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Oscars 2011: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly

February 28, 2011

Okay, here’s my official take on the Academy Award show this year. The entertainment world is abuzz today with reports of how horrible James Franco and Anne Hathaway were as hosts of the show. I think that they are being unfairly maligned. I found Hathaway charming, beautiful, and eager to please.

On the other hand, Franco seemed like he didn’t give a crap about the show or his performance. He was obviously stoned out of his mind, and I am not one to judge, but that is flat out disrespectful. Do that stuff on your own time, not when you are in front of a billion people. Anne Hathaway didn’t stand a chance when she was saddled with the stoner from hell. I genuinely felt bad for her.

Smoke much, James? This was Franco's standard expression throughout the evening. Via

Franco has had an amazing year. I used to dismiss him as a joke, until I saw his performance in 127 Hours. He was astounding. Shortly after I saw the film, I spoke at a public event, and swore that I would never sell him short again. Until now. Franco has squandered all the good will he has earned in one catastrophic hosting gig. Back in the penalty box you go, Mr. Franco. This time it won’t be so easy to earn your way out.  For a very funny take on Franco’s questionable frame of mind, check out this article.

To be fair, I truly didn’t feel that the two were given much to do.  Outside of a great film montage at the beginning of the show, they were barely present. Perhaps that was a blessing. Still, Hathaway deserves props.

Franco’s quick little appearance in drag was bizarre, jarring and random. I felt like I was watching an SNL skit.

Normally there are all sorts of wacky happenings to write about on Monday morning after the Oscars. Passionate speeches, spontaneous surprises, uncomfortable political pleas.  This year: *crickets*.  Nothing. Nada. The most boring and predictable show in recent memory. The biggest thrill of the night came when Best Supporting Actress Melissa Leo dropped an F-bomb during her speech.  How randy!

Despite touting their new allegiance to a younger demographic, the Academy took the safe route when it came to the awards. Period drama The King’s Speech cleaned up. It is the same type of film that we would have expected the Academy to vote for twenty years ago. Period drama-check. Protagonist that overcomes an obstacle-check. British humor-check.  The list goes on and on. The King’s Speech is a fine film, and one I can’t fault, but I feel like we’ve seen it a million times before, and we will see it time and time again in the future. Boring.

How about rewarding originality and ingenuity in film making for a change?  Those traits are not mutually exclusive with quality film making. I would have liked to have seen Inception or The Social Network win the big one. Especially disappointing was Tom Hooper’s win for Best Director. The story and acting made the movie, not the directing. David Fincher deserved the Oscar for The Social Network.  The award bestowed on Hooper was probably the closest thing to an upset that we saw all night.

Did anyone else notice that when the final montage was shown before the announcement of Best Picture, Colin Firth’s speech from The King’s Speech ran over the entire segment?  No audio from any other movie made a peep.  Pander much?  If it wasn’t apparent earlier, this was a dead giveaway that the film would waltz away with the top prize.

Though it was a bit of a treat to see Kirk Douglas present an award, his segment tread dangerously toward being exploitative. I had a mini-anxiety attack worrying that he would keel over and die before he could spit out the Best Supporting Actress award.  As if it weren’t enough of a nail-biter just to see if he lived through the segment, he prolonged the agony by continuously making jokes before he announced the winner. He was adorable, but watching him struggle was sad. The sentiment was there, the delivery was not.

On the plus side, the show seemed to have trimmed a bit of the fat. Best Original Song nominees were all presented in one montage, and their were not as many superfluous song and dance numbers as I remember from past years. Save for the creepy/ill-advised Bob Hope hologram/ghost crap, I dare say the show moved along at a good clip.

So, do you agree or disagree.  Am I missing any highlights, because I truly don’t think there were any. Do you agree with the awards?  If you missed our earlier post, the winners are listed below.

  • Art Direction Alice in Wonderland
  • Cinematography Inception
  • Best Supporting Actress Melissa Leo The Fighter
  • Best Animated Short The Lost Thing
  • Best Animated Feature Film Toy Story 3
  • Best adapted screenplay Aaron Sorkin The Social Network
  • Best Original Screenplay David Seidler The King’s Speech
  • Best Foreign Film In a Better World
  • Best Supporting Actor Christian Bale The Fighter
  • Best Original Score Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross The Social Network
  • Sound Mixing Inception
  • Sound editing Inception
  • Makeup The Wolfman
  • Best Costume Alice in Wonderland
  • Documentary Short Strangers No More
  • Best Live Action Short Film God of Love
  • Best Documentary Feature Inside Job
  • Best Visual Effects Inception
  • Best Film Editing The Social Network
  • Best Original Song Randy Newman “We Belong Together” Toy Story 3
  • Best Director Tom Hooper The King’s Speech
  • Best Actress Natalie Portman Black Swan
  • Best Actor Colin Firth The King’s Speech
  • Best Picture The King’s Speech

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    3 Responses to “ Oscars 2011: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly ”

    1. Jennie Morgan on February 28, 2011 at 11:00 am

      Oh no, you’ve got to admit that Anne Hathaway was just as bad as Franco. Watching her felt like watching a 13-year-old schoolgirl host the Oscars. I wrote a little more about that here:

    2. jjskck on March 2, 2011 at 3:54 pm

      Hathaway was absolutely NOT as bad as Franco. She was annoying at times, and the “WOOO!” girl nonsense was inexcusable.

      Here’s the thing: she was trying really, really hard–sometimes too hard. But I think it was a performer’s instinctive response to the fact that her co-host was bringing NOTHING to the stage. No energy from Franco? I’ll provide enough for us both!

      She was too much, but I will always give someone a pass for too much enthusiasm over horsebleep indifference. Embarassing.

    3. Maya on March 3, 2011 at 12:58 am

      I enjoyed the Gawker article you linked. There are all these people who claim that that is just his personality. I love James Franco, personally! His smile! He appeals to the teeny bopper demographic who fell in love with him during Spider Man 2 (I just don’t know how many of us there are).

      The best part of the Oscars was Colin Firth’s speech. He was very lovable. As far as The Kings Speech goes, I enjoyed the film, but I also thought it was a little boring. Some people love it. Inception clearly made a big impact on people… Shannon, I also thought it was awkward that the final montage before Best Picture was so centered around The King’s Speech.

      I think it was interesting how only a few movies seemed to win any Oscars at all. … As far as Anne Hathaway goes, this Oscars just confirmed to me that her personality is exactly the same as her Princess Diaries’ character (I watched that movie on TV pretty recently).