Monday, February 28, 2011

11 Highlights from the 2011 Oscars

(I knew all these people would win! ...and not much else.)

Y'all, I gotta come right out and say that the Oscars weren't so bad. They are long and boring every year. This year was really no different. And in some ways, I found it more enjoyable than usual. I realize I'm in the minority here, but I don't care. Just like Firthy said in King's Speech, or as I now like to call it, Stutter Island, "I have a voice!" Here's 11 things i dug about it.

1. James Franco being James Franco. Some people didn't like his aggressively i'm-so-over-it, is-he-actually-stoned?, perhaps-he's-appearing-via-satellite-from-another planet delivery but I totally enjoyed it. Furthermore, what else did you expect from James Franco? That's right in line with how he behaves ALL THE TIME. I definitely think the game plan was Anne Hathaway was gonna be turned up to 11 with being eager to please, and he was gonna be totally indifferent to hosting AND to his own nomination, and while they both knew they wouldn't be "funny" they'd at least balance each other out and enjoy themselves. I don't know what James Franco found so interesting to look at way up in the rafters of the Kodak Theater, but it amused me when he looked up there after delivering every single one of his lines. I wasn't surprised by his demeanor and i wasn't disappointed in it either. Also, I knew he'd show up for at least one bit in drag and I was right. Good on me.

2. The opening montage. It could've been stale since it's an Oscar tradition now to have the hosts show up in all the nominated movies. But an Alec Baldwin-centered Inception spoof complete with an Ambien Capri Sun-style drink box? That was totally giggle-worthy. Also bonus points for the outfits the hosts wore while exploring Black Swan and True Grit. Double eye-patches rule!

3. Autotune the Movies. He doesn't own a shirt. Short but sweet. And made me laugh out loud. Well played, Oscars.

4. Firthy, FTW! How can you not love Colin Firth? He's such a class act. If anybody deserves an Oscar on his mantle, it's that dude. A lot of ladies love him for Pride & Prejudice or Bridget Jones, as they should. But he was fantastic last year in A Single Man, and again just so great this year in The King's Speech. Just a lovely thing to see this guy have his moment.

5. Kirk Douglas extends the show by 10 minutes, but is not boring. Kirk comes out, hits on Anne Hathaway, delays announcing the winner of Best Supporting Actress in a delightfully excruciating way for the nominees in a way maybe only he could get away with, and then trades his walking cane for the arm of the F-Bomb spewing Melissa Leo. Awfully nice to see you, Kirk!

6. Writers give good speech. Aaron Sorkin won adapted screenplay for The Social Network and David Seidler won original screenplay for The King's Speech. Both men gave eloquent well-crafted speeches under pressure that reflected the very reason why they just won those awards. Sorkin was gracious and heartfelt and closed it out by telling his daughter, ''Roxy Sorkin, your father just won the Academy Award. I'm going to have to insist on some respect from your guinea pig.'' Hee! And Seidler, for my money gave the best speech just by starting with, ''My father always told me I would be a late bloomer. I believe I am the oldest person to win this particular award." Damn. Can you imagine? Plus as a stutterer, The King's Speech was a very personal story to him. It's nice to see that dreams come true at any and every age.

7. Cate Blanchett says what everyone's thinking. Cate, dressed in probably the most polarizing dress of a not-too-crazy fashion year, introduced the award for best make up and after the clip for Wolfman played, showing the wolfy change, Cate said just two simple words, "That's gross." Gross it was, and a funny moment it was, and Wolfman won, so it's no skin of his gross wolfy nose.

8. Luke Matheny needs a haircut. The Live Action Short Film winner looks amazed, delighted and slightly self-conscious when his NYU-thesis film God of Love took home a statute and he took to the stage ''Oh, I should've gotten a haircut,'' he said. Yes, he should've. Maybe you don't need to write a speech on Oscar Night, but you do need to get your hair did.

9. Best Song had a rough year. I didn't think any of the nominees were particularly strong songs. None of the live performances were anything to get excited about. The winner was Randy Newman for a song that sounded exactly like every other song he ever wrote. Newman has been nominated 20 times but has only won twice. Because there is almost always a better song out there than what Randy Newman came up with. But not this year. Newman acknowledged the lameness of the category even as he accepted the award. His candor was refreshing, even if the songs were not.

10. Dreams Come True, Kids Edition. Okay, so I'm heartless, but my initial reaction to the Staten Island kids singing Somewhere Over The Rainbow as the big finale to the show was, "They're not singing live? They're lip-syncing? Whaaat?" But then after thinking about it, it is such a sweet moment for all those kids to be part of the Oscars and I'm sure it was an incredible dream come true to fly across the country and be with movie stars and sing and close out the show. What a great memory for them all. So that's really great... even if I hate when people sing to a track at a live event. I'll cut the kids some slack. This time.

11. Miss Hathaway as the Universal Cheerleader. Anne Hathaway has a really strong "wooo!" She didn't miss an opportunity to "wooo!" for an upcoming presenter, or winner or clip package the whole night. It didn't matter if they cut her mic, there was a live mic somewhere on stage and Hathaway was loud enough to project and find it. I love her for her unbridled enthusiasm. She really wanted everyone involved to feel appreciated and supported. Bless her heart.

As for my voting, I only guessed 15 of 24 categories correctly. I'm not pleased. I should've been at least at 18 or 19. So it just goes to show that seeing all the movies doesn't always translate into knowing who's going to win. Still I think the ones that I missed were more a result of so many of some races running pretty even, and they could've gone either way. It was a strong year in movies, I think. So even if people wound up being bored by the ceremony, it wasn't for a lack of entertaining and intriguing films to honor. Can't wait to see what makes it to the top of the list next year!

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