The much-promised “young and hip” Oscar telecast fell on its skinny, high-fashion ass last night. It’s not that The King’s Speech triumphed as Best Picture over my fave, The Social Network. I’m over that. Oscar is famous for unadventurous, comfort-food choices. Best Actor winner Colin Firth claimed the “stirrings” he was experiencing in the upper abdominal regions might make him dance. The stirrings I felt from the 83rd annual Oscar show made me want to puke. How could so many stars bore so many people breathless? Where to start?
The Hosts: It sounded intriguing that the Academy would bring in young guns — Anne Hathaway, 28, and James Franco, 32 — as co-hosts. They’re talented actors. But OMFG! Hathaway chirped like a cage fill of tormented canaries. Perhaps she was trying to rouse Franco, who looked stoned or maybe just exhausted from his multiple courses of university study. Either way, their banter was painful. Low points: her show tune segment. His drag act as Marilyn Monroe. How 2011 is that? At least, Franco looked like he didn’t want to be there. Dude, we know the feeling.
The Presenters: What happened to the tradition of last year’s acting winners passing on their Oscar crowns? Jeff Bridges and Sandra Bullock did their duty for Natalie Portman and Colin Firth. But where was last year’s Best Supporting Actress winner Monique to hand off the gold to The Fighter‘s Christian Bale? And was Christoph Waltz too busy to present Best Supporting Actress to The Fighter‘s Melissa Leo. It couldn’t have been the hunger for youth. The Academy chose Kirk Douglas, 94 and still mugging, to present to Leo. And you were surprised she dropped the F-bomb!
The Laughs: Bob Hope was funny. “At my house the Oscars are known as Passover,” quipped the never-nominated comedian. Of course, Hope has been dead since 2003. His bit was a clip. Billy Crystal showed up alive and kicking to remind us of what a solid Oscar host looked and sounded like. Hathaway and Franco’s attempt to borrow Crystal’s trick of inserting himself into nominated movies backfired badly. The Back To the Future reference was especially untimely.
The Fashion: Winter’s Bone nominee Jennifer Lawrence looked amazing. I leave the rest to E’s Fashion Police honchos Joan Rivers and daughter Melissa, who should start by having a go at Cate Blanchett wearing a birthday cake with melted icing.
The Special Segments: There’s no arguing with the “In Memorium” tributes. But the “AutoTune the Movies” idea, with songs being forced into the mouths of stars from Twilight, Harry Potter and The Social Network, was lame personified. Another broken interpretation of the concept of hip.
The Songs: Randy Newman gave a witty speech after winning Best Song for his “We Belong Together” ditty from Toy Story 3. But listening to the songs themselves (I especially mean you, Country Tepid Gwyneth Paltrow) was tantamount to an ear beating. Stop it.
The Winners: It was Young Hollywood versus the Old Guard, and the Old Guard won. In a show dedicated to hip, the awards went the opposite way with The King’s Speech. But Best Original Score to Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross for The Social Network gave me hope. Ditto four prizes for Inception, despite the colossal Academy stupidity of NOT nominating Christopher Nolan as Best Director. Talk about having your finger on the youthful demographic! The Academy’s new direction is Backwards Ho!
Famous Last Words: Cheers to Best Picture presenter Steven Spielberg for reminding viewers that the nine nominees that don’t win will find themselves in the company of Citizen Kane, The Grapes of Wrath, and The Graduate. Take heart, Social Network: where Oscar is concerned, it’s cool to be a loser.
More Oscar Coverage: Photos, Videos and More of the 2011 Oscars