The Academy Awards didn’t do much to surprise us this year. All the acting categories were won by the expected nominees, and The King’s Speech took home the Best Picture prize. The royal biopic also picked up Best Actor for Colin Firth, Best Director for Tom Hooper, and Best Original Screenplay for David Seidler.
Inception tied The King’s Speech for the most awards with a whopping four statuettes, winning Cinematography, Visual Effects, and both Sound prizes. The Social Network followed with three wins: Adapted Screenplay, Film Editing, and Original Score.
The biggest eyebrow raise, in terms of awards, came when Tom Hooper grabbed the Best Director trophy. Although going in it appeared to be a toss-up between him and David Fincher (The Social Network’s director), I think a lot of people expected Fincher to win on the grounds that he is a much more familiar face around Hollywood. Hooper’s win seems to reinforce the correlation between Best Picture and Best Director winners, as well as between DGA and Oscar winners.
One of the biggest disappointments of the night was Inside Job’s victory over Exit Through the Gift Shop for Documentary Feature – not because Inside Job is undeserving of the award, but because I really wanted to see notoriously secretive graffiti artist Banksy accept an Oscar.
All in all the awards ceremony seemed to be a battle between the older generation and the younger generation. Case in point: The Social Network vs. The King’s Speech – Facebook vs. British Royalty. This battle was also nicely represented by 94 year old Kirk Douglas fighting over his cane with the young guy staged as his assistant. Likewise, 29 year old Natalie Portman (Black Swan) beat out 52 year old Annette Bening (The Kids Are All Right) for Best Actress.
On the surface it seemed like the Academy was going for younger, cooler feel, having fresh-faced Anne Hathaway and James Franco host, and presenting goofy videos like the autotuned sound bites from Toy Story 3, Eclipse, The Social Network, and Harry Potter. Ultimately, however, the older side won out, with the traditional feel-gooder, The King’s Speech, walking away with top honors, and Randy Newman winning his second Oscar for Best Original Song after a mind-boggling twenty nominations over his career.
While I enjoyed the new face of the Oscars (following James Franco’s twitter feed over the course of the evening was highly entertaining), I hope its classy, old school vibe never dissipates completely. The tributes to Bob Hope, Gone With the Wind, and Lena Horne, were all very nice. Especially compared to Melissa Leo’s wonderfully uncensored acceptance speech.
You can see a list of all the winners and nominees here.