I realize that complaining about the Oscars has become America's favorite annual pastime, so it's my sad duty to report that this year's Oscars were not terrible this year. HEAR ME OUT. There weren't very many lowlights, plus I counted at least THREE highlights during the telecast:
Highlight #1. Did you know Coach Taylor is going to be in Super 8? I didn't know this!
Highlight #2. Tylenol makes a LOTION now?
Highlight #3. This:
See what I mean? That's three highlights right off the top of my head. So with three highlights and almost no lowlights, what did that leave us with? Mediumlights. TONS of mediumlights.
I almost feel sort of bad for the Oscars. Eighty-three years old and still trying to be hip with the kids. Back when it was announced that this year's hosts would be James Franco and Anne Hathaway, a lot of people decried the choice as abject pandering to the younger demographic. A lot of people were right! There were indeed a lot of weird moments of youth pandering during last night's ceremony. However, seeing as the most victorious film of the night was an egregious pander-fest toward ELDERLY Academy voters, it came out pretty even in my opinion. So yeah, the show had a split personality. Here's all you need to know about last night's Oscars: Bruce Vilanch and Brian Posehn were both credited writers. Weird, right?
The number-one reason last night's show wasn't a disaster was that the actual nominees were pretty great this year. Imagine that! A LOT of terrific movies were nominated, and many of them even WON AWARDS. Although it's nothing short of outrageous that my favorite film of 2010, Step Up 3D, wasn't nominated in a single category, I have to admit the Academy did a great job with its choices this year. Forget the young hosts or dead guy holograms—nominating good movies is one innovation I hope the producers will use again next year.
So without further ado, let's take a look at all of the show's many wonderful, memorable, medium-okay moments!
It was never in question whether James Franco would be high, the question was HOW high. My scientific evaluation reached the conclusion that he was about Moderately High. Actually, don't quote me on that. It was hard to tell because he seemed to be napping most of the time. I'm a Franco fan, and I think he's got a nearly perfect deadpan, but he was just such odd a fit for this show. Anne Hathaway fared much better, ably reading her cues, looking smashing in her gowns, even belting out a showtune halfway through. Anne Hathaway is a generally lovely lady, although from certain angles she sort of looks like a baby shark. You know?
Also, the stage made me nervous! Didn't it look like some kind of voodoo-Quija-witchboard type of thing? I was afraid someone would accidentally summon a demon or something! I just felt like they were asking for trouble with that stage.
We began with an occasionally hilarious parody montage in which the hosts inserted themselves into the various Best Picture nominees. The premise wasn't all that different from Billy Crystal's old intros, but it definitely had better jokes.
I really liked Leonardo DiCaprio's explanatory drawing about how dream inception works.
I also laughed at James Franco waiting patiently for "proof" that they were dreaming, even while the street exploded around him. Honestly, at this point I started to think the whole Oscars might be amazing.
If only! Except I would've definitely poked the straw into the BOTTOM of the pouch, just to be funky and different.
REALLY enjoyed seeing Anne Hathaway as Boston trash. In my opinion The Fighter should be re-edited to remove all the men. THAT'S how good the women are in that movie.
Also, did you laugh when Morgan Freeman's voiceover referred to the hosts as "the naked girl from Love and Other Drugs and the guy from General Hospital?" I did. True story.
These were funny. Also, did I mention this happened:
So yeah. Great job, everyone who was involved with that!
As for the rest of the show...
Chris Martin may have had some work done, but he was looking great!
Tom Hanks tried to convince us that only the best movies win Cinematography, Art Direction AND Best Picture. Sorry, Tom. The video screen behind you disagrees with that notion.
Alice in Wonderland won a damn Oscar, everybody. It was for Art Direction, which, fair enough. There was definitely tons of art direction in that movie. I might've enjoyed that movie if the dialogue wasn't drowned out by the sound of Tim Burton cashing paychecks. Zing! Anyway, this guy made a tiny hat for his Oscar. Very cool.
