Oh the Oscars. A magical time of the year when all of Hollywood gathers together to flaunt their wealth and extravagance in front of millions of middle class Americans. Of course, that’s half of what makes the Oscars fun to watch in the first place so I would be lying if I said I hated the annual event. The other half of the show, obviously, is about the awards and finally showing your friends just how much of a movie buff you are by being able to predict every Oscar winner of the night. Unfortunately, as much as I love the movies, I wasn’t able to catch every major movie this year but I sat down to watch the spectacle to satiate my unending desire to stay informed in both cinema and music.
A notable difference between this year’s show and previous years’ was the sense of youthfulness and immediacy. Despite the ceremony’s glorification of past Hollywood achievements, this childlike atmosphere permeated every aspect of the show and was lead by this year’s enthusiastic and incredulous hosts, James Franco and Anne Hathaway. The opening ceremony, involving James Franco and Anne Hathaway trying to break into Alec Baldwin’s thoughts via dream theft in order to discover the secrets of hosting the Oscars, offered a humorous beginning to the show. This segment included a scene in which Morgan Freeman, or “God”, narrated Franco’s and Hathaway’s actions as they went deeper into Alec Baldwin’s dream. It’s these moments when Hollywood pokes fun at itself that makes the Oscars an entertaining show.
After the introductions though, it was time to get down to business (to defeat the Huns). Although it’s certainly no secret now that The King’s Speech won Best Picture, I’ll break down the awards anyways. The first major award that was handed out, Best Cinematography went to one of my personal favorite films of the year, Inception. Even if one was confused by the plot of the movie, one can’t help but admire its jaw dropping dream sequences accompanied by an atmospheric sound that would also allow it to win Best Visual Effects, Sound Mixing, and Sound Editing later in the show. Fun fact of the day: many of the scenes in Inception were actually filmed in real life. These scenes include the rotating hallway fight scene as well as the scene in which Joseph Gordon-Levitt opens a door revealing all of the characters suspended in zero gravity. The former scene was actually filmed in a rotating hallway while the latter scene was made possible by suspending the actors by string.
While I never got the chance to see The Fighter, Melissa Leo’s acceptance speech for Best Supporting Actress was absolutely priceless. In all of the excitement of winning the award, she dropped an F-bomb on stage that surprised the audience as much as Leo probably surprised herself. This small, but hilarious misstep was brought up time and time again throughout the rest of the show but was definitely the funniest when Christian Bale went up for his acceptance speech for Best Supporting Actor, also for The Fighter. In case you haven’t been on the internet for the past few years, Bale is notorious for ranting at the lighting director on the set of the abysmal Terminator: Salvation. In reference to both himself and Leo, Bale offered up himself for comedic fodder to take the heat off of Leo’s misstep. Perhaps the most baffling section of the entire show, however, was the presentation of the aforementioned Best Supporting Actress award. While I don’t by any means at all mean any disrespect towards the great Kirk Douglas, I can’t help but wonder why the producers chose him to present the award. The audience seemed to be at a similar loss as they attempted to decipher what exactly the surprisingly youthful and funny 94 year old was saying as he joked around with audience members including Hugh Jackman and Colin Firth.
Other funny moments during the show included Justin Timberlake’s admission that he is in fact the anonymous graffiti artist known as Banksy during the presentation for Best Animated Short Film (it went to The Lost Thing) and Anne Hathaway’s musical solo number in which she takes a few shots at Hugh Jackman. Also, one can’t forget the hilarious auto-tuned music video lampooning Harry Potter, Toy Story, and The Social Network. Keeping in theme with the youthful atmosphere of this year’s show, this segment highlighted how the Oscars are beginning to embrace the next generation of movie watchers by joining in on the ridiculousness of home made auto-tuned YouTube videos.
