Monday, February 28, 2011

My 2011 Oscar Review

What does it say when a man who is 94 years-old and recovering from a stroke is funnier than any Oscar host for the last fifteen years? Kirk Douglas and Melissa Leo’s f-bomb were the two highlights of the 83rd annual Academy Awards.

It was also the most suspenseful Oscarcast in fifteen years. At least at my house where the power kept going out. As for the awards themselves, there were zero surprises. The producers of THE KIDS ARE ALRIGHT didn’t really prepare a speech, did they?

Meanwhile, my thanks to Ruth Zommick for graciously letting me barge in and watch the show at her place. I did see most of it. The only part I missed was the award where an American won.

I thought Anne Hathaway was very winning as the co-host. She got a little too revved-up by the end (high fiving kids and almost launching them into the audience) but she was genuine, bubbly, and you didn’t have to watch the red carpet show this year because she wore everyone’s gown. As for James Franco, it turns out the only thing he can’t do is host the Oscar show. James was a little stiff. Much like the shoulders on Cate Blancett’s gown. When it comes back from the cleaners you take out the cardboard before putting on the dress, Catey.

I know they were going for a younger demographic, but a giant chorus of children from PS 22 in Staten Island? Is the target audience now 9? I did love their “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” finale. In fact, I wish they had sung the nominated songs. Florence from Florence of the Machine must’ve been slipped a roofie five minutes before going on stage. She made James Franco seem animated. And Gwyneth Paltrow? Jennifer Hudson introduced her as “Country music’s newest star”. On what planet? Doing a phony accent and giving colonics does not make you a great country singer. Let Anne Hathaway do it.

I must say, after Gwyneth Paltrow when I saw Scarlett Johansson I thought, “Please God, no. DON’T SING!” Have you heard her CD? It sounds like someone giving a cat a bath.

Before the show there’s always the red carpet show. No one covers it more stupefying than local channel KTLA 5. Your hosts: Footstool to the stars, Sam Rubin, and adding some glamour to the proceedings -- helicopter traffic reporter, Jessica Holmes. Assisting them was their “fashion expert”, Ellen K. whose impeccable credentials include sidekick to Ryan Seacrest on his radio show. Sam is always good for a couple of idiotic questions and remarks. To Russell Brand he said, “You were a big ladies man. Why does Colin Firth have every woman in love with him, even more frankly than you ever did”. Smooth. And then, at one point, a pained Sam asked fashion aficionado, Ellen K: “Is it bothersome that Nicole Kidman is so much taller than Keith Urban or does no one care about this anymore?” Give this man his own show on Fox News!

Speaking of Nicole Kidman, I wanted to ask her “Who did your face?” or even “Whose face are you wearing tonight?”

The fashion themes this year were color, chiffon, and covering up tattoos. Even Helen Mirren, Queen Elizabeth herself, hid her tramp stamp.

Loved the opening movie montage with Anne and James entering the nominated films… and BACK TO THE FUTURE (for some reason). The technology was amazing. If they can insert actors right into films why don’t they just remake every Ashton Kutcher movie with Paul Rudd?

Nice to see that Reese Witherspoon has survived HOW DO YOU KNOW and is still in show business.

Of course TOY STORY 3 won Best Animated Film. How can a Best Animated Film that is also nominated as Picture of the Year not win Best Animated Film?

Ricky Gervais must've been appalled.  The show went almost an hour before a Charlie Sheen joke. 

Helena Bonham Carter was far more conservative this year. Simple, elegant Bride of Frankenstein. Oh sure, there was the Union Jack garter belt, but who doesn’t wear one of those?

In the annual “Worst Dressed besides Helena” category I would have to say Sharon Stone. Grey beaver pelts over one shoulder is not a good look. James Franco in drag was more appealling. Although, what the hell was that pointless bit about? It’s like all of a sudden out of nowhere there’s a salute to Uncle Miltie.

Mila Kunis was an absolute vision in purple! But Jennifer Lawrence in her sleek red dress won my vote for best dressed. If she wore that in WINTER’S BONE I would have gone to see it. Same with Mila and BLACK SWAN. Aw, who’m I kidding? I still wouldn’t see BLACK SWAN.

Aaron Sorkin’s win should give hope to Reese Witherspoon. He came back from STUDIO 60. So can you! It was just one bad movie, Reese.

