Was 2011 the lamest Academy Awards Ceremony in history?

Worst .. Oscars .. ever…

Not even Colin Firth’s elegant and charming speech could elevate Sunday’s sad excuse for an Academy Award celebration. The scattered, inconsistent feel, the stifness of mood, the forced intention of grabbing the highly coveted 18-34 demographic and the worn out, clumsy speeches did not have me at hello. Okay, maybe I’m being a little harsh; there were some scarce highpoints and it did improve towards the end, but fatal flaws made in the structure of the show, the casting of James Franco and Anne Hathaway, the predictable winners that only celebrated tradition and completely snubbed out innovative filmmaking made this a disappointing experience. Here’s what I hated:

– I don’t know whether it was nerves or whether he had a really rough night on Saturday, but James Franco left all of his boyish charm backstage. On stage he mostly resembled the undead in his pale appearence, zombie coloured suits and tenseness that resulted him completely giving up on even remotely trying to either entertain or even scrape through. At points I thought he’d been held backstage vomiting since Hathaway did about 75 percent of the hosting. He rolled his eyes at the lines he was supposed to read and dressed up as a woman.

– The structure of the show was a complete mess. The strangely chosen and awkwardly presented ‘picks of past best films’ were confusing and unrelated to anything going on onstage. The tempo was all over the place; the rehearsed speeches were varied in quality of humor, length and spontaneity. The obvious theme of ‘The Young-Hip-Oscars’ felt forced and even humiliating to some, the consistency of respect towards the art of film surely was not invited tonight.

– Melissa Leo’s fake gratitude and “unrehearsed” speech after her public campaign to win and her waving of the Oscar at the end while the “Youtube” sensation performed a dated classic already sang by Celine Dion during the In Memoriam section .. I don’t even have words to describe how much I wanted to get rid of her and blame her for ruining the awesomness that The Fighter was.

– THE DAVID FINCHER F-ING SNUB. I’m in no way saying that The Social Network is his best work so far in his career, he’s for sure more comfortable with more morbid scenarios. But to choose a first time director, who indeed directed a style-pure, consistent drama, over a guy who’s innovative vision, creativity and overall awesomeness shines through in every scene of The Social Network is just plain wrong. Fincher is no Academy pet which for normal people should be considered a good thing; he’s a guy focused on his work and his art, not kissing any behinds to get recognition that he deserves after a tens of years of innovative, complex and dark cinema.

– No you didn’t! Leo’s out-of-place hysterically UNFUNNy F-bomb. Reading a speech from a piece of paper you kept in your bra. Jennifer Hudson’s stankface and monotonic reading of the propter. The cheesy kids at the end. The lack of the ‘big names’. No Portman horse laugh.

What I mostly think went wrong here, is the fact that even though 2010 was a consistent year in film that produced some gems, it was not extraordinary. Nothing stood out. The King’s Speech is a great film. The Social Network is a great film. But neither of them is something that I would even a year from now look back as one of the best films ever. Even if in the context of 2010 (and some mediocre years preceding the now) they seem great, most of these can’t even handle a second view. Black Swan I will come back to four years from now and appreciate it’s darkness and Portman’s performance. I’ll be entertained by The Social Network when there’s nothing else on tv. Even though I really adored The King’s Speech and appreciate Colin Firth’s talent and character as a human being and as an actor, I really don’t think that I’m ever going to watch that film again or include it in any kind of favourites/best of list. There were no clear frontrunners this year when it came to film, and what came out of it was a safe, albeit a good winner, but nothing that will ever be mentioned in the same breath as The Godfather, Schindler’s List or The Apartment. This TBH is a trend going back a few years, and has occured on other occasions during the years. Clearly I’m not old enough to have seen all the Academy Awards show’s, but I don’t remember ever being this disappointed in the lack of recognition for innovation. Fincher and Nolan, Kubrick never won either.

Anyway, here are the winners !

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15 responses to “Was 2011 the lamest Academy Awards Ceremony in history?

  1. I disagree with how you said no stand out films. I thought there were. I totally loved Inception, Toy Story 3, 127 Hours, The Social Network, and Black Swan. The problem is the Academy went with a movie that is forgettable. I think years from now, people will look back and remember the movies I listed, and others, and they’ll scratch their heads thinking “What won Best Picture that year?”

  2. I agree that this years Oscar was a real letdown. Franco looked constipated and Hathaway like she had drunk 10 espressos before the show (totally hysterical). I missed the funny bits and montages which were totally absent from the show this year, if you don’t count the semi-funny autotune musical bit… I did chuckle a bit at that. The Oscar results didn’t have any surprises, except the incomprehensible Hooper’s win for best director.. WHAT! And for this I got up at 3 am. this morning. Bleh!

  3. Hyvä teksti ja paljon hyviä huomioita. Itselleni tämänvuotisten Oscareiden suurin ongelma oli se, että kaikki oli niin helposti arvattavissa. Jopa marginaalisimmissa kategorioissa valittiin turvallisimmat vaihtoehdot. Itse en pitänyt näiden suurien voittajien kuten Melissa Leon, Colin Firthin ja Christian Balen roolisuorituksia mitenkään ylivertaisina näyttelijäntöinä muihin ehdokkaisiin verrattuna, mutta silti kaikki oli jo selvillä hyvissä ajoin ennen Oscareita.

