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NtF’s Oscar Wrap-Up 2011

Namtar here….

(Okay, I predicted 15 out of the 24 categories correctly.  That gives me a 61% average.  So, basically, I stink!  Anyway, on with the show!)

After a 3 hour and fifteen minute Oscar telecast, it is finally over.  The presentation was fair but not outstanding.   James Franco and Anne Hathaway were basically sleepwalking throughout the show.  Franco was there in body, but not in mind.  Anne Hathaway carried the pair, but these two should never emcee another Academy Award ceremony together. There were a few bright moments, but we will get to those in a later.  Here is the list of Academy Award winners in their corresponding categories:

Best Motion Picture: “The King’s Speech” Iain Canning, Emile Sherman, and Gareth                    Unwin, Producers
Best Actor: Colin Firth, “The King’s Speech”
Best Actress: Natalie Portman, “The Black Swan”
Best Supporting Actor: Christian Bale, “The Fighter”
Best Supporting Actress: Melissa Leo, “The Fighter”
Best Director: Tom Hooper, “The King’s Speech”
Best Foreign Language Film: “In a Better World,” Susanne Bier (Denmark)
Best Adapted Screenplay: Aaron Sorkin, “The Social Network”
Best Original Screenplay: David Seidler, “The King’s Speech”
Best Animated Feature Film: “Toy Story 3” Lee Unkrich
Best Art Direction: “Alice in Wonderland” Robert Stromberg and Karen O’Hara
Best Cinematography: “Inception” Wally Pfister
Best Sound Mixing: “Inception” Lora Hirschberg, Gary A. Rizzo, and Ed Novick
Best Sound Editing: “Inception” Richard King
Best Original Score: “The Social Network” Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross
Best Original Song: “We Belong Together” Randy Newman.
Best Costume Design:  “Alice in Wonderland” Colleen Atwood
Best Documentary Feature: “Inside Job” Charles Ferguson and Audrey Marrs
Best Documentary (short subject): “Strangers No More” Karen Goodman and Kirk Simon
Best Film Editing: “The Social Network” Angus Wall and Kirk Baxter
Best Makeup: “The Wolfman” Rick Baker and Dave Elsey
Best Animated Short Film: “The Lost Thing” Shaun Tan and Andrew Ruhemann
Best Live Action Short Film: “God of Love” Luke Matheny
Best Visual Effects: “Inception” Paul Franklin, Chris Corbould, Andrew Lockley and Peter Bebb
* Board of Governor’s Academy Award (recap) – Eli Wallach, Jean-Luc Godard, and Kevin Brownlow.  Francis Ford Coppola received the Irving G. Thalberg Award.

Again, I chose not to sit through the “Red Carpet” event, because it becomes a vapid grab for quick and pointless interviews.  Also, it’s kind of pointless to stare at fashion when you know you can’t afford it or you wouldn’t want to be caught dead in clothes like that.  One more thing, is three-day facial hair the rage these days?  That’s why I avoid watching the red carpet event.  In other words, it gets on my nerves.

The show began in the same way Billy Crystal used to open the Oscar program.  James Franco and Anne Hathaway were trapped in the world of “Inception.”  They visited some of the other nominated films via the dream tactics used in the Christopher Nolan film. They claimed it was the dreams of Alec Baldwin, who they end up meeting at the end of the skit along with Morgan Freeman.  Then, the film gives way to the stage where we hear our lost pair of emcees deliver an opening monologue that went down slower than the Titanic.  Finally, they pointed out their moms and grandmas in the audience.  What gives?  Can I get a seat?  I think I qualify as a cousin or something fifteen times removed.

After Tom Hanks presented awards for Art Direction and Cinematography, Hollywood legend Kirk Douglas took the stage.  The audience waited with nervous anticipation as he went to the microphone.  To everyone’s surprise the man almost stole the show.  He still had his sense of humor and timing, which some comedians lose and never get back.  He kept the nominees for Best Supporting Actress hostage by prolonging the announcement of the winner.  With a stroke slurring his speech, he never let it slow him down.  He definitely made the show memorable and special.

