Re “An ‘Argo' Night,” Feb. 25
Mark it as insult to injury that an unspeakably vile “joke” about Lincoln having been shot in the head by an assassin is not even mentioned in The Times' front-page account; it is emblematic of a hopelessly jejune Oscar show.
You might have noted, in answer to host Seth MacFarlane's question (“Too soon?”), that 150 years after Lincoln, 50 years after JFK and weeks after Sandy Hook is, yes, too soon. None of these things, with or without time, is funny.
Jokes about people we love getting shot in the head? Shame on all for letting such a gross insult to any and every victim of gun violence pass unrebuked.
It was almost painful watching MacFarlane knock out his one-liners.
They either landed with a thud or were just plain raunchy, often prompting the audience to groan. (To be fair, MacFarlane did a solid job with the song-and-dance numbers.)
For more than 80 years, the Academy Awards telecast has been known for its elegance and wit. Alas, it seems those days are gone.
Who cares if the jokes fall flat or the host doesn't live up to critics' expectations?
Television is merely the delivery system, the fastest means to advise movie lovers worldwide which of their favorites were blessed with a golden statuette.
If one day smartphones or iPads reach a demographic of sufficient numbers, probably the Oscars show will be performed and the winners announced over those devices, and TV will be forgotten.
But no matter how we receive the Oscars broadcast, human nature will remain the same. Most of us will be watching to see those beautiful people.
And I for one will be watching to see the stage set created as the versatile background for all the evening's activities. The Sunday night show's set of a million lights was spectacular, an Oscar winner in itself.
The Oscar show began with a feeling of disappointment that did not disappear.
The opening song was highly offensive to self-respecting women. All the women in the audience shown by the camera did not like it.
The ending song about losers was equally offensive and dishonest: There were no losers.
Mary Leah Plante
Re “On TV, awards are less gold than gray,” Feb. 23
I read with interest the piece on viewership of the Academy Awards. I was alarmed at the statistic that the age of the average viewer has increased by 21/2 years over the last year.
As an average viewer in his late 60s, I have felt this effect: I certainly seem to be aging faster.
Of course, cause and effect is hard to establish, but if it happens again after watching this year's Academy Awards, I will seriously consider skipping the show next year and thereafter.