Articles Mars Needs Culture logo

Published on February 28th, 2011 | by JJ


JJ looks at the Oscars

The Academy Awards are over, and it takes award season with it. For movie junkies like me, it will be a long wait till we get our next fix. I didn’t want the season to fully move on without a little “Doom.”

The Hosts

While it was joked on stage that the choices of James Franco and Anne Hathaway were picked by the Academy to pull in the youth demographic, that never works. Jon Stewart was hired for just the same reason, and although I liked him as a host, he did not deliver the ratings they were hoping for. In the end, it seems that what really counts is the charm and personality of the host, or hosts. How did they do?
I was truly surprised by Anne Hathaway. I honestly had no feelings for her good or bad. She always seemed to fill the roles she played just fine, but was never magnetic enough for me to feel her presence added or subtracted from a project. However, in front of the crowd at the Kodak, she really came alive. I won’t be shocked to see her in this position again.
James Franco on the other hand, I was less impressed with. This seems odd to me, as I have come to like Franco’s work and will seek him out. However, his laid back personality came off as a bit blank. I think he tried very hard to show us he was having fun, but in the end, he seemed like he was removed from the audience. Sorry James, but if it makes you feel better I am going to go see Your Highness.

The Good

1) Kirk Douglas was by far the most engaging person on stage. If ever you needed someone to show new Hollywood what a class act was, he did it. The next time you see some young actor complaining about the hours they work, or the crazy make up they “endure” just think of this 93-year-old man, with speech still impaired after a stroke, bringing down the house with his charm and wit. He may not have gotten a trophy, but he won the Oscars.

2) I would like to point out something- Eminem, Three Six Mafia, Isaac Hayes, and the guy who wrote the lyrics “I want to f**k you like an animal” have Oscars. Alfred Hitchcock, Peter O’Toole, Richard Burton, Glen Close, Robert Altman, and Stanley Kubrick don’t. Good job, Mr. Reznor.

3) Melissa Leo, thank you for a moving speech and a great drop of the f-bomb. We needed you to start the night on the right foot.
4) Aaron Sorkin winning for best screenplay. The Social Network was an amazing script. I was hoping this was the beginning of a streak, alas.

5)The dude with the floppy hair who won for best live action short. His name was Luke Matheny the film was God of Love, but all I remember is the enthusiasm. You are a young filmmaker and you just won a massive award. Take a lesson from him, celebrities. This is how you can be excited, humbled, and stay composed all at the same time.

6) I might be imagining this one, but I am going to list it anyway. There was a moment when Rick Baker won for The Wolfman, Jude Law was reading the name from the envelope, and I am pretty sure I saw Robert Downey Jr. look disappointed that Iron Man 2 lost. Way to be human RDJ, besides I felt the same way.

The Bad

1) Who hired Celine Dion to sing over the death montage? Can they be in next year’s, please? Not only did the live singing detract from what should have been a tribute, but the camera kept cutting to her! The home audience had no choice but to bask in the glory of Celine. She is the best argument as to why the United States should close its borders.

2) The “script” was woefully out of date. If the Academy was pandering to the young crowd, then why make Franco tell a six degrees of Kevin Bacon joke. Sure that would have been funny…in ’95.

3)By rushing the show, it lessens the spectacle. I understand that the audience does not want the five hour shows of my youth, but at least then we had an Oscar show that was unique. The hosts barely had time for the opening, and all the songs were cut to snippets. Sure we want to keep the show moving, but if we just have people on stage throwing out awards, it seems like a trade show. Movies are big, the show should be big. There has to be a way to have them move briskly and still be special.

4) I felt the theme of the show felt a little half-baked. I was intrigued when it seemed they were going to paint each award with a tribute to the past. When they gave the art design award to Inception, they transformed the stage to a Gone With The Wind version of Atlanta. I didn’t notice anything like it again until Justin Timberlake used an iPhone (groan) to turn the background to something out of Shrek. (By the way, Timberlake would have been a stronger choice than Franco. Just remember my advice Academy. It’s free just for you)

5) Poor Roger Deakins. How many beautiful Cohen Bros. films has this guy got to shoot before he gets his due. At this point it’s just getting pathetic. True Grit was the most beautifully shot film I saw last year. C’mon Academy, wise up.

The Final Verdict

I enjoyed the show, I always do. Some years and some hosts may be better than others. God knows, there are years that I agree with who went home with trophies and some I don’t. But I like to remember that each of the awards is given by your working contemporaries. As a small time actor, I still imagine what it would be like to have that kind of honor bestowed upon me. That may not be cool to admit but it is true. For this reason, I like watching the movie industry getting dressed in their best and being told “I like you. You did a good job”.
I confess, this is one of the few years in recent memory that I have not seen the movie that won best picture. I’ll see it, I am sure, but it never really grabbed me. It seems to me that this is one of those years that we will look back at and wonder why The King’s Speech won over The Social Network, Inception, and True Grit.
Still, I would like to thank the Academy for captivating me one more time.

Tags: , ,

About the Author