Awards in mediocrity: Oscars don’t reflect culture



by Colin Walsh

The telecast of the 83rd Annual Academy Awards ceremony was an example of extreme mediocrity. From who won, to the skits and acceptance speeches; it was a cut right down the middle between good and bad.

James Franco and Anne Hathaway were respectful and talented hosts, but most of their material, from the Alec Baldwin opening skit to Franco putting on a dress for an awkward minute, was clunky and often not funny at all. The best moments seemed to be ad-libs. Franco’s relaxed, almost THC-laden, quips about sexually suggestive movie titles — “How to train your dragon? That’s disgusting” — were probably the best comedy of the night. That and Kirk Douglas’ witty antics. And that’s saying a lot if you count up all the lengthy skits.

Addressing the awards: The story of the night is that David Fincher and “The Social Network” was snubbed by the Academy in three categories many believe it should have owned. I am one of that crowd, and I truly believe that it deserved the award for editing, best picture and best director. “The King’s Speech” and  “The Social Network” are about as opposite as you can get on the culturally relevant scale, and it’s almost as if the Academy is once again making a statement about what kind of movies they value — the (slightly) portentous, British kind.

Social media was abuzz with some pretty outrageous statements after the final award was given out. One of my favorites was one disgruntled viewer remarking, “King’s Speech Oscar wins build compelling case against letting old people vote on things.”

And how about the movie montage at the end before the award for Best Picture was announced? I think it’s a bit curious that Colin Firth from eventual winner, “The King’s Speech,” was narrating it. The night was all but predictable, especially after the film editing award went to “The King’s Speech.” And who didn’t know Colin Firth was getting that award? Even fellow nominee and co-host Franco acknowledged that Firth was going to win.

Where the Academy didn’t fail was in its recognition of “Inception,” which took home four Oscars for technical prowess (cinematography, visual effects, sound editing and sound mixing). Speaking of which, there were several instances where the technical aspects of film making were acknowledged, and I’m sure that many in Hollywood were happy about that.

One is left wondering if the tone of this mellow, reserved and ultimately mediocre night, which ended with a public school choir gleefully reciting “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” had anything to do with Ricky Gervais’ train wreck at the Golden Globes. Or maybe it’s just the Academy trying to distance themselves from what modern American entertainment, and communication, has become.