Oscar 2011 Post Mortem: One Giant SnoozeFest

You can look back and say that a handful of the Oscar telecasts in the past 20-30 years have been, at times, predictable, overly long, ostentatious, and even a bit egomaniacal. But never, ever should the glorious Academy Awards be viewed as BORING! Now I hate to say “I told you so,” but remember…what I told you a couple of weeks ago? I said the evening had “sleepy disaster” written all over it – and on top of this being (by leaps and bounds) the worst Oscar show I have seen in 25+ years, this was without a doubt, the most mind-numbingly tiresome telecast I have ever had the displeasure of sitting through. I haven’t seen any of what was being said this morning about the show (I am assuming they are all echoing my sentiments), but I wanted to make sure and put a bow on this baby and write some overall commentary about the evening – and let us promise to never speak of this ill-fated travesty again.

First, our hosts. This was an idiotic decision from Day #1. Did the producers really expect thousands of younger viewers to flock to their sets to sit and watch James Franco and Anne Hathaway? Both are terrific actors, but that is not the issue here. The issue is that although Hathaway was ready and game all night, her co-host looked completely disinterested and gave off the appearance of wanting to be anywhere but there. Hathaway tried her hardest, by golly! She was energetic, funny, prepared and looked thrilled to be there. It made for a very uneven and awkward chemistry every time the duo took the stage. Their skits were unimaginative and the few jokes (where were all the jokes???) they told were safe and trite. On top of boring, this was the unfunniest (I just made that a word) Oscar show ever. I expected a lot more from Franco and he disappointed in huge fashion. Huge.

And where the hell was all the glitz? The glamour? The romance of Hollywood? I saw none of it. Part of what makes Oscar night great is that it is a celebration of Tinseltown – old and new. Where were all the beautifully edited montages of films from yesteryear? They started with telling us that the Oscars started in 1929 and showed us a nice picture…and that was it. Did nothing with it. They started by showing us the famous illustration from Gone With the Wind…and that was it. Did nothing with it. There were no tributes paid to award-winning films from the past – and even the Honorary Award for the evening was rushed as our honorees were not even allowed to speak. The Tony Awards don’t do much right, but one thing they do is showcase their respective ‘Best Musical‘ nominees so that viewers can get a taste of what the show is about. After watching this Oscar telecast, I had no idea what any of the 10 nominated films were about. They could/should have at least displayed them to us so that those who missed a few could perhaps be enticed to see them. What did they do instead? When rattling off the names for all the ‘Best Picture’ nominees, we were treated to a poorly edited pastiche of them – without any of the actual sound! No, we got a monologue from (the now officially overrated) The King’s Speech to be the voiceover to it all. Painful.

Also, I always look forward to the moment when Hollywood pays respect to those artists we have lost during the past calendar year. It is a nice reminder and a gentle tribute. Forget that I had to sit and look at/listen to Celine Dion….there was no applause, no emotion…nothing. Even this staple of the evening was passed over and easily forgotten. Overall, the evening was really just presenters – most of whom have future films to pitch and sell us on – just coming up and giving out awards in very anti-climatic fashion. And with the exception of Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg (and of course Coppola who wasn’t allowed to talk), there were no Hollywood heavyweights to really speak of…no Jack, no Al, no Clint. No George, no Brad, no Johnny. No Meryl, no Julia, no Angelina. On a good note though, I did get to see Marisa, Scarlett, and Penelope so I am not complaining THAT much.

I won’t repeat myself with everything that was wrong with the 83rd Academy Awards. You can go to my Live Oscar Blogcast to see all of that. Suffice it to say that when the most exciting part of the evening is Melissa Leo dropping the F-bomb, something is terribly wrong.

Something needs to be done – and fast. This cannot be allowed to happen again. At the risk of sounding overly dramatic, this was nothing short of a disgrace. Someone knock on Billy Crystal’s front door and pay him. Drop a boat-wad of money at his doorstep and just pay the guy what he wants. Because the evening deserves much more than what we were witness to last night. And if Mr. Crystal is not willing, then fine. But you better pick a polished comedian – the perfect choice for an emcee at the Oscars. I know everyone is terrified of Ricky Gervais right now (who I think is simply brilliant and downright hysterical), but there’s one thing you can’t say about him – he sure ain’t boring!