    Erityisesti tuo Melissa Leon voittopuhe ja -esitys meni niin överiksi, että oli pakko vaihtaa kanavaa hetkeksi. Hieno näyttelijä, mutta ei mielestäni loistanut edes The Fighterissa. Juontajiin kohdistui ehkä vähän liikaakin kritiikkiä. Franco mielestäni paransi loppua kohden kuitenkin hiukan ja Hathaway oli oma persoonallinen itsensä vaikka erityisesti se laulu ei mielestäni onnistunutkaan siinä tilanteessa kovin hyvin.

    Hyvää tässä oli ainakin se, että mikään elokuva ei noussut ylitse muiden. Itse miellän myös esim. The Fighterin, The Social Networkin, The King’s Speechin ja True Gritin yleisesti melko samantasoisiksi elokuviksi ja mikään niistä ei ansainnut olla ylivoimainen Oscareissa. Mielipiteeni tosin poikkeaa sinun vastaavasta siinä, että Inception voisi hyvinkin olla sellainen elokuva, joka leimautuu koko vuosituhannenkin parhaimpiin elokuviin.

    Itseäni jäi viime vuodesta vuodesta harmittamaan erityisesti The Townin vähäinen arvostus, Nolanin huomioitta jättäminen Akatemian puolelta ja se ehdottomasti väärään osoitteeseen mennyt vuoden ohjaaja -palkinto. Pahoittelut suomenkielestä..

    • Sinänsä en ole eri mieltä Inceptionista. Pidän sitä yhtenä suosikeistani vuosiin ja muutama kuukausi sitten olisin sitä enemmänkin hehkuttanut. Toisella katselukerralla se kuitenkin kärsi sen verran, että musta alkoi tuntua siltä että arvostan Inceptionia enemmän konseptina ja ideana, ilmiönä kuin oikeastaan koherenttina elokuvana.

  4. Love your writing style hey ;-)

    I watched (almost) all of the movies, also did not find that anyone of them stood out that much. I was quite surprised that Black Swan did not get more awards… I like King’s Speech, Colin Firth’s performance was really good so yeah, deserved, but true, it’s not a movie I would watch again anytime soon. And “The Social Network”, I have to be quite honest that I do not entirely understand the fuzz about it because although entertaining I did not find it THAT mind boggling.
    Anyway, good article ;-)

    • I adored The Social Network, because it was a very classic tale of betrayal, jealousy and friendship, with amazing direction and script. Visually and soundwise it was also near perfection. At it’s core it is mostly a very entertaining film, with out having to feel like you’ve sacrificed any intellectual agenda by enjoying it.

      I guess Black Swan suffered a lot from a lot of people looking at it as a ‘dance film’ which it really isn’t.

  5. Well, I thought it was pretty on par with recent telecast from previous years, meaning it was pretty horrible ;) James Franco obviously didn’t want to be there while Anne Hathaway at least was trying. The two had no chemistry whatsoever. It’s too bad because I liked the clips advertising it but there was none of that fun factor in the actual ceremony.

    Melissa Leo was so fake it was really painful to watch. I wish they could take back the Oscar from her just for that speech.

  6. Social Network oli hyvä, mutta hypeä ja pystien pokkaamista en ymmärrä. En sanois sitä mitenkään vuoden 2010 stand outiksi.

    Kivaa kun suosittelet Moon-elokuvaa! Parasta tieteiselokuvaa vuosiin!

  7. I thought last year was exceptionally good movie year, Black Swan, Inception, The King’s Speech, TSN, 127 hours. A lot of good movies, so no problem there…Franco was helpless, just plain lame but Baldwin saved the day with his Inception -piece ;O)

  8. Yeah, spot on. Terrible ceremony – it put me to sleep.

    Colin Firth’s acceptance speech was superb – witty and charming; the highlight of the night. And I was glad The King’s Speech won the major awards – it was justification of the now defunct UK Film Council which put up some of the film’s finances and its important place in encouraging and financing the UK film industry. I hope whatever the alternative turns out to be can be just as productive.

    James Franco was awful though. He constantly looked like he was expecting something to be thrown from the audience right into his face.

    They need to bring back Bill Crystal or Steve Martin for next year – someone who can actually write their own material.

    • Franco’s performance was weird, he seems like such a naturally charming guy. I’m looking forward to see what he says about his performance.

      If they wanted to make the Oscars hip and young they should’ve just made Conan O’Brien host. Now that I would’ve loved.

  9. Yes, this years Oscar winners were very predictable. I think that the true snub was that Roger Deakins lost yet again. What has this guy got to do to get one of those golden statues? I mean Fincher will(I think) eventually get his recognition from the academy but Deakins is way overdue.

    You mention Kubrick, who never won an award and yet his films will live far longer than most Oscar winning films. I mean, compare any of Kubricks work to, oh lets say:
    Driving Miss Daisy(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Driving_Miss_Daisy)

    The Academy has never been a shining beacon of encouraging innovation. It rewards good craftsmanship(The Kings Speech) rather than innovation(The Social Network or Exit through the giftshop).

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