Monday, February 28, 2011

WORST. OSCARS. EVER.


Is it really that hard for the Oscars to put on a great show?

This nation of ours does one thing better than any other country in the world and that is create entertainment. Yet with all of Hollywood at its disposal, the Academy folks cannot come up with a better show than the tepid affair that they pulled together for the 83rd Oscars? How sad.

I should have known that things were going to get bad when the obligatory “Let’s put the hosts in the film clips” filmed segment ended and yet had failed to include four of the best picture nominees: WINTER’S BONE, TOY STORY 3, THE KIDS ARE ALRIGHT, and unbelievably 127 HOURS. What? They couldn’t come up with a funny line or two for Anne Hathaway to say to James Franco stuck between a rock and a hard place?

So, without further ado, here are my special awards given out to this, the most boring, dragging and uninspired Oscar telecast ever. It was just over three hours and yet felt like eleven. (And Rob Lowe and Snow White, you can now die in peace knowing that an Oscar telecast was worse than yours. Congratulations.)

BEST HOST (OF A FRAT PARTY) –
James Franco. He clearly did some bong hits before this kegger, I mean Oscar gig.

WORST PRESENTER –
Kirk Douglas. Clearly time and age and ego have taken their toll. He took an eternity to get to the supporting actress winner and it was not the time, even for a legend, to stall, joke and kvetch like that.

WORST FU**ING SPEECH –
Melissa Leo. She was as classless as her character in THE FIGHTER. (Imagine what Hailee Steinfeld would have done with that moment. A shame.)

MOST APPRECIATIVE OF THE CRAFT SERVICE TABLE –
Randy Newman. Was he still chewing a half-eaten finger sandwich when he sang his song from TOY STORY 3?

MOST EGREGIOUS OMISSIONS –
How could the In Memoriam segment exclude Corey Haim, Maria Schneider, Peter Haskell, Betty Garrett and Peter Graves? If I can remember them, the Oscar producers should. Terrible. 
Corey Haim
MOST EGREGIOUS INCLUSION –
The Anne Hathaway song “On My Own.” Did Hugh Jackman really stand her up? Or was it just a bad inside joke? What it was…was stupid. The number should have been cut. Oh, and by the way, the song is from a Broadway show for chrissakes.

WORST DRESSED –
Kathryn Bigelow. There’s a reason she’s behind the camera.

2nd WORST DRESSED –
Cate Blanchett. It looked like someone played marbles on her dress. In the melting sun.

3rd WORST DRESSED –
Scarlett Johansson. Bad dress. Bad color. Messy hair. What happened?
 
WORST STROLLS DOWN MEMORY LANE –
Why show clips of old Oscar winners like GONE WITH THE WIND and LORD OF THE RINGS: THE RETURN OF THE KING? Can’t we just honor this year’s films? It’s not about the history of the Oscars. It’s supposed to be about 2010’s best stuff.

WORST WAY TO LOSE THE YOUNGER VIEWING AUDIENCE –
The Electronica music movie montage with automated singing that wasn’t cool or hip in any way whatsoever. It played like old fogies trying to be young and hip. (More like a broken hip.)

WORST MUSICAL INTERLUDES –
A tie between the intro music, which sounded old Lawrence Welk orchestrations, and the music that started to play off Aaron Sorkin. (And how dare the show’s director order the band to do so after letting Kirk and Melissa go on and on and on…)

However, there were some delights. A precious few, but still...

LOVELIEST SURPRISES –
The Oscar wins for live action short GOD OF LOVE and animated short THE LOST THING. They were my two faves, so it's nice to know that the Academy saw it that way too.

BEST KING'S SPEECH –
David Seidler. The original screenplay scribe was crowned for his smart, witty and heartfelt screenplay. And he gave an acceptance speech that was just the same.
David Seidler
BEST SELF-DEPRECATION EVEN THOUGH HE WAS A LOCK –
Colin Firth. He’s a great actor. Especially for acting so humble when his prize was as certain as death and taxes.

BEST SMILE THROUGH ONE CLUNKER AFTER ANOTHER –
Anne Hathaway. She grinned her ears off as she heard crickets greet one joke after another. Her dimples deserve their own spa weekend after all that.

BEST CALL-OUTS –
Everyone thanks their laundry list of names. At least Natalie sang praises of those unsung below the liners in the biz.

BEST DRESSED –
Reese Witherspoon. She looked like Catherine Deneuve in the sixties. Only she smiled more.
2nd BEST DRESSED –
Jennifer Lawrence. Elegant. Vibrant. And damn sexy.

OTHER BEST DRESSED –
Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis, Hailee Steinfeld, Michelle Williams and Penelope Cruz (Lucky man, that Javier Bardem).

Javier Bardem & Penelope Cruz on the red carpet
BEST ANNE HATHAWAY OUTFIT –
That last one she wore. The sheer gown. Wow. (A Bob Mackie, perhaps?)

WORST ANNE HATHAWAY OUTFIT –
The tux. Why? So Franco could come out in drag? 



MOST GENUINE WINNING MOMENT -
Tom Hooper’s joy at hearing his name called. I think he knew, at that moment, that his film would win best picture as well.

