We used to get pretty excited around Beemsville come Oscar time. There were discussions with co-workers and friends about the Golden Globes as a predictor. There were parties with pick ’em pools and drinking games. Even more telling, we used to see all the Best Picture nominees before late February (OK, we might have missed one of the more obscure films from time to time…)
Then we had kids. Now we just don’t get out to the movies as much. It’s not really a lament for me, as I usually find myself less than enthused or entertained with so many of the films (including some of those up for nomination last night). I’m also highly annoyed by our local movie theater chain, AMC, with it’s Springfield-area monopoly and increasing prices.
So with all due respect to The King’s Speech, which we’ve wanted to see since December, and movies like Black Swan, The Kids are All Right, and The Fighter, for which we decided, eh – we’ll wait for Netflix, we barely knew the Oscars were up this weekend.
But we tuned in anyway. Who doesn’t like James Franco and Anne Hathaway, right? Younger, talented, hip hosts… Appeal to the younger demographic… And yet after the initial greenscreen edit sequence, wherein the two hosts jumped into Alec Baldwin’s dreams a la Inception and traveled through the nominated movies, they were pretty stiff and awkward. Of course Hathaway and Franco are actors first, so it shouldn’t be that surprising they lacked the live presence of veteran comedians like Billy Crystal or Steve Martin or even David Letterman.
Just more proof that you shouldn’t always listen to the marketing schlubs. And it seemed like the star-studded audience was more subdued, less prone to applause (more self-absorbed… Is that even possible in Hollywood?) Despite an ill-advised F-bomb Supporting Actress winner, Melissa Leo, the winners were pretty rote and predictable in their acceptances. No one got crazy or caught up in their own stuff to an embarrassing degree (and we had such high hopes when Christian Bale took the stage). Then it was back to Anne and James for more blah.
Maybe the highlight for us was when Billy Crystal appeared briefly to do an introduction. Suddenly the audience seemed more at ease, and as he told a story, cracked a joke, the evening was a little less lame. So let the call go out: Crystal for 2012 – let’s have him host his ninth Oscars. If we can’t get excited about the nominees, at least give us an entertaining host.