The Oscars - 27th February

So, it is that time again and for some reason, although I am not usually one for award shows, I don't care who people are wearing and what nonsense serious politics goes into (or doesn't go into) picking the winners, I have always loved the Oscars. I can't quite explain why and so I won't bother here.
As for this blog, I will do a bit before and a bit after, so this is the before bit.

Well I have no idea what to make of the utterly random choice of hosts this year, I wait with baited breath to see if they pull it off. I know Franco can be funny when he puts his mind to it but he can also be a pretentious weird swine and as for Hathaway well, it could just be hideously embarrassing. Why doesn't Billy Crystal just do it every year, it's not like he does anything else and he was always the best at it.

As for the nominations well it's a mixed bag of pretty good choices, I have no idea why they have decided to continue with 10 choices for best picture and then make 1 of them something that is already nominated in the Best Animated film category, that seems pig-headedly redundant but anyway, no big surprises really except Christopher Nolan NOT being nominated for best director, that does seem a bit odd.
I haven't seen The Fighter (David O. Russell being nominated over Nolan for this) but I am pretty sure it is a predictably boring and gritty portrayal of aging boxers that we have seen a thousand times, with some fine acting but not much else, whereas Inception, while I didn't think it was as clever or as wonderful as everyone else, is clearly a fascinating and an expertly directed piece of work.

So I will now present two lists, one of the people and films I would LIKE to win and the other a list of predictions of people and films that I THINK will win. The Oscars normally either reward one film 100 times needlessly and tediously or they spread the love, I am hoping this year, with all the good films out there, they spread the love.

Films and people I would LIKE to win:
Best Picture - Inception (because of Nolan's snub as Best Director)
Leading Actor - Colin Firth (because it's his time)
Supporting Actor - Christian Bale (will take Mark Ruffalo too)
Leading Actress - Natalie Portman (although none of them I thought are that great, why didn't they put Hailee Steinfeld in THIS category and then I could've gone for her as Leading and Melissa Leo as supporting???)
Supporting Actress - Melissa Leo (because she's incredible, was in Homicide which is one of my all time favourite shows and because it's her time. Hailee Steinfeld will be my second choice because she was mindblowingly good too)
Animated Feature - Toy Story 3 (I guess, I don't really care)
Art Direction - The King's Speech or True Grit (though it will probably go to Alice arsing about in Wonderland! bleurgh!)
Cinematography - True Grit or Inception
Directing - True Grit
Documentary - Restrepo (I know one of the editors!)
Music - The King's Speech (made me proud to be British)
Visual Effects - Inception
Adapted Screenplay - True Grit
Original Screenplay - Inception

and now...

Films and people I THINK will win:
Best Picture - The King's Speech 
Leading Actor - Colin Firth 
Supporting Actor - Geoffrey Rush
Leading Actress - Natalie Portman 
Supporting Actress -  Hailee Steinfeld 
Animated Feature - Toy Story 3 
Art Direction - Alice in Wonderland
Cinematography - True Grit
Directing - The Social Network
Documentary - Exit Through The Gift Shop
Visual Effects - Inception
Adapted Screenplay - The Social Network
Original Screenplay - Inception

let's see what happens....

OK, so here we are at THOUGHTS AFTER:

Firstly the list,

Films that ACTUALLY won the Oscar:

Best Picture - The King's Speech - This one I got right (wish I hadn't)
Leading Actor - Colin Firth - Obvious, This one I got right
Supporting Actor - Christian Bale - This is who I wanted to win
Leading Actress - Natalie Portman - Obvious, This one I got right 
Supporting Actress -  Melissa Leo - This is who I wanted to win
Animated Feature - Toy Story 3 - Obvious, This one I got right 
Art Direction - Alice in Wonderland - Wish I hadn't got this right
Cinematography - Inception - it only won technical awards and I was dismayed Christopher Nolan didn't get recognised in any capacity
Directing - The King's Speech - This was a legitimate surprise, as was Best Picture, it didn't really deserve either. It was good, yes but best picture?
Documentary - Inside Job - another surprise but a worthy win, shame Restrepo didn't get it though! Everyone go watch Restrepo!
Visual Effects - Inception - Obvious and I got it right
Adapted Screenplay - The Social Network - again, Obvious and I got it right
Original Screenplay - Honestly, another surprise, really too many awards for this film in total.

Right, so I didn't do badly, called most of them in some way, maybe I should've put money down! It seems that apart from Inception the Oscars did a little of both what I said they usually do, they spread the love around a little and sort of blanket awarded King's Speech all the big ones. Which, if I am honest, was a bit of a disappointment.

Now I liked the King's Speech and it's obviously nice to see Brits win but my favourite film out of the nominations was True Grit, which because it features and was made by lots of previous winners was never in the running really, after that for its sheer originality and the passion and skill that went into it, Inception should've been nominated better and actually won something on and above the technical Oscars it won. Still, I suppose at least it won something, in fact everything sort of won something that we were expecting to win something, except True Grit.

Now onto the ceremony itself.
The opening 'stick actors in the best picture noms that we stole from Billy Crystal' wasn't bad, not as funny as it could've been but perfectly serviceable. From then on the hosts were 'ok' with Anne Hathaway doing most of the actual legwork, changing dresses more times than most people change underpants in their lifetime and James Franco just being flat out weird. 
In fact you know you're in trouble when Billy Crystal comes out to pay lip service to the first ever Oscars (some bizarrely tedious re-curring theme) and also former multiple times host, Bob Hope and is funnier and more welcome in a 3 minute intro than Franco and Hathaway manage in the whole show, still Hathaway, at least, had an air about her that was 'awwwww look the kid's trying REALLY hard, look she sings too!' and James franco had an air of 'what the hell am I doing here... I shall just be stilted and weird, see if anyone notices' which culminated in him coming out in drag at one point for little or no reason. Still I actually blame the writers over the hosts as they could've been much better with good material.

So the whole ceremony was fairly zippy, lacking anything too dull or slow but was also lacking anything particularly exciting or interesting either. There was no funny bits from Ben Stiller, Jack Black or Will Farrell, in fact there were no really funny presenters at all  and wheeling out Kirk Douglas to do the 'oh look I am old but can still walk without pissing myself' speech, that has become a trend at the Oscars because they think they may die soon, was ok but got grating quickly and maybe it's just me but I always feel a bit odd and think 'ah shouldn't he be home in bed with some tea?' still he too was funnier than the hosts.

As for acceptance speeches the best was Colin Firth who gave the most wonderfully British speech filled with pleasingly stiff upper lip repressed emotion and tremendously funny dry wit and maybe, just for her sheer surprise, Melissa Leo as for a moment there everyone held their breath for something embarrassing to happen and then she said fuck in front of a billion viewers, perfect! Plus she looked like Elvis and that's a cool thing. 
Christian Bale was refreshingly English and chummy in his speech with a good use of the word bloody and everyone else, predictably and tediously, thanked absolutely everyone in the world ever and their mums (literally) till their mums probably fell asleep, no one have any Dads then??

Lastly, Celine Dion needs to be buried up to her neck, have her head glazed in jam and some wasps released, whoever thought her French Canadian pretentious warbling was a good choice to have over the In Memorandum portion of the show needs to be dragged out into the street and have their arse introduced to a large flaming hot kebab. There was almost vomit. Also, why does Halle Berry get to show up and spout on and on about race every 30 seconds?  I understand that Lena Horne was an important figure, not just in Hollywood and music but with civil rights but why is the place for Berry to come on and go on and on about being African American, the Oscars? Nothing to explain it except white guilt and the fact that Berry doesn't have a career anymore except to turn up places and remind everyone she's black. I thought the whole point about equality was that it didn't matter what colour your skin is at all... or did I miss a meeting?

All in all then it was a fairly bland, average affair with mild jokes, one instant of embarrassing swearing and an obvious, expected list of winners. It could've been worse but it could've been a whole lot better, stop trying to re-invent the wheel every year and bring back Billy Crystal, PLEASE! if not get actually inventive and have Billy Murray and a performing cockateel in a sequin jumpsuit host the awards from the inside of a large polystyrene effigy of Bob Hopes chin. 
Still, nice to see so many Brits representing at the Oscars tonight and for that, at least, I am happy, still, I will never understand how the hell they forgot Christopher Nolan!

Points from me and The Wife a very bland and average 6 out of 10

Unknown - 21st February 2011

Taken - 20th February 2011