This year has arguably not been a great one for film.
Yes, there were a fair amount of hits like The Social Network, Inception and the critically, yet not commercially successful King’s Speech. Overall though, not Hollywood’s finest. In my opinion the idea that in economic downturn, movies reveal their best, did not apply. Which in turn, I believe to have been reflected by the Oscars. Let’s start with the hosts.
Now, I am a huge James Franco fan. There is no denying that he is a greatly talented actor. His portrayal of figures like Aaron Ralston, James Dean and even Harry Osborne could not go unnoticed, with the first gaining Franco a nomination. However, one’s talent on the screen does not always translate as well in a live performance. In my opinion, Franco was dull, recited his lines in a sleepy fashion and did not give the impression that he wanted to be there. Perhaps it was the nerves, or maybe that’s just him, but I was expecting more from Franco. Anne Hathaway on the other hand was pure delight. She is a true natural on stage, showcasing her past in the performing arts with her enthusiasm, charismatic deliveries and of course, singing voice. I almost felt bad for her, because she was forced to pick up Franco’s pieces, which at times, made her come across as overly dramatic, and phony. Nonetheless, I feel that she did a fantastic job. Additionally, the cold, prerecorded opening was hilarious. Combining this year’s films with smart writing, good editing, and even some cameos from stars like Alec Baldwin and Morgan Freeman, this video was definitely one of the night’s highlights.
As for the awards, well, I was less surprised by the winners then I was by the disappointed of the hosts. This year consisted of many shoe-ins, including Colin Firth, Natalie Portman, and King’s Speech for Best Picture, all which won, and I fully agree with. Firth’s portrayal of King George VI was a performance that will go down in history. He put on a regal accent, a painful stutter, and a brash temper, while also being able to reveal a weaker, more vulnerable side only visible to the Queen. This aspect of the performance can be viewed as Firth cries “I’m not a king” repeatedly through tears. Portman’s depiction of an innocent, fragile, and tortured ballet dancer was by far the performance of the year. Aside from her year of training, Portman was able to make you get annoyed by Nina, her character, in addition to pitying and admiring her.
The major award which I disagree with strongly was in the Best Original Screenplay category. The winner of course went to The King’s Speech, yet I believe that this should have been awarded to Christopher Nolan for Inception. Yes, King’s Speech was an incredible tale. It had friendship, love, power, family issues, and overcoming obstacles, making for one feel good movie. The lines delivered by Firth and Geoffrey Rush were quick, smart and wonderful. However, this was a nice film, it had a beautifully told plot, yet not very creative, especially because of the fact that this was based on truth. Additionally, I feel as if these lines would have been nothing without Firth’s and Rush’s deliveries. Inception on the other hand was one of the most spectacularly imaginative and creatively written movies which I have ever seen. Its story, while it has been unfairly compared to The Matrix, was a new creation, unlike anything else. Nolan worked on this script and its production for about 10 years, perfecting it until it reached its best state. Also, Inception proved that one of the highest grossing films of all time can still have an immensely powerful story in addition to jaw-dropping effects.
Overall, I felt that the award show was not well directed. Though the stage design may have been beautiful, the camera angles and cut-a ways were untimely. And again, the hosts felt forced, and awkward, almost as if this was there first time together. With barely time spent on joke telling, and too much time spent on Kirk Douglas, this show just didn’t work. One last note, my favorite part of the night was Billy Crystal’s cameo. He is what Oscars truly is, and he is a natural on that stage. I’m hoping that he will make a great return hosting for the 85th Academy Awards.
Rebecca Porath is a student at Clarkstown North High School in New City.