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David Poland

By David Poland

The Oscar Show: What Happened Was…

Okay… so…

The show opened with the best Oscar show clip package I think I have ever seen.

Then there was the opening filmed comedy bit, which seemed a bit redundant, forced, and lacking half of the films nominated for Best Picture.

Then, the opening monologue went… badly. Mom, Marky Mark, lesbians… weak.

Still, it’s hard not to like these two people hosting.

The problem was, particularly as the show dragged on, that it lost a sense of sincerity. Anne Hathaway was so excited about everything that it went from infectious to infection. The set – oh, how they were in love with their set! – was nice… but you don’t tune in to watch a set. And what did Gone With The Wind or The Wizard of Oz or Titanic have to do with honoring the best of 2010? Again, beautiful, but insincere.

And then you have this weird set-up about winning Art Director, Cinematography, and Picture. Who the HELL came up with that? It might have been interesting had one film won all three this year… but three different films ended up winning those three awards. Should two of them be forced to give their awards back so the show can have symmetry?

Kirk Douglas is a portrait in strength. And he’s also an old guy who struggles with being understood after a stroke and who is well known for going off book and ad-libbing. With all due respect, bad idea right from the top. But then add Melissa Leo to the mix and she’s trying to be playful and respectful to him while trying to find her moment… it was almost like she was set up to fail. God bless her, she worked her ass off in that moment. Kirk Douglas got his laughs… but it was a distraction from a big moment for this actress.

David Sediler’s speech was great. Susanne Bier’s speech was surprisingly deeply felt. Bale acquitted himself well again. Luke Matheny, who you can bet less than 10% of that room had ever laid eyes on before, did great for himself. Loved Charles Ferguson’s balls to speak out on the lack of prosecution of the men who nearly brought down our economy. Randy Newman KILLED. Tom Hooper’s speech was lovely… and Colin’s as well.. 2/3 of the Triangle of Man Love. And Portman was a beautifully pregnant woman.

The call out to the backdrop by JT and MK was clunky… and it seemed rather overly solicitous of Spielberg (the second reference to him in the show by disciple Cohen) to have a DreamWorks film represent animation when DreamWorks Animation was competing for an award.

Javier and Josh in white jackets was cure… but it didn’t really play.

The schtick by Anne Hathaway wanting to a duet with Jackman… huh? Did he really bail? Was it funny? And the problem with James Franco in a dress is that no one is remotely surprised by James Franco in a dress.

The Arthur promo was quick and cute.

The weird bit about combining sound and picture seemed left over from Condon’s Oscar show… out of place. And then to do a bunch of classic themes.. most of which were not from Best Picture winners, but again, touched on Spielberg… and then the score nominees… why did this show constantly distract from this year’s work? The seeming idea of giving context never ever worked.

The electronca movie musical thing was a DISASTER and is not going to be the viral engine they thought it was. Old men who are trying to think like young men. Not good.

What the hell was the homage to Bob Hope about? And then to have someone else voice him over? Kinda gross misuse of the dead.

The Sherlock Holmes promo, however, was one of the best written pieces of the night… only funny because Downey was playing along… but very funny.

Mostly it just got repetitive. How many times could Franco roll his eyes? How many times could Hatahway be sooooo excited to be on the same stage with whomever?

Yes… they are both likable. But the charm wore off with repetition.

And I thought the idea of taking the 5-actor homage to the top acting candidates to an homage read by last year’s opposite sex winner was, again, wanting to be beautiful, but lost all the intimacy. Love Bridges, but he doesn’t really know all five women, so it’s a script he’s reading. And it made him seem like he was fawning like a lightweight. Sandra Bullock did better by turning into a comedy bit… they got lucky.

The closing Top 10 package was, I am pretty sure, cut by whoever cut the great opener. Well done. However… redundant. And what if The King’s Speech was not likely to win? Seemed odd to package all 10 films with Colin Firth giving a speech. Presumptuous and a little insulting to the other 9 films.

Look. I didn’t hate this Oscar show. But it was neither fish not fowl. it wasn’t medicine… but it never flew. And that is what you want from Oscar… some great moments. But it felt like they were getting through it, not really present. And that is why they hire comics, who live in the moment, even when they have prepared material. They do insincerity by topping it with intelligence and a skill for reflecting what the audience is thinking.

As I said from the beginning… by hiring actors, they got a show that was dependent on the script. It’s the same reason why taped pieces on SNL tend to be better remembered than live sketches.

Nice set, though.

121 Responses to “The Oscar Show: What Happened Was…”

  1. Tofu says:

    The Douglas / Leo one two punch was as memorable as the night ever became. Hence, it actually ended well ahead of schedule. Very boring speeches all-around otherwise.

    FRANCO. DID. NOT. SHOW. UP. Hathaway dragged him over he wonderful shoulders.

    The set was meh. What was special about it again?

    Relieved we had no interpretive dance. Relieved they refrained from clapping during the memorial. Relieved Bale didn’t go off on the jerk booing him.

  2. Telemachos says:

    If they want someone new, why don’t they try Spacey? Seems like he’s got the genial energy that could pull it off.

  3. Tofu says:

    The younger folks apparently LOVED the auto-tune bit. For me, the final best picture montage overlayed with The King’s Speech made for “the best clip package I think I have ever seen.” Seemed a bit in the bag for the King’s Speech though.

  4. Tofu says:

    Telemachos, I’m rooting for Spacey too. He seemed in his element.

    Reading off a list IS horrid television. In a town full of entertainers, you would think this would be self-evident.

  5. Telemachos says:

    Also, maybe they were hoping for a Fincher upset by moving Best Director so much earlier… but it backfired because as soon as Hooper won, you knew that TKS was winning Picture. That, combined with the lack of competitive races for Actor/Actress, meant the last 45 minutes just died.

  6. Tofu says:

    Moving Best Director was disrespectful. Nice to hear Burton, Nolan, and Fincher spoken so highly of by their peers.

    Why does everyone from New York have to make a big freakin’ deal about being from New York at the Oscars? Whoop de doo.

  7. Telemachos says:

    And I’m pissed they ditched Coppola and Wallach off to the side… for what? Some silly antics that didn’t work? These guys are legends in their respective fields, and the Academy couldn’t be bothered to allow them their acceptance speeches? I wanted the Coppola montage. I wanted him introduced by Scorsese or Lucas or Spielberg. I wanted the Eli Wallach montage and to see that old crafty guy get up on stage and get to say what he wanted. He even had a sharp little appearance in THE GHOST WRITER this year, for chrissakes.

  8. yancyskancy says:

    I’m not so young, but the Auto-Tune the Movies bit was one of the few that made me laugh.

    I ditto the Spacey suggestion. He’s got the comedy and music chops to hit it out of the park.

  9. IOv3 says:

    Spacey, returning from his London sabbatical, should be the host next year. He could easily pull it off, if they let him. These shows, every since my personal fave, have really had no idea how to fill the middle hour and a half. Seriously, they have no clue what to do with that time, and they need to figure it out before next year.

  10. yancyskancy says:

    Yeah, great decision to have Coppola, Wallach and Brownlow stand awkwardly on stage congratulating each other while the audience applauded until the cut to commercial.

  11. Tofu says:

    … Along with another in Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps.

    It feels oddly fragmented to see a great night out cut down into a small clip. Between the Governors Awards and Scientific and Technical Awards, a lot of fun looks to be missed.

  12. IOv3 says:

    Again, that’s stuff that would be cool to have ON THE FUCKING SHOW! They really can’t figure out what’s important or not. IT’s like their cut aways to previous winners. No shit they won, we know they won, so why the fuck are you referencing them? This show just made no sense but Franco apparently tweeted fun video of there being POWER BARS taped under seats, so that’s something.

  13. David Poland says:

    Tofu… I was adding comment on that end package as you were typing… agreed, with reservations.

