Sunday, March 7, 2010

POPped Review: The 328,090th Academy Awards

photo by Michael Caulfield/Wireimage - 2010

Tonight was the 4,293,843rd Annual Academy Awards, and it felt like it. The awards show started off with a painfully awkward pre-show with Kathy Ireland, Sherri Shepherd and Jess Cagle. They had no idea how to interview anybody and you could tell the stars felt awkward being there. Sadly, this was an indication of what was in store.

The show itself started with them bringing out all of the Best Actor and Actress nominees and having them stand on stage to be introduced and then quickly herded off stage to make way for the opening number from Neil Patrick Harris. While his performance was spot on as usual, the number was lackluster (big word, I know) and it felt forced. Not by him, but by the producers of the show. It was like they tried too hard to show that they could poke fun at the show themselves, and it just fell flat. This momentum continued throughout the show.

There were glimmers of hope when hosts Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin descended from the top of the stage as if God's coming down from Mt. Olympus. They then went into their comedy routine which had the usual jibes at the Hollywood elite. There were some great moments as they went after George Clooney, who is always a good sport. But, it again felt forced and you can't take it serious when Alec says hi to someone while he's reading, "Hi," off of the teleprompter.

Then the rest of the show just went on for what felt like forever. While some people were excited about 10 nominees for best picture, you wouldn't have really known about it during the ceremony. It was really all about The Hurt Locker, Avatar and Up. With that many nominees there was no real focus of the show. It just turned into a big ol' mess. From the presentations that crashed and burned (Ben Stiller's 'Avatar' bit was supposed to be hilarious and turned into uncomfortable un-funniness), to speeches that won't be quoted anytime soon; this years Oscar-cast will only be remembered for Kathryn Bigelow winning. (Not a bad thing to be remembered for.)

As the show drudged along, they kept piling on things that were supposed to show that they weren't old and stuffy, but they just proved the point. First was a horribly mis-placed hip hop dance number to music of the Best Film Score nominations. (Side note: I got a lot of flack on Twitter for commenting on this, so let me make it clear. This was not a dig at the dancers. They were fantastic, but this number was so out of place and didn't belong that it made it hard to watch.)

Then the Academy decided they would show the kids that they also think horror movies are cool by showing a montage of classic horror moments. They again showed how out of touch they are by including clips in it of Twilight, Edward Scissorhands, The Marathon Man and Beetlejuice. Really Academy? The only moment that really connected to many people was the tribute to John Hughes. Most filmmakers today can quote his movies verbatim and many wish they could re-create them. Just please don't remake them.

So when the show was finally coming to a close with the Best Picture award to be given out, presenter Tom Hanks didn't waste any time. He came out, said a brief sentence, opened the envelope and said The Hurt Locker. No nominee's read, no clips, nothing. Just boom, award. I thought that was great.

I love the Academy Awards. I love watching it. But this year's telecast was such a dud. That's too bad. They hoped that this year's would finally bring in more viewers, and it probably did, but they also probably lost them for the future. What was supposed to be a low key, classy affair turned out to almost go back to the broadcasts of the 70's and 80's. Hopefully they'll listen to critics and be careful in the coming years. If not, they could get this performance again (they were close this year):

The Winners Are:

Best Picture: The Hurt Locker

Director: Kathryn Bigelow, The Hurt Locker

Actress in a Leading Role: Sandra Bullock, The Blind Side

Actor in a Leading Role: Jeff Bridges, Crazy Heart

Foreign Language Film: The Secret in Their Eyes (El Secreto de Sus Ojos, Argentina)

Film Editing: The Hurt Locker, Bob Murawski and Chris Innis

Documentary Feature: The Cove

Visual Effects: Avatar

Original Score: Michael Giacchino, Up

Cinematography: Avatar, Mauro Fiore

Sound Mixing: The Hurt Locker

Sound Editing: The Hurt Locker

Costume Design: The Young Victoria, Sandy Powell

Art Direction: Avatar

Actress in a Supporting Role: Mo'Nique, Precious

Adapted Screenplay: Precious, Geoffrey Fletcher

Makeup: Star Trek

Live Action Short Film: The New Tenants

Documentary Short Subject: Music by Prudence

Animated Short Film: Logorama

Original Screenplay: The Hurt Locker, Mark Boal

Original Song: "The Weary Kind," Music and Lyrics by Ryan Bingham and T-Bone Burnett (Crazy Heart)

Animated Film: Up

Actor in a Supporting Role: Christoph Waltz, Inglourious Basterds

*winners list courtesy of E!online

Review POPped by Jungle Jesse

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