Lin-Manuel’s Oscar Mission: Usnavi Awareness

Duana Posted by Duana at February 10, 2020 16:39:09 February 10, 2020 16:39:09

The following account of Block… let’s say six, of the Oscars, reads like one of those brain-teaser riddles in logic puzzles, where you have to extract one piece of verifiably true information and use it to determine the rest can or can’t be true.  (I think it’s also the kind of puzzle you find on the LSAT, which explains a lot.) Read this, and then solve for X:

This is not a joke – it’s an accurate assessment of the convoluted tangle of introductions that ‘obscured’ the Eminem reveal. But to be honest,  At this hour of the night/morning the memories are getting a little bit hazy, so I thought it was just my memory that was failing here, but this really is how it all happened, for better or for worse.

Why? Why does one guy introduce another guy who introduces a package that… gahhhh. Good question – I assume it was part of Lin’s negotiation when agreeing to be a presenter. It must have involved something to the effect of “how about you guys promote my leading actor from In The Heights, so people who don’t know Hamilton get excited about this giant movie I’m dropping this summer, huh?”   Which they did, but then they couldn’t think of a natural fit for Ramos so he wound up introducing Lin? Because otherwise the folks at home would be all “who’s that kid with Alexander Hamilton, and what does his necklace say?”

So instead we have this whole big-brother little-brother scenario, where Lin-Manuel Miranda is an actual celebrity, and Anthony Ramos, who’s about to star as Usnavi in ‘In the Heights’, and his wife Jasmine Cephas-Jones, both of whom are original cast members in Hamilton, are treated like the kids next door that LMM babysits sometimes or something.

What’s frustrating about the whole situation is that Ramos is a spectacular performer, and – okay, so he doesn’t have a 17-year-old hit to revive in front of a confused audience, but… we couldn’t have gotten a teaser from the movie? A live version of one of the other songs before we got into Eminem? Something? 

Partly I’m still salty from last year, because Anthony Ramos had a THANKLESS role in A Star Is Born, and I have to assume he originally had a song or two that was cut, because otherwise why cast him in the role as Ally’s friend when you could have someone almost certainly cheaper? 

I do like that Lin-Manuel Miranda knows at this point that if he’s not performing or otherwise in a crucial role in the show, that he can essentially play the laid-back big brother role that we’ve seen beloveds like Jon Hamm or even Will Smith adopt – he’s most certainly asked to do all the things, but I like that he’s sometimes kind of like, “You know what, how about we turn our focus over here. To Anthony Ramos. Did I mention he’s about to star in this big movie and you’re going to be salivating for him to be here next year?“

I’m not worried about Ramos – In The Heights is likely to be a big summer movie and everyone will know who he is then – it’s just annoying that nobody cares until it’s past time to care, and then there will be a whole mess of people who ‘don’t like musicals’ suddenly swooning over him on magazine covers. Just you wait. 

(I’m also slightly annoyed because maybe if Ramos had more camera time I could have read all of his necklace. I can see T-U-M on one side, and F-A on the other… “Quantum Factor” seems too long, in addition to not actually meaning anything, but what else can it be? Is this why people like to do crosswords?) 

Photos:
Kevin Mazur/ Steve Granitz/ Jeff Kravitz/ Kevin Winter/ Amy Sussman/ Getty Images

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