The guy who wrote all of the King’s speeches, David Seidler, had a lovely one himself for winning Best Original Screenplay. At 73, he’s the oldest writer to win this award. I expect his agency to take out a full-page congratulatory ad then drop him.

The INCEPTION screenplay was hurt somewhat by the fact that it was a confusing mess.

It’s odd to see a film win all the cinematography and special effects awards and not have the director be at least nominated. If just… part of the movie made sense, the first half hour, the opening credits, anything!

Imagine a double bill of INCEPTION and MATRIX 3? Heads would explode.

What was that pillow on the back of Sandra Bullock’s dress? Was she planning on having dinner at Yamata’s afterwards?

I don’t have a great feeling about Christian Bale’s marriage. Forgetting your wife’s name during your acceptance speech in front of a billion people generally is a warning sign.

It was a good year for mothers, though. Director Tom Hooper revealed that his mother found THE KING’S SPEECH project, longtime writer Dave Seidler’s mother always claimed he was “a late bloomer”, and the NYU kid who won for Best Short thanked his mom for providing the craft-services.

Michelle Williams was so pale that her white dress actually added color.

One of the great moments in Oscar history: the announcement that ABC has renewed its affiliation with the Motion Picture Academy. We cheered where I was. I'm sure you did, too.   

I was fine with Trent Reznor wearing a tuxedo, but come on, dude, cover it with chains.

Meanwhile, Randy Newman proves that perseverance does pay off. He claimed his second Oscar in twenty tries. And it just goes to show – you keep writing the same song year after year and eventually it’s going to win.

The Best Short Documentary Award should be re-titled: “Best Short Documentary about inspiring children or the ravages of war”. Do a film actually showing aliens landing on Earth, you got no shot unless it’s in Iraq or the playground of a day school in Harlem.

The Best Feature Length Documentary went to INSIDE JOB, a study of the recent economic collapse. I’m surprised they didn’t thank Bernie Madoff.

How come the winner of the Best Costume Design always looks like a schlump?

Watching Billy Crystal deliver that painfully desperate monologue was like looking at the nude photos of Nancy Sinatra in Playboy that she took when she was 54.

Donald Trump was in attendance – a grim reminder that one year you could be an Academy Award winner and the next you’re on CELEBRITY APPRENTICE manning a lemonade stand with Jose Canseco.

So President Obama thinks “As Time Goes By” is the greatest Oscar winning song. I was so hoping he'd say, “It’s Hard Out Here For a Pimp”?

I loved seeing one of the Coen Brothers nodding off during Oprah’s speech. Good luck seeing any of their movies on the mighty OWN network.

Why can Jude Law make Robert Downey Jr. drug bust jokes but not Ricky Gervais?

Melissa Leo wore Elvis’ last suit.

Okay, I know there’s something wrong with me but I always look forward to the In Memoriam feature. Come on, you do too. When you watch with a group of people don’t you all go “Awwwwwww” after seeing one person or another? In the group I was with, everyone was also going “Jewish!” “Not Jewish!” “Jewish!” “Definitely Jewish!”

Don’t you also try to catch them omitting somebody? And try to figure out who the big last one is? This year it was appropriately Lena Horne. (Vegas took a bath. They had Blake Edwards 2:1).

I wonder though why they needed Halle Berry to come out and give a tribute to Lena Horne. They could have easily just gone from Celine Dion singing “Smile” to the film clip of Lena singing “Smile”. That said, Halle looked radiant. She may not be the most beautiful woman in the world but she certainly is the most beautiful crazy woman in the world.

If you’ve set your DVR, no matter how late into the broadcast you start, by the last half hour you’ve caught up to real time and have to suffer through the commercials.

I was so hoping graffiti artist Banksy had won for EXIT TO GIFT SHOP. Can’t you just picture it? He comes down the aisle in his gorilla mask. Six officers arrest him on stage. He gives his speech. It’s long. The play-off music begins. He continues talking. He’s tasered. “Coming up next, Anne Hathaway introduces Jennifer Hudson who introduces Gwyneth Paltrow!”

How come no Barbara Walters Special this year? I was really looking forward to her interviewing superstars Natalie Portman, Christian Bale, and Stana Katic.

