Academy Awards, secrets revealed, mistakes made

(Courtesy of

Nick Silver

The 82nd Annual Academy Awards began with a…well it began. Former child star, Neil Patrick Harris started the awards show with an out of place song and dance number poking fun at many celebrities.

Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin, co-hosts for the evening, had me wondering who was going to be the most entertaining. In hindsight, I should have been wondering who was going to waste the least of my time.

The opening dialogue was unfunny, unoriginal and completely forgettable.  While that has been the standard for Baldwin’s career, with the exception of a great scene in Glenn Gary Glenn Ross, I expected more from perennial funny man, Steve Martin.

The highlight for the co-hosts came via a pre-recorded skit.  In the skit, the two men shared a hotel bed and awkwardly rolled around together.  The skit ended with Baldwin rolling onto the floor, knocking over a lamp in the process.

Following the example set by the co-hosts, the award presentations were, with a few exceptions, completely forgettable.

Miley Cyrus talked through her nose, per usual and Cameron Diaz looked older than ever.  There isn’t enough room in any newspaper to hit on all of the negatives that came out of the Academy Awards, so I will skip to the highlights.

Ben Stiller, decked out in a full Avatar costume, spoke in an Avatarian-esque language before presenting the award for best makeup to Star Trek’s Barney Burman, Mindy Hall and Joel Harlow.

The highlight of the evening took place when Robert Downey Junior and Tina Fey presented the award presented the award for best original screenplay.

Downey Junior, an actor, and Fey, a writer, dueled back and forth, joking about what they looked for in a writer or an actor.  The award went to Mark Boal, The Hurt Locker’s writer.

Boal, who lost his father a month ago, delivered a perfect speech.  It was short and sweet, yet heart felt. He thanked the right people and didn’t linger when talking about his father.

Quite the opposite was an Oscar accepted by Roger Ross Williams and Elinor Burkett of the film Music by Prudence.

Winners of the best short documentary, Williams arrived on the stage first and began thanking people.  Moments later, co-winner, Burkett finally made her way to the stage, interrupted Williams mid-sentence and then babbled on for too long.

Even though the award show was overwhelmingly underwhelming, it was nice to know that when it came time to vote, the roughly 6,000 members of the academy had their heads on straight.  For the most part, the Oscar went to the deserving party.

Seemingly a lock before the night began, the award for best supporting actor went to the multi-lingual Christoph Waltz for his portrayal of a Nazi officer in Quentin Tarantino’s Inglorious Basterds.  This, however, was the only award the film would receive.

Hyped as James Cameron’s masterpiece, Avatar finally got labeled what it actually was – An average story with cool effects.

Despite being the highest grossing movie of all time, Avatar won just three of its nine nominations. Avatar won Oscars for art directing, cinematography and visual effects, none of which called for Cameron’s presence on stage.

A proverbial slap in the face, Cameron’s ex-wife, Kathryn Bigelow, won the Oscar for best director for her movie, The Hurt Locker. Bigelow’s victory made her the first woman to ever win an Oscar for best director.

Later in the evening Bigelow made a second appearance on stage when The Hurt Locker took home the prestigious best film award.
Tom Hanks presented the award, however didn’t even read any of the nominees before opening the envelope. Can you really blame him for not wanting to read the names of ten different movies?

The academy thought it would be a good idea to nominate ten movies for best film this year, allowing five more films to get the added attention that comes with the nomination.  Unfortunately for the academy, their decision was a poor one.

Can you imagine how it would be received if professional sports leagues allowed undeserving teams into the playoffs?
As ridiculous as adding the five extra nominees, there were also some undeserving faces attending the award show.

Usually shirtless, the heartthrob to tweens world wide, Taylor Lautner of the Twilight series sat with co-star Kristen Stewart at the awards.  The pair also provided the intro for a montage intended to honor horror films.

The montage, however, was an insult to legendary horror films like The Shining, as it included clips from Twilight.

Twilight is not a horror film, and even if it was, the academy would still be out of line to associate this poorly written children’s story with films like The Exorcist and Psycho.

The 82nd Annual Academy Awards, forgettable as they were, taught us many things:

We learned that George Clooney really did not want to be at the award show.

We learned that Hollywood is very marijuana friendly via jokes by Neil Patrick Harris and Steve Martin.

But most importantly, we learned that the only way Brittany Murphy could get on the Oscars was by dying.  Too soon?