February 28, 2011

Oscars Telecast Recap

The Oscars show was disjointed, old-fashioned, atonal, but, at least it wasn't as long as it used to be! Regardless of who actually won, I give the show a D-plus. Here's the good, the bad, and the ugly.

The Good

The opening Inception parody was OK, especially when they rode into True Grit on horseback, and James Franco tells Jeff Bridges "I loved you in TRON."

Anne Hathaway during the opening monologue: "This was a great year for... lesbians! In general, and in the movies!"

Ninety-four-year-old Kirk Douglas, literally the oldest award presenter they could find, was charming, spontaneous and genuine, even if his earlobes terrify me. I loved his comment "I was nominated three times and never won!" Movie stars never change.

Melissa Leo dropping the F-bomb "...two years ago Kate (Winslet's speech) made it look so f---ing easy." BOOM!

Boys? Table 6 is waiting for their hot wings!
I think some of the winners were as excited to meet the presenters (Kirk Douglas, Oprah) as to win the actual Oscar.

Trent Reznor won an Oscar, just like Eminem and Bruce Springsteen.

Auto-Tune-ing movies, turning Deathly Hallows, The Social Network, Toy Story 3, Twilight, etc, into musicals? One of the few moments where the show felt relevant and contemporary.

After Marisa Tomei summarized this year's technical awards, James Franco chimes in "Congratulations, nerds."

Sandra Bullock engaging each nominee personally. Too Jeff Bridges: "Dude! Didn't you just win last year? How about you give someone else a chance?" The awards need more of this personal engagement. Don't all these people know each other? Why can't it be more congenial?

I really like the live singing (Celine Dion this year) during the In Memoriam montage.

The Bad

The first thing after the opening monologue was a half-hearted tribute to Gone With The Wind. They didn't even show any clips, just Tom Hanks saying how great it was, then they moved on to something else.

Franco makes a "Winter's Bone" joke? Didn't Mike Myers make that joke on SNL a month ago?

I am all in favor of a tribute to great movie scores, but who chose Star Wars, E.T., and West Side Story to honor? Has no one written a great score in the last 30 years?

Billy Crystal honoring Bob Hope? Really? Aren't there any LESS relevant icons they could honor?

Randy Newman wins Best Song again. The other nominees included a standard Alan Mencken ballad from "Tangled", and a mood piece with, like, three notes, from "127 Hours". This category seems less relevant than ever.

I don't like Gwyneth Paltrow anyway, but her flat, brittle singing of her Best Song nominee was embarrassing. After the last note, you could tell by the scowl on her face that she wasn't happy with it either.

The president of the Academy plus a bigwig from ABC-TV got onstage to announce what a great job ABC does airing the show every year, and how they just signed a contract extension. WHO CARES?! This had to be included on the show?

Oprah hasn't made a movie in 13 years, yet she was onstage presenting Documentary Feature? Coincidentally she's hosting her show from the Oscar stage today. Pretty cozy deal she's lined up.

Anne Hathaway introducing Sandra Bullock as if she were a saint. She's a classy lady who had a shitty year, not Mother Teresa mixed with Meryl Streep.

Why is there a brief and meaningless tribute to the birth of sound film? Another nostalgic look back which contains no actual content and goes nowhere either.

I appreciate the idea of hiring two young, relevant, ostensibly funny actors to host the ceremony, but James and Anne did not match up, their tone was totally imbalanced: James Franco seemed to be totally disengaged, as if he was too cool to act like he cared about movies. Meanwhile, Anne Hathaway was a tireless manic cheerleader, who never missed a chance to mention what introducing the next presenter meant to her. Also, all the whooping was obnoxious.

The Ugly

Three of the most exciting and relevant directors working today (Darren Aronofsky, David Fincher, and David O Russell) are nominated for Best Director and Best Picture... and the statuettes go to Tom Hooper and his very pleasant and well acted but totally old-fashioned King's Speech instead.