- I frankly did not like the hosts. Nothing against the actors whom I both wholeheartedly admire, but as hosts, they were incredibly bland. At least Hathaway looked like she was trying her best. Franco wasn’t even there. I’m pretty sure he was high on something. Or maybe he was just clueless? Everything they did felt so inorganic and forced. They started with an entertaining montage at the very beginning but from there on, everything went downhill. This experience, combined with the short Billy Crystal appearance, is a reminder that hosting a show like this is not what any movie star can do. It also made me ask, for the umpteenth time, what about Neil Patrick Harris? He’s hosted practically every other show and he’s terrific. Take note of that, producers of the 84th Oscars!
|Hathaway trying hard, Franco in his own element|
- Kirk Douglas’ presentation of the Best Supporting Actress trophy was, to put it mildly, irritating. I understand the logic of honouring screen legends, but why him? I don’t mean to be mean about him, but he clearly wasn’t fit to present that award, especially on the show that brought those two hosts to appeal to the young crowd. His attempts at being funny fell flat and his comments on the women at the show were lewd. Why couldn’t his son present the award? I’d assumed it was a good time to give him the spotlight this year. And again, if we’re supposed to see screen legends on the stage on a show that wants to appeal to younger audiences, why not Michael Caine or Dame Maggie Smith? All young kids know them from Batman and Harry Potter.
- It was nice to see the Original Song nominees back in the show; it’s just a pity it was a terrible year for that category. You might say “most years are terrible years for that category” and you’d be right, but this year’s line-up was particularly uninspiring.
- Steven Spielberg’s introduction of the Best Picture nominees remains the highlight of the show for me. He started by saying something along the lines of “The winner will join [insert names of a few best picture winners] and the other nine films will join Citizen Kane and Raging Bull.” While I think his statement is in general quite irresponsible (in a “we’re gonna give this award to the most mediocre choice we have, but hey, we’ve always done it! Shouldn’t you be used to it by now?” sort of way) and the fact that many losing best picture nominees of the past are huge classics doesn’t give the voters an excuse to vote for less accomplished films, he still gave us a reminder that after all, all of this doesn’t really matter. A good film is a good film is a good film, and whether it wins an Oscar or not is not going to alter its quality or legacy.
- The most pleasant surprise of the evening was Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross’ win for Best Score. That soundtrack is SO not what the academy goes for and with Alexander Desplat in the running, nobody really saw this coming. But they really deserve to be applauded for this choice. A few years ago, to the teenage Metal Music obsessive in me, the prospect of Nine Inch Nails winning an Oscar would sound ludicrous. Actually, even a few months ago, it would have been unimaginable; but upon The Social Network’s arrival, along with Aaron Sorkin’s script (another one of last night’s worthy winners) it became an instant classic. Desplat will hopefully win soon too. He’s composing for Tree of Life, remember?
|Atticus Ross (left) and Trent Reznor|
- The single most unpleasant moment of the night for me came early in the show when Wally Pfister won the Best Cinematography award. I quite like Pfister’s work, but for one thing, he’s done better work before on The Dark Knight, and more importantly his win means that Roger Deakins walked off Kodak Theatre empty-handed for the ninth time. NINTH time! We’re talking about the man who’s lensed Fargo, No Country For Old Men, O Brother Where Art Thou?, and the modern masterpiece of cinematography The Assassination of Jesse James. What’s he gotta do to win one of these things?
- The King’s Speech’s win for Best Picture doesn’t really bother me as much as Tom Hooper’s for Best Director. It can always be argued that choosing one’s favourite film of the year is based on a visceral reaction to the film. There’s no way to convince someone that one film is better than another. But shouldn’t Best Director be a little more objective? How anyone can think Hooper’s incoherent work on The King’s Speech measures up to David Fincher’s robust, controlled and visionary work on The Social Network is beyond me. A win for Fincher would have been a well-deserved award for an established and respected auteur’s best work to date. A win for Hooper is simply a joke.
|Tom Hooper (right) on the stage with Best Actor winner Colin Firth|
- Alice in Wonderland (or as Nathaniel aptly renamed it “Eyesore in Wonderland”) can now claim two Oscars to its name. I freely admit that I only watched the first part of the film, before I started to feel my fingers moving uncontrollably to my eyes to gouge them out, but I feel safe assuming that the second half of the film, if any less agonizing, still could not be award worthy. Is there any hope that sometime in the future, more will stop being synonymous with better for this academy? Looking at their history, I doubt it. The subtle costumes in I Am Love or the production design of Inception would have been worthier picks, but that’s all history now.
With Roger Deakins’ loss, True Grit became one of the worst performers at the Oscars. The film that went in with ten nominations, second only to The King’s Speech walked away with zero trophies.
Finally, just as a random thought, I’d like to single out Hailee Steinfeld. Her nomination didn’t particularly excite me, even though I loved her performance, but that girl is born to be a star. She’s only 14 years old, but has an Oscar nomination to her credit, already a second feature film in the works, and has yet to take a wrong step on the red carpet. Apparently she helps with the design of her dresses too. Her age-appropriate dress was easily my favourite of anything worn by anybody, man or woman. Here’s hoping she has an illustrious career ahead of her.
... And with that, we say goodbye to 2010. It’s time now to kick back and without thinking about awards, watch films purely for joy again. That is until Cannes starts the conversation all over again in May.