Billy recaps the Oscars, good & bad


How can I start an Oscars column without talking about Lady Gaga, pictured. I knew she was classically trained, but was taken aback by her singing of the medley from The Sound of Music on Sunday night. If you thought you were knocked out of your seat at home, you can only imagine what it was like in the Dolby Theatre. And once Julie Andrews came out, the theater actually shook with excitement.

Until that point, it was a rather pedestrian production. Sure, Neil Patrick Harris was a charming and affable host, but also unmemorable, save for re-enacting the underwear walk from Birdman. Speaking of his ensembles, I liked NPH’s first tux (except for the lapels), loved the second one, thought the third one was ill-fitting, and liked the fourth, but thought it was a bit too casual (and I hated the flower). As to the ladies, how can I not mention Jennifer Lopez’s dress … or was it a float in the Tournament of Roses Parade? Let’s put it this way: She and Oprah looked like twins. And speaking of twins, I think I’m actually getting tired of seeing JLo’s breasts, and you know how I loves me a good set of titties.

Best speech of the night: Graham Moore, who wrote The Imitation Game. He started with a laugh by thanking Oprah, who presented the award. He then brought it home by comparing his struggles and suicide attempt at 16 with the struggles and suicide of Alan Turing, the subject of the film. He spoke directly to everyone out there who is weird, different, and doesn’t fit in. “Stay weird, stay different, and then when it’s your turn and you are standing on this stage, please pass the same message to the next person who comes along.” Bravo. By the way, contrary to what you may think, Graham Moore is not gay. Double bravo!

How fortuitous that on the eve of new Oscar winners being announced, a former recipient went public with her complaints. Mo’Nique gave an interview to The Hollywood Reporter claiming that winning the 2010 best supporting actress Oscar wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. “It should come with more respect, more choices and more money. It should and it normally does. I thought, once you won the award, that’s the top prize — and so you’re supposed to be treated as if you got the top prize.” Let us not forget:  One role (even an Oscar-winning one) does not a career make. And if we know anything about Hollywood, it gives you what it wants, not what you think you deserve. According to sources, Mo’Nique was less than pleasant to work with.

It’s not every Valentine’s Day one gets to spend with Cheyenne Jackson, but I was lucky to escape Boston and be in Fort Lauderdale when he appeared in concert with Seth Rudetsky at the Parker Playhouse. Over the years, I’ve seen Cheyenne many times — in Aida, All Shook Up and Xanadu on Broadway; Altar Boyz off-Broadway; and It’s a Bird … It’s a Plane … It’s Superman in Los Angeles. Each time, I left frustrated. Obviously he’s gorgeous. He has a marvelous singing voice. One can’t quibble about his acting ability. But, inexplicably, the sum didn’t equal the parts; he never seemed to have it.

But lately, my opinion has changed. He gave a wonderfully nuanced performance in the film The Green. He showed his comedic chops on 30 Rock. And most importantly, he really connected with audiences in concert. I noticed this last summer during his run at the Provincetown Art House. Perhaps it was that he was being himself rather than playing a character. Or perhaps he’s simply grown as an artist over the past decade. But the difference is extraordinary. In the past, we’ve run into each other socially but, given my criticism, I suspect I’m not his favorite person. But never let it be said that Billy Masters doesn’t have balls of steel — perhaps all the firmer due to the wearisome winter in Boston. After last week’s concert, I found myself being ushered over to Cheyenne and Seth for a photo-op. Seth greeted me with a kiss, I complimented Cheyenne, shook his hand, and we posed for the photo … with Jackson looking at me quizzically. Another bullet dodged.

By the way, Cheyenne has a new single out. “Find The Best of Me” is available on iTunes and the proceeds will be donated to the American Foundation for AIDS Research. He better be careful or I’m gonna turn into a fan!

I had no interest in Fifty Shades of Grey (book or movie), but for you, I sat through the movie … admittedly, in the privacy of my own home and with judicious breaks for napping. What a slow, lugubrious, endless film in which nothing happens. I can only imagine what a page-turner that book is! During the negotiation of their sexual contract, I couldn’t get one thing out of my mind, how on earth does Dakota Johnson watch this with her family? Sure, I think it’s hard to shock Melanie Griffith. But how do you sit next to nana Tippi Hedren during a discussion about vaginal fisting? I have trouble sitting near Big Mama Masters during those douche commercials!

Lastly, did you see Miss Cicely Tyson on How To Get Away With Murder? Why don’t they just give her the Emmy now, because you ain’t gonna see anything top that all year. And the writing? Wow! It was truly something to behold.

When I’m predicting the Emmys while reporting from the Oscars, it’s time to end yet another column. I do have one last observation about the Oscars…or, rather, ABC’s pre-show: whose bright idea was it to get Michael Strahan to say the name Reese Witherspoon? The only worse thing would have been Sissy Spacek. While I didn’t have space to squeeze in a question this week, send me an email and I promise to get back to you before I work Sissy Spacek’s name into another column.

Until next time, remember: One man’s filth is another man’s bible.

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This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition February 27, 2015.