Monday, February 28, 2011

NIGHT OF THE OSCARS


As mixed reviews of the 83rd annual Academy Awards flood the internet, here’s what TV TALK thought about the biggest night on television.

For a complete list of winners, go to Oscar.com

Photo Courtesy: AMPAS
Firstly, the Oscars are definitely a class apart, standing out from any other award show in the world. While the level of excellence may vary from year to year, I definitely feel that the show can never disappoint. Even though last year’s hosts Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin were far from great, the show was still fun, and amazing to watch. This year might not go down as the best edition of the Awards in recent times, but it definitely had my attention throughout, even throwing me in peals of laughter every now and again. The presentation of lip-syncing dialogues as lyrics to songs thrown into films like Twilight Eclipse, Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows Part 1 and The Social Network was definitely entertaining. 

Moreover, during the Oscars, I always look forward to innovative presentations, which were very much a part of this year’s show as well. The way Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis presented the Animated Feature and Animated Short awards (having the set light up into a visual from Shrek, the first film to win the Animated Feature award), was fascinating. 



The way Anne Hathaway  remembered the first ever Oscars, followed by Josh Brolin and Javier Bardem, coming in, wearing old-school dinner jackets, to present the Oscars for Screenplay was amazing. And even the way the Original Score nominees were presented with the orchestra doing a medley of numbers from each of the films was terrifically done. Celine Dion’s performance while presenting the In Memoriam was also one of the highlights of the show.


THE HOSTS—REFRESHING OR DRAB?
The show started with a hilarious sequence of the hosts being juxtaposed into scenes from the Best Pictures of 2010, with impressive guest appearances by Alec Baldwin and Morgan Freeman. One liners like host Anne Hathaway telling her co-host James Franco, "You look very appealing to a younger demographic as well,” were refreshing and funny. 

Besides Franco drawing perverted interpretations of the titles of films from the year gone by, there was no humor that was inappropriate and witless, which was a relief. Hathaway’s performance with references to her duet two years ago, with then host Hugh Jackman was really funny, even though I didn’t see the point in Franco turning up in drag at the end of it. Moments between the hosts like the time when Hathaway said, “I’m not modest; I’m just not nominated!” made for some laughs, and took forward their chemistry as was seen on the promos for the show. Franco seemed to have a lot less to say, as compared to Hathaway, which was fine by me, because she was the livelier host with a joie de vivre that was endearing and entertaining. I thought that Franco seemed a little subdued in comparison, which was disappointing, but Hathaway made up for that. Overall, I think their role on stage was a lot less meaty, as compared to what hosts of the Oscars usually have.  Despite that, for me, they did more than make up for the disappointing hosting of last year.

RED CARPET STYLE 

(Left to right) Reese Witherspoon, Hellen Mirren and Halle Berry
I have to say that, this year, the Oscars weren’t as impressive on the red carpet as compared to the Golden Globes. While there were a few stunning evening gowns being trailed into the Kodak theatre, I don’t think the outfits matched up to the glamour quotient and drama of the gowns worn by ladies like Catherine Zeta-Jones, Olivia Wilde and Eva Longoria at the Globes. It was interesting to see a mix of trends in terms of color, with red, blue, lavender and wine making a mark, even though more neutral tones like nude, grey and silver emerged as the most dominant trend. Further to that, I was most impressed with dresses worn by Halle Berry, Reese Witherspoon and Helen Mirren. While Berry nailed the embroidered and sequined nude gown she wore, Witherspoon stood out in one of the very few black dresses of the evening, which was reminiscent of Julia Roberts’ Valentino that she wore when she won the Oscar in 2001. Mirren's dressing is always age-appropriate, despite being able to show how fit she is at her age. Her grey dress did wonders for her. As it turns out, the above ladies are all Oscar alumni—a group that could definitely be called the most stylish of the evening. Among other Oscar winners from recent times, Sandra Bullock displayed oomph and class in red.

(Left to right) Hilary Swank, Scarlett Johansson and Amy Adams
While Hilary Swank and Gwyneth Paltrow shimmered in silver, Penélope Cruz and Jennifer Hudson sizzled in fiery hues. Nicole Kidman and Cate Blanchett seemed to be the only exceptions in that group of past winners, with dresses that didn’t quite work with their silhouettes or patterns. Among this year’s nominees, Michelle Williams and Amy Adams got it right with their high necklines, as Jennifer Lawrence brought out the classic element of red with her simple gown. Winner Melissa Leo’s dress looked nice on stage and Natalie Portman’s wine-colored number looked rich and classy as she accepted her Best Actress statuette. Another impression in wine was Scarlett Johansson, who went with a look that was different from her classic red-carpet style, wonderfully pulling off a more contemporary gown and slightly disheveled hair. Other noteworthy appearances were those made by Mandy Moore and Hailee Steinfeld, both in nude-gold tones.

THE WINNERS
Natalie Portman accepts her Oscar for Black Swan
Hot favorite, The Social Network took away just three Oscars, one less than the highest number of wins in the evening—The King’s Speech and Inception, both with four each. Inception rightfully won for its stunning Visual Effects, Cinematography, Sound Editing and Sound Mixing. I think that offered some consolation to disappointed audiences, who would have liked Inception to be named Best Picture, and for Christopher Nolan to have been nominated for the Direction award. When Tom Hooper won Direction, it sealed the deal for The King’s Speech, over The Social Network for Best Picture. Many feel that the Academy’s voters were just going with a more traditional choice, in that category, but I beg to differ. I think that The King’s Speech was the more superior film and hence the Academy rewarded it accordingly.

