By David Poland firstname.lastname@example.org
The Oscar Show: What Happened Was…
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.