Oh, dear. That show just wasn't very good, was it?
It started promisingly enough. Neil Patrick Harris (on whom, full disclosure, I have a wee bit of a crush) has apparently been crowned the awards show go-to guy, and he sang a peppy and wry opening number. "Wow," thought I, "an unannounced additional host. This should be fun. He was great at the Emmys."
And that was the end of that. Out came Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin, who decided that "Borscht Belt" was the inspiration for their patter. It felt like they were running on fumes from the get-go, and the show was just lifeless. Tina Fey and Robert Downey, Jr., and Ben Stiller provided a few moments of genuine humor, but that was about it. And whoever was in charge of the sound should be sacked, since from my TV it sounded like they were recording in my old high school gymnasium.
I am thrilled that they finally got rid of most of those horrible montages. (That salute to horror films felt a week bit schizophrenic, what with there being lots of clips that weren't from horror films.) Now that that's taken care of, can we also do away with the ridiculous dance numbers? The troupe who performed during the Best Original Score medley are, I'm sure, incredibly talented when performing on their own terms. When attempting to convey bomb defusing in a war zone to a minimalist score, maybe popping and locking isn't the best approach?
As for the awards themselves, I am pleased enough. Not-Avatar won, y'all! It began to look like not the best night for Avatar when it lost the sound awards, which were precisely the kind of awards one would have expected it to take home. And, considering that The Hurt Locker won both Best Screenplay and Best Director, it makes sense that it would also take Picture. (Now, of course, I will have to see it.)
The acting awards were no surprise, but I hated the way they changed the presentation. Instead of having past winners presenting to this year's nominees and praising their particular performances, they had actors who simply knew them come out and say nice things about them in general. It felt more vague and cheesy than last year. (Also, they couldn't rustle up someone who knew Colin Firth better than Julianne Moore, who apparently has only spent a few days in his company?)
I hate to say it, but nothing from the clips for The Blind Side said "Oscar-worthy" about Sandra Bullock's performance. It seemed very Standard Sandra Bullock. However, she was so gracious and funny during her acceptance speech (the best of the evening) that I can't begrudge her win, and I am willing to forgive her (but ONLY her) for the existence of Crash.
On the subject of acceptance speeches, however, I'd like to close by asking what the hell was up with the Best Documentary Short winners? It will be too tedious and difficult to explain the acceptance speech to people who didn't watch, but it involved a strange, graceless woman commandeering the mic, and I can only assume she was one of the film-makers. However, the man who first took the stage to accept the award seemed distinctly non-plussed when she barreled over to the mic, and they seemed decidedly non-collegial. It was odd, watching Hollywood's brightest stars feeling collectively embarrassed for someone.
Anyhow, it was just a flat flop of a show. Please, please, AMPAS... pay Tina Fey whatever she wants to host next year. Steve Martin had one good year hosting, and now two duds. For an evening as bloated as the show inevitably ends up being, a good host needs to do something to disguise that feeling. Last night, they only made it worse.
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