Then the evening's most surreal and agonizingly weird sequence of events occurred. Kirk Douglas is an elderly man. Fact. Everybody knows this. But it's not just that he's a charming old coot. It's that he can't walk or talk or do anything anymore. When he came out to announce the Best Supporting Actress category, I GUESS it was kind of charming. But it was charming with huge heaping helping of SAD. Everyone clapped patronizingly throughout this long, meandering, mostly-gibberish sideshow and I started to get really worried that he might pass away right then and there. Luckily he didn't. Phew!
Helena Bonham Carter definitely had the best reaction to her own clip. She's great.
But not as great as Melissa Leo! Obviously she's the best thing in The Fighter. This is not in dispute. But this lady has a special place in my heart as the original female detective from Homicide: Life on the Street. Man, that show! The best. Melissa Leo's late career resurgence is so totally earned, she DESERVES to drop the F-bomb on live television and then steal an old man's cane while walking off. She earned it.
See what I'm saying? These ladies should've gotten the LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD this year. Comedy nerd fun fact: The girl in the middle was on the first episode of Strangers with Candy… Her character overdosed on glint and then tried to force her head through a keyhole. R.I.P. Poppy Downs!
Oh, right. Anyway. The Oscars.
I would love to go back in time to 1999 and tell the 1999 version of myself that the lead blonde from 'NSync and the whiny chick from That '70s Show would someday in the future be considered respectable actors. "That's hella unbelievable," the 1999 version of myself would say. "Word! Peace out!" the future me would respond.
I want to eat at THIS restaurant.
Aaron Sorkin won Best Adapted Screenplay. In a real shocker, he seemed like a decent person? He gave a gracious, articulate speech that astutely referenced Network. Quit trying to make me like you, Mr. Sorkin. You're doing well enough in life already.
This guy won for Original Screenplay. I mean, I'm super happy that an elderly stammerer decided to write a screenplay about a famous historical stammerer and then won an Oscar for it. What a great fairytale ending. Now I guess someone will write HIS biopic and THAT will win an Oscar? Like a cycle of awards-mongering. Whatever. The King's Speech is fine. It's just fine. Nothing more.
Haha this was very nerdy. Mind you, I am NOT complaining about hearing someone sing "On My Own" at the Oscars. It felt right. But still, WHOSE idea was this? I guarantee you Anne Hathaway showed up at the first writers meeting with exactly one pitch.
Russell Brand and Helen Mirren are the new Nichols and May. Okay, their bit of banter was actually pretty funny. Russell Brand is likable enough, but sometimes I feel like he's just an edgy, unironic Austin Powers.
Pretty brave of the producers to use this clip from Dogtooth as its nomination clip. I bet millions of moms paused the Oscar telecast and ran out to the nearest Redbox to go track this one down.
Remember when Reese Witherspoon used to be in awesome movies? I can't believe the same lady from Freeway and Election now stars in things like Four Christmases. Bummertown.
So, Christian Bale won Best Supporting Actor. Fine. Look, I hate to salt his game, but is this guy getting kind of intolerable? His acceptance speech was condescending and overly serious, plus all the drastic body transformation/gross beard growing is just getting old. Sorry! Just my opinion. Oh, plus, I didn't think he was that great in The Fighter. Yeah, I said it. It was all just a bunch of Acting-with-a-Capital-A. Maybe I am just tired of seeing Oscar clips featuring working-class Boston dudes having emotions? That goes for you too, Jeremy Renner. Everyone cut it out already! So yeah, I don't like Christian Bale anymore, but I DO like Step Up 3D. That should tell you all you need to know about my critical thinking skills these days.
Then the suits came out and congratulated themselves. Not so fast, The Man!
I'm just relieved that Nicole Kidman isn't blonde anymore. Remember that terrible era where her skin and hair were the same shade? Yikes. Welcome back to sanity, lady.
Weirdly enough, Best Original Score was my most-anticipated category of the night. My reasons were twofold: The Social Network score and the Inception score. Man, just perfect, those scores. I would have been happy if either won, but I am ELATED that The Social Network won. Such an awesome soundtrack. Such a crazy concept that Trent Reznor could be an Oscar winner. Dang, 2011. Good times!
These people decided to wear clothes tonight. What's weird is I felt kind of relieved?
I think for me, the biggest revelation of the night was that Christopher Nolan is basically a DREAMBOAT? Did everyone know this? I feel like I MIGHT have known that once and then forgotten about it. Or maybe I never knew that, and then somebody planted that idea in my brain so that it FELT like I already knew it? Inception.
