Search This Blog

Monday, February 28, 2011

The 83rd Annual Academy Awards

Anne Hathaway: 1. James Franco: 0.

Or, as it will come to be called, The Kirk Douglas Variety Special

For full nominees and winners, click here.

And special thanks to Amanda from America's Next Top Model Addiction for all her help in creating this post!

More after the cut --

The Arrivals

As always, we can not start the event with the arrival of the guests - The Red Carpet. It's become as famous as the awards show that follows it, and I'd like to think that's for good reason. We get the glitz and glamour out of the way so we can focus on the films and bitch about what didn't win and why. 

Holy Hell, Ree.
I'd like to be the first to say out loud, regarding the Red Carpet, that Jennifer Lawrence did in fact set the bar high, and has been doing so since the beginning of the awards season. 

Her style has come through incredibly well, though we can't help but wonder if maybe she's just trying to distance herself from her homely bulldog look in Winter's Bone, or if she's just naturally this fabulous. Either way, she's doing one hell of a job. E! reporters remarked that she set the bar too high for those who followed her on the Red Carpet, and most people have apparently balked at the idea simply because she's... wearing red. I think she looks gorgeous. 

If we look at her "arrivals" even at the Golden Globes, or the Indie Spirits, the girl has had it nailed from Day One. If I had to pick an "icon" for this year's Best Dressed, it would easily be this girl.

Of course, this isn't to discredit other beautiful stars who made their mark on the carpet - Natalie Portman looked ravishing, as did host Anne Hathaway when she arrived on the scene. Of course, Hathaway's dresses throughout the night just got better and better. She's a class act, and she always dresses like it. 

Other dresses I absolutely loved... 

Natalie Portman, winner for Black Swan

Snubbed Mila Kunis

Helena Bonham Carter, nominee for The King's Speech

Hailee Steinfeld, nominee for True Grit

Nicole Kidman, nominee for Rabbit Hole

Our host, Anne Hathaway

There seemed to be, besides wonderful gowns and glittery girls, a lot of last minute campaigning going on during the pre-show. As if no one told the nominees that voting was already over and this wasn't akin to a pep rally. But, just the same, there was a strong show of love for The Social Network when people were asked for their favorite film of last year. 

The Show

After the love fest was over, and the reality that The Social Network wasn't winning had sank in, the stars were ushered to their seats and the show began... with a fascinating montage where James Franco and Anne Hathaway displayed two things - one, their utter lack of chemistry, and two, comedic talents, all in one mix-up of an opener. It went a little something like this -

This is bonus footage, and the concrete opening monologue isn't available yet online. I'll post it as soon as it is.

As soon as things kicked off, things got a little weird. There was an odd shout out to Gone With the Wind, and Tom Hanks gave a confusing stats filled introduction to Best Art Direction, and Best Cinematography which went to Alice in Wonderland and Inception, respectively. He stated that in Academy history, it usually means a Best Picture win if you take both Art Direction and Cinematography... thankfully, Alice in Wonderland only snagged the former. If I had it my way, it wouldn't have been allowed anywhere near the ceremony. But, that's for another rant.

After the incredible and over Wally Pfister won his award, and gave a gracious speech, the greatest thing to happen to the Oscars in years happened - Kirk Douglas walked onto the stage, into our hearts, and away with the whole damn night:

After Kirk Douglas verbally gums Anne Hathaway, the winner is eventually read, after much starting and stopping and many "You know..."'s followed by stories by Kirk Douglas, as the audience kept laughing... Melissa Leo's name was eventually called. Her role in The Fighter had won her the Oscar, and her ad campaign in Variety had won her numerous jeers along the way. It was a classless "message" move, but she still won. She walked on stage, hit on Kirk Douglas, asked him to pinch her, he giggled like a pervert and obliged... and here's what she had to say about it --

First ever F-bomb on live television during the Oscars. Two nods into her career, one crappy campaign, and an Oscar record. Melissa Leo is a winner for the books. Anne Hathaway did a little bit of soft-shoe after Leo's f-up - she called this the "young and hip Oscars" to much laughter.

Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis took the stage, where in a brave and bold move, good ol' JT revealed himself as Banksy (director of the nominated Exit Through the Gift Shop, and feared graffiti artist). Half of the older crowd didn't get the joke, so Mila Kunis had to pick up the pieces. Whatever. I thought it was hilarious. And watch - twenty years from now, it will come out that he was telling the truth. Moving on, though, Kunis and Timberlake presented awards to The Lost Thing for Best Animated Short Film and to Toy Story 3 (!) for Best Animated Feature Film.  Director Lee Unkrich finally became part of the Pixar Winners Circle, as he was one of the few key players in the company left without an Oscar. That is, of course, no more. Cheers to him for a job well done!

Josh Brolin and Javier Bardem, in matching white tuxedos (for some reason?) come out to introduce the Best Adapted and Original Screenplay categories. Of course, these categories have been locked for months - we called the winners before the nominees were announced: Aaron Sorkin - The Social Network and David Seidler - The King's Speech, respectively. Both speeches were a bit strange. Aaron Sorkin's speech came across as something that would have sounded better coming from Martin Sheen, and David Seidler's wound up being dedicated to "the stutterers of the world". ... it gets better.

Anne Hathaway came out on stage to keep an old tradition alive - the Oscar musical number. But, her "On My Own (Because Someone's a Hugh JackAss)" was jaded, and nothing but a pot-shot at Hugh Jackman for not being up there with her, as she was with him. And then, James Franco came out as Marilyn Monroe in the middle of it all -

"I just got a text from Charlie Sheen..."

Let me say two things - one, that line is making me laugh hours past the show. And, two, James... buddy, don't take shots at people after you bust Ricky Gervais' chops for taking shots at people. It makes you look like a hypocrite. A funny one, but a hypocrite nonetheless.

Russell Brand and Dame Helen Mirren, who recently starred in the nominated The Tempest (costume design) and will star again in the upcoming remake of Oscar nominated film Arthur, came out to introduce Best Foreign Language Film. Hilarious, hilarious dialog which makes me still wonder why some people don't absolutely love Russell Brand... Helen Mirren starts speaking in French, and Russell does "his best" to translate.  In a Better World, directed by Sussane Bier, from Denmark, wins the Oscar.

Reese Witherspoon wanders onto stage and presents Best Supporting Actor quite calmly and respectfully. Way to ruin the fun, Reese. *angry glare* Thankfully, though, Christian Bale kicks it back up a notch with his acceptance speech for The Fighter. He deserved his win, richly.

God. The people who are winning for The Fighter are just... insane tonight. Christian Bale's speech was so much fun - he poked fun at his "volatile" persona, he poked fun at Melissa Leo for swearing on live television, he has some sort of crazy beard thing going on, and his accent (per usual) is all over the damn place. That, and he promoted a website for people to train with the real Dicky Ecklund. Pretty sure no one's ever plugged the internet during their speech before.

After Christian Bale is done pumping up Dicky Ecklund, Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman take the stage. Apparenly, Jackman and Hathaway "made up backstage". This show is getting... adult. Lots of small sexual innuendo and lots of broad masturbation and lesbianism jokes... still, Jackman and Kidman do a classy job of introducing a tribute to musical score throughout film history - of course, it might as well have been this:

But, still - the tribute was nice, very nice. The orchestra was on top of their game this year. Though, what all of this really means is that it's time to introduce the winner of Best Original Score - if you haven't figured out who it is yet, you're missing out. Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross for The Social Network. Alexandre Desplat will, of course, go home Oscarless. Again. *insert Melissa Leo F-bomb here* Not that The Social Network isn't my pick to win this category or anything, it's just high time Alexandre Desplat gets his notice. Kind of like Roger Deakins losing to Wally Pfister earlier.

or have I lost readers already?

Moving right along!

It's time for the Sound categories. That's Sound Editing and Sound Mixing for those who are keeping track. There isn't any sort of surprise here, except that presenters Matthew McConaughey and Scarlett Johansson aren't funny, and should have gone home. McShirtless has never looked greasier, and Scarlett just seems bored. Like... James Franco kinda bored. Which is weird, because James Franco also seemed pretty high...

Still, no surprises outside of that, when Inception took home both trophies.

