83rd Oscars–Why You Are Better Off If You Didn’t Watch

The 83rd Oscar ceremony aired last night.  Anne Hathaway and James Franco were bad, the presenters were tepid, and a good movie was snubbed.  There were good moments–most involving The King’s Speech winning awards.  But I’ll go into more detail about why you were better off not watching.

Hathaway and Franco as hosts brought an immaturity to the event that was disheartening.  Not only were they not funny, they seemed to get increasingly more intoxicated as the night went on.  At least Hathaway did.  Franco looked more bored or high, or both.  I’m assuming they were paid quite well to be hosts, so I wish they’d taken it seriously or put a modicum of thought into the proceedings.

The presenters, who ranged from Jennifer Hudson to Oprah Winfrey, were generally stale as well.  Cate Blanchett was good, but then it seems hard for her not to be.  The only real spark was when Robert Downey, Jr. and Jude Law came out together to present the awards for Editing and Visual Effects.  They played off each other and were genuinely funny.

What annoyed me most about the evening was that True Grit did not win a single award.  The Social Network stole most of the awards True Grit should have won.  The Social Network is one of those movies that the critics love–for whatever unknown reason–but is really not worth the recognition it received.  True Grit, on the other hand, was a wonderful movie.

The two best speeches of the night both come from people involved with The King’s Speech.  The first was from David Seidler, who won for Best Original Screenplay.  Seidler, who is apparently the oldest person to receive this Oscar, stepped to the microphone and said, “My father always said I’d be a late bloomer.”  The rest of his speech was heart-felt and concise.  The other best speech came from Colin Firth who won Best Actor for The King’s Speech.  He joked about how his career has now probably peaked (doubtful, Mr. Firth).  He also said he felt the urge to dance, but he’d try to leave the stage before the feeling reached his legs.  He kept his speech light-hearted, but looked on the verge of tears.  He is a classy guy.

Except for the few nice moments I mentioned, this year’s Oscars fell flat.  And as usual, I was about half right on my predictions.  The documentaries and foreign films throw me off.  I did, however, get eight of the nine major categories right.  The one I missed was the surprise win by Melissa Leo for Best Supporting Actress.

7 Responses

  1. I don’t think Leo winning was a suprise at all. She’d picked up several awards earlier in the season.

    I have to point out that of The Social Network’s three wins two were in catergories that True Grit wasn’t nominated in (Editing and Score) and the third was Adapted Screenplay which for which Sorkin swept the awards season. You may not have liked The Social Network but it’s not responsible for the Coen brothers not winning anything on Sunday.

    For the record I really enjoyed both films.

  2. I was using the Social Network vs. True Grit as a sort of shorthand because True Grit should have won Best Adapted Screenplay. I know that True Grit was also beaten by Inception and Alice in Wonderland.

    It seems Social Network is a fad movie. I found it drawn-out, preachy, boring, and rather pointless. I’m not saying it doesn’t appeal to others. But True Grit is much more of a movie in terms of cinematography, plot, characterization, and language.

    And I called Leo’s win a surprise because it seemed to surprise others and Leo. At least I hope surprise is the reason she was tacky enough to drop the f-bomb on stage.

  3. We’re just going to have to disagree on Adapted Screenplay. I’ve read the source material and it was a total mess, Ben Mezrich’s poorest effort. True Grit was a very good movie and the Coen’s are excellent film makers, but I believe that Aaron Sorkin was the best choice.

    It’s interesting how different people have different takes on films. I didn’t come away with ‘preachy’ at all from The Social Network and I’d be curious to know more about what led you to that feeling.

    In some ways the story isn’t that different from True Grit. The main characters’ drive and single minded determination cost them dearly in the end.

  4. Mark Brown

    Like the Super Bowl, the Oscars telecast has been bloated and boring for a long time, and even if it weren’t, I wouldn’t attach too much importance to the Academy’s snubbing of good movies. With a few notable exceptions (“The Best Years of Our Lives” is one; “A Man for All Seasons” is another), the gilt begins to rub off the Best Picture statuette rather quickly, and really terrific movies nominated for numerous awards (e.g., “The Nun’s Story” from 1959) are often totally eclipsed by more spectacular ones (“Ben-Hur” from the same year).

  5. @seaofstories: Yes, I guess we will have to agree to disagree. That is what makes movies and books interesting–ten people can watch or read the same one and have ten different impressions. I guess one that seemed preachy to me was the main character himself. He wouldn’t stop telling people how awesome he was. And he wasn’t. He was preaching to himself. He was a wholly selfish person.

    @Mark Brown: You have a good point. I know the rose will fade, but it is still disheartening when a worthwhile movie is snubbed. But as you said, the gilt will rub off and True Grit will stand as a good movie, with all the others that were snubbed! 🙂

  6. I don’t know if you were supposed to like him. The girl friend may be the only truely likeable character in the entire film. To me it was interesting that this guy created a social networking site to recreate college on the internet and he did he job so well that he’s still utterly an outsider, even more so than during college itself.

    He built this thing thats supposed to make it easier for people to communicate with each other and people love it. It’s addicting and growing explosively, but look what it did to him and think about what it’s doing to us. Is technology bringing us together to splitting us apart? Or is tech really totally indifferent to that idea and the problem/solution is the same as it’s always been. People.

  7. I do have to say The Social Network doesn’t bother me as much as No Country for Old Men, but it doesn’t seem to be an excellent movie. Like I said, though, I can understand why others like it.

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