Oscars Rundown…

…or is that Rundown Oscars?

Last night, the final Sunday of my university break, I watched the 83rd Annual Oscars. The show was so humdrum I’d have been better off doing homework. As a spectacular, the Oscars were spectacularly boring.

The host with the most—apathy.

As a host, James Franco was Franc-ly uninspiring. His performance had no spark, no zest. His flatness left me flat. Anne Hathaway was no comic genius—her timing was awkward—but at least she cared. Perhaps she tried a little too hard to be “young and hip.”Franco, though, didn’t try at all. A video interview he gave to Vanity Fair explains his attitude: “It’s fine, it’s like one night. So, it doesn’t matter. Like, if I host the worst Oscar show in the history of the Oscars, like, what do I care…?”

Most stars who are asked to host are honoured. But Franco was different—and indifferent. Honestly, with that attitude, why take the job? Why not let someone enthusiastic do it? The result would have been better for Anne Hathaway, the actors in the theatre and the worldwide audience.

Another problem was the decision to stray from the successful past formula—a comedian as host. I understand producers wanted to attract a younger, hipper audience. If they succeeded in getting that audience to tune in, those viewers likely soon tuned out. With their seriously short attention span, the Internet Generation wouldn’t have stuck around for this snorefest. I’m not sure why I stuck around, except perhaps to see if The King’s Speech would win. (Thankfully it did, or I’d have wasted the time I devoted to watching!) This production was simply bland and unfunny. In fact, the parts that were meant to be the most funny were perhaps the least funny.

The opening bit of implanting the hosts into scenes from nominated movies was stale. Especially the ridiculous dance scene with Franco in white tights—a vision my mind would have preferred not to see—and his ungainly appearance in the pink satin Marilyn Monroe dress. Franco was unamused and uncomfortable. Another Franco flop.

To my surprise, Anne can actually sing. What a shame her song was so strange. Maybe I missed an insider’s joke, but what was that tirade against (great sport) Hugh Jackman about? And speaking of singers, my plans to see Gwyneth Paltrow in Country Strong are now over like Oscar night after her performance. Aside from how sickly she looked with her pale skin, pale hair and pale dress, her singing was brutally out of tune.

Producers, here’s a tip for next year. I know you want to attract a younger audience, so you want to avoid middle-aged comedians, but here’s a thought. What about a young, hip comedian? Or a young, hip comedian and middle-aged one to appeal to everyone? Please, no more repeats of this year’s sad combination. Or any resembling it.

Nudity and the F Bomb

Like many women, I watch the Oscars as much for the fashion as for the awards. A recent trend, though, is so bland I may soon lose interest. I’m utterly bored with nude, blush, flesh, white and metallic dresses, especially on pale women. These “colors”, even though they sparkle with crystals, are just too blah.  There’s very little red in the “red carpet” anymore—or blue or green or other jewel tones for that matter.  Sure, a few ladies still wear gorgeous colors. Like Jennifer Hudson’s stunning tangerine dress. Alas, too many choose “nudity” and wash themselves out, like Halle, Gwyneth, Nicole, Celine, Hillary, and Melissa Leo. Ladies, next year, some color please!

Speaking of poor Melissa Leo, will she ever live down being the first person in Oscar history to detonate the F bomb on stage? Everyone wants a memorable moment, but nobody wants to be remembered that way. And what about Christian Bale? He meticulously thanked everyone who worked on his film by name, and then appeared momentarily unable to remember his wife’s name. If he did indeed suffer a momentary memory lapse, he may have saved himself by calling her “the mast to the storms of life.” I’m sure, however, he’ll be asked about that stumble with every interview in coming weeks—or longer.

I could moan more, but I’ll stop here; you get the idea anyway.

A Few Highlights    

A few lovely moments cut through the dullness. Some stars followed producers’ orders and did not recite a long personal thank you list. I loved Colin Firth’s speech intro, “I’m afraid that I have to warn you that I’m experiencing the stirrings of something in the upper abdominals which are threatening to form themselves into dance moves, which joyous as they may be for me, it’d be extremely problematic if they make it to my legs before I get off stage.”

I loved Tom Hooper, director of The King’s Speech, who thanked his mother not because she’s his mom, but because she found the unproduced play that became the movie.  He finished with the advice that we should all listen to our mothers.

I especially loved David Seidler’s speech, the most touching of the night. Accepting the screenwriting award for The King’s Speech, he said. “I say this on behalf of all the stutterers in the world — we have a voice, we have been heard.”

It wasn’t just what he said, of course, but the fact that he was able to say it at all in front of millions worldwide. Listening to him, you’d never suspect that as a child he, like King George VI, had a severe stuttering problem. To deliver a flawless Oscar speech as an adult is remarkable. I applaud him for that and for bringing a lovely story to the world, the best one I’ve seen in a long time. Thank you, David.

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