Oscars 2010 – The Academy Awkwards

The 82nd Academy Awards, better known to most as “The Oscars,” played last night to 41.3 million viewers – the most in five years. With a major blockbuster like “Avatar” up for best picture, and romantic comedy favorite Sandra Bullock a contender for the top female acting prize of the night, I’m not surprised by the numbers. That said, I did not enjoy the evening’s proceedings.

One of my major problems: the hosts. Call me old-fashioned, but I miss Billy Crystal. I typically enjoy both Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin in their films and television appearances together and separately, but neither had the charisma or comedy that I desire and expect from an Oscars host. Baldwin and Martin were rarely seen, aside from stepping onstage for a few lame jokes and a misguided spoof of “Paranormal Activity,” which only garnered laughs from showing two men in bed together. I could have done without all of their jokes. I think that the telecast would be better received without any host at all.

Many presenters were much more entertaining than the hosts. Most memorable were Tina Fey and Robert Downey, Jr. demonstrating the passive-aggressive wars between screenwriters and actors. I could have watched an entire evening of their back-and-forth banter, but how refreshing that I didn’t have to? If the writers focused on more clever bits for the presenters, rather than awkward shtick for the host or hosts, as the case was this year, the format could completely change for the better. That’s my two cents, anyway.

However, not all presenters were so perfectly cast as Ms. Fey and Mr. Downey, Jr. I realize that the guard is changing in Hollywood as younger faces replace those of faded stars, but there should still be a certain level of respect one must earn in the industry before being invited onstage at the Academy Awards. Poor acting in a big budget movie about sparkly vampires should not get you in the door (I’m looking at you, Kristen Stewart). Neither should having a Disney-fueled monopoly on children’s radio, Miley Cyrus. I wasn’t happy to see either girl at the podium. Cyrus looked uncomfortable, constantly fidgeting with her hands, and I had to wonder whether Stewart even realized where she was. The girl looked nearly catatonic. I have no problem seeing either of them at the VMAs, but I hope both girls make some real film accomplishments before gracing the Oscar stage again.

I want to say that I hated the entire evening, but that’s not really fair. I happened to love the way the directors chose to present the Best Score nominees with dance. The Legion of Extraordinary Dancers, or LXD, first got my attention with a stellar performance on this year’s “So You Think You Can Dance” finale. Last night, I was spellbound watching them dance to excerpts from all the nominated scores. The choreography was challenging, eclectic, and very clean – hopefully drumming up some real attention for this amazing dance company.

I also loved Marc Shaiman’s clever picks for entrance music. I assumed it was him, but after Queen Latifah walked in to an orchestral arrangement of “I Know Where I’ve Been,” from Shaiman’s hit musical “Hairspray,” I had no doubt. He kept me laughing with Kathryn Bigelow’s victory fanfare, a heroic arrangement of Helen Reddy’s “I Am Woman,” fitting for the first female director honored by the Academy, but hilarious nonetheless.

Here’s to another year of exciting films and, hopefully, a more exciting evening to cap it off in 2011!

Thanks for reading!

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    • Jared J. Lekites
    • March 9th, 2010

    I was shocked that they left Farrah Fawcett out of the list of R.I.P’s but they DID include MJ.

    For me, the OSCARS already had me frowning upon them when they omitted 500 Days of Summer from any and all categories. Even worse, The Blind Side did get nominations. The Blind Side?!! That Hallmark card disguised as a film that should have been relegated to an ABC Family TV movie?!!! Oy vey!

    And I too miss Billy Crystal. Bring back Billy, Robin & Whoopi!!

    • Oh goodness. I didn’t even mention the In Memoriam. Bea Arthur and Farrah Fawcett both omitted. It reminds me of the magazines last summer with a huge picture of MJ on the cover and a tiny pic of Farrah in the corner. Overshadowed, even in death. Tragic.

      I haven’t seen The Blind Side, so I cannot comment on whether or not it deserved nominations. I wasn’t excited by the premise of the movie when it first hit theatres, so I passed on it. However, (500) Days of Summer is my favorite movie of last year. I found it to be so artfully done and very human. What a shame that the Academy snubbed it!

      I would even take Ellen again. Yes. There. I said it.

  1. There were obvious errors, as stated above, but I liked Alec Baldwin & Steve Martin. Steve Martin has always been one of my favorite comedians so it was an easy sell for me. There were many awkward moments, but the dance scene for the best score brought tears to my eyes.

    • Deb
    • March 11th, 2010

    I agree with your comments about the hosts this year. It bothered me that their repartee with the actors in the audience didn’t seem connected or kind. Billy Chrystal knows how to tease and honor.

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