Cate Blanchett stepped out on stage to... Lord of the Rings clips? They pick the movie she's in for about five minutes after letting Franco laud her performances in I'm Not There, The Aviator, and Elizabeth? Good job, Academy producers. Way to keep it up. Still, she was there to do a job and present Best Make-Up to either The Wolfman, The Way Back, or the oddly placed Barney's Version. She smiled politely after each clip, until The Wolfman's, after which she audibly proclaimed "That's gross." with a deadpan face.

Injecting a bit of objectivity into the proceedings right now... The Wolfman is a terrible choice for this. Most of it is CGI, and most of that CGI is terrible. The entire thing looks like a PS3 cut scene.

That's gross. And unrealistic. Well, as far as werewolves go... Rick Baker's previous win for An American Werewolf in London was much more deserved.

She also hands out the award for Best Costume Design to Colleen Atwood for Alice in Wonderland.

Most Costume Design =/= Best Costume Design
This is especially gross because it faced off against True Grit and the infamous Sandy Powell for The Tempest, who should win every award ever simply because of what a fierce bitch she is. And before I get any letters about how that's derogatory and sexist, I've got ten bucks that says she'd call herself a bitch in person before I ever got the chance to. That, and I adore her. 

Colleen Atwood eventually found herself off stage, thanks be to Music, and Randy Newman is brought onto the stage to sing his nominated song "We Belong Together" by Mariah Carey from Toy Story 3! 

After five minutes of us trying to decipher what it is he's saying, he finishes his bouncy and endearing tune (knowing full well he's going to win for it later) and saunters off stage, allowing Jake Gyllenhaal and Amy Adams to enter and introduce the Documentary Short and Live Action Short categories.

But, first they hand out the Oscar for Documentary Short to Strangers No More. Moments later, they hand the Live Action Short to God of Love. Luke Matheny's afro accepts his award for him.

It is at this time that I would like to point something out -- Anne Hathaway's almost constant costume changes throughout the night. Not one bad dress, not one off moment for her for the duration of the show. She's a champ.

And she's stunning. 

Back to business!

Oprah Winfrey, in all of her Oprah glory is half-heartedly invited to the stage by a barely-conscious James Franco. Once there, she offers the award to the Best Documentary Feature. As much as I want Exit Through the Gift Shop to win, only so I can see Justin Timberlake accept an Oscar, I know it won't happen. Documentary Feature belongs to either Inside Job, or Waste Land.

And it does go to Inside Job, as I marked on my now defunct Awards Daily ballot and Outguess Ebert ballot.  I have just failed beyond belief this year with the techs and shorts. I'm ashamed of myself. D:

In an effort to keep their audience awake, the Academy decided to bring the category where the most things blow up to the table - Best Visual Effects. Robert Downey, Jr. and Jude Law present, but only after a wonderful introduction from the one, the only, ... the dead (?) Bob Hope. Downey, Jr. and Law share some bitter banter over the usefulness of visual effects directors and the usefulness of Downey, Jr.'s charm... Law loses, I'm afraid.

But Inception wins! A beautiful victory for a beautiful visually designed film. I'm continuously shocked as to how Christopher Nolan missed a Best Director nomination for this movie... but, again, that's a rant for later.

They went on to present Best Editing to The Social Network, one award I've felt very strongly about over the last year. It's the easiest watch of the Best Picture nominees, and every moment flows so fluidly into the next... it's hard to imagine another film taking this home. And, I'm thrilled that it wasn't The King's Speech.

Here it is... the moment you've all been waiting for!

Best Original Song.

The nominees are:
If I Rise - 127 Hours - performed beautifully by Florence Welch of Florence and the Machine, and AR Rahman.
I See the Light - Tangled - performed awkwardly by Alan Menken, Mandy Moore, and Zachary Levi.
Coming Home - Country Strong - performed all too seriously by Gwenyth Paltrow, and her flat ironed hair.
We Belong Together - Toy Story 3 - performed incoherently by Randy Newman.

Randy Newman wins, for only the second time out of 20 nominations during his career - the first two of which came for Ragtime back in the day. But, he seemed to be a bit... contrary during his acceptance speech. Almost like he was complaining that he hadn't won more often. Which is... pretty much an invitation to not come back. Nice knowin' ya, Randy.

