The trailers leading up to the 83rd Annual Academy Awards were amusing, and I optimistically anticipated a good evening of entertainment. The opening sequence of the show was energetic; things looked promising. When the clever host-introduction montage began, I was hooked. Inserting Anne Hathaway and James Franco into clips of the nominated movies was hilarious, especially the “Inception” and “The Fighter” segments. The ingenious vignette was presented as a Morgan Freeman narrated Alec Baldwin dream (that morphed into a James Franco dream). I was ready for an awards show filled with this level of creativity.
Sure, the choice of Anne Hathaway and James Franco as co-hosts was an obvious grab for a younger, hipper audience but it looked fun. I was eager to see what this fresh approach would bring. Banter at the beginning of the Oscar program poked fun at the play for younger viewers:
James Franco: “Anne, I must say, you look so beautiful and so hip.”
Anne Hathaway: “Oh, thank you, James. You look very appealing to a younger demographic as well.”
That part of the plan worked. While Nielson’s preliminary reports indicate ratings for the Oscars were down about seven percent over last year, the 18 to 49 age-group demographic was only down two percent.
Hathaway and Franco, both talented in their own right, did not fit together as co-hosts for the Academy Awards. As enthusiastic as Hathaway was, Franco was the opposite. His deadpan delivery and blasé manner fell flat. His expressionless style contrasted sharply with her forced effervescence, as if she was trying to overcompensate. The Oscar organizers undoubtedly thought this was a winning combination. In theory, it could have worked. In practice, the chemistry fell short of the mark. The dynamic was off-kilter and the show began a downward spiral.
The evening turned into a tiresome bore. Dreary telecast aside, I do applaud the winners.
“The King’s Speech” took the Oscar for Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Director, and Best Original Screenplay. Colin Firth gave a lovely speech for his Best Actor award and Natalie Portman gracefully accepted her Best Actress award for “Black Swan.”
The same cannot be said for Melissa Leo’s tasteless acceptance of the Best Supporting Actress award for “The Fighter.” Aside from the Dickie Eklund plug, Christian Bale gave a moving acceptance speech for Best Supporting Actor in “The Fighter.”
Not surprisingly, my favorite acceptance speeches were given by writers; David Seidler for Best Original Screenplay (“The King’s Speech”) and Aaron Sorkin for Best Adapted Screenplay (“Social Network”).
Other notable 2011 Academy Awards include: Best Adapted Screenplay – “The Social Network,” Best Animated Film – “Toy Story 3,” Best Visual Effects – “Inception” and Best Art Direction and Best Costume Design – “Alice in Wonderland.”
HuffPost Entertainment, The Huffington Post
Oscar – The Official 2011 Site for the 83rd Academy Awards, Oscar.go.com
Red Carpet 2011, E! Online