Mar 9 2010

Oscar Recap 2010

The 82nd Academy Awards ran smoothly on 8 Sunday 2010 with your run of the mill hits, misses and oddities.  Kicking off the event was not hosts Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin, but Neal Patrick Harris, who lead a music number about how two hosts are better than one.  Although Harris’ charisma was infectious, the number itself was pretty mediocre; not bad, but not memorable either.  This statement pretty much sums up this year’s Oscars.

Martin and Baldwin’s banter was sharp and carried some bite, but not enough to be repeated by the water cooler the next morning, which is a shame, because both hosts worked well together and delivered a number of really good zingers, notably one implying a threesome between them and Meryl Streep, and another in which neither host could recall who else was up for best actor aside from Jeff Bridges.

Though the irreverent attitude towards Hollywood made up most of the hosts’ jokes, they both lacked the subversive spirit and coy disrespect exuded by Jon Stewart, who found the perfect balance between celebrating the Academy while mocking it.  Although the Oscars tries to avoid controversy, it does tend to be what makes an act memorable; I suppose Martin and Baldwin were just one or two jokes at the Academy’s expense away from host-greatness.

There were presenters and audience members alike who reveled in the subversive spirit lacking in our hosts.  George Clooney, while not a presenter, made some well-timed scowls at the hosts’ act that made their jokes funnier.  Robert Downey Jr. was one of the best things at the Oscars, as he spoofed actor’s pretentious attitude towards scripts with snarky glee while presenting the Best Original Screenplay award.

Amongst other notable presenters was Tom Ford, presenting the award for Best Costume Design while looking notable peeved for being completely ignored for A Single Man, and rightfully so; it was the best film not to be recognized by the Academy.

Of course, the most memorable presenter was Ben Stiller, decked out in Avatar make-up to present Best Make-Up, a category Avatar was not up for.  Although some found this playful jab at James Cameron disrespectful, I’m sure everyone watching the ceremony indulged in a little good-natured ribbing at his expense.  

In an attempt to appeal to tweens who don’t watch the Oscars anyway, Miley Cyrus and the Twilight kids were given awards to present.  Miley Cyrus tripped over her lines, claiming she was nervous because, “this is my first time on stage.”  I guess all those times singing and dancing in sold out stadiums doesn’t count.

Kristen Stewart and Taylor Lautner (Oscar is obviously rooting for Team Jacob) presented an homage to great horror films, which was unusual since neither host has been in a horror film.  To his credit, Lautner delivered his bit with an impressive amount of confidence, while Stewart dead-faced her way through her monologue, much like she has in her career.

The most bizarre event took place during Roger Ross Williams’ acceptance speech for the Best Short Documentary, Music By Prudence.  Williams was cut off by Elinor Burkett, the film’s producer, before he could say so much as a thank you.  Apparently, the two have faced off in a lawsuit over creative differences concerning direction of the film.  Clearly, the ever-classy Burkitt decided it best to ruin the award for everyone involved in the project and over shadow the film with her inexcusable behavior.  Nice work Burkitt.

The memorial to John Hughes was amongst the most bittersweet moment at the Oscars, as a presentation from Molly Ringwald and Matthew Broderick kicked of a montage of Hughes most memorable sequences.  Even afterwards, when a number of former Brat Packers were paraded out to speak of their own experiences with Hughes, one could not help but feel a rose tinted nostalgia for the world Hughes shared with the world.  All but the Twilight kids, whose’ detached looks seemed to say, “John Who?”

One of the more WTF moments of the evening came with the Oscar memoriam segment, in which multi Golden Globe nominated actress Farah Fawcett was omitted from the video montage, while Michael Jackson, who starred in The Wiz, Captain EO, and Miss Cast Away and the Island Girls was recognized for his contribution to music.

As for the Big Five, both screenplay awards defied most critics’ predictions by going to Precious and Hurt Locker, and not Up In The Air and Inglorious Basterds.  The awards for Director, Actor and Actress, on the other hand, surprised no one.  For the Actor/Actress category, five former co-stars of the respective nominees were brought up to speak of their own experiences with their designated actor, which would have been touching if it all didn’t sound so scripted.  The only exception was Colin Farrell, who spoke of Hurt Locker star Jeremy Renner in such a way that was personal and real.

Sandra Bullock, who also accepted her Razzie for All About Steve, has received the most controversy about her role in The Blind Side.  Whether or not she deserved it (she didn’t), Bullock gave one of the better speeches of the evening, and even naysayers had to give her a bit of praise.

The award for Best Picture, strange enough, was the award that had everyone guessing.  Despite the inclusion of five more films to the race, everyone’s bets were on The Hurt Locker, Inglorious Basterds, Up in the Air, and Avatar.  Although Basterds seemed to be the favorite, Hurt Locker ended up taking it.  Though many seem disappointed that Tarantino’s WWII masterpiece didn’t take the prize, the humble celebration between the cast and crew of Hurt Locker was heart warming.  If anything, The Hurt Locker was the little film could, and its good to see such a film got some well-deserved recognition.          

All in all, with its victories and losses, deserved and undeserved, the 82nd Academy Awards delivered what we all expected; no more, no less.  And now that it’s over, let the games begin, once again.

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