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Charlie Sheen upstages the Oscars

Um, The King's Speech won.

Oh come on. It's two days later, it's not a spoiler.

I was live-Tweeting the event instead of blogging, because I was sort of busy with the day job. If you want my snark, drop by @edonald on Twitter – it's still there. In all, a fun show, though it's been entirely sidelined by the slow-motion demolition derby of Charlie Sheen in entertainment news.

People are finding Sheen's cataclysmic craziness funny in an oh-no-he-didn't way. I do not find it funny. I find it awful and sad, because I remember when he could act and did it well. Every time I read about another insane thing he's said or done, I think about Martin Sheen and the way he sat down Aaron Sorkin - his boss - and told him if he needed time to get clean, he and the rest of the crew would shut down The West Wing to give him that time.

I think about the sadness of a father watching his son self-destruct, declaring he loves his son and will help him get clean just as he would help him recover from cancer. And then I think of Sheen's ex-wife, Denise Richards, trying to explain and/or shield their children from the crashdown of a drug addict. And I don't find it funny. So I'm not going to mock Charlie Sheen here, folks. Sorry.

The Oscars, on the other hand, are fair game.

Low Points

The opening sequence. Inserting the hosts into the nominated movies has never been my favorite bit, except when Chris Rock woke up on Brokeback Mountain with Billy Crystal. That was hilarious. This one, not so much, though CultureGeek Jr. loved seeing the DeLorean. (Why was it in the reel? I got nuthin'.)

The director, who didn't let us see Javier Bardem and Josh Brolin dance across the stage. Meanypants.

James Franco. Speculation ran rampant that he was stoned. I couldn't say, but I will say that he wasn't exactly sparkling. As straight man to Hathaway, he was more like a wooden plank – and I know he can act. Perhaps it was simply the terror of hosting the Oscars coupled with his own nomination, but he just wasn't quite there. However, he does look lovely in a pink evening gown.

• Speaking of dresses, why did poor Anne Hathaway have to change dresses so much? I counted seven, not including the tuxedo for the musical number. Okay, I get costume changes for a joke - I still remember Whoopi Goldberg striding out as Elizabeth I and stating grandly, "I am the African Queen." That was awesome. But apart from "let's play with jewel tones" and Hathaway's adorable do-the-twist to make her dress dance like spaghetti, there seemed to be no reason for the poor woman to endure ninja-fast costume changes offstage – complete with total hair redo each time. Those poor ninjas must have been exhausted.

Inception didn't win best director for Christopher Nolan or best picture. It was my dog in the fight, and I thought it was an astounding picture. Netizens were pulling for The Social Network, but the Film Professor was rooting for King's Speech. I reserve calling foul until I see both movies, but at the moment, I feel like the dreamworld was robbed.

The Obit Reel (always a sniffler) excluded Corey Haim, Peter Graves, Rue McClanahan, Lisa Blount, Jean Simmons and Tom Boseley. Last year they left out Farrah Fawcett, Bea Arthur and Brad Renfro, among others. They include agents, business managers and other people nobody outside Hollywood cares about, but Jean Simmons?? I could write a whole column on the chimpanzees on crack who decide who does and does not make the Obit Reel, but I choose to let my blood pressure rest today. RIP.

• Speaking of "wuz robbed," Jeremy Renner lost best supporting actor for The Town, which failed to get anything despite being early Oscar bait. Seriously, is Hollywood's memory that short? (Silly question.) Also: Tangled deserved at least a nomination, if not the win. Let the girls play too, gentlemen.

Christian Bale's beard. Yikes.

 

High points:

Kirk Douglas. What stroke? He flirted shamelessly with Anne Hathaway and then Melissa Leo, who hilariously asked him, "What are you doing later?" He used his cane as a shtick and then Leo took it away from him. Great moment, and Douglas was trending on Twitter for hours afterward. I tried to help along, push him back up to No. 1 with the hashtag #iamspartacus. I'd vote him for next year's host, but the stress might kill him, and the world is a better place with him in it.

• Melissa Leo. Everyone bashed her speech, but you know what? I like it when they're obviously flustered and overwhelmed and forget who to thank. You know why? It means they're real. I don't mind a smartass crack or a political statement (if it's not too obnoxious), and it's fine if they smoothly take out the index card of people they need to thank. But when they lose it, it's because this is the pinnacle of their careers and they know it and we know it too, so quit being such sourpusses. Leo slipped enough to say fuck at the Oscars, and as a veteran of Homicide: Life on the Street, I think she's entitled.

• One of the few high points of Franco's nonperformance (see below) was his comment after Marisa Tomei informed us of the Tech Awards (i.e. Awards Too Boring to Broadcast): "Congratulations, nerds." I giggled much too hard at that.

Anne Hathaway, who was enthusiastic and fun and smartass and all the things we love in a good Oscar host. I particularly loved her Les Miz "serenade" mocking Hugh Jackman for refusing to sing with her, after the terrific Frost/Nixon Tango they did in 2009, and the running gag between them (somebody cast them in a movie, quick!). She wins eight out of ten Billy Crystals - especially for bowing before the famed ex-host when he presented.

Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law, practicing their Odd Couple schtick so artfully performed in the first Sherlock Holmes movie. I love the way these guys bicker. It was awesome. Can we write Law into Iron Man 3? Please?

"He doesn't own a shirt." Hee. And thankfully, the only appearance of Twilight at the Oscars.

• President Obama, who rightfully nominates "As Time Goes By" for the best movie song ever. Look for an in-depth analysis later this week of the socialist-fascist themes inherent in Sam's performance throughout Casablanca...

Aaron Sorkin finally won something. Plus one of the best lines of the night: "Roxie Sorkin, your dad just won an Academy Award. I'm going to insist on some respect from your guinea pig."

The ending, with public-school kids singing us out as the winners gather on stage. Classy, sweet, fun and a good change of pace. Usually it's just one final wisecrack from the host and a quick fade-out to the nightly news, but this was a welcome breath of reality among the plasticized glamour while acknowledging the movie magic that we love, the real reason we watch. All Oscar shows should end that way.

And for next year? Whaddya say, Academy:

Hugh+Jackman+&+Anne+Hathaway

Comments

celestineangel

Apparently they've completely messed around with the voting system, and that's why The King's Speech won best picture.

As for Inception, I suppose I'm just happy it got nominated at all; I expected it to be snubbed.

Sprite2675

I sincerely believe Charlie Sheen is having a whopper of a manic episode right now - he is so clearly bipolar.

My vote for next year's host would be Sandra Bullock. She was a breath of fresh air in an otherwise stultifying ceremony. She's smart, refuses to take herself too seriously, and she can ad lib like no one's business. But I think she would turn it down.

Don't know what happened with Franco, but I think between being a movie star/soap actor/Oscars host/backstage Twitterer/Yale student(!) he got a wee bit overscheduled, and it showed. Too bad, because he seems genuinely funny and cool everywhere else he's been.

Didn't have a problem with the wardrobe changes, that's pretty much par for the course for the ladies. And I think there was only of her gowns that I didn't care for, so kudos to her stylist.

Had no desire to see Inception until I saw a few clips, so I guess when it comes on HBO I won't turn it off. I am dying to see the King's Speech, though.

Faith

I saw both Inception and The Social Network. The latter was much better than I expected it, but Inception was awesome, though not perfect. I haven't seen The King's Speech, but I'm looking forward to it.
I don't understand the obit reel exclusions, either. Could it be those not mentioned were not members? (Is that even possible?) If not, someone is falling down on the job.

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