Academy Awards Loses Glamour

The 83rd Academy Awards fell flat. It’s not that there wasn’t effort, of course. You cannot blame producers in their attempts to liven things up by creating a newer, youth oriented Oscars Awards Show. After all, in an age where Snooki and Serena Van Der Woodsen are becoming the norm in popular television, there needed to be some changes to the routine. Or did there?

It is my opinion that what has made the Academy Awards such a memorable evening in the past is the glamour and sophistication that came along with the night. The dresses, the paparazzi and the little gold statues all have continually led to a sense of prestige that most Americans can only dream of. Tuning into the Oscars is like escaping into a fantasy world for most viewers, and the attempts made this year to add “youthful” elements to the programming resulted in a de-sophistication of the overall show. And I am not the only one to think so. This year, the Academy Awards had its lowest viewing record to date.

The producers of the show hoped to draw a younger crowd by having youthful favorites Anne Hathaway and James Franco host, but while Hathaway’s continuous giggles and beautiful smile lit up the screen, Franco’s best contribution to the show over the whole night was muttered comments under his breath. The duo lacked natural chemistry, a must for an outstanding award show. Their attempts to poke fun at their youthful ages by paying homage to legendary hosts of past years simply heightened their lack of experience and overall charisma.

Youthful presenters throughout the show heightened this distinction between the old and the new. While legendary figures were included in commentary (Franco and Hathaway asked Alec Baldwin for advice on how to successfully host the show), the majority of presenters were younger artists, regular tabloid favorites like Scarlett Johanson and Mila Kunis. Justin Timberlake and even Oprah Winfrey made appearances dishing out the gold. Again, the Academy was simply trying to draw in a younger crowd, but in the process lost much of the prestige that came with having more legendary presenters.

The show also lacked any elements of surprise. The King’s Speech, while being an excellent movie, was an obvious shoe-in for a much-deserved Best Picture Award. Universally, it was predicted to win, and, no surprise, it did. The other major awards were also given out exactly as predicted. Natalie Portman was awarded Best Actress for The Black Swan, Colin Firth was named Best Actor for The King’s Speech and Christian Bale and Melissa Leo won Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress for their roles in The FighterToy Story 3 won Best Animated Feature. And while True Grit was perhaps jilted at the show (it was nominated for ten awards, and received zero), there was little shock value to the overall ceremony. No surprises. If the Academy Awards was truly attempting to live up to youthful television standards, there needed to be a twist. Any twist. And there wasn’t one.

If the Academy truly wants to create a youth oriented show, it is my opinion that there should be more focus on youth-oriented shows. Summer blockbusters are often blockbusters for a reason, and while Inception did win many technical awards this year, including Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing, Best Cinematography and Best Visual Effects, it was the exception. That being said, I do not think the Oscars should continue to go in that direction. The glamour is what draws America to Hollywood in the first place, and it is in the best interest of the producers to continue to push the show in that direction. Perhaps next year, they will have learned their lesson.

Other awards given out during the show included:

The King’s Speech: Best Director, Best Original Screenplay

The Social Network: Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Original Score, Best Film Editing

Alice In Wonderland: Best Costumes, Best Art Direction

Toy Story 3: Best Original Song

In A Better World: Best Foreign Language Film

Inside Job: Best Documentary - Feature

Wolfman : Best Makeup

Strangers No More: Best Short-Subject Documentary

God of Love: Live Action Short Film

The Lost Thing:Best Animated Short Film