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83rd Academy Awards

A 2011 awards show that will honor the best films of 2010.

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Much More Entertaining Than in Previous Years

  • Feb 28, 2011
I can't remember when I first began watching the Oscars.  But I do recall that the part I enjoyed most about it was trying to guess who would win and who would not.  It's one of those things that is attractive about the Oscars.  This year the show was very different.  There were still a few surprises.  Although the big awards were a little less so in one area (that in hindsight might be obvious, and we'll get to that).

Let's begin with the host.  Usually they get a comedian or two to do it.  They've been changing that up every now and then.  In one year, for instance, we had Hugh Jackman host.  This year it was James Franco and Anne Hathaway.  Both of them hosting in a pitiful attempt to reach the younger demographic.  I only say pitiful because I suppose the Academy says, "Do people younger than thirty even know who goddamn Steve Martin is?" 

That's not to say the hosts did a bad job.  At least one of them.  Anne Hathaway was pretty gracious.  She had fun, energy, talent and all the things that made for a very amusing night.  James Franco, on the other hand, was very visibly nervous.  If Hathaway was nervous she did a good job hiding it.  But Franco appeared to be so nervous, often times being unable to make basic eye contact and instead staring off into space while he was delivering some of his lines.  It was nice to see James Franco because he's still just so damn cool.  

There were some pretty good and goofy moments.  Melissa Leo's acceptance speech may have been the most amusing moment--mostly because she dropped the "F-Bomb."  Can you imagine how much controversy there would be if the censors didn't bleep it in time?  Randy Newman also had his own little funny acceptance speech.  Beyond that the acceptance speeches were the usual thing: Thanking the Academy and their mothers.  Although in the case of winning for Best Director for The King's Speech, Tom Hooper really DID have to thank his mother (I'm sure by now the story is all over so I won't bother with it here).  LIkewise, I'm going to assume that it was a rule to thank Christopher Nolan if you won anything for Inception... and David Fincher if you won anything for The Social Network.

Every year there are around seven awards or so people are paying a lot of attention to.  Best Supporting Actor, Beset Supporting Actress, Best Original Screenplay, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Original Score (people get very serious about their music), Best Director and, of course, Beset Picture.  A lot of people will remember some of those things.  Those are considered the big awards.  The ones people want to win in some way, shape or form.  I'm not sure if Best Original Song is on there or not, but the other seven the Academy and the audience make a big deal out of a lot. 

Of those seven major awards I only missed on of them.  After so much time debating with myself I settled on The King's Speech for Best Picture and that perhaps they'd give David Fincher his due for the Social Network.  In short, I guessed Best Picture correctly but not Best Director.  My hat goes off to Tom Hooper.  This wasn't one of those years where they decided they'd give it to people who were "due" so much as they actually seemed to want to give it to people who actually seemed to deserve it.

There are always upsets at the Academy Awards.  I'm not sure I had any personal upsets.  Inception won the technical awards as we all knew it would.  The actors and actresses who won were nothing short of obvious this year.  At least if you paid attention to the buzz.  I might have thought that Hailee Steinfeld was much more deserving than Melissa Leo, but I figured with all the buzz there's no way she couldn't win.  I think that one I might've wanted something different.

In terms of Best Picture, this is the first year in the last few that I actually enjoyed the Best Picture winner a great deal and was actively rooting for.  I loved The King's Speech.  A great deal more than The Social Network. 

I've heard a lot of people talk about how 2010 was an awful year for movies.  And in truth it probably was, but I like to think it only made the better movies stand out.  In particular, the Best Picture nominees were actually pretty good movies this year instead of being given a bunch of filler like we had last year.  And in spite of the awards themselves being far more predictable than in previous years (though no where near as predictable as last year where I guessed 22 of 24 categories correctly... this year I only guessed 15 correctly... and there still 24 total).  It may have been predictable but at least it was enjoyable in some way.  I'm still very much against 10 best picture nominees, but this year they didn't waste time showing us ten trailers like they did last year.  Although the way that Best Picture was presented was rather nice.  They had one long trailer, mashing them all together but they played it to the actual speech from the film The King's Speech.  If the Best Picture winner wasn't obvious by then I'm not entirely sure what more of a hint they could've given you.

There were some moments that were relatively fun as well.  When Billy Crystal showed up to pay tribute to Bob Hope, that was pretty exciting stuff.  A nice visual effect.  Likewise, Kirk Douglas was adorable. 

