Another year's Academy Awards ceremony has come and gone. As with most years, I was generally pleased with what transpired, although there certainly were winners I disagreed with here and there. But when you allow countless people to vote based on their opinions and throw politics into the mix, who knows what can happen?
Here are the things I most enjoyed about this year's Oscar telecast:
- The hosts: I think Steve Martin has done a great job hosting the show before, and adding Alec Baldwin was truly an inspired choice. So many of their jokes left me hysterical, from Martin's mentioning that he and Gabourey Sidibe both "played poor black children in their first films" (referring to The Jerk) to their baiting of George Clooney and Meryl Streep (and "that damn Helen Mirren..." "that's Dame Helen Mirren") and, most hysterically, their introduction of Tom Ford and Sarah Jessica Parker by saying "He directed A Single Man and she weighs a single pound." (Yes, I know eating disorder jokes aren't funny, but this one was.) Hope to see both back next year!
- The John Hughes tribute: Despite the fact that Judd Nelson's appearance scared me a bit, this was one of the most moving moments of the evening. To have Molly Ringwald, Matthew Broderick, Anthony Michael Hall, Ally Sheedy and Nelson on one stage (along with Macaulay Culkin) was terrific and their recognition of the man who made them stars was truly heartfelt. Especially Ally Sheedy's line from The Breakfast Club, "When you get older, your heart dies."
- The intros for Best Actor and Best Actress: Last year when the nominees for the four acting awards were introduced by former winners I found it odd. This year, when the nominees for Best Actor and Best Actress were introduced by people connected to them in some way, I found it emotional and satisfying. Heck, I didn't even realize Jeremy Renner and Colin Farrell knew each other, much less spooned in a bed in Mexico! My favorite moment, however, was Tim Robbins' recounting of a conversation he had with nominee Morgan Freeman on the set of The Shawshank Redemption:
"He said 'the thing about friendship is sometimes friends get coffee for one another, so how about a cup of coffee, Ted? It is Ted, isn't it?'"
- The banter: One thing that you see in many awards shows is the scripted banter between presenters. Most of the times it is forced and falls flat. Sometimes it works, none better than the debate between Tina Fey and Robert Downey Jr. on what actors want versus what writers want. Brilliant.
- The memorable speeches: There's always a speech or two that sticks in your head long after the show is over. For me, that speech belonged to Sandra Bullock. Despite the fact I didn't think she deserved to win for her performance in The Blind Side, she gave a tremendously gracious and moving speech which closed with a tribute to her late mother. With that speech, Bullock proved why she did win: she's beyond likeable.
- Victory for The Hurt Locker: Going into the telecast, there really was a lot of uncertainty about which film would emerge the big winner. There was little doubt that Kathryn Bigelow would be the first woman to take home the Best Director award and it was a fair bet that Avatar would win much of the visual categories. But which would win the most awards, and which film would walk away with Best Picture? When Tom Hanks hurriedly announced The Hurt Locker the winner, it was very exciting, and since I loved both films a great deal, I found myself a winner either way.
If you know me, you know I'm not a wholly positive person, so I definitely found some negatives:
- Why is it they cut winners off after 45 seconds yet they waste time with things like the horror montage (with questionable movies included, like Edward Scissorhands)?
- As I said on Facebook during the show, dancing during the Best Original Score nominee presentations didn't work 20 years ago when Debbie Allen choreographed it, and it didn't work this year. Sorry, Adam Shankman...
- I realize it's good exposure for your career to be a presenter. Shouldn't you at least act happy, Kristen Stewart?
- "Lady Kanye" aka Elinor Burkett, embattled producer of the Best Documentary (Short Subject) winner, Music for Prudence, who cut off her co-producer mid-speech.
- Tom Hanks' sudden desire to get the whole show done, so he didn't read the nominees for Best Picture. If I produced one of the 10 nominees, it would have been nice to hear my name once, you know?
All in all, I enjoyed the show, and I'll enjoy a break from awards season, at least for a little while!!