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OSCAR REVIEW: 83rd Academy Award Recap

Winners and losers of the annual show (VIDEO)

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The 83rd annual Oscar’s didn’t have many surprises in terms of winners, but there were lots of humorous and heartwarming moments.

The show usually starts with a strong opening number with the host (or hosts) inserting themselves into the nominated pictures. Although their opening wasn’t as funny as the one Joel McHale did for the Spirit Awards the night before, it worked well. It was a nice touch having last year’s co-host Alec Baldwin pop up in it, as well as Morgan Freeman in an elevator, saying “They like me to narrate their dreams. They say my voice is soothing.”

It was the first time a man and woman had ever hosted the Oscar’s together (James Franco/Anne Hathaway) and they were also the youngest to host (they made a cute joke about appealing to a younger demographic). It would've been better if Franco, perhaps the most talented young actor working today, seemed a bit more interested in the hosting gig. Keeping with the tradition of the host singing a funny song (Billy Crystal was the king of those, and Hugh Jackman surprised many with his), Hathaway sang an ode to Jackman, with lyrics about how he was supposed to do a duet with her but cancelled.

When it came to the winners, Natalie Portman was predicted to win Best Actress for her powerful performance in Black Swan. Portman’s win kept Annette Bening, the former San Diegan, from winning on what was her fourth nomination with no gold statue, though Bening's co-star in The Kids Are All Right, Julianne Moore, was in more scenes (thus meaning Bening should’ve been up for Supporting, which she might have won).

Hailee Steinfeld, who a lot of people favored to win that Supporting Actress category, was in a similar boat. She was the main actress, not supporting. She ended up losing to Melissa Leo, the overbearing mom in The Fighter. Leo had been nominated a few years earlier for Frozen River and in this win, she had presenter Kirk Douglas pinch her to make sure she wasn’t dreaming. During her heartfelt speech, she ended up dropping the F-bomb as she said in reference to Cate Blanchett: “When I watched Cate two years ago, it looked so fucking easy.”

When her co-star Christian Bale won Best Supporting Actor, he said he wouldn’t curse the way she did. That was odd, considering he did a lot of cursing when he won the Golden Globe. He also did a lot of cursing when he yelled at that light man on the infamous clip from the set of the movie Terminator: Salvation. Bale not only mentioned the former boxer and crack addict he portrayed (Dicky Eklund) but gave a shout-out to his website. It was interesting to think that his late co-star in The Dark Knight, Heath Ledger, won the Oscar for the same category in 2008.

A lot of folks were upset that the documentary Exit Through the Gift Shop didn’t win; it gave Justin Timberlake (Social Network) a chance to joke on-stage “I am Banksy.” Right before the envelope was read, Timberlake also took a jab at 94-year-old Kirk Douglas, who in his heartfelt introduction to the Best Support Actress, never seemed to shut up. Inside Job won the Best Documentary, and winner Charles Ferguson said what was the only political type of statement: “Forgive me, I must start by pointing out that three years after our horrific financial crisis caused by financial fraud – not a single financial executive has gone to jail, and that’s wrong.”

And on the subject of finances, it’s amazing to think that The King’s Speech only cost $10 million to make, but made $250 million. The royalty didn’t reign as much as it could’ve at the Oscars. It was nominated for 12 and only won four. One of those was for director Tom Hooper, who in a ceremony where a lot of moms were involved or mentioned, said his mother saw an early reading of the play and called him saying “You’ve got your next movie.” Hooper ended by saying “So listen to your mothers!”

Best Actor was won by the king – Colin Firth – in a win everyone saw coming. Many thought he was robbed last year when Jeff Bridges won (more for a long career than the performance in Crazy Heart). Firth got a little emotional during his acceptance speech, and had a great line saying “I have a feeling my career just peaked.”

David Seidler won an Oscar for the screenplay he wrote,The King’s Speech. He was born in London in 1937, a year after George became the stuttering King, and at 16, when Seidler himself got rid of his stutter, he vowed to someday write about George.

Inception won the same total as King’s Speech – four statues (out of eight nominations). Not as impressive since they were all in technical categories: Visual Effects, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing (what’s the difference?), and Cinematography – the award most predicted going to Roger Deakins of True Grit.

The Oscars are also known for having a lot of big hair at the awards. The funniest was Helena Bonham Carter (who was actually better in Alice in Wonderland than the film she was nominated for).

Trent Reznor, the musical genius behind Nine Inch Nails (who has done a few film scores now), won for The Social Network.

