Hosts with the notasmuchasusual
The so-called younger Oscars started off with a couple laughs, one intentional and one possibly not: Hosts James Franco and Anne Hathaway riffed on several best picture nominees by being spliced into footage of each flick with an Inception-style wraparound tale. The pair had to jump into former Oscars host Alec Baldwin's dream, featuring onscreen narration by Morgan Freeman, and ran through scenarios from The Social Network, The Fighter, The King's Speech and others. Besides noting in a True Grit sequence that Jeff Bridges was in Tron: Legacy, which was snubbed in the visual effects category, the notable part is that Baldwin's Jack Donaghy said in last week's 30 Rock that he didn't fly because he didn't want to be Inceptionized. Cross-marketing genius or bizarre coincidence? We vote coincidence. And what was with Back to the Future getting stuck in for no reason? Meanwhile, the writers scored one guffaw courtesy of Franco's grandma, who told the crowd she "just saw Marky Mark." Still, it's a bad omen when you're upstaged by an actor's grandma.
Can't understand him, but he's good
Say what you want about Kirk Douglas — that he was too old, too creepy, and too lecherous to present — he still managed to drag himself up on stage at 94 years old to hand out the award for best supporting actress. Not only that, but despite recovering from a stroke, he still hit on both Hathaway and winner Melissa Leo, who responded with a "you're pretty good looking, yourself" — and a pretty pronounced F-bomb. At least that was good for some laughs, which is better than the mildly sad and uncomfortable feeling we get from watching Dick Clark on New Year's Eve.
The rich and shameless were M.I.A.
The most out-of-place thing about this year's audience wasn't who was in it, but who wasn't. No Jack Nicholson. No Will Smith and Jada Pinkett. No Julia Roberts. No Brangelina. No Tom Cruise, Meryl Streep or Denzel Washington. Not even a glimpse of Uma Thurman. Sure, none of those folks really had a dog in this fight, but when the highlights are Mila Kunis' breast petals and Zachary Levi singing the song from Tangled, the glamor's really draining out of this whole concept. C'mon, Academy, the big stars who are overhyped and heading over the hill are why we watch!
The young and the restless
Casting Franco and Hathaway wasn't the Academy's only attempt to young-up the ceremony (even with all the cross-dressing, to which Franco is quite accustomed — although his tweeting from his whosay.com page was great). We had to sit through Tim Gunn constantly reminding the red carpet folks that the show was on Facebook and Twitter. The Gregory Brothers aped their own Auto-Tune the News in a segment fiddling with film dialogue. There was a creepy Bob Hope hologram that seems ripe for endorsement abuse. And even ABC's Oscar.com started offering an all-access pass to the show with multiple angles and backstage info. But if they were really with it, they'd have finally figured out that they need to provide a free, licensed feed on UStream by now.
No shocking moments is no shock
While we (and by that, we also mean you) complain about how boring the Oscars are every year, this round really didn't have any surprises. Christian Bale won best supporting actor. Leo's turn in The Fighter would have been a dark horse win for supporting actress, but who else was going to? Helena Bonham Carter? Tom Hooper's The King's Speech netted him director (sorry, Christopher Nolan, but Inception wasn't as deep as you wanted us to think it was) and scored best picture, while Colin Firth took home best actor for playing Prince Albert, albeit without the promised victory dance. Natalie Portman won best actress for Black Swan, leaving Annette Benning in the dust yet again. The only real snub in the R.I.P. montage was Corey Haim, and that's only because even we forgot he died. Could it be that we all complain simply because we know what's going to happen? It took an appearance by Billy Crystal to remind us that we haven't really enjoyed a telecast of this since he came onstage in his Hannibal Lecter getup. At least people who deserved to win are the ones who won this year. We're looking at you, Marisa Tomei.
Best Picture: The King's Speech
Actor: Colin Firth, The King's Speech
Actress: Natalie Portman, Black Swan
Supporting Actor: Christian Bale, The Fighter
Supporting Actress: Melissa Leo, The Fighter
Director: Tom Hooper, The King's Speech
Foreign Language Film: In a Better World (Denmark)
Adapted Screenplay: Aaron Sorkin, The Social Network
Original Screenplay: David Seidler, The King's Speech
Animated Feature Film: Toy Story 3
Art Direction: Alice in Wonderland
Sound Mixing: Inception
Sound Editing: Inception
Original Score: The Social Network Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross.
Original Song: We Belong Together from Toy Story 3, Randy Newman.
Costume Design: Alice in Wonderland
Documentary Feature: Inside Job
Documentary (short subject): Strangers No More
Film Editing: The Social Network
Makeup: The Wolfman
Animated Short Film: The Lost Thing
Live Action Short Film: God of Love
Visual Effects: Inception