Just a few things I found interesting from last night’s Academy Awards. I’ve never actually sat down and watched them before, so it was sort of an enjoyable experience. It’s very rare that you have that many pretentious people all in one room, that’s for sure.
-Before the show starts, somebody (Robin Roberts, maybe?) interviews Natalie Portman. I’ve always had a celebrity crush on her based purely on the characters she plays in movies, so I was interested in hearing her “real” persona for once. Unfortunately, I wasn’t impressed. Portman talked about the “artistic process” that went into Black Swan in the most vague, nonsensical way possible. Give me a break with the artistic process bullshit. “So what was the artistic process behind No Strings Attached?” would have been the perfect follow-up question to that. Blown opportunity, Robin Roberts (or whoever the hell it was.)
-Another actor who lost major points for pretentiousness preaching was Tom Hanks. I’ve never loved Hanks as an actor (Forrest Gump is the most overrated film of the last 25 years, in my opinion) but he at least seems like a somewhat normal, relatively down-to-earth guy. He sort of shattered that perception for me though, by comparing being nominated for an Academy Award to “looking at French impressionistic painting.” Interesting comparison, but then he doesn’t follow it up with how the two things are similar. If you make a ridiculously obscure analogy between two things that the audience has no real knowledge of, shouldn’t you be obliged to expound a little bit on what the hell you mean?
These two things are roughly equivalent, apparently.
-Ok, so Anne Hathaway and James Franco are hosting the thing, and right off the bat everyone knew there was no way they’d be doing anything controversial. After Ricky Gervais was just killing people at the Golden Globes, these two are just up there to look good, smile, tell a couple corny jokes, and make everyone feel good about how awesome they are. And I think they generally did a solid job hosting-wise. A little boring yeah, but the jokes weren’t groan inducing at least, and the pre-Oscars montage where they go into Alec Baldwin’s brain was very well done.
-The biggest joke of the night was Hailee Steinfeld being nominated for Best Supporting Actress. I’ve seen True Grit twice; Steinfeld is in every scene and is the main focus of the movie. There’s no way she’s not the lead actress, but whatever. Melissa Leo from The Fighter wins the award, which sucks because I really wanted to see a 14 year old give a speech.
-Also disappointing was the fact that Exit Through the Gift Shop didn’t win Best Documentary. In a night filled with people patting themselves on the back, it would have been great to see Banksy, who is decidedly outside the Hollywood mainstream, give an acceptance speech. Also, who knows what he would have shown up in.
-I’m just gonna put this out there: Sandra Bullock sucks. Yeah, she won Best Actress for The Blind Side, but her filmography is a joke. Miss Congeniality? Speed 2? The Proposal? That’s one thing to hate about the Academy Awards; as Anne Hathaway pointed out, they reward one performance, so a horrible actress like Bullock can carry the Academy Award-winning title around for the rest of her horrid career. Very annoying. It’s sort of like the fact that Ron Artest won an NBA championship. Makes me sick.
-Funniest off the cusp remark of the night goes to Justin Timberlake. Just before he presented, Kirk Douglass had given a rambling, practically incoherent performance when presenting Best Actress. I should note that Kirk Douglass is 94 years old, and probably does not have all his faculties intact. But before he gave the award, he kept saying “You know…” and then launching into some brief monologue about how Hugh Jackman thinks he (Kirk Douglas, that is) is really funny, but Colin Firth doesn’t. It was weird and kind-of awkward, but there was definitely a “this guy is knocking on death’s door, let’s just smile politely and let him finish” vibe. Anyway, just before Timberlake gave the award for Best Animated feature he gave a “You know…” It was pretty funny, although I feel like maybe you had to be there.
-Nice to see Christian Bale win Best Supporting Actor. He really owned that role. What’s amazing to me is the difference between the thick Boston accent he nails in The Fighter and the cockney accent he usually has. The Boston accent is not easy to master; look at Matt Damon in The Departed for a good example of a horrible Boston accent, for instance. But Bale was dead on, and it was time for him to win one.
-Best musical performance of the night by far: A.R. Rahman and Florence Welch performing “If I Rise” from 127 Hours. I loved that song in the movie, and the two really nailed it here. Well done.
-Sandra Bullock’s joke about adding Jesse Eisenberg as a Facebook friend, and Eisenberg’s subsequent nod; pretty hilarious. You could just tell the guy has heard every Facebook joke imaginable.
-I guess in retrospect it was pretty obvious that The King’s Speech was going to be the big winner on the night. I haven’t seen it, so I can’t really comment on how it compares to The Social Network. But from everything I’ve read, it seems like the Academy went with the more conventional choice. Social Network is very much a modern tale. I mean, the ending of the film is (SPOILER WARNING) a guy refreshing the browser on his computer, over and over again. I guess it’d be a stretch for that to win over a movie about royalty with established actors in the lead role. Oh well.
-I spent the entire night trying to piece together the plot of The King’s Speech through the little clips they show every time it’s nominated for something, so I guess I should get to the theatre and see if I was right!
~ by fc13 on February 28, 2011.
Posted in Culture, Film
Tags: 2011 Academy Awards, 2011 Oscars, Alec Baldwin, Anne Hathaway, Banksy, Celebrity Culture, Christian Bale, Christopher Nolan, Coen Brothers, Colin Firth, David Fincher, Exit Through The Gift Shop, Facebook, Film, Hugh Jackman, Inception, James Franco, Jeff Bridges, Joel and Ethan Coen, Mark Zuckerberg, Natalie Portman, The Fighter, The King's Speech, The Social Network, Tom Hanks, Toy Story III, True Grit