The winners. The losers. The fashion. The speeches. Everyone who tunes in year after year has their own reasons to remember the Oscars. Still, for all those who are vaguely interested but care more about their beauty sleep, luckily a few of the members of Josephine Butler Film Society are willing to do all the hard work for you. So whenever you join us for this (possibly) deeply entertaining live blog, sit back and enjoy the fact that there is probably someone in Los Angeles tonight who will embarrass themselves more than you did last night in Klute. Unless we do it first.
Sarah: So, by virtue of a useless live stream we managed to miss the opening of the ceremony, but Tom Hanks is giving away the award for Cinematography and Wally Pfister is happily accepting for his work on Inception. It’s fully deserved, I agree, but I admit to being one of those people who wishes Nolan had been at least nominated for Best Director to do the film justice. Rant to be continued.
Anne Hathaway and James Franco, the “exciting young hosts” of the night, both look ridiculously attractive. So much so, in fact, that the wrinkled Kirk Douglas just can’t help but flirt… Run away, Anne. You’re not Catherine Zeta.
Matt: God I hope it’s Helen Bonham Carter… *prays*… assuming Kirk Douglas ever shuts up. Ugh, the ramblings of a man who looks worse than death. Melissa Leo (who curtseyed before Kirk Douglas – well, he is old; I guess it’s like meeting the remnants of an ancient civilisation) won for her part in The Fighter, and I don’t think anyone saw that coming. I didn’t… but then I have no idea who she is. Poor HBC – she’s looking too fabulous to be sat there. Oh, and first blooper of the night – “Kate Winslet a couple of years ago made it look f***ing easy”. I don’t think America will be happy with that one… We did say someone would humiliate themselves.
Sarah: Bless her, no wonder she was overwhelmed – pretty much everyone was expecting either Amy Adams or Helena Bonham Carter to take that one. I’m tempted to complain on Carter’s behalf… But no, Mila Kunis and Justin Timberlake are making an utter pig’s ear of presenting the Best Animated Short award to The Lost Thing.
Matt: Best Animation – please God How To Train – ARGH! Toy Story 3?
Ruth: The disturbance caused by Matt’s anguished cry has shattered my opinion formation… I like Toy Story 3, but the politics currently being discussed – typical Academy strategy – does sort of compromise its merits. Matt is also still fixated on the age of Kirk Douglas and re-enacting his aforementioned anguish but yeah. Toy Story 3 is a generational thing, maybe he is just too old to appreciate it – Spanish Buzz FTW! After this comment, Matt has now launched into the trauma of a broken wrist aged 7… This is not relevant to the Oscars Matt, and I am not your therapist. How does that make you feel?
Matt: The problem I have with TS3 is that, whilst it was enjoyable, it wasn’t as special as everyone says. It was nice, it wasn’t a bad way to spend 2 hours and was a nice end to an enjoyable trilogy, but it was a critic’s film. There wasn’t anything special about it – it didn’t have the magic of the original, it was just made to win awards. How to Train Your Dragon is where the real magic is – who wouldn’t want a Ninja Dragon-Kitty?! Exactly! Ninja Dragon-Kitty > Spanish Buzz.
Ruth: But which do you suppose is more relevant to childhood? Dragons are hard to come by nowadays, but talking toys are part of every kid’s life, surely??
Sarah: First award for The King’s Speech of the Night, and a thoroughly deserved Best Original Screenplay for David Seidler. Apparently, the young Seidler had a severe stammer, and was inspired to overcome it by King George’s wartime speeches. A labour of love if ever there was one.
Meanwhile, Anne Hathaway can sing. She’s declaring her spurned love for Wolverine (“Hugh Jackass” in the front row) wearing a tuxedo and stupid heels. Meanwhile, James Franco is dressed as Marilyn Monroe. I will sit here, shake my head and move on. Well, I’d like to, but Helen Mirren currently looks deeply uncomfortable next to Russell Brand giving out the award for Best Foreign Language Film. Which, bizarrely, didn’t go to Biutiful, even though it was one of the few to also get an acting nomination – but Danish In A Better World does seem a popular choice in the theatre.
