On the conservativeness of the Oscars

By | February 28, 2011

Nicholas Barber at The Economist’s Prospero blog:

No one would begrudge Colin Firth his Best Actor trophy: as well as putting in a tremendous performance in the film, his acceptance speeches are, time and time again, so gracious and fluent that all future nominees should be sent DVDs of them to study. But the choice of Tom Hooper as Best Director over the likes of David Fincher and Darren Aronofsky, when Christopher Nolan wasn’t even nominated, was a sure indication that the Oscars are as fundamentally conservative and sentimental as they always were.

Maybe we shouldn’t expect anything else from an annual backslapping session built around a ridiculous number of advert breaks. But that indie-friendly Best Picture list did make it seem as if the Academy was finally ready to be a bit more daring. The appointment of two such untried and unexpected presenters as Anne Hathaway and James Franco was encouraging, too. As Ms Hathaway quipped, “It’s the young and hip Oscars!” Initially it seemed as if she was right.

As it turned out, though, she and Mr Franco were depressingly lacklustre. Ms Hathaway did her best to jolly things along, despite being given precious little help by the ceremony’s writers, but Mr Franco was so under-used that for great stretches of the evening you could forget that he was involved. And he seemed to forget as often as anyone: whenever he was onscreen he looked as if his mind was on which pizza he would order after the show.

In full.

  • Was also disappointed with the selection for director and also film. I knew it was never going to win, but Winter’s Bone was really fantastic. However, I have not yet seen King’s Speech.

    What did you think about the winners?

  • Anonymous

    I’ve heard a lot about Winter’s Bone and I will try and see it sometime soon.

    I was also disappointed with the director award. A line-up without Christopher Nolan just seemed too wrong. Nothing surprising about Colin Firth’s well-deserved win. Natalie Portman was very good in Black Swan, and I think it was also expected. I haven’t see The Fighter so I can’t comment on Melissa Leo and Christian Bale’s wins. Toy Story 3 is a great conclusion to a the trilogy so that also wasn’t surprising.

  • I would say we are on the same page there. I agree that Nolan at least deserved a nomination for Inception, a very visually compelling film. I am waiting on The Fighter to hit Netflix to watch it, but I trust that Bale, as always, did a great job.

    Did you see the pre-Oscar interview with Franco? He spoke to the fact that King’s Speech will likely win because it is a safe feel-good movie and then expresses why he does not go for movies like that. Can’t remember the link, but I will try to dig it up.