The Best Actor intros were just excruciating. No one takes themselves more seriously than thespians. In those insufferable introductions I must’ve heard the following words at least five times: depth, journey, courageous, range, love for the craft, love for the art, artist, empathy, extraordinary, inspiration, gift, power, eloquence. Just remember, actors are the only people who watch James Lipton on INSIDE THE ACTORS’ ASSHOLE and don’t laugh.

If ever there was a lock it was Colin Firth. See that Reese? This is a man who was in MAMMA MIA! You can come back!

Are they now going to remake the trailer for NO STRINGS ATTACHED starring “Academy Award Winner, Natalie Portman”?

I found it interesting that for all the hype about trying to make the broadcast younger and hipper, at the end of the day, Kirk Douglas stole the show. Hathaway and Franco and Eisenberg and Adams and Cruz and Paltrow and Gyllenhaal and Gyllenhaal may be movie stars but Kirk is still fuckin’ Spartacus.

(Thanks to Annie Levine & Jon Emerson for providing some of the best lines of this review.)

See you at the movies. Unless I get screeners.


Mike Barer said...

Unlike you,I was less than impressed with Hathaway. I think she may have been good if she could have played straight with someone genuinly funny. It was "must change the channel TV" with us.
Glad Sorkin won and although I did not see King's Speech yet, from what I heard it was a well deserved win.

Anonymous said...

Watched the 'highlights' online and still didn't care that I missed it.

I do hope people start to realize that James Franco isn't an inspirational icon of my generation, but a pretentious douchecanoe. Seriously, it's the Oscars - save the weed for the after party!

John Leader said...

Pretty kind review, Ken.
James Franco is a zombie. Anne Hathaway is gorgeous, but probably yelled "WOO!" about 37 times. Puh-leeze.
And, I'm sorry, but Mr. Douglas was funny for about a minute, then overstayed his welcome (repeatedly).
They wasted Billy Crystal.
Announcer guy Tom Kane did a masterful job!

Hollywoodaholic said...

I think the only reason Halle Berry came out and did the Lena Horne tribute was because there were no blacks nominated for anything this year and the producers felt they needed to 'represent.' Otherwise the whole event was going to look like a Tea Party rally.

MrCarlson said...

James Franco's incompetence was somewhat compensate by the fact that, from time to time, someone would remind him that he came from soaps. At those times he took a bong hit.
When in reruns NBC's Homicide: Life on the Street, will now be promoted as starring Oscar Winner Melissa Leo.
I think they chose Celine Dion for the in Memoriam song so that the people in the audience could go: "See, those were the lucky bastards that died, we still have to listen to this."

Chester Field said...

Sorkin's acceptance speech was classy and impressive. As was David Seidler's. But what was with Melissa Leo's faux surprise? She's won most of the major awards leading up to the Oscars. Is it so hard to have a few dignified words prepared in advance? Her F-bomb didn't bother me as much as her stupefied banter.

I think James Franco was doing his best James Dead impression most of the night, all squinty-eyed and tight smile. He was pretty funny when he hosted SNL, but he seemed nervous and totally out of his element last night.

Oscar the Grouch said...

Even in death, poor Corey Haim don't get no love. Dissed again.

bmfc1 said...

Why do we have to wait for the presenters to walk to the podium? They should be there when their names are called.

KateC said...

Ed Limato's photo (and why stills instead of clips?) was held longer than Tony Curtis or Patricia Neal, who deserved the montage of honor more than Lena Horne. County music's newest star, huh?

danrydell said...

I like Hathaway, but she was like every stereotypical manic thespian with WAY too much energy and "look at me!" moments. We get it. You want attention.

But she was better than Franco, who had to have been stoned.

Billy Crystal was a welcome reminder of what a good host is.

Glad Sorkin won. But I just KNOW his new show is going to be one exhausting self-righteous soapbox after another.

Tom Quigley said...

Right from the start it seemed as if the hosts were playing to a theater full of people who were on some kind of sedative. I've never watched an Oscars broadcast where everyone seemd so disinterested in my life. The acceptance speeches were about as riveting as corporate mission statements, the audience response was minimal until Billy Crystal came out on stage, at which point the crowd rustled up as much feeble enthusiasm as it was going to generate all night, and even the "In Memoriam" segment garnered no applause as each deceased artist's picure was shown. It almost seemed as if everyone was thinking "Let's get this nonsense over with and get to the parties!" So much for Hollywood pizzazz and glamour...

When I saw Kirk Douglas come out and start fumbling around (God bless him), the first thing I thought was that if the old guy goes backstage afterward and buys the farm, would they have enough time to be able to insert his picture into the "In Memoriam" segment?... Speaking of "In Memoriam", I would have laughed out loud if someone had had the balls to include Charlie Sheen's picture...

Most notable red carpet appearances: Reese Witherspoon looked absolutely stunning... Scarlett Johannsen could show up wearing a trash bag with holes cut in it and still be gorgeous (Ryan Seacrest: "Who are you wearing tonight, Scarlett?" Scarlett: "Hefty.")... On the other hand, by the expression on her face, Sharon Stone looked like she was planning on auditioning for the part of Cruella DeVille in case Disney ever made another 101 DALMATIONS follow-up...

Howard Hoffman said...

During the In Memoriam segment when they showed her singing, my wife and I both blurted out "CELINE DION?"

No. She was not among the deceased.

The Milner Coupe said...

I didn't care for Hathaway either. Too drama club-y. And Franco acted like he was too cool to be there so he got stoned. Actually the opposite is true dude.

I thought the Celine Dion number was great. Not a huge fan normally but her rendition of the old Charlie Chaplin song added class and dignity to a show in short supply of both.

I agree with danrydell that Billy Crystal's appearance made you want to show Anne and James the door.

Ten nominees? Why not just nominate every movie?

The kid chorus thing was stupid enough, but who told hem to move around like a bunch of spaz's? That was the funniest (oddest) thing of the night.

Charles H. Bryan said...

I liked Anne Hathaway, too. I can forgive her over-enthusiasm because she may have been trying compensate for James Franco's under-enthusiasm. Also because I think I could forgive Anne Hathaway for anything, including restraining orders issued against me.

It had to be a bit of an ego slam for both of the hosts when Billy Crystal got a standing O and then he introduced Obi Wan Bobhopi. All that bit lacked was the reanimated club-swinging corpse of Johnny Carson to be a complete 'Remember the Good Hosts?' segment.

For some reason, I'd like to see Kevin Spacey host, or even co-host with Hathaway. Also, I need to train the dog to want to go for walks during In Memoriam segments.

droszel said...

On an topic only peripherally related:

Ian said...

I have to agree with Mike Barer, who suggested that Hathaway should have been paired with someone funny. I admire both Franco and Hathaway as actors, but emcee duties should really fall to someone adept at comedy.

It was great to see Kirk Douglas but I think he was called upon to do too much. That segment was a bit painful to watch, and it wasn't helped a bit when Melissa Leo grabbed Douglas' cane as they walked off-stage. I'm surprised you didn't mention that.

Also, Ken, Helen Mirren doesn't have a "tramp stamp." She has a dime-sized tattoo on her hand. "Tramp stamp" refers to a tattoo on a woman's lower back, just above her ass - frequently used as an aiming device.

Carlos Matthews Hernandez said...

My thoughts on the Oscars?

Well, you know...

Philip Guest said...

Amen, Charles H Bryan.

I've been hoping for YEARS that Spacey would be recruited for Oscar hosting duty. He can do serious, he can do funny, he sings, he dances, he does killer impressions - perfect.

For the record, Hathaway gets an A for effort in my book. She wasn't great but Good God, unlike Franco, she at least tried.

Anonymous said...

So, hosting the Academy Awards IS a little tougher than hosting SNL.
If they were trying to attract a younger audience, there should have been a transitional year with one older and one younger co-host.
Sort of a gradual changing of the guard. I think Neil Patrick Harris would have been a good choice as he showed his chops as host material on the Emmys. I think Randy Newman was one of the brighter spots of the night.

The Moyl said...

The funniest host they could have found was just across the street. Jimmy Kimmel.

Andy Ross said...

Ken, I always enjoy your succintly snarky take on Hollywood, and as a way of saying thank you, I'd like to share my own Oscars acceptance speech from last night:
I hope you enjoy it as much as I've enjoyed your blog over the years.

Max Clarke said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Phillip B said...

Within a few years the technology will have improved enough so that a holographic image of Bob Hope will be able to host...

Janet T said...

Boring, boring, boring!!! Anne Hathaway was fine, but she looked like she was at a party with a date that wanted to be anywhere else than there. James Franco barely smiled, let alone interacted with her- someone should have told him part of the job is to entertain.
Otherwise- the acceptance speeches, the clips, the songs, the presenters??? Boring, boring boring.

I was glad Arron Sorkin won.

Rory L. Aronsky said...

Slogan for James Franco: I try to do so much, but when it comes time to deliver, I don't.

Rory L. Aronsky said...

What does it say when a man who is 94 years-old and recovering from a stroke is funnier than any Oscar host for the last fifteen years?

That Kirk Douglas should host? He had more stamina than James Franco.

danrydell said...

@Tom Quigley, they actually asked the crowd to not applause during the Memoriam segment.

YEKIMI said...

FDA has approved the 2011 Oscar telecast as powerful sleep aid, can be used to replace Lunesta & Ambien.

WV: Pienis: What genitalia is called on a male pie.

Anonymous said...

Although I thought Christian Bale had forgotten his wife’s name at first, all of us eventually came to the conclusion that he’d just gotten choked up and couldn’t speak for a moment. His voice sounded pretty shaky when he finally did speak again and he said something like ‘I really didn’t think I’d be like this…’. Everyone in our living room pretty much agreed that he’d taken a moment to try and get some control.

James Franco was bizarre. But I really enjoyed Anne Hathaway. Almost as much as when they brought Billy Crystal out. BILLY!!! Please come back!

Will Teullive said...

Corey Haim was left out of this year's Oscars death montage. Charlie Sheen is slotted to be the lead-off hitter in next year's.

RCP said...

I liked the 10 seconds of Lena Horne singing.

Michael Zand said...

Ken, I Don't agree with you about Billy Crystal. Billy was funnier in two minutes than Franco and Hathaway were in three hours. It reminded me of why he was so good. It's the little things like energy, confidence and timing -- none of which the two game but hapless hosts had. We'll never see them up there again.

chas said...

"As Time Goes By" wasn't a best song. It was from a 1931 Broadway musical and therefore wasn't eligible for an Oscar. It was the number 2 song on AFI's best songs in film list.

I thought Bob Hope was the best host last night.

chalmers said...

Kevin Spacey hosted a long-scheduled John Lennon tribute show a few weeks after 9/11. He struck the perfect tone in a difficult spot and even sang a great version of "Mind Games." If the Oscar producers ever consider him (and I doubt they will), that performance should get him the job.

I think next year’s host will be someone with mass appeal, ABC connections, much more free time, a non-comedian, but someone certainly quick and composed enough to keep things moving and deliver a good line here and there—Oprah Winfrey.

unkystan said...

And let's not forget (even if the Academy did): Lisa Blount. Tom Bosley. Harold Gould. James Gammon. Dorothy Provine. John Forsythe. Peter Graves. Corey Haim. Kathryn Grayson. Producer David Brown. Jean Simmons.

Anonymous said...

Normally I don't enjoy perky, but I liked Anne Hathaway last night. It was a better show with her.

Is James Franco normally squinty-eyed or just really myopic? He made Clint Eastwood look doe-eyed.

Who was that white woman on the screen that Halle Berry was honoring as some kind of trailblazer?

Honors to Kirk Douglas. This was a big-time, handsome leading-man star who might have easily slunk off and hidden because he isn't what he once was. But no--he's out there in front, no embarassment visible. We should all be so self-assured and confident. The old ham.

What does Bruce Valanch do the rest of the year?

benson said...

It must be a vast right/left wing conspiracy against actors in comedies. Kenneth Mars, Peter Graves and Barbara Billingley all omitted.

Roger Ebert tweeted, if Bruce Vilanch is within 50 miles of the auditorium, they should "helicopter his ass" there to save what was left of the show.

Rebounding said...

Was I the only one who saw Marky Mark gesture for James Franco's grandma to flash her funbags? Please tell me I wasn't the only one?!?

chalmers said...

Jean Simmons was in last year's "In Memoriam" (she died in Jan. 2010). I think the cutoff is Jan. 31. That would explain the absence of Betty Garrett, who died a couple of weeks ago.

Mike Botula said...

Overall, you were kind, Ken. I thought this year's Oscar telecast was the worst in history. To me, Tim Goodman's review in the Hollywood Reporter was closer to the mark. Next year I'll just wait for the morning paper to hit my stoop or just watch NCIS reruns until midnight and check out the Academy's web site for the results. Your review was the best Oscar-related entertainment of the season. James Franco in drag! Right!
Mike Botula.

Anonymous said...

If the Academy was going for a younger demographic they should've mad the show seem like it was produced sometime after 1950. Slapping in a weird auto-tune remix does not make the show "hip" when it starts of with Gone with the Wind and talking about the first Oscars ceremony.

I love Anne & James and thought they were fine (he always seemed stoned) but the production/writing was awful. Also agree that the audience did not seem into it at all. Awards show burnout??

It's so we can see what they're wearing. Seriously.

@The Milner Coupe
The kids always have kindof goofy dance moves, I suspect it's the teachers way of keeping them engaged with the rhythm/feeling of the song. Here's a link to one of my favorite's of theirs:

Harry said...

The best part was Charles Ferguson asking why no one is in jail for massive financial fraud and the audience applauded. If they start throwing people in jail for financial fraud, Hollywood is finished.

Tom Quigley said...

danrydell said...

@Tom Quigley, they actually asked the crowd to not applause during the Memoriam segment.

My bad, then. I must have missed that announcement. Thanks for pointing it out... Even so then, that must have been the pinnacle of the evening regarding any audience involvement.

gottacook said...

I was very entertained by these remarks, but one of them was a little confusing: "If just… part of [Inception] made sense, the first half hour, the opening credits, anything!" My wife and I finally saw Inception last night (we skipped the Oscars except for the first half-hour), and the movie had no opening credits at all. I do think the cinematography award was merited, although it's indeed time Roger Deakins won one.

(We saw it in a Redbox-branded version of the DVD, with thirteen unskippable minutes of previews and ads for computer games and such. Our only other Redbox experience - City Island, which I'd recommend - was nothing like this and had very tolerable, not too self-congratulatory, special features, as befits the movie.)

Kevin Arbouet said...


Finding Inception confusing is probably why advertisers ignore people over the age of 50.

Chuck Warn said...

Nice review Ken, but in my opinion the show also deserves some kudos for sparking the most one sided firestorm among critics since Alan Carr. The Oscars are still standing as an annual American tradition precisely because every year's show adds another ring to to the giant tree that is our collective cinematic memory. Some rings are more memorable than others, and for lots of different reasons. Hooray for Hollywood!

benson said...

Completely OT...

Happy anniversary for the last episode of MASH. 28 yrs. ago tonight.

Up until the last two Super Bowls, the most watched show in TV history.

Mike Barer said...

If the Academy Awards is going to be "young and hip" remember how well that worked for Miss America. It literally dropped off the radar screen.

Anonymous said...

Great story. Let's have Daniel Tosh host next year. They'll get every young person on the planet to watch.

Sally Screenwriter said...

As a friend of mine (who happens to be a stand up), there's a vast difference between a comic and actor trying to be a funny...

If the Academy wants to appeal to a younger demographic they've got to stop having old actors in films... Yeah, I know, they're working on this as we speak.

Charles H. Bryan said...


You were not alone -- tho' I thought Mark was volunteering to show off his own anatomy. Maybe my mind just couldn't accept the other interpretation . . . Wahlberg, you perv. Go sit next to Sheen in the Principal's office.

Manbearpig said...


Wahlberg was teasing that he should show off his own abs (like his old underwear modeling days when he called himself Marky Mark).

Tallulah Morehead said...

"danrydell said...
@Tom Quigley, they actually asked the crowd to not applause during the Memoriam segment."

Thus blowing a perfectly good oportunity to drown out Celine Dion.

"benson said...
Roger Ebert tweeted, if Bruce Vilanch is within 50 miles of the auditorium, they should 'helicopter his ass' there to save what was left of the show."

Roger should have waited and read the closing credits. Bruce was credited as a writer for the broadcast. He wouldn't have saved it, since he was part of what sank it.

"Meanwhile, Randy Newman proves that perseverance does pay off. He claimed his second Oscar in twenty tries. And it just goes to show – you keep writing the same song year after year and eventually it’s going to win."

"you didn’t have to watch the red carpet show this year because [Anne Hathaway] wore everyone’s gown."

Man I wish I'd thought of those great lines when I was writing my review.

WV: "unded": A vampire with a lousy education.

l.a.guy said...

"Sharon Stone... Grey beaver..."
For a second I thought you were going to announce they were bringing her back for a remake of Basic Instinct.

Sad, but your blog post was far more entertaining than the Academy Awards and it didn't cost millions to produce.

Rory L. Aronsky said...

Nice review Ken, but in my opinion the show also deserves some kudos for sparking the most one sided firestorm among critics since Alan Carr.

I was barely alive at 5 years old when Allan Carr produced his ceremony, and I miss him.

The long profile of Carr producing his Oscar ceremony in "Party Animals" by Robert Hofler was far more entertaining than most of this crap.

Next year, make it a triple-hosting gig: Kirk Douglas, Billy Crystal, and the holographic Bob Hope.

Eric said...

Sandra Bullock seems like a good fit to host this event.

Anonymous said...

You're an idiot. And unfunny at that.

cadavra said...

"Finding Inception confusing is probably why advertisers ignore people over the age of 50."

Um, excuse me, but us old dudes actually paid attention in school and understood INCEPTION just fine. It's the kids today who have trouble navigating through all the intricate subtleties of an Adam Sander movie.

Lori Kirkland Baker said...

Fave parts:

The orchestra was insanely amazing.

The kids from PS22 made me feel a little weepy when the Oscar winners came out and joined them.

Christian Bale, doing anything. Christian Bale is my favey part of everything, really.

Ken, who wrote it this year besides Vilanch?

bubbabubbos said...

Charlie Sheen should host next year if he's still alive. The ratings would be huge and the guy manning the 'dump' button would be busy.

John said...

In the annual “Worst Dressed besides Helena” category I would have to say Sharon Stone. Grey beaver pelts over one shoulder is not a good look

If Sharon's beaver is on her shoulder, she has the world's worst plastic surgeon. Or that scene in "Basic Instinct" just wasn't obvious enough.

Max Clarke said...

Kirk Douglas was brave to make his appearance, and hilarious. Had to watch him again on YouTube to catch the stuff I laughed over.

He's a very old Spartacus, but the young Spartacus never did standup like this. The way he put off and put off opening the envelope and announcing the winner, it's the first time I've seen nominees both tormented and laughing.

Rory L. Aronsky said...

The ratings would be huge and the guy manning the 'dump' button would be busy.

The guy in charge of the 'dump' button would have a nervous disorder by the time it's over.

Eduardo Jencarelli said...

I liked the first half. Franco was there only in body, and Hathaway seriously overdid it.

The whole thing lost suspense once Tom Hooper won best director. Now that was an undeserved award (same goes for best original screenplay).

I was VERY glad for Aaron Sorkin's victory. Now that was a well deserved award.

But seriously, I called most of the winners in advance. The only surprises were the Alice in Wonderland makeup and design victories.

What I don't get is why they cut short the whole bit with Coppola and Eli Wallach. You can't ignore living legends like that (and despite the cuts, the pacing of the show was still off). The show's use of orchestra was top notch, though.

Tallulah Morehead said...

"Eduardo Jencarelli said...
The only surprises were the Alice in Wonderland makeup and design victories."

Alice in Wonderland
's make-up "victory" is still a surprise, since they gave that award to Rick Baker for The Wolfman.

Michael Zand said...

Hey Ken,

This is totally off topic but you must have seen Charlie Sheen on GMA this morning. I'm sure we'd all be interested in your thoughts. My impression was that he's had a severe mental breakdown and whether he was on something or not is irrelevant at this point. The guy is really sick and should be committed.

Orlando said...

So tired of the British domination of the Oscars. Where's the love for America? First there was Beatlemania, then Mr. Belvedere and now this. Someone should remind them we w-w-won the revolution...

Fred Herrman said...

Very well written summary of Oscar night. Thank you. Loved it!!!

Johnny Walker said...

Great write up. Two things:

David Seidler referenced his Dad, not his Mum, and a documentary featuring aliens is highly unlikely to be nominated, for very good reasons.

I can't believe an attempt at a "young hip show" meant bringing on young actors, and then making all the presenters recite history lessons. THIS is what the young people want??

YEKIMI said...

What does Bruce Valanch do the rest of the year?

Not much since The Hollywood Squares got canceled.

DwWashburn said...

I don't go to the movies, but I watch the Oscars (go figure). And the amazing thing is I usually can guess who's going to win by the clips. I tell my wife every February that TCM is almost unwatchable because every film shown that month was nominated for an Oscar. That usually means the movie is dull, formulated, and pretentious (sp).

R/E the hosts, the guy looked like he was ticked off (watch out CBS, he might sue you for $300 million, too), but the woman looked like she was having a blast. It was fun to watch her, even when the prepared bits and lines fell flat.