Randy Newman, who I interviewed before a concert he did at Humphrey’s a few years ago, won his second statue for the song in Toy Story 3. It was one of the rare songs where he sang instead of talked the lyrics. He gave perhaps the funniest speech of the night, asking why only four songs were nominated. He said, “You found five cinematographers…you couldn’t find another song?”

The Oscars purposely showed fewer movie clips, which worked well in the interest of time. It seems that people that haven’t seen all the movies, though, enjoy getting to see a clip that can capture a performance that’s winning the prestigious award.

When the memorandum list rolled, Celine Dion sang live. It was a nice touch. Interesting that it’s the year Gloria Stuart (the oldest to ever win the Oscar for Titanic) passed away. It was also interesting that the Oscars learned nothing from last year, when they omitted Farrah Fawcett. This year, they left out Lisa Blount (An Officer and a Gentleman), Maria Schneider (Last Tango in Paris), Corey Haim (Lost Boys), and Peter Graves (Airplane!). They said last year Fawcett was known more for TV, and perhaps they’ll say the same thing about Graves. The problem is – he did 70 films! And even though Haim was doing reality shows and straight-to-video movies at the time of his death, he did some biggies (Lucas, Murphy’s Romance, License to Drive, etc). Former San Diegan Dennis Hopper was one of the biggest names on the deceased list this year.

Another local, former Patrick Henry High actress Annette Bening, introduced the Oscars that were given out the previous day. It was nice to see director-producer Francis Ford Coppola snag one, as well as film historian and preservationist Kevin Brownlow, and Eli Wallach – who is in his 90s (and was great in the underrated Ghost Writer from last year).

My biggest thrill of the evening was seeing God of Love win Best Short. It wasn’t favored, but was my favorite of the bunch. The last New Year’s Eve party I was at, I met a filmmaker named Mike Rossetti who is friends with filmmaker Luke Matheny. His dad was at the Oscar party I was at, and he got a text from his son during that win. It said “Last year I was watching the Oscars with him, now I’m watching him win one.” The dad looked at me and said “I responded ‘Next year, you!’” In Matheny’s acceptance speech, another mom got mentioned. He thanked her for doing craft services.

Last year Sandra Bullock won the Oscar and thanked her husband, motorcycle maker Jesse James. A month later he was cheating on her with a tattooed San Diego stripper. Just a month ago, he got engaged to tattoo reality star Kat Von D. Bullock gave a great introduction to the Best Actors, where she would humorously mention something about each of their performances. She called Jeff Bridges “Dude” and followed that with “How much is enough, huh?” Bridges gave similar introductions to the Best Actresses, and seeing their faces as he spoke was really touching.

Alice in Wonderland was one of my least favorite movies of the year, but it certainly deserved the two Oscars it won: Art Direction and Costume Design.

The Wolfman, a movie that was panned, won for Make-Up. Seeing the clips made me think about American Werewolf in London, and how innovative those special effects and make-up were in the early '80s.

I was rooting for The Way Back, because the actors in it really looked like they had been walking in the sun for two months straight.

When Steven Spielberg came out to announce the winner for Best Picture, he had an intro that was incredible. He mentioned a list of some classic movies that have won, and how the winner will go on that list. He also mentioned classic movies that didn’t win (Raging Bull, Citizen Kane, etc), and how the films that don’t win are in that list. The King’s Speech won.

Here’s the complete list of winners:

  1. Best Picture: "The King's Speech."
  2. Actor: Colin Firth, "The King's Speech."
  3. Actress: Natalie Portman, "Black Swan."
  4. Supporting Actor: Christian Bale, "The Fighter."
  5. Supporting Actress: Melissa Leo, "The Fighter."
  6. Directing: Tom Hooper, "The King's Speech."
  7. Foreign Language Film: "In a Better World," (Denmark).
  8. Adapted Screenplay: Aaron Sorkin, "The Social Network."
  9. Original Screenplay: David Seidler, "The King's Speech."
  10. Animated Feature Film: "Toy Story 3."
  11. Art Direction: "Alice in Wonderland."
  12. Cinematography: "Inception."
  13. Sound Mixing: "Inception."
  14. Sound Editing: "Inception."
  15. Original Score: "The Social Network," Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross.
  16. Original Song: "We Belong Together" from "Toy Story 3," (Randy Newman).
  17. Costume Design: "Alice in Wonderland."
  18. Documentary Feature: "Inside Job."
  19. Documentary (short subject): "Strangers No More."
  20. Film Editing: "The Social Network."
  21. Makeup: "The Wolfman."
  22. Animated Short Film: "The Lost Thing."
  23. Live Action Short Film: "God of Love."
  24. Visual Effects: "Inception."