Oscar Night 2011 has come and gone. There were winners and there were losers and, of course, a show…of sorts. Unfortunately, I have to say, the show wasn’t exactly enjoyable. It had it’s memorable moments, as it always does, but my overall impressions were:
And I don’t mean slow in that it’s a long show and it always runs over. I mean slow like long silences. Strange pauses. Taking the time for random ideas that never yielded any laughs or payoff.
My other impression was that the producers seemed to be going for the “cuteness” factor. From the pre-show “Mominee” interviews to Kirk Douglas (!!!) to the use of family in the audience in the opening monologue thing to the PS 22 kids singing. There were some great “awwwww” moments that were sweet to see and left a truly nice feeling with the audience, but this factor also resulted in a lot of the aforementioned awkwardness.
Perhaps this overall feeling can best be summed up in an exchange that my friend Carrie and I had while watching the hosting moments with James Franco and Anne Hathaway:
Carrie: “Normally, there’d be a funny little joke, and now there’s just…”
While potentially nice to see in tinseltown, this sincerity did not necessarily entertain, or sometimes even work, and led to a rather boring and laugh-deficient Oscar night.
Want to know more? In relative order of the run of the show, and sticking with our theme of “Random,” here’s what I noticed about the Oscars this year (for better of for worse).
30 Things I Thought About the 2011 Oscars:
1. The “Mominee” interviews in the preshow were great! The moms were so proud, said such wonderful things, and helped remind you that there are regular people who were once kids with dreams behind those celebrity personalities. Also, I loved that they did not only interview moms of the main acting categories, but moms of behind-the-camera nominees as well.
2. Annette Bening said “picture” (i.e. “we did a picture together”) like an Old Hollywood star during her red carpet interview. She is a classy lady.
3. Warren Beatty seemed completely overstimulated during Annette’s interview.
4. The pre-taped intro to the Best Pictures (which replaced the usual song-and-dance number) with Anne and James riding the Inception elevator and invading Alec Baldwin’s dreams was fun and entertaining and WAY better than their opening “monologue” thing…
5. …Except for James Franco’s Grandma being enthralled with “Marky-Mark.” That was the only good part of that opening blahness.
6. OH MY GOD KIRK DOUGLAS! He was kind of amazing and also kind of made me want to cry, for many reasons including adorableness and wanting to help him get out his lines and his age and just oh my goodness. In any case, he was great. And I think his dragging it out was both intentional and not. I have never seen anyone make the nominees wait so long after the envelope was open to hear who won. Who won in the end? Kirk Douglas won. (this was the only instance of things being slower and dragged out that was a good thing!)
8. Note to Melissa Leo: Don’t mess with Kirk Douglas.
a. It was a cute joke when he said the Oscar was heavy, but, um, I don’t think he was kidding. He was trying to get you to take it, ’cause I don’t think he could hold it much longer. You won; take the damn thing! Don’t make Kirk hold that heavy statuette!
b. You do not take Kirk Douglas’s cane and pretend to use it as a joke as you walk off with him. It’s not funny, but more importantly, can’t you see that HE NEEDS IT!? What’s wrong with you, taking an older gentleman’s cane?! Dammit, woman!
9. Mila Kunis has boob tattoos???!!!…oh no, wait. That’s her dress. Hmmmmm. Beautiful color, interesting lace.
10. What on earth was with the old movie connections? They really only seemed to push that idea right at the beginning, when Gone with the Wind images showed up for… no reason whatsoever… transitioned into Titanic somehow, and then poor Tom Hanks was saddled with the job of making the extremely clunky connection back to the present. Something along the lines of sometimes films that had won these three awards (though he presented two, didn’t he?), and Titanic (??), they won or something, and three of the Best Pic nominees were up for all three, or something, and now I need to present Art Direction. What? Don’t just show the poster for Gone with the Wind and call it a day. If you’re going to make a link, do it for real. And then either use this device you’ve set up again (the only other time I noticed was with Best Costume) or don’t have it in the first place.
11. My take on fashion trends for the ladies this year:
a. Long, rather covered-up column dresses (with long sleeves too!)
b. Not-done hair. Maybe they were trying to look messy pretty, but everyone just looked half done and very messy.