  14. Joe Leydon says:

    I’m obviously in a minority here, but I found the Oscracast to be mostly amusing and relatively brisk. Next year, I would like to see Sandra Bullock and Robert Downey Jr. as co-hosts.

  15. IOv3 says:

    Oh it was not painful and the style and grace of Anne Hathaway was indeed appreciated. They just need to figure out what the fuck to do… again… with the middle of the show.

  16. LYT says:

    I loved the auto-tune movie musicals bit, especially when Timberlake started going “YEP YEP YEP YEP.”

    Hated the singing kids at the end. Bad idea there.

  17. cadavra says:

    “Yeah, great decision to have Coppola, Wallach and Brownlow stand awkwardly on stage congratulating each other while the audience applauded until the cut to commercial.”

    Well, it’s an improvement over last year, when Roger Corman and Lauren Bacall simply stood up from their seats in the audience and waved.

  18. IOv3 says:

    The honorary awards must have tested poorly or something, because it makes no sense to set up a show that goes on about THE HISTORY OF THE CEREMONY, but ignores people that could add to the HISTORY OF THE CEREMONY HAPPENING THAT NIGHT! It’s just confounding logic.

  19. alynch says:

    Oh come on, David. That stuff with Kirk & Leo was the best thing in the whole ceremony.

  20. IOv3 says:

    the most awkward part of the entire ceremony. Seriously, that spot should have gone to Ernie Borgnine.

  21. christian says:

    IO, you’re afeared of age. The Kirk/Leo moment was the best.

  22. Sapphire says:

    The show sucked! Ricky Gervais should have hosted. Read my top things we learned from the Oscars at my blog

  23. Agreed. says:

    Hathaway generally reads insincere, she works too hard; charm is effortless, she was sweating the whole night. This is partly Franco’s fault, as he medicated himself into oblivion – bridges are burnt.

    The theme overall was awkwardness – tech glitches, failed jokes, badly matched presenters, botched improv. Why embarrass Hugh Jackman? Why show the set from Shrek? Why drag out Billy Crystal for an irrelevant segment? Of all the dearly missed, why single out Lena Horne with a wooden Halle Berry? Why make Banksy jokes if he doesn’t win? Why telegraph The King’s Speech’s win by overlaying it on the Best Picture montage? Why belabor Hathaway’s failed Oscar bid with the lamest jokes of the night? Why banish Lifetime Achievement to the previous week? Why use the score medley to salute John Williams repeatedly?

    The only signs of life were Leo’s welcome F-bomb, and Kirk Douglas’s prankster presentation.

  24. Lynch Van Sant says:

    I saw this disaster coming by not having stage performers as the hosts. Franco took some downers and looked embarrassed while Hathaway was overcompensating by Wooh!ing after she announced presenters. Spielberg being introduced by a host with a “Wooh!” is unclassy and not appropriate IMO. The songs were all pretty bad. They removed the long clip theme packages which made the show move faster but placing images on the arched set was pointless. Why not get a couple of cast members from popular movies of the past to appear after a clip to announce an award which related back to their movie…it would provide a nostalgic kick plus they’d have more chemistry than pairing random stars reading prepared chit chat.

  25. IOv3 says:

    Christian, how am I afraid of age, when I want an OLDER GUY TO DO THE FUCKING PRESENTATION? Come on man, that response is not sensible.

    Seriously though, The Beard was introduced by a woman who seemed actually excited to see him. That WOOH represents a genuine response and how dare anyone shit on it.

  26. Lynch Van Sant says:

    It was forced cheeriness…acting like a kid to attract a younger and hipper audience. She Wooh’d for almost all the presenters she announced.

  27. yancyskancy says:

    With all due respect to the great Lena Horne, her film career was a very minor part of her life (through no fault of her own, of course). Sure, her MGM contract was historic, but singling her out felt like the Academy’s feeble way of making up for the lack of black nominees this year. Tony Curtis, who was a bona fide movie star, would have been a more apt choice.

  28. IOv3 says:

    Lynch, you’ve had more than an hour to fix that post, and seeing that you did not edit it. You leave me with only one response; WHAT IN THE BLUE HELL ARE YOU GOING ON ABOUT?

    I know we live in a age, where it’s cool to be super cynical about everything, and to question the motives of everything that we see, read, and hear. I get it, V for Vendetta, good for you, but this is ANNE HATHAWAY. Has she ever come across as fake?

    Last night, she was up there being a host, whose also a fan of the people she presented, and she did a rather admirable job Stating that a host being a vocal fan of the people they are presenting on the Oscars is wrong, is just screwy to me.

    Seriously, Anne Hathaway saved this show from suckage with her charm, her style, and her grace. You are all free to think otherwise but for me, she made the night.

  29. LexG says:

    Hathaway delivered a stunningly accurate portrayal of Lea Michelle.

  30. IOv3 says:

    I dig Lea Michele, so it worked for me on multiple levels!

  31. Lynch Van Sant says:

    I like Hathaway as an actor but would you see any other host Wooting like that? It felt like desperation and compensation for being in over her head. That’s just my opinion. At least she tried, unlike Franco. And at the end of the day I still like her as a person. It’s the mixed conflict of the Academy wanting a classy elegant affair with tuxedos and ball gowns and wanting to be hip and youth-trending. Some things don’t mix well.

  32. IOv3 says:

    Lynch, I think the wooting stemmed from being nervous and being a fan, but it’s not like she did it to appeal to the kids. That’s the only problem I had with your previous post.

  33. Greg says:

    I thought Hathaway was very good. I did not think her enthusiasm read as “fake” at all. And she literally had to carry things with the frickin’ AWFUL Franco, who wouldn’t even look at her when they were onstage together. Was that the sound of his career flushing down the toilet at the end?
    He needs to go away for a couple of years, seriously.

    I didn’t read the “Best Pic” clip at the end as being thrown to “The King’s Speech” – although the sound clip was
    Firth, the movie had less visual clips than the others, presumably to compensate.

  34. samguy says:

    In the late 60’s & 70’s, there was a multiple host format. I think they should try this with Spacey and Bullock and a comedian who ideally is also a movie star such as Chris Rock or Whoopi. Maybe throw in Cher or Bette Midler to have an authentic legendary diva there. (I’m veering towards Midler since she’s a great comic as well.)

    Bullock was the stand out for me last night. She would have been a great host. Imagine her starting off with “take it from me: that Oscar curse is for real!”

  35. AdamL says:

    I thought Kirk Douglas rocked and it was clear the audience did too. They were laughing throughout. Loved how he teased them before he read out the winner. It didn’t detract from Leo’s win in one bit since she did a 5 minute acceptance speech anyway.

    Franco and Hathaway were as you’d expect them to have been. Fine. Anyone who thought they’d be any better than that was delusional. They were never going to be awful, which is maybe why the got the gig, but please can we have someone next year who has the potential to be fantastic.

  36. cubfan34 says:

    It was over in less than 3 1/2 hours so I consider it a good show. It’s never going to be exciting just keep it moving. ABC should dump it’s half hour preshow. People in the East and Midwest have to stay up late, get the program started on the hour.

  37. JKill says:

    Maybe I’m an easy sell but I found the show overall to move quite better than it has in past years. I know a lot of people, especially those on twitter, spent the whole time beating up on the hosts but there seemed to be some resentment against two actors being up there instead of comedians. I liked how Franco’s weird, low-energy played off Hathaway’s excited, cuteness. They both had an enthusiasm, in their own way, that was entertaining. (I now have a serious crush on her) It’s the OSCARS, not a roast or an HBO special. I don’t need to be rolling over with laugher. They both did what they needed to do in my opinion, and the pairing of them was actually kind of inspired.