The most unsurprising award likely belongs to Toy Story 3’s win in Best Animated Feature. While I enjoyed this movie thoroughly, I thought that it would have been nice to see How To Train Your Dragon win. Personally, I enjoyed this movie more than Toy Story 3 despite my love for Pixar and every movie the studio churns out. I found How To Train Your Dragon funnier and more touching than Pixar’s submission but I guess that’s just my opinion. Toy Story 3 would also go on to win best song after a short video in which President Obama assured us that “As Time Goes By” was the best movie song of all time.
The biggest steal of the Oscars, aside from the exclusion of Christopher Nolan from the Best Director Academy Award was likely a tie between Best Original Screenplay and Best Score. Although I certainly didn’t expect Inception to win both of these categories, I was astounded that it didn’t at least take home one or the other. The King’s Speech nabbed Best Original Screenplay while Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails won Best Score for The Social Network. While I don’t know much about screenplays, I do think that as far as originality goes, even after one realizes that it is nothing more than a psychological heist movie with some personal paranoia thrown in, Inception was at the top of the pack this year. Additionally, the score for the movie, written by Hans Zimmer, takes the urgent and intense atmosphere up a notch in a way that most movies can’t. However, the score for The Social Network provided a great atmosphere for the movie as well so I can’t complain too much.
While I was fairly certain that either The Social Network or The King’s Speech would win Best Picture, I was rather excited to see which film would win Best Documentary Feature. According to rottentomatoes.com, the last word on movie ratings, all of the nominate films had over a 95% rating, making prediction almost useless. Although I had only seen one of the movies, Exit Through The Gift Shop, I plan to view all of these films at least once in the next few months. In the end, however, the documentary about the financial meltdown, Inside Job, carried the day. In retrospect, I shouldn’t have been too surprised that Hollywood would choose to honor the film that condemns the questionable practices of Wall Street Investment Bankers but I guess I just wanted to see the elusive Banksy accept the Oscar for Exit Through The Gift Shop. For anyone who’s interested, the other nominated films in this category were Gas Land, Waste Land, and Restrepo.
Every year, the Academy Awards honors major figures in cinema that passed away. This year, as usual, I failed to recognize most of these people. However, one can’t forget the passing of Leslie Nielsen, champion of Airplane! and The Naked Gun series. His comedic shenanigans will be missed but have at least been preserved for future generations. Rest in peace, Shirley, rest in peace.
Rounding out the show, of course, was the major categories: Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, and Best Picture. The King’s Speech came out as the big winner this year, rewarded with Best Director, Actor, and Picture. It’s difficult for me to condemn these wins because I haven’t seen it yet and I’ve only heard great things. So I offer my congratulations to everyone involved in the movie and I plan on seeing it as soon as I can. In the Best Actress category, Natalie Portman won for her performance in Black Swan, the most twisted movie of the year. Again, other than True Grit, I haven’t seen most of the movies in this category. However, I congratulate Portman on her win because of the sheer intensity of her role. I saw Black Swan twice and was left on the edge of my seat both times. For those who haven’t seen it, the entire movie is essentially a slow buildup to the half hour climax that is simply a grand achievement in filmmaking.
And that was the show. This year’s Oscars, while not terribly surprising, had a fun and lighthearted atmosphere that had been missing from the ceremony for quite some time. James Franco and Anne Hathaway were clearly enjoying themselves on stage which made the show fun to watch as they could hardly stop laughing at themselves. This is what the Oscars should be and I hope that next year’s show offers something similar.
Here’s a quick summarization of the big winners this year:
The King’s Speech: 4 wins; Best Picture, Best Actor (Colin Firth), Best Director (Tom Hooper), and Best Original Screenplay
Inception: 4 wins; Best Cinematography, Best Visual Effects, Best Sound Mixing, Best Sound Editing
The Social Network: 3 Wins; Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Score (Trent Reznor), Best Film Editing
Toy Story 3: 2 Wins; Best Animated Feature, Best Song (“We Belong Together” – Randy Newman)
Powered by Facebook Comments