The biggest upset of the night was the fact that there were not any upsets. The favorites won in pretty much every category, just like everyone knew that they would. And I think this led to this telecast being regarded on the Internet as one of the most boring, even though it was relatively short by Oscar standards.
The favorites winning out is only part of the reason why this was such a snoozefest. Another big reason had to be the host. James Franco and Anne Hathaway are charming people. They’re easy to look at, too. But together, on this night, they were deadly. They became magnified reflections of their usual film roles. Hathaway became the overly hyper sweetheart who was a little too eager to please, and Franco became the laconic and acerbic young man who was having trouble staying awake.
Granted, they weren’t given much to work with. When dressing in drag is the creative apex, you are in trouble. But the hosts, well, the whole show as a matter of fact, seemed more than just a bit off.
Not that there weren’t high points. Kirk Douglas’ bit at times seemed for the first couple minutes like it was anything but a joke. But once you caught on, it became a brilliant bit of comedy. Melissa Leo dropping the f-bomb was something that doesn’t happen every day. And Trent Reznor winning the Oscar for Best Music made a certain demographic in the viewing audience feel old. And there was an acceptance speech here and there that added levity to the proceedings.
But the show had the feel of a bunch of 50 year olds trying to appear hip for the younger demographic. The opening bit with Franco and Hathaway cameoing their way throughout the Oscar nominated films was a dumbed down version of similar intros that have opened the show before. And the autotuned film musical segment was really painful to watch. And, really, announcing that the Academy agreed on a new contract with ABC for the telecast really isn’t big enough to be announced at the telecast.
The reason why the awards were predictable was because all the favorites truly deserved the award. All of the winners in the major categories were the best in their particular category. It’s even hard to be outraged that Christopher Nolan got passed over for Best Original Screenplay because David Seider’s script for The King’s Speech was witty excellence.
So, it’s hard to get upset over anything at this year’s show. It was blah to the next level. But tame and safe was probably exactly what the Academy wanted.