    In terms of the awards, the OSCARS are the OSCARS. I was sad for Fincher. I was happy for all the actors. Glad Bale has an Oscar. Sorkin gave a very Sorkin-esq speech, and Seidler was pure class and funny and sweet. Spacey and RDJ/Law were highlights as presenters, and as others mentioned would make great hosts themselves. For me, the only real sour moment came when they basically telegraphed the KING’S SPEECH winning best picture or giving it some kind of dominance over the other movies by using it so heavily in the final montage. And the space between director and picture sucked a lot of the suspense out, because for those of us who follow this stuff, we essentially knew what that meant for the big prize. But overall, I enjoyed it and it reminded me that this was a really great year at the movies, which is what ultimately matters.

    Also I’ll give a shout-out to the great movies of 2010 not really shown any love by the academy: SHUTTER ISLAND, THE GHOST WRITER, SCOTT PILGRIM VS. THE UNIVERSE, KICK-ASS, SOMEWHERE, EVERYONE ELSE, ENTER THE VOID, CARLOS, and GREENBERG, off the top of my head.

  38. Bob Burns says:

    very well produced Oscar show. good looking and about 90 percent clean.

    yeah, some things could have been cut. Hope was about visual effects, but was too obscure. Didn’t need Crystal at all. The Jackman song…. well, it didn’t last long. Didn’t mind the opening comedy montage. Franco in Drag was gratuitous.

    But, compared to most Oscar shows, the cuts that could have been made don’t add up to many minutes. Overall, very good.

    I loved the set – the continuity between the hall and the proscenium, the use of projection rather than props and flats…. very appropriate to a projection medium.

    Spacey would be a mistake. His self-regard would be maddeningly over the top.

  39. Anghus says:

    it was awful. and generally I dont really care about the show itself. I care about the awards. But since the winners were so obvious this year I found myself scrutinizing the show rather than the awards.

    Kirk douglas was a cringr inducing mess. Hathaway overcompensated, franco was an expressionless void.

    Daves right on the money: the scripting was shit, the presenters were questiomable at times. They get Oprah to talk about documenteries… A public school chorus to sing about dreams…. Odd.

    I think the Oscars show is a pass/fail scenario. A good oscar
    telecast is one that doesnt draw attention to itself. Its a celebration of cinema not a high school superlative pep rally where the best looking male and most likely to succeed female put on skits.

    Hathaways enthusiasm felt forced. Like someone mandated to act like a lovestruck idiot at the mere mention of their name.

  40. Rob says:

    All due respect to the very talented Ms. Leo, but I hope Kristen
    Wiig was taking notes.

  41. Foamy Squirrel says:

    So much odd stuff – the Hugh Jackman “duet”, wtf was that? The autotune segment came out of nowhere so I cringed when it started. It got better, but horrible start. The Halle Berry thing – were they trying to recreate her and Denzel winning?

    And holy poop, did Scarlett and Matthew come out from snorting coke backstage? Wtf was up with the disheveled hair and “soooouuunnnddd” shit?

  42. sanj says:

    they have one day to push the dvd / bluray of all these movies – they should have at least shown the dvd covers so people know whats out

    if every actor spent 30 seconds just talking about their favorite movie of the year and have a dvd cover on the screen – that would push a lot of dvd sales

    so blame the academy for not actually selling products – turn this oscar into QVC home shopping

  43. John says:

    It seems to me that the problem is not so much the set, the hosts, the presenters, the length of the show, or even the order in which the awards and other show elements are presented. I’d say the issue is THE WRITERS. This year’s script was just plain poor. Screen actors are fine to host, but they require a good script… and they just did not get one.

  44. sdp says:

    The best part about watching the Oscars was simultaneously following Norm MacDonald on twitter.

  45. Pat says:

    Cringe all you like over Kirk Douglas, but he will be the only part of the show people will remember next year. And seriously, why be embarrassed for a guy who clearly wasn’t embarrassed himself. He was enjoying yet another moment in the spotlight.
    And why would anybody complain about the the choir? Best picture had already been given out. Turn off your tv if you have to get to sleep. I loved seeing all the winners come out for an encore. Friggin Trent Reznor with a bunch of kids singing Judy Garland rules!
    I agree with everyone on the hosts. Stiff and humorless at first, but Hathaway was a trooper to the end. Franco just vanished.

  46. Daniella Isaacs says:

    What Pat just said ^. There was a bit of uncomfortable suspense wondering if Douglas was going to get through his bit without screwing up, but he made it … and it was triumphant. Franco needed to take a break from Columbia if he was going to host the Oscars. He just seemed exhausted. (Maybe he had a midterm today and was already worrying about it.) And that finale w. the kids… unexpectedly moving end to the show.

    Spielberg’s trivia-buff statement about the company the losers would keep now–Raging Bull instead of Midnight Cowboy–was a great point, and the audience clearly appreciated it.

  47. Macca says:

    Sorry to disagree, but I was embarrassed for Kirk and Melissa. It just felt creepy… and I’m no youngster.

    Is Franco usually stoned? or was it just for this show?

  48. Geoff says:

    Can I just that Best Picture montage was AWESOME at the end? Almost made me appreciate The Kings Speech a bit more, though still stung to watch it win – it’s funny that final speech sequence by Firth plays MUCH better over the imagers of better directed movies. Much more moving – Franco running to water, Leo and Marion on the train track, the toys staring down the flames in that garbage disposal, etc. – not to harp on a old point, but shows just how awkward directed Speech really was in parts. All of the dutch angles, washed out color palette, close-ups….hell, I guess it made the film less boring. Leah had a nice blog about why it worked last week, but I just still don’t see it – the movie lost weight for me because of that stuff and it makes the fact that Hooper won even more of a joke.

    I mean think about this: The Kings Speech took place in castles, bombed out apartments, Westminster-freaking-Abby while The Social Network mostly took place in conference rooms, college dorms, and bars – which movie seemed more visually exciting, regardless????

    As for the show….what did folks expect from Franco? He wasn’t going to get all weird, no way they would have let him – he’s a good looking guy with a pretty quiet charisma, he was there to be Hathaway’s straight man. That’s it.

    I would have loved to see Hans Zimmer win, but man – was that cool to see Reznor win! Not just the kick of seeing NIN get an Oscar, but really – the movie had a kick-ass score. Not as good as Inception, but still pretty awesome.

    It would have been super-cool to see Exit Through the Gift Shop win, but really…..Oprah’s whole spiel and the music playing over the clips conveyed the obvious message: we like documentaries to be about SERIOUS subjects and to INSPIRE! I mean, has a larkish film (not diminishing its greatness at all, just saying) like ‘Giftshop EVER won Best Doc? I’m seriously asking if any one knows…..

  49. NickF says:

    The show went by quickly. This was problematic if, lets say your unfamiliar with many of the films nominated. I know specifically last year that the 10 nominees were all given a short package to inform the viewer of what the pictures were about. Understandably, if 2 minutes is devoted to each picture that’s an additional 20 minutes. To move thinks along and finish before 9PM (West Coast) they put together a montage which for all intents and purposes spoiled the nominated movies. I laughed at the outrage over True Grit’s mainly because that’s a remake of a prior movie and it’s also a book. 127 Hours got it too.

    Anne while too happy for everyone, as if it was Prom Night did carry the show. Franco looked like a stoner and void of whatever charisma people claim he has. I love the Hugh stuff, since I’m a Hugh Jackman fanboy. Dude didn’t bail, his time is committed to The Wolverine. But based on the minimalist impact that Franco had, Hugh could have easily swapped places with him.

    Most of the comedy was bad SNL quality stuff. The intro wasn’t funny, other than Morgan Freeman’s appearance. Why was BTTF in there? I know because the Oscars were living in the past last night. Off the bat they were devoting time to past winners. What about the movies of 2010 guys?

    Billy did class things up when he appeared. Shame that the shut-in went and spoiled it on Friday.

    If there was a gasp for when Hooper won, I didn’t hear it. I was sighing so I missed it if it did actually happen. The shock and awe was definitely audible for Bale’s plug of his trainer which was apparently the wrong website.

