Here is one positive — the Oscars telecast ran just 10 minutes over its three-hour limit.
I was right about most of the picks of the Academy Awards telecast. I missed just one of those I called. Tom Hooper was named best director for The King’s Speech. I thought the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences would name The Social Network’s David Fincher.
One miss out of all those categories.
Both men were deserving, and the pick of Hooper is not a disappointment. The King’s Speech is clearly the best flick of last year. It went on to win four awards: best picture, director, actor and original screenplay.
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As a lifelong Portland Trail Blazers basketball fan, I was more impressed with the standing ovation that Portland fans gave the team’s recent acquisition of Gerald Wallace this evening than most of the Academy Award’s broadcast. I caught a taping of their game with Atlanta after the award’s program and am watching it as I write this.
The telecast was kind of all over the place. It began by promising a peek at classic flicks and honors for some of the best-ever Oscar-winning movies and what little we were given was a real disappointment.
Even the annual tribute to Hollywood greats that we lost last year failed to produce a tear or two.
My thoughts on Friday that hosts James Franco and Anne Hathaway would be unimpressive were correct. Hathaway was gorgeous, easy to watch and perky, and at least looked like she was having fun. After the excellent and terrific skit, and tribute to the movies of 2010 ended, Franco seemed uncomfortable and out of place.
They did note — with a roll of the eyes — that they were the Academy’s attempt to get younger viewers to tune in. If they did tune in, unless they’re movie addicts, they didn’t stay.
There were lots of pre-planned jokes. One about Charlie Sheen texting cracked me up. So did the sweet, but overly long, presentation of the best supporting actress award by acting legend Kirk Douglas. He overdid it a bit but after being out of the limelight for practically forever, Douglas made the most of the opportunity.
The worst acting of the evening came courtesy of Melissa Leo who took home the statue for best actress for The Fighter. Leo was a shoo-in to win it and acted like she was the least likely to win. Her rambling acceptance speech that included a four-letter word was a total turnoff.
So was Natalie Portman’s acceptance for the best actress. She started graciously and tearfully before losing focus and rambling on and on thanking everyone — including her hairdresser — but the last person in the packed balcony.
The funniest line of the night came from Aaron Sorkin whose Oscar came via the brilliant adapted screenplay for The Social Network. He said winning the award means he at least deserves some respect from his daughter’s hamster.
Colin Firth’s acceptance speech for a deserved and incredible performance was outstanding. He teased that he’s concerned winning the Oscar means his career has peaked. It hasn’t. Firth kept his reserve but said every part of his body wanted to dance a jig.
Then off he went. Short, sweet and total class. We never did find out if he got to dance.
Political commentary this year stayed away from Iraq and Afghanistan and focused on the business being pro-union. Documentary Oscar winner Charles Ferguson wondered why bankers who defrauded the country were not in prison. His film Inside Job was about the cause of the Great Recession.
It was actually not the best documentary of the year in spite of winning the award.
That honor belongs to Davis Guggenheim’s Waiting for Superman. He took home an Oscar a few years ago for doing Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth. His documentary is a brilliant feature critical of the nation’s education system.
Why it didn’t get nominated is obvious. It was highly critical of teacher’s unions.
Moving past politics, it was good to see Billy Crystal again and to be reminded that of the modern era’s Oscar telecast hosts, he remains the best and the most popular. Hint, hint Academy — can you get the guy back?
Crystal paid tribute to comedian Bob Hope who hosted the telecast 18 times.
There were the usual thank you to spouses and significant others. What was most surprising was the unusual number of recipients thanking their parents for the encouragement that got them to an Oscar. None was more touching than Hooper’s thanking his mom. He said she went to an unrehearsed reading of a play and called him up and told him she just found his next movie.
Four Oscars later the moral of the story is produced: listen to your mom.
And to your movie critic. My prediction of no surprises and a boring evening were correct. But I must apologize for wondering if anyone cares about the broadcast and the awards.
I must admit, I do.