Matt: Best Supporting Actor now, or Christian Bale’s award – and oh look, it is. But WHY SUCH A STUPID BEARD? It’s almost distracting me from his slightly lengthy and strangely emotional speech. Oh yes, he welled up. And didn’t lose his temper at a single cameraman…
March of the Aussies now, as Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman introduce an orchestra on an impressive moving stage, and the nominations for Best Original Score.
Sarah: Which went to The Social Network. Okay, I was expecting it to go to Hans Zimmer for the surreal masterpiece that is the Inception soundtrack, but Trent Reznor just can’t make bad music (confesses the Nine Inch Nails fan). He and Atticus Ross are both very talented, and it could have gone to worse competitors.
Oh, look, more technical awards. Hands up if you know the difference between Sound Mixing and Sound Editing?
The Makeup award goes to The Wolfman, which I maintain is a much better film than anyone gave it credit for. Anyway, horror god Rick Baker (think of every modern classic horror film, and he probably did it), who looks remarkably like a horror character himself with his long white ponytail, takes the award from what can only be described as a bizarrely dressed Cate Blanchett. Keeping with the “legend” theme, Colleen Atwood (who has done most of the films you love and more besides) collects Best Costume Design for Alice in Wonderland – one of the few awards that film actually deserves.
Ruth: Ahhh, Randy Newman. A greying man pianoing a jolly tune to a Toy Story 3 montage seems a fittingly sentimental image to represent such a saga. I think Matt is still fuming but Sarah and I maintain that it deserves recognition, so yay for any Oscar it gets!
Documentaries are usually my strong suit but since I do not know any of the Documentary Shorts I will simply quote Matt: “Come see this woman, she doesn’t have the boobs to wear that dress!”
Sarah: Live Action Short also goes to film that nobody in the room has seen. The same is probably true of the Academy.
Matt is busy squealing out his love for Oprah Winfrey, so as she announces the Documentary I admit to being a little bit shocked. Banksy’s Exit Through the Gift Shop certainly had the hype, but Inside Job isn’t such a shock winner when you consider the fact that it’s about the banking system and has won pretty much everything else.
Standing ovation now for Billy Crystal on the rare occasion that he isn’t presenting the ceremony. All he’s doing is rambling about meeting Bob Hope, but he’s already raised more genuine laughs than Franco and Hathaway have managed all night – and they’re actually doing pretty well.
Cue a rather bizarre flashback in the form of a holographic projection of Hope… introducing a bickering Jude Law and Robert Downey Jnr? Oh, must be Best Visual Effects, but I’m really much more interested in the scripted row about Downey Jnr’s infamous private life breaking out onstage…
But anyway, an award for Inception, and one that is thoroughly deserved, given the competition happens to include Hereafter. Then The Social Network claims Best Film Editing; David Fincher’s tendency to produce clever, well-shaped and tense plots relies on that kind of technical work.
Matt: Having seen Gwyneth Paltrow on Glee, I was sort of expecting more energy, but instead she seems to be going with the “I’ll-stand-here-and-sway-in-a-soulful-manner” tactic… which alas her voice isn’t strong enough to carry off. There is also a western feel to the song… which was odd. Not my genre.
And TS3 just won another award. Thankfully, even though Randy Newman has been nominated for 20 awards, he’s only ever won 2. Clearly the Academy thinks he’s as mediocre as I do!
Sarah: Now, here’s the weepy bit: Celine Dion singing Charlie Chaplin’s Smile to a montage of everyone in Hollywood who died in the previous year. Dennis Hopper, Irvin Kirschner, Blake Edwards… It’s safe to say everyone in the Kodak Theatre is just a little emotional.
Anne Hathaway, that costume change? Go back and do it again. I’m not a fan of the shiny blue. Anyway, all hail Kathryn Bigelow, first woman to win Best Director… to give it to Tom Hooper, for The King’s Speech? There’s shock in Butler tonight; the vote in this room was split between Darren Aronofsky and David Fincher. The King’s Speech is more of an actor’s film than a director’s. Still, it was always going to win an armful, so we may as well just wait and see what else it walks away with.
