Jellicle Cats, an Inexplicable Eminem Performance, and the Good Movie Actually Winning: Oscars Chaos, Examined

It’s been two years since the Oscars had a host and… it shows! From sun-up to sundown, last night’s Oscars were like a runaway ball of yarn being chased by a gang of Jellicle cats. The only time I felt centered while watching was during Kristen Wiig and Maya Rudolph’s bit, which had so much Big Host Energy I temporarily felt safe again. Like I knew which way was up. Like, after being lost in the mall for half a day I finally found my mom waiting for me at our emergency meet-up spot, Cinnabon. (Billie Eilish, I realize, may disagree.) Other than that though? Pure chaos. Let’s review.

Sartorial Chaos: The End of the Little Women Group Chat

We’ve spent a decent amount of energy musing on the wardrobe stylings of the Little Women cast, both in the film and on the red carpet. Do they coordinate via group text?, Harling has wondered. It seems last night the only thing they coordinated was putting their phones on airplane mode and winging it. Greta went right in a regal Dior gown! Timmy went left in a Prada suit that had people confusing him for security! The movie’s costume designer, Jacqueline Durran, went straight up to the stage to collect her award! The one discernible sartorial connection was probably the least expected: Saoirse and Florence in sea creature-chic.

Cameo Chaos: Eminem’s Inexplicable Performance

Considering time is precious at the Oscars, it’s strange that they opt to air what we in the tree-trimming business call “evergreen content”—montages with tenuous relevance and zero urgency, that would, if we’re being honest, be better off living out their days as YouTube supercuts. But choosing to have one of those random clips from said montage transition into an entire live performance by Eminem without even hinting at a logical reason for it? So chaotic your best course of action is to simply surrender and murmur “mom’s spaghetti” into the middle distance until you’ve been delivered into the arms of a commercial break.

Culinary Chaos: Our Thai Food Arriving Very Late

This one did not get air time on ABC, but you may have seen on the Man Repeller Instagram story that we ordered delivery to the office that was supposed to take 45 minutes to arrive but actually took around two hours. The havoc this wreaked on our Oscars coverage operation cannot be overstated and leaving it off this list would be dishonest.




Cats Chaos: Stars Throwing Their Own Movie Under the Bus

I think we can all agree that the cast and crew of Cats have been through a lot, and nobody expected to see much of them at the Oscars. But by the time James Corden and Rebel Wilson took the stage in full cat costume, their presence somehow made sense. However, James and Rebel throwing their Visual Effects team under the bus before presenting an award for that category? I wanted to spray them with my “bad cat” water bottle.

Radical Acceptance: Joaquin & Renée’s Extreme Speeches

Jaoquin was extremely Joaquin and Renée was extremely… Judy Garland? Ah yes, now I get it—Renée was just giving us a little taste of Judy to reiterate how deserving of her award she was. Extra credit for Renée!

Then, Finally, Non-Chaos Chaos: The Good Movie Actually Winning

We’ve become so accustomed to being wronged by awards show results that when Parasite swept Dolby Theatre last night, it was genuinely disorienting. It reminded me of the strange feeling of getting what you wanted—like say, a raise—after you’ve worked yourself into a tizzy preparing for the opposite. I bet Bong Joon-ho felt like that, except instead of a raise he got to tie Walt Disney for winning the most awards in one night and the sweet satisfaction of finally convincing American moviegoers to watch something with subtitles. (Well, he’s probably getting a raise, too.) Eternal congratulations to Bong and his hive.

And now, please consider the comments section a bulletin board for further analysis of last night’s antics (including notably strange moments not mentioned above, of which there were many). Or feel free to simply sign the petition to bring back a host (Aubrey Plaza has been doing a prettttty great job at the Independent Spirit Awards the past two years…). Or maybe you have some ideas about how the Oscars could trim the fat until the show is a tight hour during which no one slowly loses their mind? That is, if we’re sure that’s what we want.

Photos via Getty Images.

Mallory Rice

Mallory Rice is a writer who sometimes has bangs and sometimes does not. She was previously the executive editor of this fine website.

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