I traded my Sunday night sleep for the Academy Awards last night. Not quite sure whether it was worth it, the night had both goods and bads. Frankly, I had higher expectations.
To begin with, the red carpet was OK – I don’t think there was anything out of the ordinary. My favorites were Jennifer Lawrence, Michelle Williams, Cate Blanchette and Camilla Alves. What a beauty! Especially Camilla Alves in a fascinating black gown by Kaufman Franco, and Jennifer Lawrence in a breathtaking Calvin Klein by Francisco Costa. Seemed like simplicity won over haute couture this year.
Anne Hathaway and James Franco.. are among the people who are not supposed to host the Academy Awards. Simple as that. Although I was very excited to see Franco – and in between the lines, one of the main reasons why I was up till so late was to watch him – I thought it was one of the dullest Oscar hostings I’ve watched in a long long time. There seemed to be no chemistry between the two of them. Hathaway was too giggly – wooted every single actor/actress she introduced like an obsessed 16-year-old-Backstreet-Boys-fan. Franco, on the other hand, gave almost no emotion. Was he bored or what? Anne and James tried but fell short – to such extent that when they brought Billy Crystal on stage, I wished he it took over!
Loved Kirk Douglas and his humor (which didn’t seem as pre-written as all other presentors) – who just turned 94 and presented the supporting actress. Colin Firth was stunning, very charismatic and his geniune smile made me even a stronger supporter. Christian Bale – it was great to hear him speak with a normal accent. No need to mention, there was a Hugh Jackman lovefest in the air – I had a tough time understanding why there were so many references to him when he wasn’t even nominated.
On the awards side, most of my predictions were in line with the final pick of 6000 Academy members who voted throughout this process. The King’s Speech was certainly predicted to sweep the awards. Colin Firth got best actor – which I thought he truly deserved for that stunning performance. Christian Bale, who portrayed a completely different persona in the Fighter, got supporting actor. Natalie Portman well deserved the Oscar for best actress, and Melissa Leo for the supporting one. Only for documentary, I wished Exit through the Giftshop won. Not that Inside Job wasn’t interesting, on the contrary, the documentary about the causes and consequences of the financial crisis of 2008 was pretty interesting/informative – but I found the whole idea of Exit through the Giftshop a much more interesting, a much more one of a kind one. For directing, I guess my theory of the Social Network victories leading up to a Fincher best director triumph proved wrong. I was also sad that Javier Bardem and Biutiful left with empty hands.
Re: best picture.. I’m a little confused what the most important criteria here is. It sure is a blend of producing, directing, acting and writing efforts – yet something must weigh a little heavier. Is it performance of actors/actresses? Is it originality of script? Is it whether it might wow you throughout a unique journey? According to stats, 47% of Best Picture winners up until today were in the drama category, while 11% was in historical/epic. King’s Speech was stunning, certainly. Great performance by Rush and Firth.. it was so human, it was so genuine. It was almost impossible not to sympathize with the character. But Black Swan was another experience. It was a journey.. it was about moves, music, feelings, illusions, dreams, disappointments.. so I personally favored Black Swan as I saw it as a more artistic piece – yet my prediction was proved to be wrong.
While we’re at it, did you know.. ?
– The shortest Oscar ceremony ever was the first, held in 1929; it lasted only about 15 minutes as all the winners had been announced three months earlier.
– The famous golden statuette, formally named the Academy Award of Merit, got its more popular moniker “Oscar” when Academy librarian Margaret Herrick said that it resembled her Uncle Oscar. Before this name stuck, other people had tried to call it “the golden trophy,” “the statue of merit,” and “the iron man.”
– Until the 1950s, child actors who won the Oscars were given miniature statuettes instead.
– If you won an Oscar, the Academy wouldn’t just give it to you – you’d have to sign a winners agreement not to sell the award without first offering to sell it back to the Academy for $1. This makes sure that no award would be sold to private collectors.
– Sound technician Kevin O’Connell has earned 19 Oscar nominations over the years for his work on movies like The Rock, Pearl Harbor, and Spider-Man, but has never won – thus making him the biggest Oscar loser.