Winner Melissa Leo took the stage for winning the award for Best Supporting Actress.  She kept rambling on and on thanking different people more than once, and then dropped the “f” bomb, which was bleeped by the network.  I doubt if she’ll be invited to entertain at any child’s birthday party.

Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis presented the awards for Best Animated Film (Short Subject) and Best Animated Feature.  Aside from Kunis looking awesome as usual, Timberlake was downright annoying.  He kept saying, “I’m Banksy!”  This is in reference to the anonymous British street artist who is featured in the Documentary “Exit Through the Gift Shop.”  Banksy’s face is never seen, because he does not want to be prosecuted for tagging.  So Timberlake was trying to claim he was “Banksy.”  Supposedly, “Banksy” was at the Oscars, but would not reveal himself.  Since seeing nominated documentary films is difficult for the general public to do, Timberlake’s joke fell flat as a pancake.

It was pleasing to see Aaron Sorkin and David Seidler win awards for Best Adapted and Best Original Screenplays respectively.  The Academy nailed the recipients for writing such masterpieces.  David Seidler even joked that he was the oldest person to receive the award in this particular category, but he was sure someone else would take that honor away from him soon.

Anne Hathaway, wearing a tuxedo, sang a pointless musical number, which basically called Hugh Jackman a jerk for not singing with her. (He forced her up on stage to sing two years prior when he was the Oscar emcee.)  After, James Franco came out on stage dressed in drag as Marilyn Monroe, he claimed, since Anne was in a tux, he’d come out in a dress.  He then said Charlie Sheen texted him just moments before for a date.  It was amusing!

Russell Brand and Helen Mirren presented the Oscar for Best Foreign Language film.  Mirren spoke in French the entire time, while Brand translated . . . badly.  Brand ended up insulting Colin Firth in his awkward attempt at humor by saying Mirren played a better Queen of England in her film, “The Queen,” than Firth played a King in “The King’s Speech.”

Reese Witherspoon presented the Best Supporting Actor award to Christian Bale.  Bale gave the most sincere and humble speech of the evening.  He followed it up by saying he wouldn’t drop any “f” bombs, because he’s done that a lot before.  (Referring to the taped tirade of “f” words he screamed on the set of “Terminator: Salvation” that made the public rounds a couple of years ago.)
After Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman presented the Best Original Score to Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross for “The Social Network,” Matthew McCanaughy and Scarlett Johansson awarded the Oscars for Best Sound Mixing and Best Sound Editing.  McCanaughy tried to be funny by saying the word “sound” in a peculiar way, but it came off lame.  Frankly, I am surprised he kept his shirt on for the presentation.

Actress Marisa Tomei was introduced and she came out looking good as ever.  Giggity!  Anyway, she discussed the academy’s dinner for the nominees and winners of the Science and Technical Achievement awards.  When the telecast cut over to James Franco and Anne Hathaway, Franco made the comment that the winners of the awards were “nerds.”  I know he was on “Freaks and Geeks,” but the joke came off dismissive and tasteless.

Academy Award winning actress Cate Blanchett announced the winners of the Best Makeup and Best Costume Design categories.  Best Design Oscar winner Colleen Atwood read her acceptance speech off of a piece of paper that nearly put the audience in a coma.  It feels as if Atwood took the heat off of President Obama, because he has been known to be dependent on a teleprompter when addressing the public.

Kevin Spacey presented the next two nominees for Best Song, but before he introduced the numbers, he broke out singing.  He sang the title song from “Top Hat” and did an excellent job.  When he finished, he calmly said the name of the song and then introduced himself by saying, “I’m George Clooney.”  Personally, I look forward to him hosting the Oscars one day.  The guy makes things look easy and he doesn’t even break a sweat.

After Jake Gyllenhaal and Amy Adams announced the winners for Best Documentary (Short Subject) and Best Short Film (Live Action), Oprah Winfrey took to the microphone and in her serious manner introduced the nominees and winner for Best Documentary Feature film.  Surprisingly, she had actually curbed her enthusiasm.

