1. Beards. So many of them! George Clooney, Jean Dujardin, Hugh Jackman, Paul Rudd, Bradley Cooper, Tommy Lee Jones. I can’t remember an Oscars with so many. (Dear Friend: can it be…?)

The 85th Academy Awards - Arrivals - Los Angelesok_022413_news_oscar_affleck-main48f9d058-c0c9-4113-a2b6-3d947aeaf1a5_hugh-jackman145169-paul-rudd

2. Seth MacFarlane.

Dear Hollywood,

I know Seth MacFarlane is young, good-looking, and can sing. I know he looks like Mister Television, with that smugness and his way of pretending to let people make fun of him. US-OSCARS-SHOW

But what you get when you care more about youth, good looks, and fame is an offensive dickwad who made as many racist, homophobic, sexist, and anti-Semitic jokes as he could possible squeeze in. He gave voice to hostile white people — the exactly kinds of people who run the Academy Awards and showcased people of color and women primarily as presenters or in special categories of their own. He represents truly the ugliest, meanest aspect of American culture.

Heads out of asses, please. Next year please tell me that you’ll choose Tina Fey and Amy Poehler.

3. Inocente!

I hadn’t seen this film that won Best Documentary Short (look! it’s here, so I will watch it). But the filmmakers’ acceptance speeches about the importance of art makes me a little teary-eyed even now. Also because they brought the 15-yr-old undocumented artist, Inocente Izucar, who was the center of this film up to the stage with them and insisted that she appear with them in photographs backstage.

2013 Oscars | The show

Did you know that Inocente was crowd-sourced through Kickstarter? I like the whole idea of this film.

So it was like that — the usual whiplash of the Oscars, as one’s head whips between disappointing choices and surprise triumphs. Why do I watch, again?

globes-hosts-fey-and-poehler_original“It was a great year for film — for women in film. Kathryn Bigelow nominated tonight,” said Amy Poehler in her opening monologue with co-host Tina Fey, to applause and a nice cut to Bigelow in the crowd. “I, um, haven’t really been following the controversy over Zero Dark Thirty but when it comes to torture, I trust the lady who spent three years married to James Cameron.”

 

“Ladies’ Man or Sexual Predator?”

That’s what they’re asking at ABC News about Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the head of the International Monetary Fund (as if I needed more reasons to hate the IMF), in the wake of charges of sexual abuse and rape. That’s right: let’s offer the public one more chance to excuse his behavior as harmless flirting, and fill comments sections with suggestions that Strauss-Kahn’s victims are whiny bitches. I’ll bet you $1000 when the pundits debate this question, they’ll get a woman to defend the “ladies’ man” side of this important question.

Meanwhile, the news about Arnold Schwarzenegger’s “love child” (as the press invariably terms it; why not just “child”?) begs the question: you’re surprised? Oh, I get it — you didn’t believe all those women who came forward with reports of The Governator’s predatory nature back when he was running for governor.

And then there’s Roseanne Barr, who’s penned an unforgiving essay in this month’s New York Magazine about her experience being undermined, ridiculed, and dismissed even as Roseanne became a #1 TV show. Tina Fey observed earlier this year in that terrific New Yorker piece that men will call any of us a “crazy bitch” once they no longer want to fuck us. I’ll bet you $1000 that 70% of the response will debate the question, “How much is Roseanne Barr a crazy bitch?”

Message: you can’t win, ladies! So let’s debate whether Schwarzenegger is a ladies’ man or a sexual predator (and let me advise you that if you argue the latter, you will be termed a crazy bitch!).

Update, 11:15 am Tuesday: Our hero, Twisty Faster, has some sparks-flyin’ words at her blog, I Blame the Patriarchy, in which she points out that both Strauss-Kahn and Schwarzenegger shtupped “the maid.” Oh, “the maid.” The media barely treats such women as human, much less worthy of respect.

A few posts ago, I lamented a movie/TV world in which (again, to quote The Onion) women can be “sexy and tough. Sexy and smart. Sexy and professional.”  Sexy and enough of a right-on sheila to make a totally guy movie and win the Academy Award for Best Director.

At the risk of contradicting myself, I want to celebrate the return of the funny woman on TV — specifically in the form of Sofia Vergara of “Modern Family.” Let’s face it, folks: we don’t usually let our women be sexy and funny. This makes Vergara ever more of a delight, as she uses her crazy curvaceousness to be even funnier. Contrary to The Rules from way back in the 90s, which instructed women never to be funny lest they fail to snag a man, Vergara is terrific.

I’m not going to say she steals the show, which is a true ensemble cast of funny people (Eric Stonestreet deserves a paean of his own for his portrayal of Cameron); nor am I going to make too much of the show overall, which is distractingly entertaining yet light in the same manner as “30 Rock.” Rather, Vergara is perfect as the hot young trophy wife — who, once she establishes her part, doesn’t let the trophyness take over — of the aging Ed O’Neill character. She’s best when she’s sparring with him. “You’re too funny,” she tells him stone-faced when they’re fighting. “I’m going to share that one with my next husband when we’re spending all your money.” Then she slits her eyes, purses her lips, and looks to the camera for confirmation from the viewer — employing a physical humor that most gorgeous women won’t/can’t muster onscreen. Vergara is naturally funny.

Okay, invariably the writers draw heavily on two stereotypes: the Hot Latina and the Spanish-English disconnect. A lot of her lines are variants of the malapropism. When she sternly instructs her husband to be supportive of their son, she quotes the saying, “‘You be the wind in his back, not the spit in his face.'” She pauses, reconsiders the wording in English, and adds, “It’s gorgeous in Spanish.” If the show didn’t muster a whole array of cultural stereotypes (the prissy gay man, the exasperated housewife, the too-smart and slightly malicious middle child), I might feel the need to be offended. But in general the show takes no prisoners in the same manner that “The Simpsons” or “South Park” allowed stereotypes to set the stage rather than delimit their characters and scenarios.

I’m a big fan of Tina Fey, and I think Vergara follows in her footsteps. But “30 Rock” worked at cross-purposes in its early seasons: it got a lot of its humor from Liz Lemon’s attraction to meatball subs and Cheesy Blasters (which contained so many hormones that she got a false positive from a home pregnancy test), yet it kept putting Liz into gorgeous evening gowns, reminding us that Fey is really sexy despite her funniness, self-deprecation, and dietary weaknesses. What were they doing, trying to reassure us that “30 Rock” wasn’t just a “woman’s show”? (It’s a relief to see that more recently the show has abandoned that tendency, allowing Lemon to play up the physical humor with terrible haircuts, etc.)

In contrast, we take for granted Vergara’s character’s hotness — and then we let it go because she does funny things from there on out.  She’s a pleasure.