The 83rd Academy Awards were not so "young and hip" after all, more like "geriatric and limping along." But even though the show dragged and Oscar co-host James Franco may have wished he were cutting off his arm instead, we found a few "bests" out of the show. No one gets a lovely gold statuette, just our honest thanks for not boring us to tears for a moment or two.
At 94, Kirk Douglas proved he can still get a laugh and a date! Douglas presented the Best Supporting Actress award and made all the nominees sweat -- and then laugh -- by repeatedly starting a new thought with "You know...". Now that's a way to amp up the suspense when the winner (Melissa Leo) is a sure thing. While on stage, he also managed to make Anne Hathaway blush and flirted with Leo, who asked him, "What are you doing later?"
Best Supporting Actress winner Melissa Leo proved she's just as brassy as her 'The Fighter' mom by dropping the f-bomb on live television. Thank goodness for that delay! She already looked stunned at her win, despite being the frontrunner, but her reaction when she realized she made Oscar history was priceless. That's the kind of spontaneity and OMG moment that the rest of the show was sorely lacking. We also loved when she waved to the people in the balcony.
BEST MOMENT: Opening segment
Sure, the 'Social Network' segment was flat, but the 'Inception' spoof was a hoot, so was Anne winking at Colin Firth in 'The King's Speech' and telling him, "I have good news from the future. Microphones get smaller." And Anne convinced us she could have nailed the trash-talking Boston bartender role of Charlene nearly as well as Amy Adams in 'The Fighter' segment. And Natalie Portman definitely seemed to wincing (along with viewers) over Anne's pained "dance of the Brown Duck." And now we have a new phrase: "You just got Inceptioned!"
Christian Bale's acceptance speech was heartfelt and humble (he even poked fun at his own f-bomb-dropping past), but he seemed to forget his wife Sibi's name! He remembered to direct viewers to dickeklund.com, but not the name of the mother of his child? Never mind, he rallied with a sweet tribute, in which he called her, "my mast through the storms in life."
WORST MOMENT: Scarlett Johnansson's hair
We love a messy 'do. It says, "I'm sexy, I'm a free spirit, I do my own hair!" But on Oscar night, a sleek updo is more fitting, and we know ScarJo does retro chic so well. Maybe she was just trying to steer clear from the overly-engineered coif she sported at the Golden Globes.
Best Original screenplay writer David Seidler proved to be as eloquent and moving a winner as he is a writer. "My father always said to me, I would be a late bloomer," noted the white-haired playwright. "I believe I am the oldest person to win this particular award. I hope this record is broken quickly and often." He finished by accepting the award "on behalf of all the stutterers in the world: We have a voice and we have been heard."
Although we loved Billy Crystal's return (and those clips of Bob Hope), we got the biggest laugh out of former Oscar host Alec Baldwin's as the "target" in the opening 'Inception' sketch. "The secret to hosting the Oscars is ... zzzzz" he told Anne Hathaway after his Ambien juice pack kicked in. Now there's comic timing! And can we also get Morgan Freeman to narrate our dreams? Or maybe the entire Oscars next time?
WORST MOMENT: James Franco in drag
Or, really, every moment the '127 hours' nominee was on stage. Apart from that one "Charlie Sheen just texted me" joke, Franco came off as stiff and strangely smug. Don't get us wrong, we usually love him, but we were right to be skeptical about his hosting potential. Anne Hathaway at least looked like she was having fun up there. And hey, she can really sing. (So, apparently, can Zach Levi! Maybe they should have asked him to co-host instead. But that's a subject for another post...) And he also delivered the night's lamest lines: Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon and the Internet in one very dated joke? We're still cringeing!
WORST MOMENT: The 'Back to the Future' gag
The opening intro had a few laughs (Alec Baldwin's cameo made our Best list) but they couldn't think of any other way to get James and Anne to the Kodak Theatre than the 'Back to the Future' DeLorean? They could have arrived in so many more interesting -- and cinematically timely -- ways, like that gated elevator in 'Inception' (with a joke about ending up in limbo). We half expected to see them superimposed into that first crewing shot from 'The Social Network,' and the chance for Franco twins, forever lost. Okay, maybe that's a good thing.
WORST MOMENT: No surprises
Everyone who was expected to win, won. No upsets, unless you count Oscar newbie Tom Hooper taking the Best Director prize away from his more experienced colleagues. But the Academy likes to pair up its Director/Best Picture Oscars more often than not. A real upset would have been a Hailee Stanfield win. But then we wouldn't have had Melissa Leo making Oscar history the way she did.
Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law. Not only do we love seeing these two together, they demonstrated what real comedy give-and-take looks like. And Downey Jr., who bristled at being reminded of his prison days by Golden Globes host Ricky Gervais, made himself the butt of a joke involving a cheap hotel and a hooker. And they were dressed much, much better than poor Javier Bardem and Josh Brolin. Runners-up: Russell Brand and Helen Mirren, whose trashy-meets-classy chemistry we're looking forward to seeing more of in the 'Arthur' remake.
WORST MOMENT: The auto-tune montage
We love a sketch that pokes fun at 'Twilight' -- and Jacob's shirtlessness -- as much as the next movie fan, but auto-tune, Academy? Really? The 'Harry Potter' 'Tiny Ball of Light' wasn't so bad, but much funnier things could have been done with that boozing-it-up bar scene with Justin Timberlake in 'Social Network.' Randy Newman (and other talented human composers), you're in no danger of being replaced any time soon. Watch the segment below.
BEST MOMENT: Speech by someone you've never heard of before
Bushy-haired Live Short Action Film winner Luke Matheny immediately charmed us by saying, "I forgot to get a haircut!" And then he went on to make our night by giving a shout-out to NYU, "the great state of Delaware" and the "love of his life," whom he told, "you're my dream come true." Awww! A prettier, funnier speech than most actors usually manage to give.
More on the 2011 Oscars
- News: 'King's Speech' Is Big Winner at 2011 Oscars
- Oscar Winners List 2011
- Oscars Red Carpet 2011
- Oscars Best Dressed 2011
- Oscars Worst Dressed 2011
- Oscars 2011 Best & Worst Moments
- James Franco and Anne Hathaway Review: How Did They Do?
- Why Were the 2011 Oscars So Boring?
- Corey Haim and Peter Graves Left Out of Oscars In Memoriam Montage
- TV Squad Review: Ceremony Works Despite Mismatched Hosts
- PopEater: James Franco a 'Diasaster'
- More Oscars on PopEater