In one of the most awkward production moments in anything ever, we're dragged to the In Memoriam segment, after bouncing around with Randy Newman, Woody, and Buzz. "Emotional whiplash", a friend of mine called it. Too true.

So many important names flew by on the screen, while Celine Dion forced out a few "smiles, though she's weeping". I'm so tired of her. Thankfully, the audience learned not to clap after each name, as it turns a bittersweet moment into some sort of popularity contest for the bereaved. Which is total crap. But, they couldn't contain themselves and started clapping at the end. Certainly, it wasn't for Celine Dion. Ew.

Desperately tagging one more name onto the memoriam, Halle Berry did a segment on Lena Horne (probably to make up for the fact that the only black nominee is only 1/8 black?) and made the In Memoriam a little too self-important.

Hilary Swank introduced Kathryn Bigelow (for some reason) to introduce Best Director. There didn't need to be a pleasantries train. Just snub David Fincher and get it over with, you know? But, whatever. The point of it all is this - Best Picture was locked up when Bigelow read out "Tom Hooper - The King's Speech". Any hope that Facebook fans had for an upset were dashed, and the rest of the audience cheered wildly. It was a celebrated win, but the wrong win.

Still, though, his speech was ace. He referred to his relationship with Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush on set as a "triangle of man love". I guess it doesn't help that the film was made on a gay porn set...

We're down to the final three awards! Best Actress presented by Jeff Bridges, Best Actor presented by Sandra Bullock, and Best King's Speech of the Year. I mean... Picture. Best Picture.

Jeff Bridges gave a lovely and touching tribute to each nominee, and you could tell that it meant the most to the young Jennifer Lawrence. She probably grew up watching his movies. I did, and at that age, I would have wet myself if he had even looked at me. But, ultimately, the nominees were knocked off one by one until only Natalie Portman stood up to collect her award. An award she completely deserved, giving alongside Christian Bale in The Fighter the best performance of last year.

Sandra Bullock saunters sexier than all Hell onto the stage and begins to give a touching speech to each Best Actor nominee, just like Bridges did. And... then she gets to Bridges, her awards season bosom buddy for the last go 'round. "Dude", she tells him, "Dude." She asks why he needed another nomination. He already won. He's greedy. And I'm so glad people got that. I sometimes fear that sarcasm might get lost on the Hollywood types. But, everyone got the joke. No teamsters have to help Sandra Bullock into the trunk of her car.

The award went to Colin Firth (shocker of the year) for The King's Speech. Don't get me wrong, he was excellent. But, in terms of flat out performing skills, his Bertie comes nowhere near James Franco's Aaron Ralston in 127 Hours, also nominated. But, still - The King's Speech was heard.

Deserved award, for sure. But, not the kind of performance that would sweep my awards circuit. if I had one.

Drumroll, filmgoers, this is it. No, not when Banksy is revealed. That was Justin Timberlake. Pay attention. This is when we get to hear the Best Picture of the Year announced. Of course, if anyone's been paying attention since November, you'd know it was destined to be The King's Speech.

Steven Spielberg goes out of his way to praise The Social Network over The King's Speech, saying that, essentially, the losing films will go on to most likely achieve the greatness of Raging Bull and Citizen Kane, while the winning film will join the ranks of Driving Miss Daisy and On the Waterfront. Bold words, buddy.

I would have felt empty if he had read The Social Network's name off that card, given what he had just said. But, nope - The King's Speech it is. Even the Best Picture montage before the announcement should have been an indication. Bertie's final speech from the film was the voice over over all the other nominees. Talk about tacky.

Here's a montage I would have loved for them to have used -

But, sadly, I don't run the show.

At the end of it all, we got an awkward Saturday Night Live send-off from Franco and Hathaway (the only one of the pair who seemed cognizant throughout the night) -

Thanks to G.E. Smith...

And of course, I have to include the class photo -

... and this one.

But that one's not terribly important!

Thanks for reading this incredibly long post! I've had a blast writing it, so I'd love to know your thoughts! Thoughts on the winners, the losers, the snubs, the hosts, the skits, all of it... what do you think I missed? What were your highlights? Comment below!