances With Wolves).

Thought 13: Related to that, flipping channels a few days earlier I stumbled upon Kevin Costner speaking at Whitney Houston’s funeral about The Bodyguard. We can only hope that, should tragedy befall Tom Petty, Kevin will be right there with Postman anecdotes.

Thought 14: Apparently Billy Crystal used to put on blackface all the time back when he was on Saturday Night Live in the 1980s. Also, the opening credits featured a cross burning while the audience of brownshirts cheered the coming Fourth Reich. (Anything for a laugh!)

Thought 15: I know Apple owned Pixar, but when Steve Jobs appeared during the tributes to those lost in the last year it still felt like they were just putting up random pictures of famous people.

Thought 16: Did Billy Crystal have any other racially-questionable impressions from the 80s he could bust out? Because if he could have acted out some scenes from The Killing Fields but held back, that would have been tragic.

Thought 17: When Sandra Bullock said she was speaking Mandarin but then spoke German, the Academy Award writers were showing a lot of faith in the ability of Americans to recognize either Mandarin or German.

Thought 18: Adam Sandler, particularly in the year when he gave us Jack and Jill and Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star, was a perfect choice to feature as an expert on cinematic excellence.

Thought 19: More actresses should wear animal costumes. Bjork did it years ago and it continues to delight me more than a Versace ensemble ever could. Emma Stone in a dress with a giant bow is fine; Emma Stone costumed like a ferret is unforgettable.

Thought 20: Bring back James Franco.


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2 Responses to “20 thoughts on the Oscars, mostly involving blackface Billy Crystal”

  1. Funny, as always. I believe that Apple did not own Pixar. Steve Jobs headed Pixar, but that was separate from his running Apple.

  2. Thanks, Scott–it’s easy to forget that Apple and Steve Jobs were, technically, separate entities (in fairness, I think in his mind the lines were pretty blurry)

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