Overall it was a fun but rather dull and distinctly awkward evening to be honest. Last year the structure of the awards were changed in a way that focused on the art of making films through its presentation of the individual categories. For film lovers, this was fun to watch. This year they kept the motivation to show viewers how films are made, however there was an imbalance.
First of all, cutting out the Achievement Awards of Lauren Bacall and Roger Corman is blasphemous to say the least. Instead of getting the proper treatment that dignifies their life’s work, we get a short montage of the evening that did pay tribute to them, which we did not get to see. Then Bacall and Corman awkwardly stand up as a standing ovation occurs which felt obligatory and forced as opposed to genuinely given. The break dancing went on for too long. While getting a chance to really listen to the scores that were nominated was fantastic, each segment lasted too long and a few of the segments were misfires. Not having any segments to go along with Best Cinematography or Best Editing was disappointing, considering they are my two favorite technical categories.
How was the hosting? Again; it was awkward. While much of it was funny, this was due to Steve Martin’s impeccable delivery skills and not necessarily the material itself. There were weird pauses between each joke and there was no flow to anything. While Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin are good together, some of the awkwardness could have been taken away with it just being Steve Martin up there. The shots of audience members also add to the awkwardness because nobody ever looks amused but looks bored and annoyed to even be there. The George Clooney incident set the vibe for the night, which many people think was fake but I am convinced it was not.
What else failed? The tribute to the Best Actor and Actress nominees is nice but again, goes on for far too long. Also the deal that the ceremony made about Kathryn Bigelow’s win was frustrating. While she deserved it, putting that much self aware attention onto the moment and its creation just shows how far we have to go. Let her just go up there as a winner like everyone else. We know it is an important moment and we do not need to be told in abundance. It does not treat her as an equal but as a child. Playing “I Am Woman”? Really? They had to do that? It is embarrassing. Just let her have her moment!
Things that did work included the John Hughes tribute. People have complained it was too long. Really people? While his films were not necessarily masterpieces and some of his stuff was quite mediocre, he did something that very very few filmmakers can claim to have done. His films managed to literally represent an entire generation. They now serve as time capsules and are more meaningful now than they were when they first came out. Personally I can say that Ferris Bueller’s Day Off remains one of my all time favorite films. I truly believe it is perfection in entertainment filmmaking and it means quite a lot to me considering that Cameron Frye could be my favorite film character of all time. It sounds stupid and I’ve seen plenty of other films from other time periods and other countries and Cameron Frye remains for me a true gem.
I also liked the Ben Stiller segment. While many of the things he was given to say were corny, his delivery was spot on and his presence made the entire segment funny even if it went on for far too long. Tina Fey and Robert Downey Jr. should star on a film together because their segment was probably the only fully successful presentation moment of the night. Tim Robbins’ tribute to Morgan Freeman, Colin Farrell’s tribute to Jeremy Renner and Stanley Tucci’s tribute to Meryl Streep stuck out last night. Basically, Stanley Tucci and Meryl Streep should be together in real life; no offense to their spouses.
The night shows few upsets. Best Adapted Screenplay took away Up in the Air’s chance of having anything which was a shocker. That might be about it? Avatar’s win for Best Cinematography was disappointing to say the least. The White Ribbon fully deserved it. However, Avatar’s two other wins of the night, Best Art Direction and Best Visual Effects were fully deserved.
Needless to say, The White Ribbon should have won Best Foreign Film no matter how good El Secreto de Sus Ojos is. I do want to watch it soon. Sandra Bullock’s win was a joke; however, she gave the best speech of the night, almost making me forget her win was undeserved. Michael Giacchino’s win for Best Score for Up was particularly special. Listening to over a hundred hours of composition of his from scoring “Lost” and knowing how beautiful his score for Up was made his win particularly special for me. His speech was also the other best of the night.
Finally The Hurt Locker taking Best Picture was a lovely way to top off the night. Out of the major contenders (excluding Up and A Serious Man) it was deserving of the award, certainly over Avatar and to see it beat out the highest grossing film of all time was rewarding to say the least. Overall my predictions were not all that great scoring at 16/24. Best Dressed of the night was Gabourey Sidibe who looked beautiful and worst dressed going to the otherwise awesome Vera Farmiga. Overall the ceremony gets a B-.