Last night was the biggest night in Hollywood: the star-studded 83rd Academy Awards (also known as the Oscars). For people in show business, this awards show represents the recognition that they have worked for all year. For a cinephile, like myself, it is required viewing. I thoroughly enjoy predicting the winners, rating the attendees’ wardrobe choices, and critiquing acceptance speeches. However, I know that not everyone can sit through several hours of any awards show, so I will provide some of the highlights.
In an effort to bring in a younger demographic of viewers, the network chose Oscar nominee James Franco and actress Anne Hathaway to co-host the show. Their opening was a parody of the film Inception, with Franco and Hathaway exploring the dream of last year’s co-host Alec Baldwin for tips on hosting. The pair had fairly good comedic chemistry and certainly brought a youthful vibrancy to the show. However, this was immediately countered by the 95-year old Kirk Douglas’ presentation of the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress. For a rather strange five minutes, Douglas cracked jokes about the young hosts, Hugh Jackman’s laughter and Colin Firth’s lack thereof, and generally confused me.
My confusion didn’t end there. Melissa Leo’s acceptance speech was just as odd as the presentation of her award for Best Supporting Actress. Why, you may ask? She pulled a major Oscar-don’t and dropped an F-bomb. Classy. She then proceeded to deliver a ridiculously self-indulgent speech, which was equal parts insane, belligerent, and insincerely astonished. Leo made such an impression, that David Seidler and Christian Bale even mentioned her use of the swear word in their own acceptance speeches.
On the other hand, Randy Newman gave a delightful speech in which he mentioned his many losses (only two wins out of twenty nominations), poked fun that only four songs were nominated in the Best Original Song category this year (“You couldn’t have found a fifth song?”), and addressed the producers’ need for a speech that is also “good T.V.”
But what is “good T.V”? Is it seeing the losers struggle to smile graciously when the camera cuts to them, just after their dreams are crushed? Is it the awkward way the previous winners had to present this year’s nominees for Best Actor and Best Actress and pretend to know each other intimately, when it is completely likely that they have never met? Maybe. Or maybe it’s seeing how thrilled those involved in The King’s Speech, the Best Picture winner, were to accept their 8.5 pound golden statuettes.
- Brigida Pirraglia