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12 Responses to Oscar 2011 Post Mortem: One Giant SnoozeFest

  1. Richard says:

    Ugh. I’m no fan of the Oscars as you can see here http://celluloidzombie.com/2011/02/25/the-oscars-a-curmudgeons-view/ .

    I didn’t watch it but I’ve heard it was even more dismal than usual. Maybe next year they should just abandon the ceremony altogether and just do it all online. Then we can all be guests. Winners can do their acceptance speeches over Skype or something. 😉

    • I read your piece Richard — you bring up so many good points as to why you simply stay away from the Oscars. I can’t really argue with it — and yet, I feel compelled to watch them every year. You are a stronger man than I. And yes, the internet has changed things….it has ALWAYS been long though. This time it truly felt like it.

  2. Phil says:

    Well, I finally drudged thru it last night and I have to generally agree that the entire show was poorly conceived and executed. The Oscars are in a major need of a makeover. I know people are afraid to challenge tradition and the is a certain air of regality to this particular event, but they need to bring in a producer who’s not afraid to kill off some sacred cows and create an evening worth watching.

    I agree with the above poster that stated there was zero chemistry between Frano and Hathaway and yes, it really did seem like he was disinterested (and almost embossed) to be there.

    And for all the complaints about the telecast, the bottom line is the nominees themselves and they were pretty weak this year. The winners were predictable and there was little suspense in the proceedings. I don’t know, maybe the over-saturation of conjecture and speculation on the web (in addition to what? 200 preceding awards shows) have killed the excitement of what used to be a signature event for Hollywood.

    • Phil says:

      And of course I meant embarrassed not embossed; embossed implies three dimensions not garnered from the flat performance he gave.

    • You speak the truth. Theer ARE too many awards shows. I watch none of them, as you know. I watch one…the Oscars. Perhaps you are right…too many lessen the excitement. It is a good point. I also agree that the films and nominees of the past year were pretty weak. Nothing phenomenal stood out. Sorry you had to sit through it all. I warned ya! And yes, a makeover is a good thing….if done the right way and not for the sake of “change.”

  3. Dan says:

    Damn right. Just dull and boring. At least the weather comedians like Bill Crystal and Steve Martin write their own – decent – material. James Franco was terrible – ten times worse than Ricky Gervais by virtue of not really doing anything.

  4. John says:

    I think you nailed it in the last line. Ricky Gervais was the boogeyman who lurked behind the Oscars. People were so afraid of a repeat that any chance it had at all of being edgy or whatever flew out the window. Perhaps I’m reading too much into it but it sure seemed that way.

    (mind you, I’m not complaining about Gervais; I thought he was hilarious and anyone who’s ever seen 30 seconds of his work would realize the potential for what happened at the Golden Globes)

    Anyway, Rotten Tomatoes tweeted that Charlie Sheen should host next year and I love that idea.

    • Hdy, if Sheen hosted – think of the mega ratings the show would get! Perhaps they are thinking Dick Clark/Kirk Douglas. I do think people were scared because of the whole Gervais mess. I just think Franco didn’t give a shit and it clearly showed. If he couldn’t commit 100%, he should never have signed on. Letterman, Rock, and Stewart aren’t looking too shabby now are they?

  5. Castor says:

    This was the Oscars I expected on all levels, from being mind-numbingly boring and predictable to hosts that don’t know what they are doing and the weak attempts to woo the teen crowd (that autotune montage was funny, not gonna lie). James Franco was a major mistake, Anne Hathaway at least tried. Both had zero chemistry.

    • You are right on all counts. Read AM’s piece on FB earlier….I think the assessment from all is pretty much the same. Love what Ebert had to say about it to (“worst ever”). Ratings still went down. They need a major comeback next year.

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