Youth without youth at the Oscars
The Hollywood calendar has peaked with the top film talent being recognised by the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science, and awarded golden trophies called Oscars.
As the glamorous guests and hopeful nominees took their seats in Hollywood’s Kodak Theatre, the show’s hosts, James Franco and Anne Hathaway, who had been selected by the Academy in order to appeal to the younger generation, emerged on the stage and launched into a long, dull dialogue about themselves and their mothers, laughing at their own contrived jokes. Hathaway was visibly nervous and Franco was nonchalant, but neither was funny.
Luckily some award presenters, who are presumably too old to appeal to a younger generation, spiced up the show with their natural humour. Even 93-year-old legendary star Kirk Douglas, who presented the Best Supporting Actress award, was funnier than the two young hosts.
Eager for some real banter, the audience gave a standing ovation to Billy Crystal, who had hosted the show 8 times, when he showed up on the stage, but alas his apparition was too brief.
Perhaps the most youthful moment of the show was when Melissa Leo blurted out the F-word in her Best Supporting Actress acceptance speech, prompting Hathaway to gush, “It’s the young and hip Oscars tonight!” But even the wild and young British comedian, Russell Brand, sounded tame as he performed a delightful exchange with Dame Helen Mirren.
Tweeters were losing their minds in frustration, longing for Ricky Gervais, who rattled Hollywood and delighted the world at January’s Golden Globes, to come and save the show from a calamitous fall. But it was too late. Franco, who was nominated in the Best Actor category, looked as if he was falling asleep when presenter Sandra Bullock called his name.
The show also failed to offer any surprises in the dispensing of the awards. As widely predicted, The King’s Speech was the big winner, taking the Oscar for the Best Picture, Best Director for Tom Hooper, Best Actor for Colin Firth and Best Original Screenplay for David Seidler. Its main challenger, The Social Network, won the Best Adapted Screenplay for Aaron Sorkin, Best Music Score for Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross and Best Film Editing.
Melissa Leo’s co star in The Fighter, Christian Bale won the Best Supporting Actor, while Black Swan star, Natalie Portman, who was heavily pregnant, won the Best Actress Oscar, beating Annette Bening, Nicole Kidman, Michelle Williams and Jennifer Lawrence.
Christopher Nolan’s Science Fiction thriller, Inception, scooped major technical awards: Cinematography, Visual Effects, Sound Mixing and Sound Editing. Art Direction and Costume Design went for Alice in Wonderland and Best Make-Up went for The Wolfman.
Toy Story 3 picked up the Oscar for the Best Animated feature and Best Original Song.
Beating Mexico’s Biutiful, Algeria’s Outside the Law and the Canada’s Incendies, the Danish Film, In a Better World, collected the Oscar for the Best Foreign Film.
Many of the nominated films of this year and the big winner, The King’s Speech, are independent movies that were made outside the Hollywood studio system with limited budgets. These films have already made substantial profits at the box office, prompting Hollywood Studios to compete over buying such small movies at the January’s Sundance Film Festival.
Hollywood’s awards season, which has kept this town on its toes, guessing and betting on the winners and losers for the past three months, is finally over. The countdown has already begun for next year’s awards.