Wednesday, 2 March 2011

The Oscars 2011 : The Aftermath

It was an interesting Oscars 2011. With all the hype at the end of last year surrounding The Social Network, it was the selection of great films that emerged early this year that spoilt David Fincher's preemptive victory. It's no secret that The King's Speech got the most attention and the Oscar buzz, which then became poised to snap up most of the awards it was nominated for.

The aforementioned title was predominantly praised for the performance of Colin Firth, who (some say) rightly went on to win Best Actor, and whilst I agree his performance was excellent, it wasn't one of the most memorable roles, and for me, doesn't sit alongside the greats.
So whilst The King's Speech went on to win four Oscars (Actor, Picture, Director, Original Screenplay), conflicting opinion would suggest there were more worthy winners.
I'll give Firth some acclaim for his role as King George, even though there were other brilliant performances from the likes of Jeff Bridges and James Franco, but lets be honest, Bridges was never going to win the award two years running, it's just how it works. Having seen most of the Best Picture nominees, personal judgement would suggest True Grit, Inception and Toy Story 3 were far better. However, it's not uncommon for the winner of Best Picture and Actor to triumph hand in hand, so no major surprise there.

The big upset for me was that it scooped Best Original Screenplay. I'm in admittance that the writing was excellent, but correct me if I'm wrong, isn't the idea of an original film surely based on an originally conceived idea and not on a true story? For me Inception was far more deserving of winning that award because, simply put, Chris Nolan is a genius. His script is fascinating and one that is completely generated from an original, never before seen idea.
The directing, in both style and substance, didn't really convince me that The King's Speech should win the gong for that acclaim, yet Tom Hooper prevailed. I found Darren Aronofsky's Black Swan to be a far more accomplished and interesting portrayal of his characters, thus a stronger candidate for the Oscar.

Now my The King's Speech rant is over, lets talk about the other big winners. It was a shame that Toy Story 3 was an 'also ran' for Best Picture, mainly because the opposition was so damn strong, but was none the less a truly superb film. Thankfully, as predicted, Pixar claimed Best Animation and rightly so. Toy Story 3 is simply a classic film and a near flawless end to a fantastic trilogy.

The surprise for me was Christian Bale walking away with Best Supporting Actor. I do love Bale and find his acting outstanding for roles in The Machinist, Breaking Dawn and of course; Batman. After seeing The Fighter I was left feeling that he may indeed beat Geoffrey Rush, but still decided to back Rush as I really enjoyed his performance (far more than Firth's). However, I was proved wrong and pleasantly surprised with Bale's win.

Natalie Portman's victory was the most unsurprising of the night. Even though she was challenged by other excellent performances from the likes of Amy Adam (The Fighter), Michelle Williams (Blue Valentine) and Nicole Kidman (Rabbit Hole), Portman was always firm odds on to win. Melissa Leo joined Christian Bale in a successful night winning Best Female Support for The Fighter. Granted her acceptance speech wan't the most dignified, her acting, on the other hand, did impress. Again,I found her performance very strong and spot on, but felt newcomer Hailee Steinfeld was by far the stand out nominee for her role in the Coen's True Grit, which failed to make any real impact on the night. But I don't care, their film was still ridiculously awesome.
Whilst on the thread of True Grit, it was very disappointing for Roger Deakins to miss out on Best Cinematography yet again. What does this man have to do to get the acclaim he deserves?! Instead Inception won, which was still pleasing as it was probably my favorite film of 2010 (with Toy Story 3 a close second).

The less prestigious awards (that are no less deserving in admiration) presented expected outcomes, with Alice In Wonderland winning Costume and Art Direction. Brit nominees Ian Barnes and Samantha Waite missed out on Best Short Film with their efforts for Wish 143, but it was great to see them considered for an Oscar. The one thing that confused me was the Foreign Language Film outcome, which saw Javier Bardem starring in Biutiful, which was surely set to win as it was in the mix for overall Best Picture. Yet it was pipped to the post by In A Better World, which I found strange as Biutiful was competing with the likes of The King's Speech and Black Swan, yet failed to win in it's own sub category.

There were some cool photos from the ceremony, plenty of well dressed stars too and, as is custom, a selection of bad ones. Christian Bale sported a big ginger beard, and a heavily pregnant Natalie Portman looked lovely. But the photo that impressed me most was the one below capturing Jeremy Renner's 'glance' at Scarlett Johansson. I wonder what he was thinking...?
Sources : Google Images