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Sat04192014

Entertainment

2011 Oscar recap

“The King’s Speech” not only won the Oscars for Best Picture, Original Screenplay and Actor (Colin Firth) as expected, but also for Best Director. “The King’s Speech” not only won the Oscars for Best Picture, Original Screenplay and Actor (Colin Firth) as expected, but also for Best Director (Tom Hooper) in something of a slight upset over “The Social Network’s” David Fincher. Most of the awards went as this critic anticipated (16/20 picks correct), with Natalie Portman (“Black Swan”) landing Best Actress while Christian Bale and Melissa Leo prevailed in the supporting categories for “The Fighter.”

Over the years, I’ve made a habit of pointing out how Anglophilic the Academy tends to be, and this year was no exception. You couldn’t help but notice the profusion of English accents during acceptance speeches, between “The King’s Speech” and “Inception,” British productions that netted four Oscars apiece. Even Christian Bale’s thick Welsh brogue probably surprised a lot of folks who’d presumed him to be Yank after seeing him play so many American characters.

Why the U.S. continues to display such post-colonial deference to England centuries after declaring its independence is disconcerting. As a consequence of this lack of self-esteem, many deserving domestic talents remain fated never to enjoy a share the limelight.

The evening’s most memorable moment arrived courtesy of Leo who had to be bleeped when she tastelessly used the F-word while thanking the Academy. What’s perhaps more interesting is that she had come under criticism in recent weeks for launching her own ad campaign in the industry trade papers lobbying for votes. Obviously, the tactic worked, as it helped her edge out a Brit, “The King’s Speech’s” Helena Bonham Carter.

As for the co-hosts, James Franco and Anne Hathaway were visually appealing, but exhibited little in the way of chemistry or comedy chops. In fact, their performances peaked during the show’s opening, a pre-recorded parody featuring the pair immersed in famous scenes from screen classics courtesy of trick photography.  

The absence of suspense or entertainment rendered the Academy Awards little more than a self-congratulatory celebration of material excess. This crop of Oscar-winners was lily-white, and unless I dozed off (which isn’t out of the realm of possibility), the only minority members who even appeared onstage as presenters, were Oprah, Jennifer Hudson and Halle Berry, who paid a posthumous tribute to the late Lena Horne. Hey, Javier Bardem doesn’t count because he was born in Spain, and I don’t think Castilians qualify as Latino.

The curtain came down on the night’s festivities with a cleansing Kumbaya moment courtesy of an ethnically-diverse choir of school kids from Staten Island, who sang “Somewhere over the Rainbow” during the closing credits. Let’s just pray that next year’s affair is a little more inclusive for the whole three hours.

COMPLETE LIST OF ACADEMY AWARD WINNERS

BEST PICTURE
“The King’s Speech”

BEST DIRECTOR
Tom Hooper, “The King’s Speech”

BEST ACTOR
Colin Firth, “The King’s Speech”

BEST ACTRESS
Natalie Portman, “Black Swan”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Christian Bale, “The Fighter”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Melissa Leo, “The Fighter”

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
“The King’s Speech”, Screenplay by David Seidler

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
“The Social Network”, Screenplay by Aaron Sorkin

BEST ANIMATED FILM
“Toy Story 3”

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
“In a Better World” (Denmark)

BEST DOCUMENTARY
“Inside Job”, Charles Ferguson and Audrey Marrs

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
“Inception”, Wally Pfister

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE
“The Social Network”, Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross

BEST SONG
“We Belong Together,” “Toy Story 3”, Randy Newman

BEST EDITING
“The Social Network”, Angus Wall and Kirk Baxter

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS
“Inception”, Paul Franklin, Chris Corbould, Andrew Lockley and Peter Bebb

BEST COSTUME DESIGN
“Alice in Wonderland”, Colleen Atwood

BEST MAKEUP
“The Wolfman”, Rick Baker and Dave Elsey

BEST SOUND EDITING
“Inception”, Richard King

BEST SOUND MIXING
“Inception”, Lora Hirschberg, Gary A. Rizzo, and Ed Novick

BEST ART DIRECTION
“Alice in Wonderland”, Robert Stromberg, Karen O’Hara

BEST ANIMATED SHORT
“The Lost Thing”, Shaun Tan and Andrew Ruhemann

BEST LIVE-ACTION SHORT
“God of Love”, Luke Matheny

BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT
“Strangers No More”, Karen Goodman

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