Oscars 2012: Postmortem

And that’s a wrap! After a lengthy awards season and weeks of predictions, the 84th Academy Awards came and went at a fairly quick pace and with plenty of moments to smile about. I have to say, Billy Crystal is one hell of an entertainer and it was a complete joy to have him back as host; in fact, everything about the night was so classical.

From the beautiful set design to Crystal’s Bob Hope inspired suit, and just as I hoped, the producers did an excellent job at honoring this year’s nominees while also paying tribute to the history of movies. In particular, watching the many actors and actresses (from Clooney, to Pitt, to Mirren, to Streisand, and more!) talk about their memorable movie experiences was a perfect supporting bit and put a huge smile to my face.

As expected, Hugo dominated the technical categories and The Artist swept most of the major ones – both films took home 5 statues each – but the Academy even surprised us by giving Streep the Best Actress award;while I wished Mara or Davis won, Streep’s heartwarming speech won me over. Here’s more of my Oscar Recap:

–     Is there a better way to start anything in life than with the voice of Morgan Freeman? Having Morgan start the show and introduce Crystal’s opening was a perfect way to set the stage for a night all about the movies

–       Just as I thought, Crystal started the show with a video segment, hilariously putting himself into the Best Picture nominees; I particularly loved his kiss with The Descendant’sGeorge Clooney as well as his walking in on the ladies of Bridesmaids while they wereunleashing their food poisoning in the closet. Crystal also started the night with a musical number – it’s a shame the music was so loud and blocked out Crystal’s voice because the guy is a complete entertainer and killed it – I loved when he stopped the song and asked, “did you really think I wasn’t going to do this?” It was this constant self-awareness that made Crystal’s return such a joy

–       Crystal’s continuous riff on Kodak was hilarious (the company filed for chapter 11 and asked for its name to be removed from the theatre the Oscars have taken place in for the last decade); “We’re here in the Chapter 11 theatre” and “Your Name Here Theatre” had me laughing out loud; who knew Crystal had some Ricky Gervais in him?

–       I loved the montage of great movie moments but seriously? Edward and Bella kissing from Twilight? I realize it’s a super popular franchise but in no way does it have to grace the Oscar screen

–       Crystal continued entertaining throughout the night, especially with his continual riff at Martin Scorsese who surprised everyone by making a family film with Hugo; Crystal’s constant banter about the lack of violence in the kid friendly picture was pretty funny

–       As I said before, the actors reflecting on their early movie going experiences was a really great addition to the telecast. It not only got me thinking about my movie going experiences, but it pretty much confirmed that even with all this star power, our favorite actors are personable and pretty much awesome people

–       The standing ovation for Octavia Spencer was equal parts heartwarming and equal parts well deserved; it was obvious she was going to win, but the fact that her peers love and respect her as much as we do was great to see

–       The Christopher Guest team’s Focus Group segment was hilarious and surprising! Their comical misinterpretation of The Wizard of Oz was so funny and made me think one thing – when will these people do a movie together again?

–       The acrobatic performance by Cirque du Soleil was pretty thrilling but does it really need to be in the Oscar telecast? I guess they need something to keep us awake throughout the 3 hour show and I suppose this one exciting way to do it

–       “… And black men get to be donkeys and zebras..” Chris Rock on Animated Vocal Roles while presenting the award for Best Animated Feature

–       Melissa McCarthy is brilliant! Riffing on her airplane scene in Bridesmaids with Billy Crystal was so awesome – it reminded me of how good she was in the film and how good she can be all the time; she has a bright comedic future, no doubt

–       While I can see some finding her supporting bit somewhat annoying, I kind of loved Emma Stone’s purposefully clumsy rant about being new to the Oscars and trying way to hard as a first-time presenter – in fact, her grilling of Ben Stiller’s decision to dress up inAvatar makeup when he presented the award two years ago was a nice added touch

–       Another standing ovation, this time for Christopher Plummer – it’s great to see a veteran being cheered on by his peers. He’s not only the oldest Oscar winner ever but this was also, surprisingly, his first win – it’s about time! I loved his speech too, in particular his opening line: “You’re only two years older than me darling, where have you been all my life?”

