Sunday, February 27, 2011

Funny Moments and the "F-Word" All Make the 83rd Oscars Memorable

This year's Oscars revolved around co-hosts Anne Hathaway and James Franco. Sure, they're popular young movie stars who have been successful hosting "Saturday Night Live," but asking them to host the highest-profile live event in entertainment was a considerable risk. Ninety minutes into the show, you have to wonder whether it was a risk worth taking.

Melissa Leo's bleeped-out F-Word during her acceptance of the Best Supporting Actress Oscar, the first in Oscars history, the Academy confirmed to Variety, nearly made up for the rambling nature of the rest of her speech. "I'm just shaking in my boots here," Leo said when she received her trophy. "I am kind of speechless. When I watched Kate [Winslet] two years ago it looked so much [expletive] easier." Backstage, Leo apologized for her language, saying: "I really don't mean to offend, and it's probably a very inappropriate place to use that particular word."

Kirk Douglas, looking healthier after his stroke than he did when he appeared on the show a few years ago, wringed some chuckles out of his protracted announcement of the award he eventually handed to Leo. Franco's joke about the technical award winners being "nerds" was a nice touch too, but the biggest laugh of the night might have been a cameo appearance by Franco's grandmother, pointing out that she just saw "Marky Mark."

Hathaway and Franco have certainly been game, Hathaway is giving it her all; you half expect her to hold up an "Applause" sign and break into a tap-dance -- but there's a reason the show is usually hosted by comics. Hathaway got the hosts' biggest laugh with her "Brown Duck" character in the show's opening sequence -- in which the she and Franco were digitally inserted into the Best Picture nominees, an old Oscar standby, but on the whole, the actors have been stranded in a show with little excitement, jokes or spontaneity. Having Franco coming out in a dress, and even a controversial Charlie Sheen reference, is a little desperate.

In any event, the show had a few fun moments. The aforementioned "Brown Duck" moment was a spoof of "The Black Swan," except instead of having Natalie Portman being upstaged by a younger Mila Kunis, Anne Hathaway, via CGI (Computer Graphic Images), flailed about alongside Natalie in a dance off that rivaled anything Fox's "So You Think You Can Dance" could muster up.

As Franco emerged in his tight satin dress and blonde wig, he told Anne Hathaway -- who had donned a tuxedo and sparkly heels for a Tonys-esque riff Les Miserables song "On My Own" -- that if she got to wear a suit that it was only fair that he get to wear a dress.

Funnily enough, some of the most interesting moments came by way of James Franco's Twitter posts, including a video Franco himself shot from his phone as the curtain lifted on the Oscars broadcast.

But on the whole: I did not dislike the Oscars, but wasn't really that excited either.

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