The King’s Speech won the top awards at last night’s Academy Awards, landing Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actor for Colin Firth. It wasn’t a sweep by any means, though, and statues were distributed to other top nominated films, with Aaron Sorkin and Trent Reznor leaving with Oscars for The Social Network, Natalie Portman winning Best Actress for Black Swan, Christian Bale winning Best Supporting Actor for The Fighter and Toy Story 3 taking the prize for Animated Feature.
The ceremony itself was a bit of a mess. Although hosts Anne Hathaway and James Franco each had moments of being genuinely funny – most especially in the pre-taped opening skit in which the two passed through footage of all the Best Picture nominees in an Inception parody – they more often seemed stilted and poorly matched, with Hathaway coming off manic and overenthused and Franco seeming bored.
Of course, the hosts’ uneven performance was nowhere near as awkward as the seemingly interminable sequence during which 94-year-old stroke survivor Kirk Douglas was brought out to present the award for Best Supporting Actress. Though Douglas has a certain charm, that bit was slow, nearly incomprehensible and utterly cringe-inducing. But then Supporting Actress winner Melissa Leo took an uncomfortable moment and made it even weirder, spinning off into a grating, extremely loopy acceptance speech in which she dropped an f-bomb that would be remarked upon in other speeches throughout the night.
The high point of the show was undoubtedly this medley of songs created from footage from some of the year’s top movies made by the Gregory Brothers, the masterminds of Auto-Tune the News.