    For next year the focus needs to be put back on the current years nominees and to find proper comedy writers.

  50. evelyn garver says:

    The Kirk Douglas bit was degrading to a great star. Leo is classless. Winners who fail to prepare in any way come across as a thousand times more egotistical than those who actually have something to say. I say take the example of the Hanks-Mirren-Day-Lewis school of public acceptances. Of course, a performer would actually have to have class to do that.

  51. shillfor alanhorn says:


    They finally kicked Chuck Workman and his time-wasting montages to the curb.

    They got a clue and had the common decency this time to NOT cut away from the full-screen images of the deceased in favor a singer no one cares about during the IN MEMORIAM section.

    There was less of the hoary awkward presenter banter and, mercifully, less of the time-wasting “MOVIEMAKING FOR RETARDS” cutesy *explanations* of what a sound editor does.


    Basically everything else.

    Hathaway came across so faux-chipper and overly eager to please that she seemed like a hyped-up Kristen Wiig doing a Sally Field bit.

    Franco was stoned out of his gourd and had zero charisma.

    The “virtual tributes to eras past” conceit didn’t play and seemed totally arbitrary.

    Once again, their odd sense of priorities and time allocation baffled. A non-sequitur Anne Hathaway musical bit or Cate Blanchett reading off some nonsensical stat about production design winners through the ages was deemed more worthy of screen time than a speech by Eli Wallach or Francis Coppola??

    Moving Best Director was ridiculous, as it made the last 1/2 hour of the show totally anticlimactic.

    The name checking lead actor “tributes” by the respective presenters, though less awkward than last year, needs to be aborted before it becomes a new “tradition.”

    Bruce Vilanch has to be put out to pasture. Every year people complain about how awkward and badly written the show is, and yet this hack still gets hired year after year as head writer. Do the math.

    Same as it ever was….

  52. Don R. Lewis says:

    I thought the show was right in the middle; not great, not terrible. I liked the opening montage bit but that and the autotune segment were straight outta the MTV Movie Awards. DP is right- it read like old people trying to fit in with the kids.

    I twittered through the whole thing so it seemed fast but the things I took away from twitter and the show in general were:

    1. Most “bloggers” and younger film “fanatics” don’t know SHIT about film or the Oscars. File that under DUH, but man….when they’re all together like that, it sticks out. Badly. Getting irate over Hoopers win and saying “don’t worry Fincher/Nolan….Hitchcock/Kubrick never won Best Director either!” is fucking moronic. I love Fincher and Nolan but they have a teeeeeeeeny ways to go before they’re as good as those other two.

    Drew McWeeeny wrote a good piece on why he avoids the Oscars and these younger film folks should read it. No one is REQUIRING you to watch the show and bitch about it.

    2. Banksy can go away now.

    3. Again; people did NOT get how special THE KING’S SPEECH was. Hooper took what could have been a standard “man overcomes obstacles to embrace his destiny” story and told it in a new way. I think the film was the best *directed* film of the year and I’m glad he won. I liked BLACK SWAN, THE SOCIAL NETWORK, TRUE GRIT and INCEPTION better, but directing wise, Hooper showed style and guts. Someone on this blog said a few days back that Hooper framed the film wrong and staged the actors incorrectly. That’s a really good sentence that shows the ignorance people have. He did that on purpose and it worked.

    4. Nolan really got snubbed. Badly. How can his film win best cinematography and best special effects? Did these two areas just organically rise up and film themselves?

    That being said….I don’t think a film that relies so heavily on CGI and visual effects should win best cinematography. Take for instance that classic scene in INCEPTION where Leo is showing Ellen Page how dreams work in inception and that city starts blowing apart. All Pfister did was put his camera on a tripod and got exteriors that were gussied up later in the computer. Obviously there’s more to it than that, but basically, that’s it.

    Still, I love Oscar night and we have a family tradition of getting together for a party. It’s fun and I love how for one night, everyones talking about movies.

  53. York "Budd" Durden says:

    “He did that on purpose and it worked.” First part true, second part subjective opinion.

  54. Don R. Lewis says:

    Well, yeah….but I thought it worked 😉

  55. shillfor alanhorn says:

    Uh, Don… I am perhaps the biggest INCEPTION hater out there, but Pfister deserved that award. It looked magnificent and was the only film of the five that was processed the old-fashioned way — photochemically, which means the look and seamless integration with the VFX was achieved with actual painstaking on-set craft and not artifically and awkwardly after-the-fact with Photoshop like *cough, cough* KING’S SPEECH. Cronenweth, Deakins and Libatique all did stellar work this year and I certainly wouldn’t be complaining had one of them won, but, save for the aforementioned Paris scene, there was probably less digital compositing in INCEPTION than in any of those other films, even though none of them seems particularly VFX heavy on the surface.

  56. sean says:

    Don – cinematography is almost always a technical award, going to the movie that wins the most technical oscars. Look back over the years, it’s true almost every year.

  57. mysteryperfecta says:

    Its funny that someone mentioned Norm Macdonald– that’s who Franco reminded me of, demeanor-wise, during the show.

    I agree with most of DP’s analysis, although I laughed at the auto-tune bit. I thought the reaction toward Kirk Douglas was genuine amusement in part, but also generous out of respect for the legend. The audience identified the laugh lines whether they understood what he was saying or not, and Hathaway, with her faux swooning at Douglas? Respectful, yes, but come on.

  58. Joe Leydon says:

    Actually, I liked it when Melissa Leo tried to hook up with Kirk.

  59. David Poland says:

    I do think that Kirk Douglas’ appearance will be remembered and was one of the most memorable moments. And I do think Mellisa Leo did, as Joe notes, get a couple of nice moments out of it. But it also distracted her from getting to whatever she was really going to express… and I think that made her seem a little off… and took away from the honor which she so clearly feels. Even the f-bomb… not sure it would have happened if she wasn’t doing an improv with Kirk. She may well have said that it looked so easy why Kate was up there, but she might have been more composed and just said that instead of slinging the “fuck.” She is a pro and she knows how to play that moment and it’s not being remembered for saying “fuck.”

    As I wrote, Kirk is known for going on twice as long as scheduled. It might have been truly great had it been Michael and Kirk, Michael surviving his illness. And maybe that is what was planned and things change and once they asked Kirk, they couldn’t lose him.

    There is a place and there should be a place for KD at awards events like this… just not live televised ones.

  60. David Poland says:

    I laughed at the start of the auto-tune bit… and soon realized that they had nothing smart to say past the idea.

    It suffered from a similar lack of focus to the opening bit inside the movies. Great… we get the gag… now be smarter than the gag (which Billy Crystal did on the Oscars five or six years ago).

  61. movielocke says:

    I really loved the opening BP montage and the closing BP montage.

    The opening montage of the BP nominees was fastly paced and brilliantly timed to Hall of the Mountain King from Social Network. Really ingenious, particularly at the point it cuts back to Social Network on the keyboard then transitions to dancing Swan, it builds to a climax and delivers and starts the show with a bang. It also allows for lines/scenes from the films to play out in the first section of the film. The drawback is that they more or less ignore five of the ten nominees, allowing them only a few brief moments, while repeatedly cutting to the ones that work more easily within the construction of the music and ideas they’re stitching together.

    The closing montage of the BP winners was deliberately paced against the audio of the King’s Speech (literally, hah). It was slow, methodical and beautiful. I appreciated Firth’s performance in the film even more as his narration was creatively applied to make it work for ten radically different films, it brought the entire slate together and made it feel like a unifed year as these ten excellent works of art are competing against each other, but also with each other. Very nicely done.

    and yeah, as the BP montage is positioned, it does feel like it is telegraphing King’s Speech, but held in contrast to the opening number, it doesn’t feel like it. While watching the broadcast, after the opening montage I was thinking, shit, they’re really pushing Social Network hard, they must really think it will win.

