John Raymond Barker

John Raymond Barker

Actor-Singer-Writer-Director. Recent Guest Star on Law & Order: SVU.

My Favorite Oscars Ever!

For all of you who know how much I love Oscar night, this is the Oscar post for the ages.

Last night was my favorite Oscar night ever. It ended with a sweet, modest date night with my husband. During the telecast, I performed and enjoyed my friends and others singing Oscar-winning and nominated songs at Stonewall Inn during the commercial breaks—made the night fly by! And the show itself was a beacon of light and joy after one of the darkest weeks yet in the Era of the Bloated Orange Madness.

I should preface that I have not seen all of this year’s films. Thus, I can’t speak to whether or not I agree if any award was given to the truly most deserved or if anyone was snubbed. I agree there was error in not properly introducing some numbers and that the Eminem performance probably needed some context–maybe they could have added the moment when Barbra Streisand announced his win or had Eminem thank the Academy during or following his performance. Nonetheless, I found it to be an exciting surprise, the reactions from the audience were hilarious, and while I’ve not always been sure whether the rapper’s worst offenses have genuinely been characters/social commentary/satire or if he’s bigoted jerk, the song is excellent, and it was good to see him finally perform it for the Oscars. All this taken into consideration, it was a remarkable night that I would like to go over in no particular order:

  • While there is much worthy debate in the breakdown of who is nominated and why, I felt that the Oscars did good work in creating a show that in essence course corrected by placing emphasis on women and artists of color in choosing performers, presenters, tone, and winners. I’m very interested in hearing if any women and artists of color feel this way as well. I know more work needs to be done, but the evening seemed like movement in that direction.
  • That gorgeous dreamscape of a set by Jason Sherwood was not only the best Oscar set ever, but one of the most sublime collection of images of all-time. I want to live in that world
  • Janelle Freaking Monae—I love this goddess. She looked sensational, and that was the best opener ever!
  • Billy Porter was also a fabulous part of the opening. It’s still surreal seeing his career explode the way it has. His fashion icon status is ever enjoyable. See him here having an unplanned moment with fan, Greta Gerwig 
  • EltonJohn’s performance was killer and a blast. Happy to see Bernie Taupin holding an Oscar
  • I dunno which gave me more Fizzy Lifting Bubbles–Idina belting her ass off with a powerful group of incredible, belting, international women or the genuine love of music and each other beaming off Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez’s sweet faces. Add to this Josh Gad’s hilarious dig about pronouncing Idina’s name.
  • Steve Martin and Chris Rock were hilarious —idea: have them co-host next year.
  • Better idea: Have James Corden and Rebel Wilson co-host (with or without cat suits). She’s been on a roll with hilarious monologues while presenting awards. Was the bit with the microphone planned? Either way, incredible.
  • Best idea: have Maya Rudolph and Kristen Wiig co-host. They are so damn funny. Oh pretty please make this a thing!
  • Billie Eilish and Finneas O’Connell are two of my favorite things but last night solidified it with that beautiful cover of “Yesterday” that gently soothed the pain of watching the In Memorium, which continues to be harder and harder every year–and I imagine will never get any easier.
  • Brad Pitt winning and his lovely speech
  • Laura Dern is one of the most wonderful people on the planet and seeing her win and honor her parents–her mother beaming with pure joy–was beautiful
  • Renee Zellweger expressed many beautiful ideas in her speech. She seems fragile in some ways, but ultimately strong.
  • Sigourney Weaver is a goddess of all goddesses, and I agree that all women are superheroes.
  • Hildur Guðnadóttir, the first woman to wins Best Score in over two decades, also gave a lovely speech.
  • Chrissy Metz’s powerful performance of Diane Warren’s 11th Oscar nomination for Best Original Song
  • Olivia Colman is hilarious.
  • Joaquin Phoenix shows great humility and poses an important question about redemption. I don’t have a problem with artists using their speech to be political. It’s part of Oscar tradition by now.
  • Charlize Theron is truly a humble. generous goddess.
  • Jane Fonda looked incredible and gave the Oscar audience what it desires–a regal ending.
  • Zack Gottsagen was the first presenter with Down Syndrome in Oscar history. The moment with Shia LaBeouf was misunderstood by some viewers who thought Shia was being disrespectful, but that is not how I, nor their film’s director viewed things. Shia, who agreed to present only if his Peanut Butter Falcon co-star could present with him, was protective of Zack the whole night. I interpreted that Shia was balancing patience with the pressure to keep things moving when it appeared that Zack was freezing up during what must have been a very nerve-wracking experience for anyone.
  • Cynthia Erivo looked and sounded senfreakingsational. But more than that, while I can’t be mad at Elton John’s winning for his song, Ms. Erivo deserved to EGOT last night for that incredible, inspiring song she co-wrote.
  • Many gave respect to fellow nominees (a gesture I am very fond of) or to other artists who inspired them, but no one better last night than Bong Joon-ho, whose praise led to a standing O for the great Martin Scorsese.
  • It is pure joy seeing Parasite winning Best Picture. It’s always fun when a win is a surprise and when history is made. But this moment was even harder fought when one imagines that voters are usually content giving an international film the award for what used to be called Best Foreign Language Feature Film or an animated film the prize for Best Animated Feature Film and let another film win Best Picture. That they gave this film both awards says a lot. That they also gave it Best Director and Best Original Screenplay really says a lot. Add to this that it’s usually harder for a film to win Best Picture with zero acting nominations. With such a stunning ensemble, it’s very possible votes spread too thinly across the cast to get them in. I offer this possibility in light of the fact that the actors gave Parasite Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Motion Picture (which is the big prize) at the SAG-AFTRA awards. Regardless, this is a lovely, deserving, huge moment for the Oscars, for film, for South Korea (which hadn’t even been nominated before), and for the world. Moments like these do help to change conversations. People of Asian descent have been treated very poorly throughout much of our society, and it fills my heart with joy to instead see people lifted up. These artists deserve their victory for their artistic achievement, but it’s all the sweeter in what positive representation this will hopefully bring. BRAVO to the cast and crew of Parasite!

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