As predicted, my Oscar predictions were predictably shaky this year … predictably shaky except for the predictions that were predictably easy to predict.
Let’s begin with the hosting team of James Franco and Anne Hathaway. These two gorgeous young people were supposed to have a positive impact on the 18-29 age demographic. However, with the overall viewer numbers down from last year, I am not sure they possess the star power necessary to draw in the younger voters. Mr. Franco should probably be grateful the numbers were down. He was flat out horrible. A pretty face, but boring nonetheless.
Anne Hathaway, on the other hand, was an energizer bunny onstage. She really gave it her all. Unfortunately, she just wasn’t capable of carrying the load at an event this size. She is incredibly talented, but must have felt stranded … given the disappearing act of Franco and the actual last minute duet cancelation by Hugh Jackman. How did he get to keep his front row seat after that stunt?
Much ado about Franco’s pace these days what with acting, producing and attending film school. Maybe he used this event to fine-tune his character should a sequel to Pineapple Express get made. Whatever the reason, he contributed almost nothing and appeared disinterested and foggy through most of the evening. To make it even more painful, the Academy included such classic hosts from the past as Billy Crystal, Alec Baldwin and even Bob Hope!
Anyway, this night is not about the hosts … it’s about one thing: how well or shabby do the ladies dress! Yes, I am kidding. Of course, it’s about the movies and the movie stars and the filmmakers. No need to list the winners, but let’s talk some specifics:
Mothers received more frequent shout-outs than what is typical. That’s a nice change of pace from the agents, publicists and producers. Really, the only mother missing was the one that Melissa Leo didn’t tack on to her F-Bomb! That’s a first for the Academy Awards’ stage, and really inexcusable … even if she did win for playing a tough ole’ broad from Lowell, Mass.
Even the weaker sex got some recognition. Original Screenplay winner David Seidler (The King’s Speech) had the line of the night when he said his Father had predicted he would be “a late bloomer”. Mr. Seidler is the oldest winner of this particular award. His story is even more interesting once you know that he struggled with a severe stutter when he was younger.
Even Grandmother’s got in on it … during the opening, James Franco’s grandmother stood up and gushed about seeing Marky Mark.
Other than the cheesy promo to a boxing website, Christian Bale’s speech was remarkably heartfelt and even touching, as he reached out to his loving wife for her support. Hopefully he shaves that beard before Batman starts filming next month.
Expected winners Colin Firth and Natalie Portman gave very classy acceptance speeches. Note to future winners: when in doubt, copy one of these two speeches.
David Fincher (The Social Network) looked like he was in a horrible mood all night, but it was really nice to see the overlooked Christopher Nolan get so much praise and admiration from the technical award winners for Inception.
Second best line of the night was when Live Action Short surprise winner Luke Metheny bounded onstage and proclaimed “I guess I should have gotten a haricut”.
Other than Franco’s lack of effort, the most amazing thing to me was listening to the four non-descript nominated Best Songs. Luckily for us, Randy Newman won his second Oscar in 20 (yes TWENTY) nominations, so we were treated to 90 seconds of this man’s comically self-deprecating genius.
Overall, it was a pretty uneventful ceremony with almost zero “Wow” factor, and no shockers amongst the winners … probably a fitting end to the 2010 film year. And I am guessing no one is happier to see Awards season come to an end than the VERY pregnant Natalie Portman. She will probably be wearing sweats with her feet propped up for quite awhile!
OK, so one quick note on the attire – I was very happy to see that most everyone dressed very well. This has always been a glamorous event and it’s a shame when a few just don’t get it. Heck, even Helena Bonham Carter almost blended in (and her shoes matched)! Youngsters, Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit) and Jennifer Lawrence (Winter’s Bone) were especially radiant and seem to have that magical combination of grace, personality, looks and talent … stardom awaits!
A quick tally of the winners:
Inception – 4 wins (including Cinematography)
The Social Network – 3 wins (including Trent Reznor’s score)
2 wins each – Toy Story 3, The Fighter, Alice in Wonderland
It always seems awkward closing out the previous year’s films in February or March, but it’s time to kick 2011 in gear. Get thyself to a theatre!!