Sonic Cinema

Sounds, Visions and Insights by Brian Skutle

The Academy Board of Governors really has to rethink the way they do the Oscars. Yes, some of their ideas are not bad, and their choices of hosts has been pretty imaginative over the past three years (although last year’s pairing between Steve Martin and Alex Baldwin was a disaster), but this year the show was fairly dull, and not just because of the utter predictability of the winners. The writing for James Franco and Anne Hathaway was uninspired (at least for Franco; Hathaway had some good moments), and while the show came in around three hours, it moved at a pace that can only be described as turgid for much of that time. When the most entertaining part of the Oscars is hanging out with fellow Sonic Cinema contributors Heather Elle and Ronnie Haynes (from Yahoos With a Microphone) following Tweets about the Oscars (esp. Franco’s inspired “live Tweeting”), something needs to happen.

Now, let’s get to the awards.

The Good:
1. Spreading the Wealth: Best Picture winner “The King’s Speech” and Christopher Nolan’s technical marvel “Inception” led the pack with four wins a piece. Next up was David Fincher’s “The Social Network,” which won three Oscars after clearly peaking too early to be the Best Picture victor. And then there was “The Fighter,” “Alice in Wonderland” and “Toy Story 3” winning two Oscars a piece. That’s a lot of different films winning stuff, although considering other Best Picture nominees “True Grit,” “127 Hours,” “The Kids Are All Right” and “Winter’s Bone” went home empty-handed, there’s more that could have been done.

2. How Many People Actually Deserved Their Wins: Well, of the nominees at least. Personal #1 choices Colin Firth (Best Actor), Natalie Portman (Best Actress), Christian Bale (Best Supporting Actor), Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross (Best Original Score) all won, and personal Oscar-nominated faves “The King’s Speech” (Best Picture) and “Inception” (Best Visual Effects, Best Sound, Best Sound Editing) won. It was a good year for personal picks, though my overall prediction count (13 out of 24) wasn’t that great.

The Bad:
1. The Show Itself: Did I mention how dull this year was?

2. “True Grit” Empty-Handed: No Hailee Steinfeld for Best Supporting Actress? No Roger Deakins for Best Cinematography? Unacceptable Academy, especially since “True Grit” is one of the Coen’s best films (yes, I’d put it above Best Picture winner “No Country for Old Men”).

3. No Surprises: Well, unless you consider Melissa Leo (Best Supporting Actress) didn’t blow her chances with erratic behavior. Or that the critically-panned “Alice in Wonderland” and “The Wolfman” are now Oscar winners. Or that DGA winner Tom Hooper managed to win over David Fincher for Best Director. Still, no real upsets? Not a way to get people to keep watching. I might as well had just followed things on Twitter and skipped the show itself. Maybe next year.

Viva La Resistance!

Brian Skutle

2010 Oscar 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” (David Seidler)
Best Adapted Screenplay: “The Social Network” (Aaron Sorkin)
Best Original Score: “The Social Network” (Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross)
Best Original Song: “We Belong Together” from “Toy Story 3” (Randy Newman)
Best Animated Feature: “Toy Story 3”
Best Foreign Language Film: “In a Better World” (Denmark)
Best Documentary Feature: “Inside Job”
Best Visual Effects: “Inception”
Best Sound: “Inception”
Best Sound Editing: “Inception”
Best Cinematography: “Inception”
Best Film Editing: “The Social Network”
Best Art Direction: “Alice in Wonderland”
Best Makeup: “The Wolfman”
Best Costume Design: “Alice in Wonderland”
Best Short Film- Live Action: “God of Love”
Best Short Film- Animated: “The Lost Thing”
Best Documentary Short Subject: “Strangers No More”
Honorary Oscars: Eli Wallach (“The Good, the Bad and the Ugly,” “Keeping the Faith”), Jean-Luc Godard (“Breathless,” “Alphaville”), historian Kevin Brownlow

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