Monday, February 28, 2011

Oscar Reaction!

The 83rd annual Academy Awards was a night of "king" size entertainment as the British period piece "The King's Speech" won the "Best Picture" Oscar.

It was the match-up film critics and movie fans had been debating ever since the Oscar nominations were announced. Was the top prize going to go to "The Social Network", the story of Facebook or "The King's Speech", considered by some a more traditional choice.

"The Social Network" was the odds-on early favorite sweeping every film critics award and winning the Golden Globe. But, late in the game, the mood seemed to have changed. "The King's Speech" started to pick up some momentum winning the SAG award for "Best Ensemble Cast" and director Tom Hooper winning the DGA award.

Quite frankly, if I was a voter, between these two films I would have also voted for "The King's Speech". It was a much better film than "The Social Network" which heavily over-hyped, even drawing comparisons to "Citizen Kane". In some countries such statements are against the law (actually they aren't but they should be. No movie will ever be like "Citizen Kane", no matter how many times you say it). However, of all the nominated films for "Best Picture" the film which I think will be the best remembered film of the year is Christopher Nolan's brain-teaser "Inception", which even made my "top ten" list, neither "The Social Network" or "The King's Speech" did.

Although "The King's Speech" won the top prize, the film didn't sweep the Oscars, despite being the most nominated film of the show, with a total of 12. It won four; "Best Picture", "Best Director" (Tom Hooper", "Best Original Screenplay" (David Seidler, the oldest Oscar winner ever) and "Best Actor" (Colin Firth). It tied with "Inception" for the most wins of the night. "Inception" won "Best Cinematography", "Sound Mixing", "Sound Editing" and "Visual Effects".

As was excepted Natalie Portman won "Best Actress" for her role in "Black Swan". It was the only award the film won. "Toy Story 3" won two Oscars. One for "Best Animated Feature Film", which was also expected, and for "Best Original Song" for "We Belong Together" by Randy Newman.

Some surprises were in the Foreign Film category, the Denmark entry "In A Better World" beat the more popular Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu film "Biutiful" which was Mexico's entry. Some thought Roger Deakins would win for his cinematography in "True Grit", which had 10 nominations and lost in every category. And the supporting Acting categories were considered too close to call. In the "Supporting Actor" category it was thought to be a race between Geoffrey Rush for "The King's Speech" and Christian Bale for "The Fighter". Bale was the eventual winner.

In the "Supporting Actress" category Melissa Leo, again for "The Fighter" was considered a favorite but newcomer Hailee Steinfeld in "True Grit" was thought to be capable of an upset. Leo won the award, becoming the first winner to ever use the "f" word in her acceptance speech. And some people think Hollywood's lost its class!

Besides the awards the Oscar co-host; Anne Hathaway and James Franco have also been getting a lot of press. Mostly negative however. This was expected in my opinion. As much as I like Hathaway, neither she or Franco should have been chosen. Rumor was the Academy did it to win over a younger demographic. Well, we see how that went. Stupid move! These people, for one thing, were far too young. They lack personality. You need a strong entertainer to host an award show. Someone with a commanding presence and who knows how to work a room. In the good ol' days you had someone like Bob Hope, the all-time Oscar host leader. Nowadays we have Billy Crystal. James Franco was too stiff, unprepared and apparently too nervous. Hathaway looks like she fared better. She had more energy.

In fairness I should point out, I didn't watch the Oscars. I stopped many years ago. Read my blog entry on why. But, I have seen some clips on TV and youtube. Also the TV critics have universally slammed them. Chicago Sun-Times film critic Roger Ebert called the show the worst Oscar telecast of all time and placed heavy blame on the co-host.

But, I'm not surprised. I was smart enough to stop watching years ago.

For a full list of Oscar winners click here: