The 83rd Academy Awards

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It seems I skipped much of last year’s Awards.  Avatar will do that.

I watched much of this year’s awards, however, and… Meh.  Some perhaps found host Anne Hathaway over-the-top and cloying.  Personally, I could probably watch her do about anything (nice spin move, by the way).  More to the point, she had to carry a lot of dead weight, namely her co-host James Franco.  Sure, he was nominated for Best Actor, but… say, how does one become qualified to host the Oscars?  I mean, besides being a member of the Screen Actor’s Guild?  I’m sure the engineering “nerds” who work his next movie will remember the slight.  DOA.

In a regrettable decision for both, someone laid too great a trap by inviting Billy Crystal to present an award.  Ten words in, the 83rd Academy Awards were a pale comparison to what they had been.  And everyone knew it, thus the spontaneous and enthusiastic standing O.

Let’s see, what else did I learn…  I didn’t take notes, but the following come to mind.

1) It’s unfair that superlative actors can also sing so well.  Fairness demands that they be gifted with one or the other, but not both.  I give Hathaway credit not only passably managing to carry a tune but actually distancing any thoughts of an embarrassing performance.  Also, I had no idea, and otherwise no reason to suspect, that Zachary Levi (Chuck, one of my favorite shows) could sing.  On the other hand, I’m pretty certain that I heard collective weeping from Nashville for all the artists that could have sung “Coming Home” better than Gwyneth Paltrow.   She’s no Sissy Spacek.  Or Reese Witherspoon.

2) Some actors can speak.  Well, certainly they could memorize their acceptance lines, but it seems most (come on, Natalie Portman…) choose not to do so.  Colin Firth, nicely done.  Good humor and very eloquent.  As actors are paid to deliver lines on screen, perhaps there’s some irony that The King’s Speech director, Tom Hooper, commanded the stage with more presence than most.

3) On the subject of command of speech, Kevin Spacey is long overdue to return to the screen in a worthy role and in a story that people actually want to see.

4) So what if I didn’t see the other nominated actresses?  My vote would have gone to Hailee Stanfield, who made True Grit her own, rendering pointless any comparison between Jeff Bridges’ exaggerated Dudeness with the classic Duke’s  Cogburn.

5) Want a shorter Academy Awards?  I do.  The length has little to do with the awards that no one cares about.  It has more to do with lengthy commercial breaks between each award or two.  Instead of bowing to the mercenary nature of television, wouldn’t it be better for the awards to be presented with upcoming movie previews and then shown in its entirety?  Like, you know, at the movies?

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