The Oscars

Sigh, the Oscars are over. What am I going to look forward to now? Well, the 2012 show of course and finding out what movies will end up being nominated.
Until then, I have time to see those on this year’s nominee list that I missed before Feb. 27. Last night was probably the first Academy Awards broadcast I made a point to watch from start to finish in a while. James Franco was appealing to me as a host but Anne Hathaway, not so much. She was a little too “Oh – my – ga, I am totally hosting the Oscars right now. No way!” But they pulled it off together and James Franco’s slight improv (see the “Go Nerds” line) was to my delight.
Other than that and the final scene with the student choir and all the winners, the entertainment value of the show wasn’t all that much. After writing my predictions for the awards earlier this year, I realized the predictability of the winners — though very deserving — kind of ruins it when it comes to the big night.
As far as the top award categories, I’d say each of the selections was a shoe-in, and of course I’m glad The Social Network didn’t win the big prize. I saw an interview with a critic before the show started, and he said the favor switched between The Social Network and The King’s Speech in the last six weeks. I already knew that, but it was interesting that he said it switched back to The Social Network most recently and that viewers should not be surprised if it won.
I guess he was wrong on that one. Though Tom Hooper’s work for The King’s Speech was very accomplished and worthy of the award, I have to say it would be nice to have an Oscar moment for the best picture when a curve ball comes in and a very unsuspecting cast and crew is called to the stage. Be it those from The Fighter, True Grit or Black Swan, that really would have stolen the show.
But, it is what it is and I thought when it got to the acting categories that both Colin Firth and Natalie Portman’s acceptance speeches were eloquent and true. Had Colin Firth made a spectacle and actually danced, it would have taken away from how he described the true effect of winning the Oscar. Portman may have been speaking just as the words of who to thank came to her, but it didn’t come off that way. Melissa Leo’s speech for supporting actress in The Fighter of course is being talked about since she let out a word that had to be “bleeped.” But her true surprise reminds the audience that while the selected movie stars may be predictable winners to those on the outside, it’s not the case for each nominee.
To round out my favorite speeches, Randy Newman’s words were well played and the sudden emotion of Christian Bale brought out the human being from behind all the lights, glitz and glamour.
So, which titles on my ballot will I still choose to see? 127 Hours will round out the best picture category, luckily it is out on DVD this week to make up for my thwarted plans to see it in the theater. I don’t know anything about Animal Kingdom, but was intrigued by the clip showing Jacki Weaver’s performance and I also need to catch Javier Bardem’s Biutiful. Both the other animated features, How To Train Your Dragon and The Illusionist will probably make their way onto my Netflix queue, and finally if I had to pick one more (which is tough) it will be Exit Through the Gift Shop. I’d of course like to see all the documentaries and foreign films, but those would be my top pics.
I haven’t seen any Oscar material yet this year, but it’s still early. And, based on the fact that half the best picture nominees came out very close to the actual 2011 award show means the contenders for next likely won’t be on the table until the seasons cycle through the warm months and back to winter.
So, now less than 24 hours after the big show ended, my anticipation has returned. I’ll be at the movie theater if anybody needs me.

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