It Happened One Night

Anne Hathaway and James Franco at the 2011 Oscars

… and it was terrible.

That’s right, I’m talking about the 83rd Academy Awards.

For once, I don’t really have a problem with who took home Oscar gold this past Sunday. I didn’t pay as much attention to the smaller, technical categories as I usually do, and the major categories all went as predicted, with the exception of Tom Hooper’s well-deserved upset for Best Director. Anyway, what really went wrong wasn’t the awards – it was the telecast.

Let me explain. If people just wanted to know which movies and performances were the best of the best, well, an awards show like the Golden Globe circa the writers’ strike is fine. The Academy Awards are so much more. I’ve been watching them since I can remember, and to me, the Oscars are all about entertainment, glamour, the moment. I don’t know how else to explain it, but it’s a tradition I cherish.

But this year, it was pretty awful. Which is a shame, since it started so promisingly:

… well, actually Mark Wahlberg tried to warn us, and it’s not like Alec Baldwin was that great of a host last year. Sigh.

The ceremony was entertaining, but for all of the wrong reasons. If you didn’t watch, well, I can’t explain how awkward it was. (I’m sure my tweets may have helped.) I guess that’s what happens when at least one of your two hosts is under the influence (I’m talking about you, James Franco).

Besides the predictable awards and the miscasting of the hosts, I think the problem with the telecast is that it doesn’t know how to change. The Academy is always toying around with their production, like when they gave out technical awards in the aisles or the last couple of years when they had multiple presenters for the acting categories. Both of these changes were terrible. I guess they were meant to quicken the pace of the show, or build the drama.

This year, like Hathaway and Franco facetiously reminded us during their opening, was all about appealing the “young and hip crowd”. Which obviously explains why the presenters were constantly giving the audience history lessons about the technology behind movies. (Did you know that movies didn’t always have sound? Me either!) Or you know, auto-tune the most memorable scenes from… Twilight? It was like a bad SNL short. And since I’m such a traditionalist, I was pretty disappointed they didn’t show montages of the Best Picture nominees throughout the show. Not only do I love montages, but it almost lets you forget why you’re watching in the first place.

At least Anne Hathaway looked pretty, right?

The 83rd Academy Awards were memorable, but I wish I could forget them. The Academy better step it up, because the 85th Oscars, well, that’s a pretty big milestone. Find a formula, pick one host, and stick to it. Just don’t ask Franco back, okay?

~ Sarah