Before we get down to analyzing who won which Academy Awards and why those winners outrage me to the point of Charlie Sheen-esque rants, we probably should first discuss the Oscar broadcast itself. Because, really, have you ever seen anything like it before? (And I don’t mean that in a good way.)
As I texted someone after the show was over, it was about one backwards-talking dwarf away from being a David Lynchian nightmare. Between the shuttered, awkward tone and rhythm of the night, to Kirk Douglas’ madcap/sad appearance, to the way that Anne Hathaway and James Franco more or less bungled their way through relatively minimal hosting duties (and, truth be told, Franco Tweeted a video right before the show that warned, “It could be really bad”), this was easily the most befuddling Oscar broadcast since David Letterman hosted back in 1994.
Unlike Letterman’s show, which had a zany sense of spontaneity and barely-managed chaos (remember the “Would you like to buy a monkey?” montage?), last night’s ceremony was dullsville, daddy-o. It was weird-bad, not weird-weird, and man did it drag. Thankfully, people were at their snarky best on Twitter (shameless plug: Follow me!), with loads of indignity lobbed at ‘The King’s Speech’ winning for Best Picture and Best Director.
In the narrative of Harvey Weinstein’s “comeback,” exemplified by a story in last month’s Vanity Fair, people fail to acknowledge that Weinstein had very little to do with ‘The King’s Speech’ other than pimping it. He acquired the movie at the Toronto Film Festival a few months ago, so he couldn’t even bound up there to accept the award.
What a lackluster night… Capped off by that dreadful moment with the poor PS-22 kids up there with the winners, all those rich white folk who will now be richer (but, thankfully, not whiter)… It was an undignified end to an undignified show, in which a movie about a king’s speech impediment, which carried with it zero emotional or dramatic weight, triumphed over a movie about a technology that changed our lives (and the fundamental human flaws behind it). Oh well.
I’m glad that Trent Reznor won for Best Original Score (with Atticus Ross), and that ‘Inception’ won for Visual Effects and the sound awards. While I was offering some contrarian points of view for why ‘Toy Story 3’ really didn’t need its Best Animated Feature Oscar, I’m still pretty stoked that it won. Besides that, both the awards show and what was awarded kind of left me cold, in a way that few Oscar broadcasts have. (See all the winners here.)
If there was one great speech, it came from the perennially classy Steven Spielberg, who reminded viewers of the films that had won Best Picture and all of the great ones that hadn’t. (He should know, having lost out for ‘Jaws’, ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’, ‘E.T.’, ‘Saving Private Ryan’, and ‘Munich’.) Still, the win for ‘King’s Speech’ will be looked back upon with dazed confusion, alongside ‘Rocky’ and ‘Crash’ as one of the worst Best Picture decisions, like, ever.
But I don’t want to end this on a negative note. (I’m sure the comments will take us there anyway.) So I’m going to say thanks to everyone for reading my Oscar posts this season and commenting on them passionately. You best believe I’ll be back with more this fall.