The Oscars (2011)

Halle Berry, Sandra Bullock, Helen Mirren - 2011 oscar dressesThe dresses, that’s the Oscars for me. The beautiful gowns and the ones that make you wonder ‘what possessed her?’ So anything that provides both oohs and aahs of admiration and WTFs of astonishment is worth watching.

But there’s a whole show wrapped around the dresses. This year’s show was one of the most disjointed that I’ve ever seen. The hosts – why? Anne Hathaway I expect to see accepting an award or sitting in the audience. And James Franco – I hang my head in shame (as a long-time but former GH watcher) but I’ve never heard of him. And he was nominated in Best Actor category. I thought “aren’t there enough people in Hollywood that they don’t have to double up?”

Actors as hosts?

James Franco & Anne Hathaway, with big OscarListening to CBC Radio’s Q this morning, the panelists on the Oscars gave shape to my rather confused impressions of the show. Actors, one said, should not host. If they’re at a career high, they’re likely to do it no good by hosting (James Franco being the case in point). And if they’re not, they’re not going to help their career.

In that panelist’s opinion, stand-up comedians and talk-show hosts know how to do it. They know timing and know how to ad lib. And they are not being viewed, and therefore judged, as ‘Actors’. They are of the industry, but apart from it. Please God, there must be some young comedians or hosts able to do the job if the Academy wants youth for the sake of drawing the ‘prime’ demographic.

Another point made was that the most articulate and interesting acceptance speeches came from writers, not actors. You would think, the point was, that actors would know enough to write out their lines and memorize them. But no, flailing around and saying nothing at great length – that’s what we got.

F “Shock”

The big moment was Melissa Leo’s “f” word. I’d thought she’d seemed kind of insincere at her shock at herself. I thought maybe she was just covering, the way you do when you say something stupid then try to pretend you meant to say it. The Q panel thought she had meant to say it, and described her “shock” as the worst piece of acting ever seen. I don’t know if her wrestling Kirk Douglas for his cane as they walked off stage was planned or NYC school choir at Oscarsnot – it was pretty funny. So was Christian Bale seemingly forgetting his wife’s name in his thank-yous.

The Best Song candidates seemed mashed up together without much fanfare. The historical flashbacks to previous Oscar winners were confusing to me. The school choir at the end – why? Nice for them, certainly, but this is the sort of thing you shouldn’t have to watch until you’re living in the old folk’s home.

Best Picture and Best Dress

I wish Best Picture could have gone to both The King’s Speech and The Social Network. But, given that it can’t, I’m glad The King’s Speech won. Maybe the reign of King George VI is long past, but speech impediments aren’t. It’s a story about a real issue, and a real history poster image for the Oscarsthat is worth knowing. However, it’s impossible to deny the reality and influence of the story of Facebook too. Especially when, as was happening in my household, one person was carrying on a dialogue about the Oscars on Facebook during the commercials.

I was surprised that no one from The King’s Speech or The Social Network thanked the people who lived the stories on which these movies were based. Christian Bale did that for The Fighter.

And my favourite dress? The woman from ABC. Stunning, and I couldn’t find a picture of it.