Marisa Tomei was the hot actress the Academy sent to host the Scientific and Technical Achievement awards the day before. After the montage, James Franco said "Congratulations, nerds." I didn't think that was funny at all! These men and women are absolute heroes, constantly inventing and improving technology for the betterment of cinema (and consequently, my life) and to call them nerds is such a casually malicious and wrongheaded thing to do. Also, I was thinking the same thing and hearing James Franco say it first made me realize that I don't like hearing my own thoughts spoken out loud. They're ugly. Shame on all of us. Hooray for these guys, though.
I am not going to play the game of who was wearing what, or what was a fashion emergency or whatever. I don't have good taste and I can't tell the difference anyway. That being said, I thought Cate Blanchett's dress looked very nice. So there.
Rick Baker won an Oscar! NO, it was not for MOST OUTSTANDING PONYTAIL. It was for&3151;barf—The Wolfman. Great. Thanks a lot, Oscars, now this freakin' piece of junk will be referred to as Academy Award-Winner The Wolfman. How dare you. But congratulations, Rick Baker!
Ugh. This lady. Just a total, no-neck ass clown. Look, Colleen Atwood is talented. Fine. That's a different discussion. She gets nominated every year and she wins every now and again. But for her to simply READ some note she's written about the meaning of Alice in Wonderland is just a big middle finger in the audience's faces. Hey guess what, if you're too nervous to remember names to thank, then DON'T make a speech. Quit wasting our time. The Oscars are, above all else, a TELEVISION SHOW. I know for a fact that every single nominee gets a memo from the Academy reminding them of such, and begging them to keep their speeches short and to not thank industry people and what not. But then you get a-holes like this lady who want to ruin the show's entertainment value the first chance they get. Get out of here, Colleen Atwood!
My bad mood continued when they had this super dumb montage of ordinary folks at the Hollywood & Highland mall talking about their favorite movie theme songs. One guy had the audacity to tell us that "My Heart Will Go On" was his favorite song during the time his dad was having heart problems. Then President Obama got on the air looking super beat and of course his favorite song was the safest, most forgettable standard of the black & white era. Very exciting. I'm taking back my vote, Dr. Boring.
Then a mouth-breathing hunchback took the stage to sing the theme song to Toy Story 3.
All right. Back on track. Jake Gyllenhaal and Amy Adams came out to present the short film awards. My first question is, these people are tiny, right? They sort of look like children going as grownups for Halloween. My second question is, is Amy Adams pulling some Single White Female shenanigans on Nicole Kidman? Is Nicole Kidman worried?
It was super charming when this NYU Grad student won the Oscar for Best Live Action Short. He regretted not getting a haircut before the show, then thanked his mom for doing all the craft services. This guy was great. Can't wait to see his reboot of Rush Hour.
The Youtube Autotune posse apparently took a crack at some of last year's biggest hit films. The Harry Potter one made me laugh, but the really great one was The Social Network song. It must have been bittersweet for all the fans of Justin Timberlake's MUSIC, since this is probably the closest he'll come to having a new track for years.
Yep, Twilight eventually reared its handsome, yet hedgehog-like face.
Hey, Oprah! Oprah showed up, everybody.
A couple of Very Serious Lefties won the Oscar for Best Documentary. God, AGAIN? Anyway, we all know Banksy got robbed, y'all!
Billy Crystal showed up and reminisced about the olden days of the Oscars. I mean, what do you want me to say about this that you don't already know? It's Billy Crystal. I wonder how many millions of homeless people have died since he stopped doing Comic Relief specials? What I'm trying to say is, Billy Crystal, Robin Williams and Whoopi Goldberg have blood on their hands. Billy Crystal, everybody!
Then there was this SUPER WEIRD moment where a projected hologram of Bob Hope appeared on stage and pretended to wave at Billy Crystal. It was just ghoulish, really. What is this, the Haunted Mansion?
Look at these charming, dashing rogues! I'm guessing the next Sherlock Holmes movie will have a full-on makeout scene? Probably. They've been rehearsing for years now.
Half of Jennifer Hudson showed up to present an award.