  62. movielocke says:

    I don’t think Anne was totally faux swooning, her body language–covering her mouth with both hands in a big ‘OMG I have to hide my laugh!’–is the opposite of what a pro will do, and what people are trained to do, even when doing a faux appreciation. Covering your mouth on TV is a huge nono. People do it automatically when they’re embarassed or caught off guard and don’t want to be seen as laughing, it’s also something liars do. She pretty quickly drops her hands and then tries to laugh prettily, but I think the way Douglas sold the bit, by suddenly swinging to her and saying, “She’s Gorgeous!” caught her off guard because it was difficult to follow Douglas’ slow and and slightly slurred speech so she wasn’t quite ready for it. Everything after the mouth covering was as faux as anything else Anne did, though.

    Best line of the entire evening: “Colin Firth is not laughing… He’s British.”

    The director must have been having a heart attack during the Douglas stuff. Douglas took them more than ten minutes over in the second act, and after Leo’s win we still had two awards to give out in that act! That meant that Act 2 did not end until 39 minutes in to the show. That is a long ass time in live TV. I do think Billy Crystal’s bit might have actually been cut short because they managed to make up some time and end only fifteen minutes over, iirc.

  63. IOv3 says:

    Geoff, bitter much?

    Don, solid, and right on to you brother.

    David, you do have a tendency about about certain bits needing to have something to say, when bits like Auto-Tune were clearly there as fan service to Harry Potter and Twilight fans. That’s what they were saying.

    I do agree though, that Kirk Douglas screwed up Leo’s entire acceptance speech. Seriously, after all the years of working and the bullshit with that ad, she obviously was awe struck by the moment, and Kirk Douglas fucked it up. Seriously, he fucked it up, Ernie Borgnine should have had that spot, and I hope the Oscars never make that mistake again.

    ETA: Again, I don’t get questioning Hathaway’s behaviour. Seriously, she came across wonderfully compared to a guy that was too bothered to show up. No matter what fucking Farci believes, Franco didn’t show up, and it’s lame as fuck that he decided last night to lose his enthusiasm.

  64. LexG says:

    The weirdest credit at the end of the show was that the very funny Brian Posehn was one of the writers.

  65. IOv3 says:

    Yeah he’s been doing that for years. I think either Jon Stewart or Chris Rock got him into that gig, and he keeps being rehired.

  66. anghus says:

    i liked the best picture montage at the end. that was inspired.

    people will be on both sides of the kirk douglas thing. there’s no winning side here. there are those who see his appearance as inspirational.

    and there are others, like me, who found the whole thing kind of sad and pointless. it was nice to see him. then it got weird. then it got uncomfortable. and then you began to wonder if someone was going to have to walk on stage and finish the job.

    i understand the divide. its like that two legged dog on youtube. some people think its adorable and find inspiration in the fact that a dog with 2 legs has managed to get around so well. others find it sad. i think for an oscars telecast the goal should be for the presenters to be amusing, but to turn it into a ham-fest like that… pass.

    at the same time, let’s at least try to be honest. if you found it ‘triumphant’, then you probably need to dial it back just a hair. What is your definition of ‘triumphant’? That he managed to finally get to reading the name and he didn’t fuck it up?

    Triumphant would have been getting up on stage, cracking a good joke (like the hathaway line), reading the nominees and calling out the winner. Simple, funny, heartwarming.

    This was none of those things. This was ‘Grandpa’s got your nose’ for what felt like an eternity. Then it was like ‘Grandpa’s got your nose, but then he forgot what he was doing and started complaining about the high cost of Gas’.

    And yet, it still wasn’t as painful as watching Hathaway’s Hugh Jackman song. And i’m going to need evidence to back this up, but i think James Franco was in the exact same pose with the exact same facial expression for the last 90 minutes of the show.

    just terribly put together.

  67. IOv3 says:

    Anghus, no he definitely didn’t change that pose. The fact that he fled from LA after that performance pretty much states in spades that he BLEW IT on an epic scale.

  68. Jeffrey Boam's Doctor says:

    FYI. There was a laugh track added to the mix for this show.
    Douglas was getting nervous pity laughter only.


  69. David Poland says:

    “bits like Auto-Tune were clearly there as fan service to Harry Potter and Twilight fans.”

    Someone should have told them to watch.

    The Oscars are not a democracy, IO. Or they could just have the top 10 grossers are the nominees and then give it to the highest grosser.

  70. Don R. Lewis says:

    James Franco live-tweeting the whole thing was kinda cool…lots of behind the scenes vids and stuff. Interesting concept.

  71. IOv3 says:


  72. Jeffrey Boam's Doctor says:

    IO Jackman’s oscars had numerous car crash moments that made it at least memorable. This show flatlined from the hosts right through. There was not one spark in the entire proceedings. When Douglas is mentioned as THE HIGHLIGHT, you know you have the shittiest of shit shows ever produced in shit town, CA.

  73. David Poland says:

    It’s interesting, Don, if things are going well. It’s a distraction from doing the show if things are not zooming along.

    Billy Crystal, from his third show on, could have tweeted and it would be ok. But Franco doing it – and I am less critical of him than some – was like texting while driving in traffic.

  74. christian says:

    Like the ad for THOR, this is what happens when you shoehorn TWITTER and FACEBOOK into a show just to capture some imaginary demographic that cares.

  75. IOv3 says:

    Spirit, you make valid points, but I dug Hathaway enough to not look back upon it negatively. Seriously, the charm, that woman has charm for days.

    David, have you talked to any of your Academy member friends and asked them what they thought of the show? A lot of a Academy members have to be pissed about this, right?

    ETA: Christian, that’s some epic level fucking shoehorning. The fact that you are out of touch and don’t have a facebook page or a twitter account, doesn’t mean that Hollywood is forcing shit. Seriously, Franco has all of 75 tweets. You know what that means? It means the TWITTER PART OF THIS FUCKING THING DIDN’T EVEN MATTER THAT MUCH! The facebook portion from the Academy was pretty cool though and would be helpful to folks who had to work and miss the ceremony last night.

    Again, you’re not with it, and stop giving the rest of us shit because of it.

  76. anghus says:

    i think it’s widely being pushed as an epic disaster. and there are those that were pushing that sight unseen. but after the show, i think a vast majority agreed it was a train wreck.

    now it’s just a matter of how big a wreck and identifying the failures that led to the explosion.

    oh, and a comment about hathaway’s ‘charm’. did anyone else find it really irritating when she kept talking about “the young people’s oscars” in a meta way? Her efforts at being hip and witty fell so flat with me.

  77. Jeffrey Boam's Doctor says:

    I’m amazed that no one seems to realize that Franco’s off the cuff riff “Congratulations, nerds” after the technical awards montage was an insider nod to the legions of Freaks And Geeks fans. Or am I reaching here?

  78. IOv3 says:


    Spirit, that would make sense.

  79. storymark says:

    Facebook in Thor = Flames on Optimus.


  80. IOv3 says:

    I love those god damn flames on Optimus. I have no god damn clue why, but I do.

  81. JKill says:

    Yeah I’ll say it: the live tweeting by Franco was actually kind of fascinating. They where little rough, behind the scenes clips that kind of showed what it was like back stage or at commericial at one of these things and what goes into them. And since they came just minutes after what we had just seen, it was like an alternate universe, non-linear version of the Oscars in addition to the telecast. I’m very cynical of incorporating social media into any kind of show/art/whatever – I hate what it’s done to CNN for instance – but I have to say that I think Franco’s use of it was worthwhile and cool.