–        The Descendants writer Jim Rash making fun of Angelina Jolie’s leg was pretty brilliant – I thought the same exact thing when Jolie made sure to stick out her leg and give all of America a flashy shot of her “every man wants this” and “every women wants to be this” frame.

–       Is there anything not to love about the women of BRIDESMAIDS? – To see all of the women on stage was a reminder of how great the movie was and how great the future of female comedy will be; Wiig and Rudolph’s innuendos were a naughty surprise and McCarthy bringing back the “Martin Scorsese Drinking Game” that she started at the SAG Awards was hilarious as it was brilliant.

–       As expected, Dujardin took the Oscar for Best Actor, and his speech was like every speech he’s made thus far – charming and funny; I really enjoyed his opening line: “I love your country” HAHA who wouldn’t after winning one of the film industry’s biggest awards, and over Clooney too!

–       When Streep was announced as Best Actress I was actually shocked! I thought that this would definitely be Voila Davis’ year and while it would have been lovely to see Davis win, and while Iron Lady is no where near Streep’s best performance, there’s just something about Streep, and her speech too, that is and was so lovely – she’s the actress of her generation and seeing her win her Oscar (which she even said might be her last but let’s face it, it probably isn’t, right?) was not as painful as I thought it would be

The Complete Winner’s List:

  • Cinematography – Hugo
  • Art Direction – Hugo
  • Costume Design – The Artist
  • Makeup – The Iron Lady
  • Best Foreign Language Film – A Separation
  • Best Supporting Actress – Octavia Spencer, The Help
  • Film Editing – Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
  • Sound Editing – Hugo
  • Sound Mixing – Hugo
  • Best Documentary – Undefeated
  • Best Animated Feature – Rango
  • Best Visual Effects – Hugo
  • Best Supporting Actor – Christopher Plummer, Beginners
  • Best Music Score – The Artist
  • Best Original Song – “Man Or Muppet”, The Muppets
  • Best Adapted Screenplay – The Descendants
  • Best Original Screenplay – Midnight in Paris
  • Best Short Film – The Shore
  • Best Doc, Short Subject – Saving Face
  • Best Animated, Short Film – The Fantastic Flying Books of Morris Lessmore
  • Best Director – Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist
  • Best Actor – Jean Dujardin, The Artist
  • Best Actress – Meryl Streep, The Iron Lady
  • Best Picture- The Artist

As expected, Hugo dominated many of the technical awards while The Artist easily won three of the nights biggest prized – Actor, Director, and Picture. It’s a shame The Tree of Life lost Best Cinematography since it really is one of the most beautifully shot films ever put to screen, but in the year of The Artist I guess it never stood a chance. Also, bravo to the Academy for honoring The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo for best editing – a surprising, but totally deserving choice; the opening sequence of the film alone was enough proof to give these editors an Oscar. I was also surprised that Paradise Lost 3, the riveting documentary about the West Memphis 3 trials, lost to Undefeated (a film I’ll have to see now!).

Host: A (Nice to have you back, Billy!)

Awards: A (hey, they were pretty much what we expected and we still got a nice shock that, since it was Streep, was perfectly justified – what’s not to love?)

Overall Grade: A!! (Listen, it’s not going to go down as one of the best Oscar telecasts ever, but it was definitely a great 3 hour show with solid aspects all around – this is how the Oscars are done Hathaway and Franco, take note!)

Out of the 6 major categories, I’m happy to say that I predicted all but one correct (damn you, Meryl Streep!) – not too bad don’t you think? Were you just as happy with this year’s Oscars? Were you equally surprised that Streep took Best Actress? Anyone else feel bad for Viola Davis? Is The Artist really the Best Picture of the year? Sound off below, I’d love to hear what you think!

Article by Zack Sharf

Syndicated from www.sharfatthemovies.wordpress.com

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