One of the greatest Oscar hosts of all time came out on stage to discuss another great emcee.  Billy Crystal made an appearance and discussed the late great Bob Hope.  He told an amusing anecdote about how Bob Hope had sat in the audience while Crystal was emceeing the Oscars one year and applauded and smiled.  When the cameras cut away from Hope, Crystal said he flipped him off.  Crystal exclaimed that at that point they had worked together.  Then, Crystal introduced Bob Hope who through the magic of special effects video made an appearance on the show.  He introduced the next presenters Robert Downey, Jr. and Jude Law, but it was aurally obvious Hope’s voice was impersonated poorly.

Downey and Law came out to award the Visual Effects and Film Editing Oscars.  They walked all over each other’s lines.  It was shtick with the bantering becoming light insults.  It was done in fun, but it made people wince because some of the insults were getting too personal.  Credit should be given to them for having thick skins and walking away with a smile and some dignity.

Best Supporting Actress winner Jennifer Hudson introduced Gwyneth Paltrow who sang the song from the movie, “Country Strong.”  I guess she fancies herself as a singer.  I’m glad someone does.  Anyway, Hudson read the winner for Best Original Song, which went to Randy Newman.  This was his twentieth nomination and his second win of his career.  He made fun of the number of nominations he has gotten and then he commented that he wouldn’t read from a list to thank the people who helped him.

Singer Celine Dion sang a medley of songs as the show moved towards its traditional “In Memorium” segment.  The Academy flashed the pictures of famous industry people who had died in the previous year.  A few people were missing from the montage.  Omitted were “Lost Boys” actor Corey Haim, Eddie Fisher, Maria Schneider, Kenneth Mars, and Lisa Blount ( If  Nuke the Fridge was running things we would have also included our friend, actor, and producer John “Bullethead” McGarr together with Jason Nicholl).  This was as insulting as leaving out Farrah Fawcett, Bea Arthur, and Brad Renfro from last year’s “In Memorium” and putting more importance on Michael Jackson.  Look, the list will never get “that” long.  Can someone please keep track?

After the commercial, Halle Berry discussed a great American, Lena Horne.  She mentioned how Horne was an inspiration and made a breakthrough for people of color and women alike.   It was a nice eulogy to a great pioneer who endured fame and hardship in her life.  The quote by Horne was put up on the screen.  It read: It’s not the load that breaks you down,It’s the way you carry it.
Two-time Oscar winner Hilary Swank introduced last year’s Best Director winner Kathryn Bigelow.  Bigelow went on to name the nominees for Best Director, then the winner, which went to Tom Hooper for “The King’s Speech.”

Four-time Oscar nominee Annette Bening briefly went over the second annual Board of Governor’s Academy Award ceremonies and read the winners.  The winners came out on stage in all of their pageantry.  It was a pleasure to see Eli Wallach get the recognition he deserved for his lifetime of work.  Especially, for the great western film, “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.”

Now, it came time for the last three awards of the evening.  Last year’s Oscar winner for Best Actor, Jeff Bridges, announced the nominees and recipient for Best Actress.  The award went to Natalie Portman for “The Black Swan.”  She rambled a bit, but was overwhelmed by the moment.  She thanked the appropriate people, but was especially pleased and looking forward to her upcoming role as a mother.  She’s preggars don’t ya know!

Last year’s Oscar winner for Best Actress, Sandra Bullock, announced the nominees and recipient for Best Actor.  She was very playful and humorous with the nominees.  It made the moment light and enjoyable.  Colin Firth won for “The King’s Speech” and he gave a routine and somewhat brief acceptance speech.

Finally, the moment everyone was waiting for had come.  Director Steven Spielberg introduced the nominees and winner for Best Picture.  The award went to “The King’s Speech.”  The three producers rushed the stage and gave their thank you speeches.  I was amazed that all three had time to speak.

Then a fifth grade class from PS22 in Staten Island came to front of the stage and sang, “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.”  All of the evening’s award winners came out on stage to be with the choir.  It was a real kumbaya moment. (I couldn’t help but think, in these tough economic times, why couldn’t the Academy get a school from the Los Angeles area to sing?  The world may never know!)

From the Oscars, this is Namtar signing off.  I’m going to the Governor’s Ball! Taa!  Taa!