Oscars – one long bore despite witty king’s speech

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I knew The King’s Speech was going to win Best Picture when Tom Hooper’s name was announced as Best Director. It was a turn up for the books and showed The Social Network’s bubble had finally burst. Aaron Sorkin got to feed his ego with the Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar but I found it increasingly frustrating that a film about Facebook has an actor starring in it who has no Facebook account or even a TV in his home playing the creator. Jesse Eisenberg’s abstention fromthe sort of modern media most of the western world relies on grates when watching his plight unfold in the Sorkin/Fincher film. So I, for one, am glad that the only film that posed a real threat to The Social Network winning in the top two categories at the Oscars, took the honours.

James Franco looked for all the world like he expected a heckling member of the audience to throw a gooseberry at him at any minute, his stance resembling a man ready to get the hell out of there.

The King’s Speech’s victory in the categories of Best Director (Tom Hooper), Best Picture, Best Actor (Colin Firth) and Best Original Screenplay (David Seidler), were the highlights of one of the dullest Academy Awards ceremonies in living memory. Ricky Gervais may have been crude and might have pushed the boundaries of decency two or three paces passed acceptable but at least he made me laugh at the Golden Globes. Even the Bafta’s had its moments with Christopher Lee’s lifetime achievement award, Rosamund Pike showing off her total lack of charm and some good jokes from Jonathan Ross.

colin firth, oscars 2011, acceptance speech, the king's speech,

The Oscars had James Franco awkwardly introducing the next presenter, his head titled slightly back, his expression one of quizzical thought that bordered on petrified. The 127 Hours actor looked for all the world like he expected a heckling member of the audience to throw a gooseberry at him at any minute, his stance resembling a man ready to get the hell out of there. Anne Hathaway, as beautiful as she may be, couldn’t maintain my attention any further than the thought her next costume change might be more revealing than her last. It didn’t happen. When Billy Crystal entered the stage I couldn’t help but hope he might return for another presenting gig. The old and weathered comedians (like Crystal and Steve Martin) might not have the teen appeal of Franco and Hathaway but at least they can write their own material. And I saw more youthful exuberance and excited energy in Alec Baldwin than anything from the withdrawn Franco who obviously couldn’t wait to bed a nubile young lady at one of the after show parties.

But was this all Ricky Gervais’ fault? Was his over the top criticisms of some of the industry’s worst films of the year and the personal flaws of Hollywood’s elite the cue to toning down risqué material at the Oscars. Perhaps?

james franco, anne hathaway, oscar fail, 2011,
Franco looked like he was going to get hit in the face by a gooseberry flung from a heckling crowd. Hathaway was radiant and beautiful but what the hell was all that shouting and arm wailing at the end of the show?

The best moment of the night was Colin Firth’s witty acceptance speech that displayed the charming and exceedingly well-mannered Brit in the highest regard. He could quite easily start a side career as a speech writer for best men around the country.

Picking up the award he chirped, “I have a feeling my career’s just peaked.” Then, with the skill of a great comedy writer, he eloquently said: “I’m afraid I have to warn you that I’m experiencing stirrings somewhere in the upper abdominals which are threatening to form themselves into dance moves.”

I couldn’t hide a smile when he added, “Joyous as they may be for me, it would be extremely problematic if they make it to my legs before I get off stage.” Wonderful!

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About the Author
Editor of Top 10 Films, Dan Stephens is usually found pondering his next list. An unhealthy love of 1980s Hollywood sees most of his top 10s involving a time-travelling DeLorean and an adventurous archaeologist going by the name Indiana.

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  1. Avatar
    Anna Reply

    That nod to Gervais with Franco listing “the dirty titles” of some of the films was really peculiar.

    I am in awe of Firth, he’s such a great guy and an elegant, charming and witty speaker.

  2. Avatar
    rtm Reply

    What a cute picture of Colin… he’s a real class act. Serves the Academy right for trying too hard to be young and hip… sheesh, I mean the youngun’s were upstaged by a dead guy! Bob Hope got a more rousing reaction than both of these. I’d never say Gervais would be a better host though, I think the trick is to be funny without being insulting and uncouth, so neither the Oscar or Golden Globes got it right this year.

  3. Avatar
    Tom Clift Reply

    I can’t comment in great detail seeing as I didn’t actually watch the awards, but I think it’s extremely disappointing that the Academy’s attempt to bring a little youthful energy to the ceremony was, by all reports, such an enormous failure. However, I think it’s a failure compounded by giving Best Picture to such a safe (if certainly very good) film in THE KING’S SPEECH.

    THE SOCIAL NETWORK, in my mind, deserved to win, not only because it’s a superior film, but because it is such a timely one. Had it won, it would have really signified that the Academy was willing to embrace and acknowledge a new generation of filmgoers (which they seemed to be doing in recent years, what with awarding films like THE HURT LOCKER or SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE). Unfortunately, it seems as though they fell back onto Oscar bait this year.

  4. Avatar
    Dan Reply

    @rtm: You’re right about being funny without being insulting – Firth did it in his acceptance speech…the highlight of the night.

    @Tom: I agree The Social Network had an argument to win Best Picture but after it triumphed at the Golden Globes I think most people expected the same at the Oscars. But I liked the way popularity for The King’s Speech grew. And, if we are talking about a new generation…Tom Hooper is actualy less experienced in the feature film world than Fincher. But I think Fincher will be up for another Best Director Oscar one day.

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    Novroz Reply

    I did get to see the Oscar ceremony,none of my local TV station showed it 🙁 so,it was boring heh? I guess I should say lucky me 😉
    I saw what I wanted to see in youtube, Firth & Bale’s acceptance speech.
    I am glad that TKS won best picture.

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