  82. Hopscotch says:

    William Goldman (yes, THAT William Goldman) is on Bill Simmon’s podcast just now. Talks oscars, i’m listening now…

  83. JKill says:

    His “Nobody Knows Nothing” defintely applies to this year when you had THE TOWN, THE SOCIAL NETWORK, BLACK SWAN, THE KING’S SPEECH, THE FIGHTER and TRUE GRIT all doing really well, after article upon article proclaiming the drama to be dead.

  84. storymark says:

    “I love those god damn flames on Optimus.”

    Oddly, I kinda do, too. Strange, since I don’t like the movies.

  85. Lynch Van Sant says:

    Wasn’t one of the purposes of expanding the Best Picture nominees to ten to give them more exposure? How is showing two clip packages at beginning and end of show (the latter callously being droned over with audio from only one and favorite-to-win title)? Will anyone unfamiliar with titles like Winter’s Bone really know what they’re about and want to seek them out?

  86. Triple Option says:

    Holy Crap, are you guys catty! You want everything so stuffy and perfectly coifed and then jump on anyone showing up in jeans and a T-shirt BUT THEN somehow are baffled, JUST ASTONISHED, CONFOUNDED that the show is boring?!?! You’ve got 3 hours plus of programming hoping to attract a broad worldwide audience and you expect every joke and musical number to be tailored to your own personal needs. You guys could ruin a free buffet in Vegas. What, do you not give money to the MDA Telethon because you get tired of Rip Taylor tossing confetti? If Billy Crystal had hosted last night I’m sure all the buzz would be at how the Oscars are never going to grow if they keep bringing out the same ‘ol, same ol’ and expand its audience.

    Quit relying on other people to make you happy! If you wanna spice it up, enter an office pool for high stakes. Everything’s funny if you think you’re getting paid at the end of the evening. Or, how hard would it be to come up with a drinking game? Academy, Oscar, Winner, Nominee, Members, or any derivation of Thank You should have everyone knocking back a shot. If you’re really that bored, shut off the TV and read a book!


  87. Joe Leydon says:

    I think anyone who hates on Anne Hathaway for her performance as Oscarcast co-host is a Communist. Really. She will have the last laugh when she gets cast in a smash musical largely on the basis on her faux tweak of Hugh Jackman last night. In fact, I want her and Jackman to consider a Broadway revival of Promises, Promises, followed by a movie adaptation. And a real movie, not one of those goddamn PBS videotaped things.

  88. Jeffrey Boam's Doctor says:

    The only thing worse than people complaining about the Oscars. People complaining about those complaining.


  89. Hallick says:

    “I think anyone who hates on Anne Hathaway for her performance as Oscarcast co-host is a Communist.”

    Comrade Leydon, I really didn’t enjoy her much as a host, but I don’t hate on Hathaway for her work on the show becausee most of the issues I would have with her I can blame on the bottom barrel writing or Franco’s inability to engage with his co-host and actually foster some kind of chemistry. Her charms were dimmed by her efforts to hang on for dear life, and it was like watching a really great catch of a girl on a blind date overcompensating for her self-perceived lack of charm by going over the top with enthusiasm and unhinged energy.

    Hathaway was just in a situation where you either soldier on resolutely with a locked-on smile, or you give up the ghost and go with who you really are. I respect her heaps for choosing the former, but I still think she would’ve been re-invitation worthy if she’d gone with the latter and just been herself.

  90. anghus says:

    here’s a quote i can reference in 5-7 years.

    anyone betting on the career of anne hathaway going to lose. She’s not earnest enough to become a romcom lead. Too cerebral to play those ditzy parts without reverting into slapstick.

    She’s barely believable in shit like Valentines Day and the her attempts at broad comedy in tripe like Bride Wars shows she has a very limited range.

    She can be likable, yes. And in the right role she can do really well. I thought she was a lot of fun in Devil Wears Prada and did a great job in Rachel Getting Married. But i can’t see her transitioning well into adult roles.

    Not quite a romcom actress, lacks the dramatic range of her peers… i see a TNT series in her future.

    Someone remind me of this conversation in 2016.

    Edit – i will say i’m hella-curious about what Nolan can do with her in Dark Knight Rises. Then again, the females in his last few movies have been the weakest links. Katie Holmes, Maggie Gyllenhall, and Ellen Page weren’t exactly dramatic powerhouses, were they?

  91. LexG says:

    Anne Hathaway’s ALREADY HAD A CAREER for over a DECADE. James Franco’s been around since 1999 or 2000, too. Hathaway’s been fronting big movies since *2001.*

    One of the morning annoying memes of the day is how these two CRAZY UP-AND-COMERS JUST SABOTAGED THEIR BURGEONING CAREERS, as if they haven’t been working with A-list directors for YEARS, and is if, say, their former directors like Ang Lee or Gus Van Sant are gonna hold a bad night of hosting a TV show against casting them again, or like anyone else would.

    I swear, it seems like even half the people who post on MOVIE BLOGS don’t see enough movies to know that Franco and Hathaway didn’t just catch their first big breaks in 2010 fresh off the bus from Milwaukee.

  92. Don R. Lewis says:

    Anne Hats gets nekkid AND makes good movies….that will always rule in my book.

  93. anghus says:

    well lex, if you’d like to get analytical, lets…

    “Hathaway had a career for 10 years”

    She sure has. 2001 was The Princess Diaries. Almost exactly 10 years. And then what came next…

    2005 Havoc
    2005 Hoodwinked!
    2004 The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement
    2004 Ella Enchanted
    2002 Nicholas Nickleby

    5 years of wheel spinning. You can kick out Hoodwinked out, voice overs don’t really add a lot, positive or negative to the whole equation. And then…

    2006 The Devil Wears Prada
    2005 Brokeback Mountain

    Mainstream success and critical acclaim. Brokeback was a fine performance but there were moments at the end where she looked like a kid playing dress up. Devil Wears Prada was a fun movie. Good work being done, but nothing ground breaking or mind blowing.

    2008 Get Smart
    2007 Becoming Jane

    These did nothing to help or hurt. A little variety, but nothing to write home about.

    2008 Rachel Getting Married

    Good movie, great performance. Did wonders for her credibility. And what followed….

    2010 Love and Other Drugs
    2010 Alice in Wonderland
    2010 Valentine’s Day
    2009 Bride Wars
    2008 Passengers

    Lex, this quote intrigued me: “as if they haven’t been working with A-list directors for YEARS”

    Which A List Directors are you talking about? Ang Lee is a fantastic director, and so is Tim Burton. I don’t think there’s another A List Director on that list.

    Her next few films don’t exactly inspire confidence with the exception of Dark Knight Rises which could be the kind of high profile performance to propel her into the stratosphere. Time will tell.

    So Lex, while i see your point. This was hardly her coming out party, but i think you’re being a little kind with the content of her career. A good actress, no doubt, but i don’t think the A List directors have been stumbling over one another trying to cast her.

  94. Joe Leydon says:

    Well, if you want to define A-list as someone who’s considered commercially OR artistically savvy: I think you could reasonably claim that Jonathan Demme, Garry Marshall, and Edward Zwick are A-listers.

  95. anghus says:

    I would not put Zwick, Demme, or Marshall in the 21st Century as “A List”.

  96. shillfor alanhorn says:

    I’ll tell you one thing… with her newly revealed blatant and desperate need to be loved now exposed, Hathaway is going to make one hell of a Judy Garland if that movie ever gets made.

  97. Joe Leydon says:

    But, you see, since you’re not the sole arbiter of A-list status, that isn’t quite the final word on the subject. Besides, Garry Marshall and Edward Zwick have had more “21st century” hits than Francis Coppola. Indeed, I bet it would be much easier for Marshall or Zwick to get a project green lit these days than Coppola. Well, unless we’re talking about Godfather IV.

  98. Heart Moomur says:

    I think it’s hilarious that Don Lewis is telling everyone what makes a great director, and then thinks a DP of a 200 million dollar blockbuster with detailed special effects just needs to put a camera on sticks. I guess everything just works itself out!

