Oscar-cast highs and lows
- February 28, 2011 3:53 PM |
- By Arts Online
Another year and another Oscars telecast is done. Producers attempted to court a younger demographic with hipper hosts (actors James Franco and Anne Hathaway) to questionable effect. Two of the CBC Artsies who watched this year share a few highlights and low points of the 83rd annual Academy Awards.
Jessica Wong: In this era of political correctness, Melissa Leo dropping the F-word during an honest, but rambling, speech after winning best supporting actress for The Fighter was a welcome eye-opener early on in the broadcast. Of course, there was also her flirting with presenter Kirk Douglas, who was clearly enjoying his time back in Hollywood's spotlight. Thoughts?
Eli Glasner: I think the F-bomb was an example of just how much Leo let down her guard. That was the real Melissa up there, no Hollywood act. One of my favourite moments came just before that, when she paused, covered her mouth and then looked up at the balcony before saying "Golly sakes. There's people up there too." The way she said it, you could just picture the little girl who once dreamed of becoming an actress. Although, what was with taking Kirk Douglas's cane?
Kirk Douglas: charming or cringe-worthy?
JW: Did you enjoy the 94-year-old icon's teasing out his time on-stage or did you find it uncomfortable? I have mixed feelings about award show producers trotting out movie icons for posterity's sake -- remember Elizabeth "Gladiator!" Taylor at the 1998 Golden Globes? -- but Douglas did really seem to be having a blast.
EG: I'll admit I was slightly scared when Douglas began, but he won me over with time. Given all that he's dealt with, you have to admire his determination. And I did laugh at the ongoing "You knows."
Billy Crystal shows 'em how it's done
JW: In a short missive from behind the scenes Sunday night, an Associated Press reporter noted at one point: "Wow. Billy Crystal just earned more laughs from this crowd with his first joke than Hathaway and Franco have all night." The funnyman also got a standing ovation before even opening his mouth. Though he's been branded as predictable, the perennial Oscar MC appeared smooth, professional and unflappable. Do we want Billy back versus these so-called hipper hosts?
EG: I don't think we need to have Billy Crystal back, but he did remind us of the value of an experienced hand. Really, he didn't do much -- a couple jokes about the show running long and Bob Hope -- but it was the way he did it: easy-going, cool, a more confident type of comedy that can't be faked. I do wonder if the failure of Franco will have the Oscars heading back to the default choice of stand-up comedian types.
JW: For a night of predictable wins, my personal highlights included the unconventional and the spontaneous. First, the bit from The Gregory Brothers, aka the Autotune the News crew, featuring faux music videos created from scenes in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Toy Story 3, The Social Network and Twilight: Eclipse. Second, best live action short-winner Luke Matheny's exuberant, funny and brief speech, which he kicked off by announcing: "I should've got a haircut." Your favourites?
EG: It's a long show, but those few sparkles of spontaneity are what I keep coming back for. Kevin Spacey singing a little Fred Astaire song. Anne Hathaway's impromptu shimmy shake with her slinky dress, after which I think she quipped: "Sorry, personal moment." Again, it was some of ol' dudes that won me over: the classy David Seidler ("My dad called me a late bloomer.") and Randy Newman raging at against the Academy while joking about "wanting to be good TV." He's got a friend in me, now. (Sorry, couldn't resist.)
JW: Overall, it was a predictable night of wins and, in my opinion, a lacklustre year for the broadcast. Still, I don't know if I agree with those decrying it as the worst Oscars ever - it did end about 20 minutes before midnight!
EG: The Oscars need to stop chasing the Twitter demographic and just give us a show that celebrates the best of cinema. Take, for example, the best picture montage just before the final award was handed out. It was a brilliant little piece of editing that juxtaposed the various best picture films against the stirring words from the finale of The King's Speech -- a great bit of movie magic in a show that could have used some more. And, when in doubt, just bring back Sandra Bullock and Robert Downey Jr.
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