' ' Cinema Romantico: Logging The 83rd Academy Awards

Monday, February 28, 2011

Logging The 83rd Academy Awards

The Academy Awards are always a big deal at Cinema Romantico's house but the 2011 edition was made an even bigger deal because 1.) Cinema Romantico had someone for whom he was openly rooting and 2.) One of Cinema Romantico's oldest and best friends was in Chicago this weekend and, thus, able to join me in watching the ceremony much like we used to do every year back in the days of yore (i.e. six years ago).

The questions were bountiful! Would James Franco & Anne Hathaway live up to my high expectations as hosts? Would the person for whom I was openly rooting (let's call her Natalie) earn victory so I could rub it in the faces of all the haters? Would one of my oldest and best friends (let's call her Nicolle) become upset when we reached the inevitable point in the evening when I forced her to watch Lady Gaga on DVR? Roll the tape!

5:57 PM (CST): I typically do not watch the pre-gala, red carpet brou ha ha but Nicolle is all about the gre-gala, red carpet brou ha ha which is why we find ourselves watching a woefully un-prepared Ryan Seacrest (seriously, half the time this guy had no idea why the people he was interviewing were even there) interview actors and actresses trying to get the heck inside the building. It is also at this point I learn that the odds one of the major winners of the evening will cry is going off at 3/2 which must mean that the odds of whatever major winners of the evening cry get mocked tomorrow morning are going off at 1/1.

6:25: It turns out feathers are currently a major fashion trend. Nicolle confirms this. I had no idea. I am so uncool.

6:58: First Natalie Portman sighting! She looks insanely nervous which just makes me insanely nervous which means it's time for the first Sierra Nevada of the evening. (Champagne is on standby for when the Best Actress category is announced but we're getting way ahead of ourselves.)

7:25: Halle Berry literally just called herself "a slave to fashion." I am so not going there.

7:33: Our hosts for the evening, James Franco and Anne Hathaway, are in the midst of an "Inception" spoof when Alec Baldwin (one of last year's hosts) turns up and drops the line "ambien juicebox." Classic.

7:37: Now James and Anne are in the midst of a "Back to the Future" spoof. They climb into the DeLorean and rocket to the Academy Awards and for a moment I think they might actually drive a DeLorean on to the stage......but no. If you're gonna go for it, go all the way.

7:41: Anne Hathaway just dropped the line "dancing lesbians." It wasn't so much the line as the unbridled enthusiasm with which she said it. I think she's funny.

Anne Hathaway & The Male Lady Gaga
7:43: First awards of the night. "Alice in Wonderland" gets Art Direction and "Inception" gets Cinematography (i.e. Roger Deakins will never win).

7:51: Is it just me or is James Franco's smile totally insincere? Like, a meta smirk?

7:52: Kirk Douglas up to present for Best Supporting Actress who, at the ripe old age of, what, 94, goes way off script and appears to admit to having the hots for Anne Hathaway before eventually (which is the key word) presenting the Oscar to Melissa Leo for "The Fighter" who campaigned so actively and relentlessly on behalf of herself that I would have figured she'd practiced her speech about 350 times but gets so flustered she drops what I believe to be the first F-bomb I've ever heard at the Academy Awards (time delay!) and then departs the stage with Kirk Douglas, who has his arm around her, apparently, as Nicolle points out, trying to feel her up. Although you can't blame him. The woman's using his cain. He needs some support there. That was all just....wild. I'm so confused. Time for another Sierra Nevada.

8:07: Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis turn up to present Best Animated Feature and Kunis has officially earned Cinema Romantico's 2nd Best 83rd Academy Awards Dress, a dress best described as being (ahem) "Boob Enhancing." Anyway..."Toy Story 3" wins Animated Feature and, honestly, this might be the only pick I get right all night. My picks were kind of purposely ridiculous but still.

8:13: Best Adapted Screenplay. David Lindsay Abaire ("Rabbit Hole") is currently at home with Cool Ranch Dorito crumbs all down his sweatshirt. Not that I'm bitter. Aaron Sorkin, as expected, wins for "The Social Network" and actually gives a fairly classy speech. Throwing out Paddy Chayefsky's name first-thing was a nice touch. David Fincher, however, director of "The Social Network", looks pissed off to be there.

8:18: Best Original Screenplay goes to David Siedler for "The King's Speech." Somewhere Christopher Hitchens just took another shot of vodka. Siedler opens: "The writer's speech. This is terrifying." Nice.

8:24: Potbelly sandwiches & Anne Hathaway singing!

8:25: James Franco turns up in drag which is actually completely perfect because earlier in the day I was trying to pitch to Nicolle the idea that James Franco, with his never-ending schedule, is like a male Lady Gaga.

8:32: Best Supporting Actor goes to Christian Bale for "The Fighter". Everything's playing to form. This is a good sign for Natalie Portman even if it might make for an uneventful evening otherwise. And I'm pretty sure Bale was the first major winner of the evening to get a little misty-eyed. And if you mock him he'll kick your ass.

