Posted by: ckckred | March 2, 2012

The Oscars: A Likable Show with some faults that’s full of nostalgia

Billy Crystal give his famous Best Picture Melody at the Oscars.

This year’s theme of the Oscars was really about the Oscars themselves.  The show featured throwback video clips and interviews with movie stars who talked about Hollywood.  The stage was set up to look like a movie theater.  And films about films dominated the awards: The Artist, a silent film about the rise of talkies, took Best Picture, Actor, and Director while Scorsese’s ode to the big screen Hugo took home the visuals.  And the Oscars got legendary host Billy Crystal to finally come back.

Some parts of the Oscars worked while others didn’t.  First off, Billy Crystal.  I thought he did a great job as host and kept a strong, likable pace, qualities that other Oscar hosts (like last year’s James Franco) lacked.  He gave a funny opening video and his opening song that combined the 9 Best Picture nominees.  Most of the other things he did were his safe, usually funny jokes he did in previous performances (such as what audience members were thinking).  Some critics felt he wasn’t as strong as he was back 15 years ago.  Was his performance as good as his ones from the 90s?  Probably not.  But it was still great.

It’s the presenters where the show faltered.  No one seemed particularly interested in delivering a good intro for the categories.  Sandra Bullock seemed bored, while others, such as Jenifer Lopez and Cameron Diaz, bombed at delivering a simple joke.  The most unmemorable thing was that awful chemistry between Emma Stone and Ben Stiller.  Stone talked about how great the Oscars were, while Stiller looked like he wanted to put a gun to his head.  The only laugh I got was when Jonah Hill (jokingly? or intentionally?) put down Stone’s invitation on coming on the stage to dance.  And the Oscars seem to have forgotten the disastrous performance by Chris Rock in 2005 as they invited him back to lead the animation category.  Yes, Chris Rock did have a good point that “If you’re a white man, you can play an Arabian prince! And if you’re a black man, you can play a donkey or a zebra!” but overall his riff on animation was disrespectful to the animators nominated.  Even the cast of Bridesmaids didn’t make me chuckle.

On the other hand, there were some great winners this year.  Applause to The Artist for winning Best Picture, Director, and Actor (and who doesn’t like Uggy?).  Hugo deservingly took home many of the visual and sound awards, surprisingly taking cinematography when most people guessed The Tree of Life.  But my biggest cheer came when Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon, and Jim Rash (who plays Dean Pelton on Community) came up on the stage for Best Adapted Screenplay (for The Descendants).  Not only did Payne give a great speech, but Jim Rash hilariously parodied presenter Angelina Jolie’s awkward stance, which gave me the biggest laugh of the night.

But the Oscars made a fair deal of goofs to for the winners.  Editing should have gone to The Artist instead of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.  And I’m angry they cut off speeches from Octavia Spencer, Jean Dujardin, Thomas Langmaan, and Michel Hazanavicius.  And seriously, Meryl Streep for The Iron Lady instead of Viola Davis?  Have you seen The Iron Lady?  Streep is good in it, but the movie is so heavily flawed that it brings down her performance.  Even Streep said “I could hear half of America going, ‘Oh no, why her? Again?’”

And though it was obvious and clear they weren’t going to win, I would have liked to see something go to War Horse, The Tree of Life, or Moneyball.  Even some thought would be nice.

Winners below:

BEST PICTURE

X – “The Artist” Thomas Langmann, Producer

“The Descendants” Jim Burke, Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor, Producers

“Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close” Scott Rudin, Producer

“The Help” Brunson Green, Chris Columbus and Michael Barnathan, Producers

“Hugo” Graham King and Martin Scorsese, Producers

“Midnight in Paris” Letty Aronson and Stephen Tenenbaum, Producers

“Moneyball” Michael De Luca, Rachael Horovitz and Brad Pitt, Producers

“The Tree of Life” Nominees to be determined

“War Horse” Steven Spielberg and Kathleen Kennedy, Producers

BEST DIRECTOR

X – Michel Hazanavicius (“The Artist”)

Alexander Payne (“The Descendants”)

Martin Scorsese (“Hugo”)

Woody Allen (“Midnight in Paris”)

Terrence Malick (“The Tree of Life”)

BEST ACTOR

Demián Bichir (“A Better Life”)

George Clooney “The Descendants”)

X – Jean Dujardin (“The Artist”)

Gary Oldman (“Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy”)

Brad Pitt (“Moneyball”)

BEST ACTRESS

Glenn Close (“Albert Nobbs”)

Viola Davis (“The Help”)

Rooney Mara (“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”)

X – Meryl Streep (“The Iron Lady”)

Michelle Williams (“My Week with Marilyn”)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

Kenneth Branagh (“My Week with Marilyn”)

Jonah Hill (“Moneyball”)

Nick Nolte (“Warrior”)

X – Christopher Plummer (“Beginners”)

Max von Sydow (“Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close”)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

Bérénice Bejo (“The Artist”)

Jessica Chastain (“The Help”)

Melissa McCarthy (“Bridesmaids”)

Janet McTeer (“Albert Nobbs”)

X – Octavia Spencer (“The Help”)

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

X – “The Descendants”: Screenplay by Alexander Payne and Nat Faxon & Jim Rash

“Hugo”: Screenplay byJohn Logan

“The Ides of March”:  Screenplay by George Clooney & Grant Heslov and Beau Willimon

“Moneyball”: Screenplay by Steven Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin. Story by Stan Chervin

“Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy”: Screenplay by Bridget O’Connor & Peter Straughan

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

“The Artist”: Written by Michel Hazanavicius

“Bridesmaids”: Written by Annie Mumolo & Kristen Wiig

“Margin Call”: Written by J.C. Chandor

X – “Midnight in Paris”: Written by Woody Allen

“A Separation”: Written by Asghar Farhadi

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM

“Bullhead” Belgium

“Footnote” Israel

“In Darkness” Poland

“Monsieur Lazhar” Canada

X – “A Separation” Iran

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE

“A Cat in Paris” Alain Gagnol and Jean-Loup Felicioli

“Chico & Rita” Fernando Trueba and Javier Mariscal

“Kung Fu Panda 2″ Jennifer Yuh Nelson

“Puss in Boots” Chris Miller

X – “Rango” Gore Verbinski

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE

“Hell and Back Again” Danfung Dennis and Mike Lerner

“If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front” Marshall Curry and Sam Cullman

“Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory” Charles Ferguson and Audrey Marrs
”Pina” Wim Wenders and Gian-Piero Ringel

X – “Undefeated” TJ Martin, Dan Lindsay and Richard Middlemas

BEST ART DIRECTION

“The Artist” Production Design: Laurence Bennett; Set Decoration: Robert Gould

“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2″ Production Design: Stuart Craig; Set Decoration: Stephenie McMillan

X – “Hugo” Production Design: Dante Ferretti; Set Decoration: Francesca Lo Schiavo

“Midnight in Paris” Production Design: Anne Seibel; Set Decoration: Hélène Dubreuil

“War Horse” Production Design: Rick Carter; Set Decoration: Lee Sandales

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

“The Artist” Guillaume Schiffman

“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” Jeff Cronenweth

X- “Hugo” Robert Richardson

“The Tree of Life” Emmanuel Lubezki

“War Horse” Janusz Kaminski

BEST COSTUME DESIGN

“Anonymous” Lisy Christl

X – “The Artist” Mark Bridges

“Hugo” Sandy Powell

“Jane Eyre” Michael O’Connor

“W.E.” Arianne Phillips

BEST EDITING

“The Artist” Anne-Sophie Bion and Michel Hazanavicius

“The Descendants” Kevin Tent

X – “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” Kirk Baxter and Angus Wall

“Hugo” Thelma Schoonmaker

“Moneyball” Christopher Tellefsen

BEST MAKEUP

“Albert Nobbs” Martial Corneville, Lynn Johnston and Matthew W. Mungle

“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2″ Edouard F. Henriques, Gregory Funk and Yolanda Toussieng

X – “The Iron Lady” Mark Coulier and J. Roy Helland

BEST SCORE

“The Adventures of Tintin” John Williams

X – “The Artist” Ludovic Bource

“Hugo” Howard Shore

“Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy” Alberto Iglesias

“War Horse” John Williams

BEST SONG

X – “Man or Muppet” from “The Muppets” Music and Lyric by Bret McKenzie

“Real in Rio” from “Rio” Music by Sergio Mendes and Carlinhos Brown Lyric by Siedah Garrett

BEST SOUND EDITING

“Drive” Lon Bender and Victor Ray Ennis

“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” Ren Klyce

X – “Hugo” Philip Stockton and Eugene Gearty

“Transformers: Dark of the Moon” Ethan Van der Ryn and Erik Aadahl

“War Horse” Richard Hymns and Gary Rydstrom

BEST SOUND MIXING

“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” David Parker, Michael Semanick, Ren Klyce and Bo Persson

X – “Hugo” Tom Fleischman and John Midgley

“Moneyball” Deb Adair, Ron Bochar, Dave Giammarco and Ed Novick

“Transformers: Dark of the Moon” Greg P. Russell, Gary Summers, Jeffrey J. Haboush and Peter J. Devlin

“War Horse” Gary Rydstrom, Andy Nelson, Tom Johnson and Stuart Wilson

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS

“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2″ Tim Burke, David Vickery, Greg Butler and John Richardson

X – “Hugo” Rob Legato, Joss Williams, Ben Grossman and Alex Henning

“Real Steel” Erik Nash, John Rosengrant, Dan Taylor and Swen Gillberg

“Rise of the Planet of the Apes” Joe Letteri, Dan Lemmon, R. Christopher White and Daniel Barrett

“Transformers: Dark of the Moon” Scott Farrar, Scott Benza, Matthew Butler and John Frazier

BEST ANIMATED SHORT

“Dimanche/Sunday” Patrick Doyon

X  – “The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore” William Joyce and Brandon Oldenburg

“La Luna” Enrico Casarosa

“A Morning Stroll” Grant Orchard and Sue Goffe

“Wild Life” Amanda Forbis and Wendy Tilby

BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT

“The Barber of Birmingham: Foot Soldier of the Civil Rights Movement” Robin Fryday and Gail Dolgin

“God Is the Bigger Elvis” Rebecca Cammisa and Julie Anderson

“Incident in New Baghdad”James Spione

X – “Saving Face” Daniel Junge and Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy

“The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom” Lucy Walker and Kira Carstensen

BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT

“Pentecost” Peter McDonald and Eimear O’Kane

“Raju” Max Zähle and Stefan Gieren

X – “The Shore” Terry George and Oorlagh George

“Time Freak” Andrew Bowler and Gigi Causey

“Tuba Atlantic” Hallvar Witzø

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