Oscars Recap: The Good, the Bad, the Ugly

The most boring awards ceremony in recent memory did have its moments

Well, the good news: Philly Post readers know how to pick the winners. Of the major categories, you went eight for eight. (I’m giving you credit for Best Director, even though there was a tie between winner Tom Hooper and Darren Aronofsky.) If only I had taken your advice on Director and Supporting Actress, I would have been 20 for 24. So, what’s the bad news? Everything else.

The show was one of the most boring Oscars in recent memory. And while the show often has a high threshold for awkwardness and self-congratulation, there were moments where it was almost too painful to watch. (More on that in a second.)

Producers, we are thoroughly grateful for the short (?) running time of about three hours. But in a year where five of the 10 Best Picture nominees (Toy Story 3, Inception, True Grit, The King’s Speech and Black Swan) grossed more than $100 million, where was the energy? And where were the stars? No Leo. No Julia. Not even last year’s winner, Monique.

The Good
• The opening film sequence was good. But anytime you feature Alec Baldwin drinking an Ambien Capri-Sun, I’m sold.
• The set. While not always coherent (why was Natalie standing in front of a set of Grauman’s Chinese Theater?), it did have beautiful moments.
• The sequence of autotuned musical numbers from Harry Potter, The Social Network and Eclipse (“He Doesn’t Own a Shirt”) was the funniest bit of the night. So why was it so late in the program?
• Classy, heartfelt speeches from Natalie Portman and Colin Firth.
• “I should’ve got a haircut.” The best acceptance speech of the night, from Luke Matheny of Live Action Short Film’s surprise winner, God of Love.
• The always awesome and crazy Helena Bonham Carter who mouthed, “Stop clapping,” during her Supporting Actress camera shot.
• The fun game of trying to guess what accent Christian Bale is about to speak in.
• Aaron Sorkin for proving that there is such a thing as a well-written acceptance speech.

The Bad
• Tom Hooper (Best Director winner) trying to describe his working relationship with Geoffrey Rush and Colin Firth: “A triangle of man-love.”
• Gwyneth Paltrow singing alone on stage with nothing but a nude-colored dress, a white microphone and a million twinkling stars.
• James Franco’s always-at-half-mast eyes.
• The fact that Randy Newman lost the Oscar for “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” (Toy Story) and “When She Loved Me” (Toy Story 2), but then won for the forgettable “We Belong Together” (Toy Story 3).
• Melissa Leo. Seriously, woman, pull it together. Why didn’t you prepare a speech? And why did your dropping of the F-bomb feel like it was done intentionally?
• Was Reese Witherspoon auditioning for Legally Blonde 3?
• Ladies (and some gentlemen): Think twice before getting Botox a few days before the big day. We, the audience, like to see your upper lip move when you talk.
• Billy Crystal. We love you. We miss you. But why are you showing up halfway through the show to do a bit and introduce Bob Hope?
• I applaud the discontinuation of five actors/actresses speaking about the Best Actor/Actress nominees. But why then give that entire task to Jeff Bridges? Sure, Sandra Bullock can pull if off. But I refuse to believe Jeff even saw these films, let alone knows the nominees.

The Ugly
• We love seeing Kirk Douglas, but whose brilliant idea was it to have him give out the Supporting Actress award?
• The opening monologue with Anne’s mom and James’s grandmother was as uncomfortable to watch as it was for them to perform.
• Why the hell did Anne’s “On My Own” song make it to broadcast? It wasn’t charming. It didn’t it have anything to do with the movies. It just made us miss Hugh Jackman even more.
• And then James Franco in a Marilyn Monroe costume, and a Charlie Sheen joke? Seriously?
• Realizing the nominees this year were not quite racially diverse, why didn’t the producers focus more on the presenters?