Monday, February 28, 2011

Oscar Post-Mortem 2010

After the first three awards were announced during last night's telecast, I knew my ballot was shot to hell. I ended up correctly guessing 15 out of the 24 categories overall. Not terrible, but not enough to win a dime. Still, the winners were not very surprising across the board. It seems that the Oscars picked a safe, mainstream picture for the major awards, which is fine. I haven't seen The King's Speech yet, but I'm sure there are worse movies that have won Best Picture. Slightly bummed that The Social Network didn't walk away with more trophies.

I'm not going to elaborate on the other winners since that's not really why I watch the show in the first place. I want to be entertained during Hollywood's biggest night and, for the most part, I was. I read some of the reviews this morning and most were really unnecessarily harsh. While I agree that James Franco was a bit out of place most of the night, I do think Anne Hathaway was radiant and charming. They were low key hosts who didn't try too hard to be funny. To me, that's better than watching comedians going for laughs and simply not getting them (Ahem, Letterman and Goldberg). Some of the presenters (like Robert Downey, Jr and Jude Law, for instance) tried to be funny and it just didn't work. I smiled whenever Hathaway had something to say, while I acknowledged that Franco was just.... there.

Other observations:

* Seeing Kirk Douglas on stage was a treat. He's a screen legend who was treated like royalty. It was heartfelt when he said that he would not forget that night and I think that's beautiful. A 94-year-old former movie star got to relive his time in the spotlight. It also didn't hurt that he was wickedly funny.

* Billy Crystal's short stint was a pleasure. He was the best host of the Oscars during my lifetime. He wasn't always funny, but he was consistently charming and graceful. Hathaway/Franco didn't come close to mirroring his class act.

* Most people say the show is boring and overlong (they say this every year, yet they always come back for more), but I never seem to think that. This is because I never watch the show live. I start about one hour after the show begins, which allows me to fast-forward through the relentless commercials and through the winners' slow-going walk up to the podium. I can knock out a 3-hour telecast in just under 2 hours. It's a breeze.

* Memorable speeches: Adapted Screenplay - Aaron Sorkin's humbling thought of receiving the same honor as Paddy Cheyevsky 30 years ago; Original Screenplay - David Seidler, an AARP member, said that his father told him he'd be a late bloomer; Song - Randy Newman - "I'm trying to be good television."

* Overall, I though the show was a class act. I missed watching the honorary Oscars -- I would have loved to have seen the Coppola and Wallach tributes -- but I understand why the show had to cut them. You can't please everyone. But I was happy to see tributes and reflections of winners past. Spielberg said it best during his Best Picture introduction. The losers are still winners -- look at all of the movies and performers that never won.

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