If Hollywood were a stock market, then Oscar night would be the most heavily traded date on the calendar. In an industry where image is critical, vast sums of money were made and lost last night as the whole world watched. Whose image increased/decreased in value?
We start with the most valued asset in last night’s portfolio- the host himself.
Chris Rock: What do you do with a giant sized elephant in the room? You attack it directly at the opening kickoff, and you keep going back there for numerous one-liners throughout the night. Rock said what a lot of Americans think, but only he could say regarding the #OscarsSoWhite controversy.
Rock pondered aloud why the industry decided to boycott this year’s Academy Awards specifically when African-Americans have been left out “at least 71 other times.” He said his community had real things to protest in the 1950s and 60s.
“We were too busy being raped and lynched to care about who won best cinematographer. When your grandmother is swinging from a tree, it’s really hard to care about best documentary foreign short,” Rock joked.
Rock made America think heavy, difficult thoughts, then later went lighter to make them relax.
“Things are changing. We got a black Rocky this year. Some people call it Creed, I call it black Rocky,” he said.
Twitter blew up with tweets, like “this is the greatest Chris Rock HBO special ever” and “How about we just let Chris Rock talk for three hours and post the winners on Twitter instead.”
Jacob Tremblay/Brie Larson/Star Wars franchise: This troika won social media for the night, hands down. Their stock is taking off and going to Pluto.
Joe Biden: Where has this guy been during all eight years of the Obama administration? This guy would be topping the polls if he was actually running for president.
Lady Gaga/Dianne Warren: The “Gaga is a meat dress wearing gimmicky act/Madonna wannabe” crowd went extinct for good last night. Warren similarly improved her image by showcasing her depth and profound substance. She’s one of the most accomplished songwriters of this generation, but most of that rep was built on bubble gum pop power ballads that were essentially cookie-cutter.
Last night’s powerful performance was a stark contrast to what we’re used to from these two. They sent deep, meaningful messages on serious social issues that should command more of our attention.
Photo by @People
Leo DiCaprio: Sixths times a charm as he finally got his Oscar. Was it a “make-up call?” Sure. Does that bother us? No. He also used his moment to make a powerful statement of social change regarding the most pressing issue of our age. Win-win-win. We’re backing up the truck to get as much of DiCaprio’s stock as possible.
Jennifer Garner: She looked so radiant last night that she redefined the term “revenge hot.” Sorry Ben Affleck, you were one of the night’s losers. Garner looked so beautiful that we temporarily forgot how annoying her credit card ads can get.
Photo by @etnow
Girl Scout Cookies: You’re already buying these, as you should because Thin Mints might be the most addictive substance on the planet. It’s not March unless you have Shamrock Shakes, brackets and Girl Scout Cookies. The Los Angeles troop, and the organization itself, may have been the night’s biggest winner.
Kevin Hart: Given that his career has nowhere to go but down (“Kevin makes movies fast. He comes out with a new movie every month,” Rock joked) you might as well short sell Hart’s stock. Apologies for the height pun there. His Dolce and Gabbana tuxedo came off as trying way too hard, as did his red carpet interview.
Jared Leto: I thought his outfit was fun, but it drew mixed reaction on social media. When your Academy Awards outfit is called “70s goth prom,” it’s not the time to be bullish on this guy.
Photo by @billboard
Sam Smith: How can you not be going long on the man who just won the Oscar for best song? Well, his performance was extremely lackluster, and it only verified what we believed- Smith’s a one note guy. If he’s in your portfolio, time to sell now and take the profit.
Stacy Dash: Given her toxic image, agreeing to do that bit last night was intelligent, but unfortunately, it flopped. When you’ve previously stumped to abolish Black History Month, in a year when #OscarsSoWhite has been a prominent hash tag, your Q rating is essentially junk bonds. We’re not selling Dash just because her segment was awkward, incoherent and unfunny, though. The reaction it received was also alarming for her career.
Her presence last night invited questions like “Who is she?” and “Why do we care what she thinks?” Being polarizing gets you noticed, but Dash came off as just irrelevant.
Donald Trump/Climate Change Deniers: Both Trump’s supporters and his critics admit he almost always shoots from the hip. However, his bizarre nonsensical ill-informed tweets denying climate change came off as straight-up trolling. In 2016, the “climate change isn’t happening” crowd are pretty much on par with the “evolution is just a theory” and “gluten allergies/Celiac’s Disease doesn’t actually exist” demographics.
Trump did nothing but take the polar (pun intended) opposite stance of mainstream opinion when DiCaprio made his global warming comments in his acceptance speech. Trump’s tweets reeked of phoniness and desperate attention seeking.
Sarah Silverman: Sometimes people just overstay their welcome in popular culture (no better example than the rock group Kiss). Silverman’s bit bombed prompting us to advise calling your broker and placing an order to divest yourself of Silverman shares.
Photo by @CNN
Paul M. Banks is a regular contributor to RedEye, the Chicago Tribune's youth-oriented daily newspaper. He appears regularly on WGN's CLTV (usually wearing a sport coat with skinny jeans) and KOZN 1620 The Zone. Banks previously contributed to the NBC Chicago and Washington Times websites. He currently owns and manages The Sports Bank.net, partnered with FOX Sports Engage Network and News Now. Growing up with three older sisters and no brothers, he inevitably ended up a member of #TeamOverDressed