THE MAN I HOPE BECOMES A STAR –
Luke Matheny. The director, writer and star of the live action short winner GOD OF LOVE was so goofy and charming during his acceptance speech that I wish that he had taken over the hosting chores at that very moment.
Luke Metheny
FUNNIEST PRESENTERS –
Russell Brand and Helen Mirren were a witty, Britty delight as they presented best foreign language film. 

BEST LINE OF THE NIGHT -
Steven Spielberg’s crack about the best picture winner joining some esteemed titles; while the losers were about to join some titles that are even more revered.

All in all, the show was a bore. Limp, aimless, drift wood. Franco defined stoned apathy, like he was still working in PINEAPPLE EXPRESS. Then they bring out Billy Crystal, who got one of only three standing ovations by the way (Kirk Douglas, and the cluster of special Oscar recipients Eli Wallach, Kevin Brownlow, Jean-Luc Godard and Thalberg winner Francis Coppola being the other ones) and have him merely introduce some old Bob Hope clips. Really? That's the best they could come up with? And almost every Oscar went to the favorite in the running so there was precious little suspense, spontaneity or any sense of a pulse to the whole business. 

Perhaps I expect too much from the show. But the Oscars are at the top of the food chain, and as someone once said, the higher up the ladder you get, the more your ass is seen by those below. Well, the Academy showed a lot of ass Sunday night. As in asinine.

8 comments:

  1. Jeff writes: The Anne Hathaway song “On My Own.” Did Hugh Jackman really stand her up? Or was it just a bad inside joke? What it was…was stupid. The number should have been cut. Oh, and by the way, the song is from a Broadway show for chrissakes.

    Ron writes: So is "Tonight" from "West Side Story" which was used in the montage to showcase how great movie music is. Did no one do their homework with months to prepare this show?

    Only a few of the MANY things wrong with this year's show. This broadcast had a lot in common with former big Oscar winner: "Titanic."

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  2. You are so right, Ron! At almost every point in the show there was something off or ill-conceived. Broadway show tunes were just one of them. I didn't even talk about Robert Downey, Jr. and Jude Law talking about the former's 10 year old rehab problems. That's relevant, "now" comedy? Franco in drag is an in-joke lost on most of the audience. The Academy producers feeling that Kathryn Bigelow somehow needed a star to help her present the best director Oscar. Time and time again, silly, wrongheaded, badly thought out blunders that were either not funny, hoary or cringe-inducing. Ugh!

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  3. I never see the show. Haven't for years. And every day after commentary confirms my judgement.

    Every year it's more of the same:
    • Few surprise winners.
    • Presenters lecture the audience as to why they should pay attention to this or that category. e.g. Costume, Makeup, Sound design.
    • Most acceptance speeches are people rattling off a list of people names that nobody knows.


    Yet if they got rid of any of the above, it would cease to be an awards show. Hence, I think the whole thing is doomed from the start.

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  4. I agree 100% with all that has been said here.

    My thought is, that although we give awards to people, it’s the films that should have been the star of the show. The collective work of hundreds of people, most of whom win nothing for it. Instead of clips (again) of GONE WITH THE WIND and other classics, Hollywood...this was your big chance to show off much more the outstanding work you did THIS year.

    I read the complaint that ticket sales and theater attendance are both declining? Then Hollywood would have been better served by showcasing their best work while so many eyeballs were watching. 37 million people. What “advertising” for your product (while giving the obligatory awards) could be better than this?

    For those in the world-wide audience who have not yet seen these great new films, they learned next to nothing about them watching THIS show. It was business as usual.

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  5. Michael, I also think that awards fatigue sets in too as there are now so many award shows and few surprises in the winners based on who's cleaning up all season long, so that hurts the show too.

    Fan With No Name, your complaint is my number one issue with the Oscars. They always reach back and wallow in nostalgia when they should be making the current state of cinema more relevant. If ticket sales are down then the Oscars indeed would be smart to showcase more of what Hollywood is getting right in contemporary times, not only with the 10 best picture nominees, but also with other great movies that are nominated or registered with fans and critics throughout the calendar year. To ignore them is tantamount to cutting off your nose to spite your face, isn't it?

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  6. And, of no surprise to followers of this blog, the viewership of 18-49 year olds was down 12%.

    So says the NY Times:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/01/movies/awardsseason/01oscar.html

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  7. Mr. Franco, do you think we deserved your full attention?

    Well, apparently we had part of your attention –we had the minimum amount. The rest of your attention was either back at New York University working on your Masters, back at Yale working on your Doctorate, or back at one of the numerous other colleges you seem to be attending at the same time.

    I admire James Franco’s zealous multi-mediatasking as an actor, artist, teacher, writer, painter, director, producer, and especially as a multi-matriculating student of higher education. However, the Academy never should have selected a host who barely had time to red-eye it west on the weekends for rehearsals.

    And Mr. Franco should have known you can’t do 500 million things at once.

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  8. Really funny post, Fan With No Name. Love the way you referenced Sorkin's screenplay line about the "minimum amount of attention" as well the "500 million things at once" part of your commentary clearing recalling the great teaser poster line for THE SOCIAL NETWORK. ("You don't get to 500 million friends without making a few enemies" for those followers who may not recall it.) Very, very clever. Thanks for following and posting! And here's hoping that the Academy doesn't make a Franco mistake again!

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