8:40: Anne Hathaway introduces Hugh Jackman by saying "The wolve to my rine." Did anyone else find this as funny as me?

8:41: Jackman & Nicole Kidman take the stage to present Best Music Score and so I will take this moment to plug the first hour-and-forty-five minutes of "Australia" which I happen to think is certifiably brilliant. And no, Kidman haters, I don't care if her forehead doesn't move.

8:44: Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross win Best Score for "The Social Network." My friend Matt texts me: "Do you think he's going to f--- that Oscar like an animal?" Do you think if I forwarded this text to James Franco he'd say it on the air?

8:45: David Fincher still looks pissed.

8:46: Let's make it official - Cinema Romantico's Best 83rd Academy Awards Dress goes to Scarlett Johansson.

Apparently Scarlett Johansson is turning up on the Worst Dressed List the morning after so perhaps she'll take solace in the fact Cinema Romantico, fashion mogul, names it Dress Of The Night.
8:56: "The Wolfman" wins for Best Makeup (ye gods! I got that right!) and Rick Baker & Dave Elsey give, possibly, the best acceptance speech of the night. Short, classy, funny, genuine.

9:02: Via video President Barack Obama gives a shout out to "Casablanca." And just like that he gets my vote again in 2012.

9:28: Old school Oscar host Billy Crystal shows up to toss off a few bad-to-semi-decent one liners. Call me crazy, since I am, but I'll take Anne Hathaway's annunciation of "dancing lesbians" over Billy Crystal one-liners from now 'til the end of time.

9:31: The newly Sienna-less Jude Law turns up with Robert Downey Jr. to present Best Visual Effects (which goes to "Inception") and Nicolle declares them to be the "Presenters of the night." I cannot disagree.

9:36: Best Editing to "The Social Network." David Fincher is still pissed.

9:41: Nicolle makes the observation of the night and it is this: that James Franco is not actually hosting but playing a part (perhaps that of "Oscar Host"?) that he will dissect in the class he's teaching at Columbia College. I mean, really, is this how he was acting in rehearsals? Were the producers watching and going, "Oh my God, we're screwed"? I don't think so. I think he probably nailed it in rehearsals, just to throw 'em off the scent, and then threw the actual set because Oscar hosts always get backlash and he needed the backlash to properly teach the course.

9:43: Florence of Florence + Machine turns up to sing but doesn't sing one of her own songs as I'd hoped. Boo. Then we have to listen to Gwyneth Paltrow sing a song that has waaaaaaaaaaaay too many syllables in every line. Who the hell wrote that thing? Randy Newman wins Best Song and then kinda mocks the Academy in regards to only four nominees in his category as opposed to the traditional five by saying "They couldn't find a fifth song?" to which I say "Randy, I'm stunned they could find four. Shut it and move along."

10:01: Anne Hathaway keeps wooing. Every time she introduces someone she woos. She's such a Woo Girl. Franco's going to get mocked for being too insincere and Hathaway's going to get mocked for being too sincere. Mark it down. No one should ever host because you just can't win.

10:03: Tom Hooper wins Best Director for "The King's Speech." David Fincher's still pissed, but Hooper's speech, whether you wanted him to win or not (and I, as we all know too well, was an Aronofsky - who had no chance - man), gives a good speech, touching on fate and the rewards of "listening to your mother."

10:07: Francis Ford Coppola & Jean Luc Godard (who isn't actually at the ceremony), slightly important figures in the cinema, get, oh, roughly, 17 seconds of screen time. But thank the heavens we got to listen to Mandy Moore & "Chuck" sing whatever song that was they sang. So unbelievable I don't even want to discuss it further.

10:12: And now it's arrived. Best Actress. The only one that's really mattered in this house all night. Jeff Bridges presenting. Bottle of Vueve de Vernay now outta the fridge and at the ready. Bridges opens the envelope. And I actually am stricken with terror for that brief moment where he dramatically pauses. But then he says the magic words I've been waiting to hear since Sunday evening December 5, 2010. And, thus, for the rest of her life, like it or not, Natalie Portman's named will be preceded by Academy Award Winner.

"Thor", starring Academy Award Winner Natalie Portman. Late yesterday afternoon Academy Award Winner Natalie Portman gave birth to a beautiful baby (boy/girl). "Table for two?" "Certainly. What's the name?" "Academy Award Winner Natalie Portman." And so on.

