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.
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 And I saw more youthful exuberance and excited energy in Alec Baldwin than anything from the withdrawn Franco who obviously couldn’t wait to bed a nubile young lady at one of the after show parties.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?
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!