Matt: Natalie Portman winning Best Actress for Black Swan – Hell Yes! Having seen that film like 4 times (not all of which were online streaming – yay me!) I love it to bits, and she portrays descent into madness so well! Yes, her speech is a little rambly, but bless her: she’s noticeably pregnant (read: utterly hormonal. I’m surprised she hasn’t decided to try devouring part of the Oscar), she’s weeping but managing to keep it together (totally unlike Halle Berry – she was a mess for sure) and of course it’s a little lovey-dovey and praising everyone (wouldn’t you kill to see her say: “To all of my fellow nominees ‘Suck it. I’m better than you’”) but she looks stunning. NATALIE PORTMAN! I WANT YOUR BABIES – METAPHORICALLY AND NOT THE ONE YOU’RE CARRYING!
Sarah: Sandra Bullock is loving going through the nominations for Best Actor, now referred to as the Colin Firth Award. Matt has just seen James Franco in 127 Hours and gasped “Was he IN that?”
…and, shock horror, he’s got it. Firth’s speech is both witty (“I feel my career may have just peaked”) and moving, and for once, the favourite really did deserve to win. Yes, The King’s Speech ticks all the boxes; he plays a real-life figure – a royal, no less – struggling with a disability and under the shadow of the oncoming Second World War. But, for all that, his performance is astounding, and this year there was nobody to match him. For you sheer enjoyment, here is an excerpt from his speech: “I have to warn you that I am experiencing stirrings somewhere in the upper abdominals that are threatening to form themselves into dance moves. Joyous as they might be for me, it would be extremely problematic if they made it to my legs before I get offstage.” You know you wish it had happened.
Ruth: THE KINGS SPEECH TAKES BEST FILM!!! Well, we can’t say Mr Firth doesn’t deserve it, and who doesn’t love Helen Bonham Carter? We had sneaking suspicions about The Social Network since the Academy seems so fond of it but fortunately the stammering emotion came through. The nice thing is the stage full of people look quite reserved, like they have accepted the award gracefully rather than forcing out tears to what was really a two/three horse race: ten nominations was WAY too much but, yeah… Music plays, quick extra speech – awkwardddd…
Matt: What an ending to the Oscars – getting around a hundred different kids to belt out “Somewhere Over The Rainbow” in a tone-deaf manner. I mean, talk about soothing the American masses – if in doubt, whip out the hordes of children kept in storage for that kind of occasion. And what the hell was with their T-shirts? Why yellow and blue? What kind of rainbow has two colours? And talk about gripping choreography – they’re standing there swaying like stoners and occasionally waving their arms around to convey extra enthusiasm but not any extra talent. Final note: I love the conductor. As if any of those kids are paying him the slightest attention – he might as well be playing Wii, or better yet, be in a bar drinking away his sorrows wondering why his life has taken such a turn. You know it’s bad when you get 10 seconds of air time compared to the tuneless masses.
Ruth: To any American readers – I apologise on behalf of Matt. He does not understand the actual irrelevance of the children, and their sorrowful conductor. At least they’re trying. Matt has never perfected his stoner sway or singing, tuneless or otherwise, so let’s just put it down to jealousy.
Sarah: So, the ceremony is over for another year, and as Hollywood’s brightest and best scuttle off to their various and infamous after-parties, we’re left with very few surprises. Even Best Supporting Actress going to Leo is an obvious choice in a “the Academy like to go for the underdog sometimes” kind of way. I suppose I wonder whether Tom Hooper’s direction was really quite as vital to his film as a Fincher or an Aronofsky, but it’s fair to say that a film like The King’s Speech demands recognition. Four awards each for that and Inception, then, is the final score this year, but with Inception taking entirely technical awards while those of The King’s Speech were more people-based, it seems a fitting tribute to a film with such a moving and deeply human core. We’re all about to scuttle off to bed now, but we go having learnt at least… well, that the Academy likes to go for the underdog sometimes, but generally doesn’t mix it up too much. Tune in for more of the same sickly sweet self-congratulation next year.