Thoughts on the 2011 Oscars

  • As award ceremonies go, this one has to rank among the worst in recent memory. Anne Hathaway, an actress I otherwise admire immensely, looked like she was having as much fun as a thirteen year old girl watching Princess Diaries 2. Watching her performing co-host duties, however, was about as much fun as I, a thirty-something male, had while watching said movie. (Yeah, I’ve watched it. So sue me.)
  • James Franco looked like he was on pot, but without the more hilarious after-effects he displayed in Pineapple Express or in the similarly themed snippet he and Seth Rogen did a couple of years ago at the Oscars. Seriously, how do you go through a whole Oscarcast without a single funny line?
  • Most of the laughs came from brief appearances by Billy Crystal and Bob Hope. There’s a reason why these guys have hosted this ceremony 8 and 18 times respectively. Crystal even got a standing ovation, which says a lot about how the attendees felt as well.
  • Why did they have to embarass Kirk Douglas by calling him up on stage? It wasn’t as entertaining as they made it seem. Those repeated you-knows seemed more about senility than suspense.
  • I absolutely loved Spielberg’s comments before presenting the award for Best Picture. Put the award in perspective very nicely.
  • High point of the whole event: Vodafone’s 3G launch ad. If I get around to updating my Favourite Superhero Movies list, this one will get an honourable mention at the very least.

Winners and acceptance speeches…

  • As acceptance speeches go, David Seidler (who took home the Best Original Screenplay statuette for The King’s Speech) ranked highest. It took away at least a bit of my frustration about Chris Nolan not winning for Inception. I liked how Speech took a simple story and invested it with so much drama, but in terms of sheer achievement in telling a more or less impenetrable story and making us care, Inception ought to get more brownie points than it did, don’t you think? Was it simply a case of being too difficult to understand?
  • Then again, this has happened before — Adaptation lost to The Pianist in 2002 for no apparent reason other than that it was too complex. As good as the latter movie was, I thought the former was a bigger achievement in adapting a virtually unadaptable book. I mean, how often does your imaginary twin, whom you created for the purpose of telling the story, get nominated for an Oscar along with you? (They did make up for it and give Kaufman the award for Eternal Sunshine a couple of years later. Is that why Inception didn’t win? That the academy quota for awards to mind-raider scripts was over?)
  • I’m glad Inception took home most of  the technical awards, though. Rolling up a city is tough to argue with, I guess.
  • Colin Firth’s speech was lovely as well. Long, thanked a whole bunch of people, but made it work. I sometimes wonder if academy voters are partial to Brits because they do such a good job on stage after collecting their award. Even Kate Winslet, after she had gotten her post-orgasmic thank-yous out of the way at the Golden Globes, did pretty well, what with asking her dad to whistle and everything.
  • I’m glad The Fighter won the two awards it deserved. Melissa F-word Leo and Christian Bale were absolutely outstanding  in that film. There were a few other deserving nominees in those categories for sure, but these two weren’t undeserving winners.
  • The Social Network took home the awards it deserved as well. As for the award for Editing, I am not quite clear how one goes about judging that one. Is it about trying to present a lot of material in a cogent manner (in which case, wouldn’t it be about the screenplay as well), or aboout effectively presenting a fragmented narrative, or… what exactly does one have to do to win this award? Part of my confusion arises from Sidney Lumet’s Making Movies where he talks about how difficult it is to talk about editing simply by watching the movie. The only movie I can think of that was an obvious contender for an editing award is JFK. Nothing else compares, really.
  • Speaking of editing, why does it take the folks back home a whole week to edit and telecast the Filmfare awards, while the Oscars have no more than a tape delay? Does it have to do with all those crappy medley performances with long pauses for costume changes in between?

8 thoughts on “Thoughts on the 2011 Oscars

  1. To your last comment: That’s why I never watch the Filmfares – only when I’m really really bored.
    But I watched the oscars, despite them time difference, and I think it was an ok show. Well, maybe Franco was on pot, but, whatever, he was looking good.
    And as for the Nolan-Inception-drama: I’ve already been mad about that as long as the nominations have been out.

  2. Kartik says:

    It’s just like a reporter at the Oscars said of the show: The most exciting part about the Oscars was the drive back home. I don’t know what the Academy was trying to prove by bringing in the likes of Anne and James – repackaging what is essentially the same lacklustre humour delivered by 20 something kids isn’t exactly my idea of a winning formula. I’m sure somewhere Ricky Gervais is laughing his butt off – the academy awards made him look like a rock star at the Golden Globes.

  3. Mette>> Franco did look good, as did Hathaway, but I expected them to do more than win the genetic powerball. Maybe with Nolan, he ought to think of how Scorsese had to wait until The Departed before he got his due, and how Hitchcock never won, and so on. It’s a bit like what Spielberg said before announcing the winner of Best Picture.

    Kartik>> I like the BAFTA host Jonathan Ross the best. As for Gervais, I loved the fact that he hosted the entire evening half-drunk. Generally, people seem to have less fun at the Oscars than elsewhere. I wonder why that is.

  4. “Speaking of editing, why does it take the folks back home a whole week to edit and telecast the Filmfare awards, while the Oscars have no more than a tape delay? Does it have to do with all those crappy medley performances with long pauses for costume changes in between?”

    Haha, this is probably the reason:

  5. S says:

    Some of the things you said here easily apply to the 2017 Oscarcast. Like, “Seriously, how do you go through a whole Oscarcast without a single funny line?”

    Six years ago, the Academy had a dream: to smoosh these two hosts together and come up with…James Hackaway! We just saw that dream come true.

    • This year wasn’t quite as bad. Jimmy Kimmel clearly had a lot more fun at the Emmys (Matt Damon’s cameo was especially brilliant), but thanks to Trump’s win, he had a readymade target that helped him out a bit. The funniest part of the night, though, was watching Ryan Gosling’s facial expressions when that big mix-up happened at the end. I thought I had seen that expression before, and then I remembered that it was the same expression he had in that scene in Crazy Stupid Love after the big fight when the cop tells them to keep it in the family.

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