Colin Firth accepts his Oscar for The King's Speech
The Social Network did get its due, with being rewarded for its Adapted Screenplay, Film Editing and Original Score, all of which it had excelled in. Toy Story 3 took away two Oscars for Best Animated Feature and Original Song. Alice in Wonderland got its deserving wins in the Art Direction and Costume Design categories. 

Melissa Leo and Christian Bale accept their Oscars for The Fighter
Another film with two nods, The Fighter won Christian Bale and Melissa Leo Oscars. There were no surprises there, with both actors having delivered stellar performances in the film. Bale’s acceptance speech was touching, and Leo’s overwhelmed slip of tongue was funny, to say the least. Moving on to the Leading Role categories, I don’t think there was any doubt that Colin Firth (The King’s Speech) and Natalie Portman (Black Swan) would win this year. While I found Portman’s speech earnest and heartwarming, as she beamed with joy, I thought Firth could have made more of an impression while accepting.

After The King’s Speech joined the list of 82 Best Pictures, making Oscar history, the show ended in an offbeat way, with a choir of children performing, which didn’t have quite the impact, until all the winners from this year emerged from behind, taking a final bow. Like the ending of an opera or a theatric musical, I think it made a lot more sense than to have the hosts just saying good night after the Best Picture presentation. And with that, I’d conclude that as always, the Oscars did not disappoint in any way, proving itself, yet again, as being the best night on television and a class apart as compared to any other award show.


What did you think of the 83rd annual Academy Awards, the red carpet, the hosts, the show and the results? Share your views here. 

10 comments:

  1. Damn Natalie Portman's boobs are growing because of that baby in her. She had nothing in the movie! I've always liked her.

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  2. @Eeek I know! I have always liked her too... It's been three consecutive years with actresses that I have liked winning Best Actress at the Oscars... I loved the Academy Awards again this year? What did you think? Were you among those who kept complaining about 'em, or did you just appreciate the fine show that they put on, yet again?

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  3. The show retained its usual class, and there I agree with you rnvj, but I really did feel that the hosts could have done a better job. Though Anne did manage to pull off humour in some bits with elan, it seemed a little forced in other places, and left me thinking that a simple, classy presentation style would have more than sufficed. Nonetheless, the show was worth a watch.

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  4. You know about the boobs or you know I liked her? I liked the show...did not like the hosts. It actually felt like the Nikelodeon Kids Choice Awards. They're both great actors but did nothing memorable as hosts.
    I thought Colin Firth's speech was funny! He wanted to dance!!

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  5. @whirlwind I agree that the hosts fell below expectations, but the show, for me, is much more than the hosts. I agree that Hathaway did a better job then Franco, as everyone later spoke of how 'stoned' he seemed. I was pleased with the presentation and the results, so I would say it was good for me.

    @Eeek Yes, Hathaway was a little too giggly, which is why I understand your reference to the Kids' Choice Awards. They both seemed amateurish, but then, I wasn't expecting them to put up a Seinfeld, Leno or Stewart-type performance either, so I wasn't all that disappointed.

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  6. I quite enjoyed the show though James Franco looked too bored half the time and Anne Hathaway was way way too giggly and just trying too hard. I liked a lot of the gowns here actually better than the Golden Globes. Somehow feel they all save their best for the Oscars. I thought the best presenter by a mile was Sandra Bullock. It just seemed so spontaneous and fun. Still think it's the classiest awards night around

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  7. Some people said the winning speeches were scripted. of course they were. which nominee worth his/her salt does not practise their thank you speech? But no matter how good an actor/actress one are, no one can show such genuine-looking emotion at a stage like the Oscars.

    I loved the hosting. It was so much fun and yes, the jokes were appropriate and "very appealing to a younger demographic". I didn't get why Hathaway had to change so many times. The gowns were great but the idea of changing was a bit silly.

    Overall, it was a fun morning/evening. I don't see why people had such a problem with the hosting. Can you think of a better host? I can't. As @rnvj said, Baldwin and Martin were drab, predictable and plain unmemorable.

    And to all those who felt this was a scripted/boring ceremony, a little piece of advice: next year, the Oscars will be held at the same time on a different date. PLEASE DON'T WAKE UP FOR THE AWARD FUNCTION IF YOU WANT TO COMPLAIN ABOUT HOW IT WAS SUCH A WASTE OF YOUR TIME.

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  8. @wildcherry28 it IS the classiest award function around.
    @rnvj i liked hellen mirren's, halle berry's, mandy moore's and hilary swank's gowns.

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  9. @wildcherry I agree with you about Sandra Bullock; she WAS really awesome on stage. I also agree that the Oscars red carpet usually looks better than the rest, but this year, I didn't think that that was the case. I really loved the dresses at Globes more. And I've already mentioned the 'classiest award show' part and the Anne Hathaway being giggly part.

    @geetanjali I agree with everything you said, especially your message out to those who could only complain. And I like your taste in the evening gowns this time.

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  10. @rnvj "this time"! Seriously?! you and me. outside. right now!

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