  99. IOv3 says:

    Seriously, the attacks on Hathaway in here are a bit fucking much. She’s a movie star, she’s going to continue to be a movie star, and all last night did was cement that Franco is a total hoser.

  100. cadavra says:

    I count six movies that grossed over $100 million and one that came damn close. Even if she wasn’t the star in some of them (BROKEBACK, ALICE), that’s still a lot more dough than most actresses of her generation.

  101. Krillian says:

    Anne Hathaway’s movie won more Oscars than James Franco’s movie, so who’s laughing now?

  102. Tofu says:

    “Anne Hathaway’s ALREADY HAD A CAREER for over a DECADE. James Franco’s been around since 1999 or 2000, too.”

    This. From Academy Award Nominated films to BILLION DOLLAR GROSSING franchises, I think these two are set.

    Now if this year was hosted by Alex Pettyfer and Amber Heard, well…

  103. LexG says:

    Only because I have so little life that I bank on three or four niche movie blogs to provide some minor entertainment to accompany my nightly drinking, talk show watching and iPod listening, so yeah this SHOULDN’T have made any impression on my life or anyone’s…

    BUT it really was noticeable how all day Monday was like some post-coital, load-blown, half-groggy wind-down for literally EVERY movie site in town, like every blogger had built up a YEAR of anticipation over getting to have sex with the prom queen, then shot their wad in three minutes flat and spent the next day all shameful and underwhelmed and embarrassed.

    I swear, Spielberg, Cameron and Lucas combined could’ve stealth-dropped LINCOLN VS. TINTIN ON THE TITANIC starring DiCaprio, Cruise, Will Smith and Amy Adams on 6,000 screens WHILE composing YouTube videos where they flip off Poland, Wells, Anne Thompson and Sasha Stone all day long…. and it wouldn’t have rated a mention on any of these blogs Monday.

    And again, by far MCN is the least psychotically “invested” of the big gun blogs who do Oscar coverage, so I’m barely including DP in this chastising, but really… don’t some of the BIG OSCAR BLOGGERS feel just a LITTLE SILLY “the day after” having spent the better part of the year on something THAT meaningless?

  104. Joe Leydon says:

    Most things in life are meaningless, LexG. As Oscar Wilde noted: All art is quite useless.

  105. IOv3 says:

    I am just happy that TRON is back in THE GAME! Sure, they are showing it on Showtime Beyond but it’s TRON and the film has never looked better.

  106. Anghus says:

    Joe, I wouldnt call Coppola A list either.

    other than Nolan, there isnt an upcoming project that has an A list director. And Nolan is an amazing talent who might show a side of her we havent seen. But after 10 years in the business she hasnt exactly been swinging for fences.

    and this isnt “hathaway hate”. I think shes good. I dont think weve seen great often enough.

  107. Loved the opening skits for best picture…..did not like kids singing at the end. Everything else in the middle was just okay.

  108. David Poland says:

    Sometimes Anghus, you just sound like a teenager.

    No disrespect intended. But you dismiss the people who build the pedestal on which guys like Nolan stand. And I am pretty sure than Nolan would take my side on this.

    Are the greatest directors of the 70s, 80s and 90s still making the biggest movies? No. And Nolan probably won’t be in 30 years either.

    You A-List includes Dennis Dugan.

  109. jesse says:

    I definitely don’t want to join in on Hathaway hate because she was definitely the more charming end of the Oscar-host double act (and even if she hadn’t been — the way Franco wasn’t — eh, I don’t really care. The ability to successfully host the Oscars is a very particular and interesting skill, yet not something that can always be applied to actual movies, which I care a lot more about than awards shows). However: I can see where people are coming from with maybe half-dismissing her. I’ve always thought she — more often than not, but to varying degrees — tends to come off as the teacher’s pet actress, trying too hard. She never really sinks a movie because she’s technically fine and doesn’t do anything *wrong*, but she lacks a certain spark of inspiration. Look at her performance in Becoming Jane: good job with the accent, very respectable, and yet… kind of forgettable. I’d say that’s true of Devil Wears Prada, too: she’s not actively bad in the movie, but she brings absolutely no comic flair to a stock part. She just looks nice and is likable in a generic sort of way. Get Smart, granted, she had an even less interesting role-as-written to play, but again she brought no extra layer or interesting touches to it. So again, looking nice, sort of likable… forgettable stuff. Love and Other Drugs… she’s convincing enough but never really brings this character to life so that she’s more than a Sensitively Written Movie Character.

    The only performances of hers I’ve really thought were something special were Rachel Getting Married, in which she actually disappeared into her part; and Alice in Wonderland, in which she was very funny and strange. Brokeback comes close but she does come off a little playing-dress-up when she has to play older at the end.

    There was a little bit of that enthused-but-uninspired stuff in her hosting gig. And yet I did like her on the Oscars and even more on Saturday Night Live both times she’s hosted, so maybe she can loosen up. She’s very likable but she really needs an interesting character to be more than that. So sort of like an American Keira Knightley.

  110. anghus says:

    i dont dismiss anyone Dave.

    in 2011, would you call Francis Ford Coppola or Gary Marshall an “A List Director”?

    I’m talking about the here and now, recent history. Looking at Anne Hathaway’s filmography from 2011 to now… do you see a lot of A-List Directors or people working on the cutting edge of cinema.

    I don’t.

    That’s not a shot at those directors. Lex brought up “A List Directors” into the conversation. I for one don’t agree with that statement. I don’t look at Anne Hathaway’s filmography and see top talent reaching out for her.. until The Dark Knight Rises.

    And i’m not being dismissive. Saying that Coppola is no longer an A List Director is not disrespectful. In the same sentence you said Nolan will be in the same place 30 years from now.


    So why is it disrespectful to say that in 2010, Gary Marshall was not an A List Director. And Jonathan Demme in 2008 was not exactly bringing the heat he was in 1991.

    I would never dismiss the work of a legend like Coppola, but i would say that in 2011, he’s not an A List Director.

    That’s not disrespectful my friend, that’s just being a realist.

    I think you interpreted my earlier post as saying Nolan is better than the other directors. Not at all. I’m saying right now, in 2011, Christopher Nolan is A List and right now in 2011, many of the directors she recently worked with, are not.

    Do you think that’s not the case?

  111. David Poland says:

    Standards are hard. Garry Marshall hit $100m domestic with 3 of his last 6 films and was at $95m for another.

    Dennis Dugan has had four $100m domestic films in a row.

    What’s your standard?

    Who is “top talent?”

    Demme is top talent. Coppola is top talent.

    Debra Granik makes movie stars… so is she “top talent?”

    When we get into drawing negative lines, it gets weird quick.

  112. anghus says:

    You’re right. Lines are tough. But when asked, when given the “A list” tag like Lex through out there…. i would say most of the directors she worked with are not “Top Talent”.

    When i look at some of her peers in the same 10 year stretch… Natalie Portman, Michelle Williams… you can find a range of “top talent” as well as avant-garde up and comers. They take risks. With those risks come rewards.

    “Top Talent” to me are Directors who are either consistently a) making bank or b) taking risks. By that argument, you could call Garry Marshall “top talent”.

    Remove Adam Sandler from the equation and your argument for Dennis Dugan as ‘top talent’ would disintegrate, but maybe that’s your point. I would hardly call the director of Saving Silverman ‘top talent’.

    I think Hathaway is a safe actress. I don’t think she has the depth and range of many of her peers.

  113. Joe Leydon says:

    And here’s the funny part: Three of those very successful Garry Marshall movies just happened to feature… Anne Hathaway.

  114. David Poland says:

    Remove Leo DiCaprio from Scorsese and… ???

    I think you’re dead wrong about Hathaway. For someone who got a pass into the big show, she has been very daring. She has chosen to take on dangerous roles.