12. Cate Blanchett for the win (after the clip of The Wolfman while presenting Best Makeup): “That’s gross.” Yes, Cate, it was.
13. Arwyn and Aragorn presiding over Colleen Atwood’s win for Best Costume Design. Couldn’t they have changed it to a picture from Alice in Wonderland? This does not count as a good connection to tradition.
14. Helena Bonham Carter’s big hair being it’s big self.
15. Why hello there, Obama, where did you come from? Good Favorite Movie Song choice, but a little random seeing you thrown in with what appeared to be street interviews of people taking the ABC/Disney studio tour.
16. I kind of loved the “Tiny Ball of Light” auto-tune song, but none of the rest of them. And why oh why did the whole strange montage end on Woody looking forlornly at a picture of shirtless Taylor Lautner? That was just unnecessary.
17. Anne Hathaway, I love that you were enthusiastic and excited to be there, but that really didn’t work well for hosting after the first five seconds. We don’t want to hear you yelp and see you laugh at how funny James is. We want to be laughing at James. However, thank you. When you came out in that fringe-covered dress, all we wanted was for you to shimmy…and you did!
18. Best segue of the night goes to Robert Downey Jr.: After explaining how Jude Law had a story of his past indiscretions wrong, he set the story straight, and immediately continued on to say, “and it is that attention to detail that sets apart the nominees in this category.” Awesome.
19. Great speech starting moments:
a. Visual Effects guy: “Hi.”
b. Editing: “First things first…” and the two co-winners hugged. Hell yeah, you should be happy and congratulate each other!
20. Randy Newman for the win: “You can find a fifth song from somewhere.”
21. Sandra Bullock killed it! I have already seen a call for Jude Law and RDJ to host in the future. They did have good chemistry and were funny, but my vote goes to Sandra! She got more laughs in her five minute intro of the Best Actor nominees than Anne did the whole time (sorry, Anne).
22. I kind of really liked how Jeff Bridges and Sandra Bullock addressed each of the Best Acting category nominees by their first name only. Jeff particularly made it sound like they were each old friends or young proteges that he knows well and is proud of. It was a tiny bit jarring but overall sweet and kind of cool.
23. If not Sandra, then bring back Billy Crystal!!! Suddenly their was lightness and laughter again and he kicked ass! I know that Anne and James are not comedians, and while I would think you don’t need that, I could feel the fact that they were actors playing a part and trying to be funny and say the lines (and they got some terrrrible lines), versus the ease of someone who creates and tells jokes for a living. I miss Billy.
24. Don’t ever put words in Bob Hope’s mouth again. (also, he was maybe the funniest of all)
25. Oh my goodness, SHINY. shinyshinyshiny. (What in the world was Anne’s blue dress made out of?)
26. I really loved the Best Picture summary montage video. Set to the entirety of the final speech from The King’s Speech, I really liked how the chosen clips were so well-suited to the words (for example “ourselves” and “enemies”) and connections were drawn between the films. I don’t think it was based in favoritism at all, which is apparently becoming a possible issue (for more info on that and the montage creator’s point of view, check out this article). I think the speech fit because each nominee film had big challenges, the characters all rose to meet those challenges, and the speech could be pulled into a more generic framework to apply to all and draw them together. I thought it was beautiful.
Check it out here at Oscar.com.
27. My prediction and the subject of my article won! Though it felt rather subdued by that point.
28. I also noticed that there was an Oscar boy (i.e. the guy standing there holding the Oscar for you to hand out). Isn’t it usually a girl? If so, that’s awesome they used a boy. If not, well, this boy hander-outer still kicked butt, as he was able to quickly improvise and interact with Kirk Douglas and it was awesome. I don’t know if it was planned, but if it wasn’t, their cute cane = bat hand-over-hand thing (I have no idea what to call that) was a great way to handle the fact that when Kirk handed off his cane, the Oscar boy held it really strangely from the bottom. Yay, Oscar boy for playing along!
29. Was James Franco stoned? I know he gets accussed of that a lot and I think it mainly comes from his mellow mannerisms and squinty eyes, but he started adding more extra syllables to words as the ceremony went on.
30. The PS 22 kids are adorable and awesome. They have the happiest teacher around.
That’s all folks! What did you think?