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Oscars Get Two Thumbs Down

It has become a national pastime in this country to slam or praise big time awards shows a day after they air. Since we tend to skew on the cynical side it is much easier and often much more fun to partake in the former.  Unfortunately, last nights 83rd Academy Awards left much to be desired.

Despite their best efforts, James Franco and Anne Hathaway fell flat hosting the Oscars. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

The most obvious place to start is with the hosts.  I am a fan of Anne Hathaway and thought she tried her heart out to make the show entertaining.  On the other hand James Franco was a bore.  He sucked the life out of the room, and by dressing in drag he had to scrape the bottom of the barrel to try and get a laugh.  Melissa Leo’s impromptu f bomb was the most buzz worthy moment of the evening.  Kirk Douglass made a slight fool of himself, but he is a legend and has earned that right.  It took a lot of guts for him to get on that stage with millions of people watching worldwide.

I get that the ABC and the Academy were trying to appeal to a younger demographic, but give me a proven comedian or performer.  I suppose you can go to the Billy Crystal or Alec Baldwin well so many times, but there is a reason those guys have hosted the Oscars multiple times (THEY ARE FUNNY!!!).  The night is pretentious enough, and there are certain people who can poke holes in the Hollywood bubble and make the event relatable to middle America.

I understand the Golden Globes don’t have the prestige of the Oscars, but I find the Golden Globes telecast more entertaining.  It is a much more laid back atmosphere, and the Hollywood Foreign Press doesn’t seem to take itself as seriously at the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences.  I actually preferred Ricky Gervais’s ruthless roasting of the Hollywood elite to James Franco’s dull wit.  I don’t think the guy said more than five sentences the entire night.

Despite the dullness of the evening, I was locked it for the final hour or so to see who won the big awards.  Once you get past the technical awards and the movies no one has ever heard of the event gets pretty intense.  There were virtually no surprises in the major categories.  The King’s Speech had all the momentum and  Natalie Portman was considered a lock for her portrayal as a tortured ballerina in The Black Swan. To Portman’s credit she was very humble and gracious in her acceptance speech.  There is nothing more annoying than a self-important actor, director, or writer rambling on about the importance of their work.  Yes, the creative process of making a powerful movie can enrich our lives, but movies don’t prevent war, famine, or disease.

I like movies as much as I like sports or music.  Life can be awfully mundane and tedious so I am incredibly grateful for compelling entertainment.  Whether it’s a championship game, moving film, or great album I am for anything that provides an escape, however temporary it may be, from real life.  I just hope ABC and The Academy come to their good senses and get proven performers to host the event from here on out.

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