Oscar show fails to impress

Last year’s Academy Awards were not great. The teaming of Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin was not what it should have been and so, right from the ill-advised musical number that kicked off the telecast, the show steadily streamed into mediocrity.

So my thoughts for this years show were “well, it can’t possibly be worse than last year, right?” Wrong. Oh, so totally wrong.

The 2011 Academy Awards did start off better than its predecessor but not by a lot. In a montage akin to the openings of Billy Crystal, hosts James Franco and Anne Hathaway dove into some of the films nominated this year. More than a few jokes just didn’t work though, and the unexpected appearance from Alec Baldwin hindered the hilarity more than helped it. That being said, Hathaway seemed really into it and Franco got a couple of pretty funny lines in.

It was all downhill from there though. Franco, who I don’t like on a normal day, came out looking about as high as The King’s Speech’s Oscar chances, and acted throughout the entire night like he didn’t even want to be there. Hathaway tried to do her best with what he was giving her, but his unwillingness really put a damper on their chances of winning over the audience.

After the rather disastrous opening monologue, Hollywood legend Kirk Douglas happened. Apparently he thought he should have hosted because he didn’t want to shut up. Don’t get me wrong, he was funny to start out with, but when you start to steal the spotlight from the person you’re about to present the award to, you become really frustrating to watch.

The entire first hour of the show was actually really painful to sit through. There were no real interesting speeches, James Franco ruined a perfectly good, albeit random, musical number by Anne Hathaway, coming out dressed as Marilyn Monroe, and Melissa Leo dropped an F-bomb, which wasn’t half as shocking as it was made out to be.

Eventually, after what seemed like hours, the show started to flow a bit better. Presenters like Robert Downey Jr., Billy Crystal and Sandra Bullock were all charming and great to watch and some of the lesser category winners gave some great speeches.

It really makes me laugh to think how hard the Academy was trying to be hip and youthful this year and yet the older, more matured performers who had minimal stage time, were more engaging than Franco or Hathaway were. Again, I don’t blame Hathaway as she was trying her best, and alone, she may have succeeded. But the dead weight of Franco was simply too much to overcome.

The two host thing is not working in my opinion. I hope they come to their senses next year and go back to one. Might I suggest Kevin Spacey who was fantastic in the little stage time he was given during the night.

As for the winners themselves, there weren’t any surprises that surpassed the absolute robbery of David Fincher for Best Director. The King’s Speech was bound to win Best Picture, I understand that, but there is no way that Tom Hooper, or anyone for that matter, directed a better picture than Fincher this year. That is one win that will be looked at down the road as a clear and vivid mistake.

Other than that, it was nice to see Inception take home four awards, and The Social Network prevail in the very tough Best Original Score category. There were too few shocks in any of the major categories though, so that also didn’t help with the stale taste of the show either.

Even this many days after the ceremony, I still find things to be disappointed about this year’s Oscars. They were kind of dragging, had very few memorable moments, and were all in all, pretty hard to watch. Which is a damn shame because the stage set-up was one of the most gorgeous they’ve had in years.

Oh well. They will forget about the whole “hip and young” thing next year. The ratings dropped 10 per cent.