And Oprah? Really? At a movie awards show? She and Jennifer Hudson read a teleprompter like my seven year old niece.

Lastly, if you're going to show Bob Hope clips, don't put in an imitator's voice that doesn't even sound like him. And you talk about the first awards and don't even mention Wings? For shame.

Anonymous said...

Awesome post. I concur that Hathaway over did it and her co-host just plain sucked.

analee said...

all that was happening at Oscars was very impressive.

You have a brilliant lines..

Ben said...

Next year, instead of Celine Dion, they should just play "Another One Bites The Dust".

A DJ from my local radio station actually did that immediately after the obituaries. Unsurprisingly he was fired.

But still, it has to be more tasteful than Celine warbling.

Pat Reeder said...

Great Minds Think Alike Dept: I sent out the exact same line about Randy Newman on my radio comedy service right after the show. No offense, I've loved Randy Newman since the "Sail Away" days. Even if his Pixar songs all sound alike, at least they sound like Randy Newman songs, and that's better than anything else nominated. For instance, what exactly was that noise that Florence was making? Was that actually an Oscar-nominated song or was she suffering from severe stomach cramps?

I don't care about Billy Crystal's age, just bring him BACK!! Failing that, how about letting Kevin Spacey host AS Johnny Carson?

Denise Vanessa said...

Hmm, it's very exciting to know who gonna take home the trophy of this 2011 Oscar. Really an exciting moment during that time.

Airforce Archerd said...

Oy! Which Billy Crystal did YOU guys see? The one I saw last night delivered unfunny material with his usual desperate smarm, and reminded us all of his string of stinko Oscar hosting gigs, as opposed to the first two that he legitimately handled well.

It's been almost 20 years. America has gotten over its sick, inexplicable fixation on the self-congratulatory "Billy, Whoopi and Robin" trifecta and their crappy comedy. Join us!

Logo said...

Anne Hathaway really wasn’t a favorite of mine let’s face the Oscars are time on tradition of class and dignity and I found her Woo Hoo’s to be very in appropriate and at the end when she was basically jumping on the stage, giving a high five and yelling we did it we did it was I kinda of feel she did an injustice to the whole thing. And when she would woo hoo after announcing a presenter there was just no class. Respect the event don’t make a mockery of the whole thing. Just my opinion.

Charles H. Bryan said...

@'anonymous': "Please use a name using the Name/URL option. Invent one if you must. Be creative."

The fact that no anonymous complainers even pretend to be James Franco or Charlie Sheen is just depressing. As a patriot, it dims my hopes for the future of this once great nation.

Your turn, China -- if that's your country's real name.

wv: woodi -- (Seriously, 'woodi'? Who's the prankster at the Department of Word Verification?)

James Franco said...

Huh? Whuzzat?

(See, it's easy.)

Krack said...


I couldn't agree with you more. Perhaps it's that most of a younger generation were never taught/don't understand what it means to show respect and dignity in ways other than "I won't download your songs without paying for them"?

At least Anne Hathaway did her best to stay upbeat, whereas James Franco went mentally AWOL

WizarDru said...

Sorry Ken and Charles, I agree with the others. Billy Crystal walked in and owned that room without even trying. Hathaway was bubbly and energetic and fun (while my wife wondered if Franco was stoned), but Billy just seemed on his game.

Eduardo Jencarelli said...

Tallulah Morehead said: Alice in Wonderland's make-up "victory" is still a surprise, since they gave that award to Rick Baker for The Wolfman.

Whoops. I completely forgot about The Wolfman's win.

But I do recall Wonderland winning at least 2 design-related awards, that I didn't foresee at all.

Anonymous said...


Let me just say that I love you!

jbryant said...

Eduardo: ALICE's wins were for Art Direction and Costume Design.

Leigh said...

It always bothers me that the actual winners of the awards are given about 2 seconds before they're played off, but we have pleeeeenty of time to have long, wanky introductions for the presenters, or to remind everyone what a scriptwriter does. Not to mention the ridiculous, time-wasting video segments. Some of these folks will never win another Oscar. Give them time to thank their family, for Pete's sake.

Paul V. said...

"Just remember, actors are the only people who watch James Lipton on INSIDE THE ACTORS’ ASSHOLE and don’t laugh.

Line of the night.