    You don’t think Love & Other Drugs was risky as hell? And she pulled it off. Rachel Getting Married? Big risk. Brokeback and that aging make-up? Risky.

    She could be Katherine Heigl or Kate Hudson if she wanted to be. Bigger. But she hasn’t chosen that road.

    Now… maybe you don’t care for her style… completely can accept that. But choosing to work with Demme is choosing to work with one of the truly great and daring directors of the last 30 years. Ed Zwick has been one of the great writers and directors for actors in the last decade.

    Garry Marshall is still doing Love American Style… not an important moment in her career. And who knows what will happen with Nolan? Psychotic may be her best thing.

    Let’s not be prudes in this conversation. Hathaway is a mid-range box office star and awards player who is still young and hot and willing to go the full monty in movies. Rare. You’re not going to see Reese Witherspoon going bareback ever again, so enjoy those Mr Skin clips. So directors who want to touch on the 70s, which included unselfconscious sex in movies, are desperate for her. Once she’s committed, she’s committed. Catnip. Her and Michelle Williams… though Michelle is much more fragile.

    I don’t think she’s going to blow Vincent Gallo on camera. But sex is likely to be part of her career until the end. White Palace remake in 2025.

  115. leahnz says:

    i like hathaway but she was far too chipper, i thought at one point she might pass out like a hyperventilating chipmunk. it might have been funny if the dire franco had turned to her at some point when things were clearly going to custard and deadpanned, “calm the fuck down, woman” and handed her a bottle of NyQuil – something, ANYTHING, a bit of self-awareness, self-deprecation or spontaneity, yikes. it was like the oscars as hosted by the winners of ‘the most popular members of the high-school drama club’ contest.

    (i’ve seen the word ‘trainwreck’ being used a lot to describe the ceremony but to me it was more like one of those little miniature choo-choo trains at the petting zoo you put your nippers on while you watch from the sidelines, yawning, as it putt-putts around the track in an endless loop of boredom (even tho from what i understand this year’s telecast was a bit shorter than usual).

    my heart broke for deakens

    and fuck ‘alice in wonderland’, bloody hell. that garish kid’s eyesore winning design was the most inexplicable fuckarow of the night, i pooh-pooh that.

    (i kinda wish ‘inception’ had won for score, but zimmer’s horny composition likely has an iconic future ahead at any rate)

    and i feel sorry for bale seemingly accused of forgetting his wife’s name when clearly that wasn’t the case.

    and christ, let’s not be prudes? how about not being an assumptive perv. just because hathaway has done a couple films with serious nudity (what, a grand total of two?) out of a FAR greater number of films in which nudity plays no significant part whatsoever, and just becuase her most recent role happens to be one that required nudity, that does not mean she’s now committed to some naked sex safari from here on out in her career, there is absolutely NOTHING to indicate such a thing, what a load of wishful thinking, not to mention insulting to hathaway. wtf are you on about DP?

  116. LexG says:

    He’s on about HATHAWAY being the sixth hottest woman on Planet Earth, and ALWAYS bringing the total YEP YEP to every role. Even in ALICE with that WHITE-BLONDE hair, I was like MMMMMMM LOOOK AT HER.

    1) K-Stew
    2) Megan
    3) Dakota
    4) Taylor Swift
    5) Portman or Alba on the rare months they’re not repulsively fat and pregnant. If they’re both pregnant, Amber Heard subs.
    6) Hathaway.

  117. leahnz says:

    no he’s not, bright spark, he said hathaway’s destined to be a nude sex nymph in her career, which is baseless nonsense. not the same thing at all as hathaway being the 6th hottest woman, sorry to say. learn to read.

    i meant to say before re: all those who are accusing franco of being stoned out of his gourd during the telecast, he’s made it quite clear several times in recent years that he no longer smokes the ganja (and may not even drink, tee totalling rings a bell but i’m not sure about that one), so unless he’s just blatantly lying, which i somehow doubt because getting caught in such a lie would be too easy, then unfortunately that was just a natural downer he was on during the show.

  118. cadavra says:

    Hathaway reminds me of Bullock at that age. Spunky, sexy, funny, versatile. I imagine she’ll have a similar career.

  119. anghus says:

    Dave, i’m enjoying this discussion, and i can even accept that some times i may sound like a raving loon, but there’s one thing i cannot accept.

    I say that Dennis Dugan would have no career or success without Adam Sandler in the starring role, and you come back with….

    “Remove Leo DiCaprio from Scorsese and…”

    I’m sorry man. There’s no way in hell you just equated Scorcese to Dennis Dugan. No sane individual would make that claim, much less someone with your education and experience in this industry.

    I’d agree you could make an argument for Brokeback being risky. I could make an argument against Love and Other Drugs. What was risky about that part? The performance didn’t really light up the critics, and it was hardly a box office phenom, despite doing 2x internationally.

    “But sex is likely to be part of her career until the end.”

    Couldn’t care less.

  120. Hallick says:

    “I think you’re dead wrong about Hathaway. For someone who got a pass into the big show, she has been very daring. She has chosen to take on dangerous roles.

    You don’t think Love & Other Drugs was risky as hell? And she pulled it off. Rachel Getting Married? Big risk. Brokeback and that aging make-up? Risky. ”

    Risky in which ways? And the use of aging make-up is risky?

  121. Triple Option says:

    I like Anne Hathaway. I think she really puts an effort in her work. She has NOT, though, come close to blowing me away in anything she’s done. Granted, not all her work has she really been given the opportunity. I’d give her a plus for Rachel Getting Married but I wasn’t overly impressed. She definitely didn’t convince me that she was hip enough to say half the words that were coming out of her mouth in Love/Drugs.

    As for the Oscars…eh. Again, I don’t know what you people want. This was something so completely different for what they’ve done before. Plus, it’s always boring except for a few scattered moments. She’s not THAT funny to begin with but she at least knew where the laughs were supposed to come. There are some hammy actors on sitcoms that aren’t much better. I love Denzel and Jodi Foster but I wouldn’t count on either of them to do comedy.

    I wouldn’t take her higher than the 4th round in a fantasy draft. Heh.

    As far as A-listers, I think Joe made a good point as far as artistic vs financial in maybe needing distinct consideration. I’m not sure if someone loses artistic A-list status unless they’re putting out utter tripe for years. I don’t think Coppola would have any trouble getting any actor or writer to work on one of his projects. Maybe some people unfairly get a lifetime pass but I’m not sure if Coppola’s done anything to have his revoked. I think there’s a difference between not bringing the heat and not being capable of doing it. I’m not sure if Zwick is an A-list director but writer, I’d put him on that list.

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“Don’t work with assholes. Ever. No matter what they’re offering, no matter what they bring to the table. If they’re the sort of person where the phone rings at 10 o’clock at night and you wince because you see that it’s them, then don’t do business with them. One asshole will ruin your life. I’ve managed my entire TV and filmmaking career to work with people I like and respect. If the point comes where I don’t like or respect someone, I don’t work with them anymore.”

– Anthony Bourdain

The Atlantic: You saw that the Academy Awards recently held up your 2001 acceptance speech as the Platonic ideal of an Oscar speech. Did you have a reaction?

Soderbergh: Shock and dismay. When that popped up and people started texting me about it, I said, “Oh, it’s too bad I’m not there to tell the story of how that took place.” Well. I was not sober at the time. And I had nothing prepared because I knew I wasn’t going to win [Best Director for Traffic]. I figured Ridley, Ang or Daldry would win. So I was hitting the bar pretty hard, having a great night, feeling super-relaxed because I don’t have to get up there. So the combination of a 0.4 blood alcohol level and lack of preparation resulted in me, in my state of drunkenness crossed with adrenaline surge. I was coherent enough to know that [if I tried to thank everyone], that way lies destruction. So I went the other way. There were some people who appreciated that, and there were some people who really wanted to hear their names said, and I had to apologize to them.
~ Steven Soderbergh