There was also another moment I liked.  When Steven Spielberg presented Best Picture it was perhaps one of the best moments of the show.  "In a moment,one of these 10 movies will join a list that includes On the Waterfront, Midnight Cowboy, The Godfather and The Deer Hunter."  But after that Spielberg reminded us that sometimes the best movie doesn't always win as he added: "The other nine, will join a list that includes The Grapes of Wrath, Citizen Kane, The Graduate and Raging Bull."  There's no man in Hollywood who knows that truth better than Steven Spielberg who had films such a Raiders of the Lost Ark and The Color Purple under his belt.  But it was a nice moment to remind us that movies are meant to be entertaining and fun.  And that while it's great to win Best Picture perhaps it is true that in the end, to be nominated is also a form of recognition and perhaps an honor.

I enjoyed the show much more than I thought, but Spielberg's words were among the best spoken that night.  I like them because they reminded me why I love movies.  We love movies because of the way they can make us feel.  Because sometimes we see some movies that light a fire under us and we love them.  Whether it's a movie that has the dramatic and emotional flair of The King's Speech or perhaps the kind of movie that lights you up and sets you on fire is Transformers Revenge of the Fallen.  Whether they are good or bad movies doesn't matter.  What matters is how they entertain you and how much you enjoy them for that feeling.  We're always wrapped up in films being ABOUT something or being intellectually stimulating... but that's almost never the reason we go to watch them.  Let us take The King's Speech.  To me, it is by no means anyone's intellectual treat or even an artful film.  If I had to choose a film based entirely on artistic merit Black Swan is probably as good as you can get this year.  But it certainly didn't have the poise and pull of The King's Speech.  It was fantastic in every way but didn't exactly light me on fire the way The King's Speech (or even The Social Network) did.  Although some of that is always personal preference.  What lights you up isn't always apt to light up someone else.  So for those disappointed that their movie did not win for Best Picture (I will admit that I did like Inception a whole lot more, but it isn't the kind of movie to pick in an Oscar Pool) just recall that what's important is whether or not it sets you on fire.  Good or bad... doesn't matter in that regard.  It's easy to criticize a movie, it's loving one that's getting harder and harder to do.

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March 08, 2011
Nice assessment, Sean! I, too, was underwhelmed by Franco as a host and thought Hathaway clearly had to do the heavy lifting. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the awards and several of the speeches, as you pointed out. Thanks for the review! ^_^
March 01, 2011
Erm ... I personally think you're WAY off in your take on THE KING'S SPEECH. It was very clear to me that the director took great pains with screen composition consistently throughout the picture. He was clearly going for a very distinct 'look' to the film, and it was impressive on every front. And personally I found THE SOCIAL NETWORK as flat and dimensionless as, well, say a Facebook entry, and I'm at a loss to understand the heaps of praise that film has received. INCEPTION? Sorry. A bloated 'Twilight Zone' episode just doesn't feel like 'Best Picture' film to me, though it was artfully made.
March 02, 2011
I didn't say The King's Speech wasn't impressive, I thought it was (it was my vote for Best Picture after all) the point was to express that there are different strokes for different folks. And that while The King's Speech is a marvelous film, it's also a simple, accessible film that anyone can enjoy (and that's a good thing). As I said, I'm not too concerned what everyone's preferences are. I understand that everyone likes different things. I also never stated that the director didn't take any great pains or even express that there was no sort of work done. I think you misunderstand what I mean when I say that it wasn't artful. That's my fault, sorry. I have a different interpretation of what's artful. But just because I didn't find it as artful as everyone doesn't mean I didn't think it was impressive or that I think it didn't  take any great pains to make or anything like that. I didn't really give much of a take here. If you want my take I have a review somewhere. But that actually wasn't supposed to be my take... if it were that simple the whole review would've been about The King's Speech. And in terms of artful that'll take a while to explain why I didn't find it nearly as artful as other films (though it was still more artful than the other nominees). But again, that doesn't mean I believe he wasn't going for a distinct look or that I didn't think it was impressive. There's obviously craft there. And in fact, I loved The King's Speech. And while I may have liked Inception more, I thought The King's Speech truly deserved Best Picture. That was the movie I wanted to win. And it did so I was satisfied.
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About the reviewer
Sean A. Rhodes ()
Ranked #7
I'm a more analytical person. I believe that the purpose of the review is not for me to give you my opinion but for me to give you an analysis and help you decide if you want to get it. If you reading … more
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The 83rd Academy Awards, presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), will honor the best films of 2010. The ceremony will take place on February 27, 2011, at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood, California. During the ceremony, AMPAS will present its annual Academy Awards (commonly referred to as Oscars) in 24 competitive categories. The ceremony will be televised in the United States on ABC. Actors James Franco and Anne Hathaway will co-host the ceremony, marking the first time for each. Nominations for the 2010 awards were announced on January 25, 2011. The film receiving the most nominations was The King's Speech, with twelve.
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