"I was wondering if I could change the name on my passport to read Academy Award Winner Natalie Portman?"
And then I have to pause the DVR after Natalie's speech (in which she impressively kept composed despite listing about half-a-thousand names and, by the way, she can list any name she wants because it's her moment, not yours) because Nicolle and I find ourselves in the midst of what we'll dub The Natalie Portman Oscar Champagne Fiasco, which is to say I cannot get the damn cork popped. (Perhaps this is a good moment to tell the ladies I bench press a cool 17.) I try and then Nicolle tries and then I try again and finally I have to soak a dish towel and wrap it around the cork and yank on it and then it pops and I spill champagne on my floor and by the time we have composed ourselves after the ridiculousness of The Natalie Portman Oscar Champagne Fiasco, and toasted to her Oscar, and sat back down, well, Colin Firth winning Best Actor for "The King's Speech" and "The King's Speech" winning Best Picture really don't interest me at all. I'm hardly even paying attention. But I think that's about right.

I know a lot of people who check in with this blog from time to time weren't as brazen about Natalie's work in "Black Swan" as I was and that's completely cool. But I ask you to consider this: How often does your favorite performance - literally, your favorite performance - of the year win the Oscar? Not often, right? Maybe never. My favorite performance last year was Kelly Macdonald in "The Merry Gentleman", a performance I cherished just as much as I cherished Portman as Nina Sayers, and I'm still convinced only 39 other people in America even saw that movie. It never even had a chance to be nominated for an Oscar, let alone win. Uma lost to Weist, Kate The Great lost to Hunt, Amy Ryan lost to Tilda Swinton, Johnny Depp never really had a prayer for the first "Pirates of the Caribbean", Billy Crudup's never even been nominated, and none of that really matters because that validation shouldn't be and isn't necessary but, you know, I'm not gonna lie, it was nice. It was nice to see my favorite performance win. It was nice to see Natalie Portman beam up there onstage. I was so happy for her. Natalie Portman in "Black Swan" is why I go to the movies. The girl acted her ass off and I'll defend her to the death if she starts popping up on those Who Didn't Deserve Their Oscar lists 10 years from now. I hope she soaks it in for all its freaking worth because she deserves it. James Franco & Anne Hathaway may have been disappointing and the entire telecast may have been entirely predictable and a little boring but I got to watch it with one of my best friends and Natalie Portman won so yeah......pretty good Oscars. Pretty good Oscars.

The Natalie Portman Oscar Champagne.


Jacob said...

Conan O'Brien tweeted during the red carpet. "I'm a little disappointed in the womb that Natalie Portman's baby chose to wear."

That is funny stuff.

Wretched Genius said...

Hathaway tried so hard, but all the effort in the world could not have kept the show afloat with the leaden anchor that was James Franco. I hope they bring her back next year, but pair her with someone who can match her showmanship. Like Hugh Jackman, with whom she obviously has good comedic chemistry. Or if the producers still insist on aiming for the younger crowd, get the boundless ball of energy that is Joseph Gordon Levitt (Exhibit A).

David Fincher and Roger Deakins will never win an Oscar. This year confirms it. The Academy actively hates them.

Castor said...

These Oscars were pretty on-par with previous years outings, which means pretty freaking terrible. That's par for the course. James Franco obviously didn't want to be there while Anne Hathaway at least tried. Not gonna lie, I liked that autotune montage, that was sadly the best thing of the night.

Nick Prigge said...

James Franco was baffling. Anne Hathaway kept pulling him on the arm, like she was trying to pull him back into reality, like "We're at the Oscars! What are you doing?!" So weird.

I keep thinking Robert Downey Jr. would make a great host but I don't know. They might reign him in and, anyway, I wonder if in reality it's just an impossible gig.

Wretched Genius said...

I still think Jon Stewart was a great host. He kept his jokes fast and sharp, and was kindhearted enough to let Markéta Irglová come back onstage and give her thanks after the orchestra cut off her acceptance speech.

Derek Armstrong said...

I know it's Thursday and by now, everyone has already forgotten we even had an Academy Awards over the weekend, but I just wanted to say that this piece was a joy to read. As you know, how you felt about Natalie was how I felt about Trent. Shouldn't Trent Reznor collaborate with Aronofsky at some point? In fact, shouldn't they have already collaborated?

I agree with you about Australia.

I forgot to mention the "slave to fashion" quip in my own piece. Shocking.

I had something else to say, but I can't remember what it was, and, whoa, look there, it's the end of my workday.

Nick Prigge said...

Kind words. It's appreciated. I know these Oscars took a lot of flak, and rightfully so, but, you know, for reasons outlined above, these Oscars will be very fondly remembered by me.

Trent Reznor and Darren Aronofsky should so toally collaborate! "Wolverine 2", perhaps?

And I honestly thought I was the only "Australia" proponent on earth. Thank you. A thousand times, thank you.

Derek Armstrong said...

The only reason I can figure for why Australia received such lambasting is that there was a groundswell of teasing that reached a critical mass, such that the common impression eventually came to be that it sucked. Okay, so there's a scene where a shirtless Hugh Jackman gets drenched by water. That kind of scene is SUPPOSED to be in a movie like this -- it's an old-fashioned frontier adventure. If you were expecting gritty realism from Baz Luhrmann, you were expecting the wrong thing.