It's now federal law that every awards show MUST feature a performance by Florence + The Machine. This time around she moaned softly alongside A.R. Rachman. VERY sensual.
Check out this long white item. And also the microphone! Zing! Barf. Seriously, WHAT is her problem these days?
So after all that, Randy Newman actually won the award for Best Original Song. I'm no Randy Newman fan, but I have to admit his speech was very charming and funny. Makes sense… He spent more time on this speech than he did writing that song. Boom-shaka-laka! Oh man. But seriously folks, Randy Newman has written one million identical songs, and if that doesn't deserve an Oscar, what does?
I was weirdly HAPPY to see Celine Dion after what Gwyneth Paltrow did. Now HERE is a pro, you guys. She came to sing during the In Memorium montage. It contained a lot of really great people, but only one person really made me gasp and get teary eyed.
Leslie F-ing Nielsen. The best. His resume wasn't 100 percent, especially toward the end, but so what! He's brought more to my life than most other human beings. Super sad now. Sorry guys.
Hey remember when Kathryn Bigelow won Best Director last year? The movie she won for was fine, I guess, but I like to believe it was actually a retroactive Oscar for Point Break. Am I right or am I RIGHT?
Ugh. The King's Speech. This was a bad sign because it tipped us off that this movie would also win Best Picture. The thing is, The King's Speech is a perfectly adequate HBO movie that somehow tricked people into believing it was AMAZING. It is NOT amazing. It is a movie produced for the sole reason of winning awards, especially Oscars. It is a movie that says, "I know you are old and have an aversion to difficult art, so here you go." It offends nobody. You can nap during it. When I was watching it, I was laughing at how the whole thing seemed like a PARODY of these kinds of films. A member of royalty with a speech impediment! Are you kidding me? No, you are not kidding me, I guess. Congratulations.
How weird was the replica of the Mann's Chinese Theatre? As a Los Angeles resident, I can tell you it wasn't a very accurate model since it lacked a pervasive urine smell and also a crackhead Spiderman waving a knife at passerby.
But they DID find a vagrant to read the teleprompter. Close enough! Oh, also, I'd forgotten about this new practice of the presenters for Best Actor and Actress personally addressing the nominees. It was so creepy and weird! I don't know.
Natalie Portman won and completely deserved to. Black Swan was probably my favorite nominated movie this year because B-MOVIES deserve to win Oscars, too! Seriously, it's the closest we've come to having a horror movie win Best Picture since Silence of the Lambs. I love Black Swan and Natalie Portman is incredible in it. Her speech was gracious, but unfortunately it was AN HOUR long.
Sandra Bullock presented the Best Actor category, again personally addressing the actors by their first names. This will never not feel weird to me!
I guess I forgot that these two were married? Jeez, what a couple. Spain wins.
James Franco did this gesture when his nomination was announced. It turns out I'm kinda sick of James Franco now?
Colin Firth won, obviously. Because of course he did. It was weird how he stayed in character during the speech, lacing it with tons of dead air and cautious wit. I am still angry about The King's Speech's overratedness! Is this where we are in cinema, where THAT is considered exemplary? Anyway, the good thing about the Oscars is that if I disagree with the quality of the winning film, I can pretend the actor won for a past film. That being the case, hey, congrats to Colin Firth for winning an Oscar for A Single Man. You deserve it!
Steven Spielberg came out to announce the Best Picture item. SOMEONE got a discount at the Men's Wearhouse!
The King's Speech won. Frowning, etc.
Anne Hathaway's closing gown looked vaguely sheer, sort of like Madonna's outfit in the "Vogue" video. Great job!
Oh, then this kids choir from YouTube came out. Awesome. Just kidding, go to bed, all of you. Where are their social workers? Someone put these kids back in the system! J/K.
On a more poignant note, I think it's necessary to thank the REAL STAR of tonight's show. This guy:
Between The Social Network, Toy Story 3 and the entirety of the Oscar broadcast, it's clear that the computer is doing all the heavy lifting now. I, for one, would like to congratulate it.
... What was your favorite Oscar moment?
... How did you think Franco and Hathaway did?
... Did you win your Oscar pool?
... Who was the best dress—zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz