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This Oscars show was not a winner

March 7, 2010 | 11:23 pm

Setting aside the award outcome for a sec, what should we think of the Oscars ceremony? Early response to our poll asking Gold Derby readers what they think yields disappointing results: Nearly 60% give the Academy Awards telecast a C grade or lower.

The show wasn't a disaster, but it wasn't a great Oscars either. It had lots of low points, starting with that awkward opener. Didn't you feel so terribly sorry for those poor lead-acting nominees frozen in silent fear on stage as they were introduced to TV viewers, then dispatched to their seats? Then came that odd Busby Berkeley fantasia hoofed and crooned by Neil Patrick Harris donning too much glitter. Sorry, Neil: You're no Hugh Jackman.

Oscars 8 Academy Awards winners news

The worst thing of the entire ceremony was the squirmish way that the lead-acting nominees were introduced when it came time to bestow their awards. Last year, Oscarcast producers Bill Condon and Larry Mark came up with a brilliant idea – to have each nominee introduced by a past winner of the prize. This year, Oscarcast producers Bill Mechanic and Adam Shankman kept the general idea but came up with the ridiculous twist of cutting out the Oscar tie-in. Thus presenters weren't (for the most part) past winners. Some will probably never even be nominated (Colin Farrell, for starters). They were just pals of the nominees who embarrassed themselves by gushing silly over their good, good friends. Stanley Tucci shared his deep, dark secret about Meryl Streep: "I've been in love with her for years." Michael Sheen tattled that he lusted after Helen Mirren on the set of "The Queen." Forest Whitaker swooned over the "depth and breadth" of Sandra Bullock's heart, which has "a magical quality." What does that have to do with great film achievement? Who came up with this dreadful new idea?

The big acrobatic dance number that accompanied the performance of the nominated music scores was, well, ambitious and seemed to be appreciated by the audience at the Kodak Theatre. They gave it a rousing ovation, but the number looked ho-hum and repetitive on a TV screen.

Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin were merely OK as hosts. A few of their gags were good – like when they donned 3-D glasses to see "Avatar's" James Cameron in the audience. But most jokes were weak tea. Like Steve Martin noting, "The biggest change this year – the best picture category being doubled. And when that was announced, all of us in Hollywood thought, 'What's five times two?' "

Why was there a seven-minute salute to John Hughes? A ratings ploy using comedy as bait? Hughes was never even nominated for an Oscar. Later, when the obituary montage played as James Taylor sang, we were reminded of the deaths of such notable Oscar winners as David Brown, Horton Foote, Jennifer Jones, Karl Malden and Budd Schulberg in 2009. Why didn't any of them get a Hughes-like huzzah? Or even just a little bit more time on the show than a photo flashed?

And, speaking of the "in memoriam" section, where was Farrah Fawcett? Sure, she was primarily a TV star, but she made many feature films, like "Extremities" and "Dr. T and the Women." Michael Jackson made the montage on the Oscarcast, thus upstaging Farrah again, just like he did the day they both died.

And speaking of ratings ploys: Why the tribute to horror films? At first it seemed like a good idea when Kristen Stewart said, "It's been 37 long years since horror had its place on this show when 'The Exorcist' picked up two Academy Awards, so tonight we want to give horror films their due." At that point I assumed Oscarcast producers meant just extreme fantasy horror movies like "Exorcist" because quite a few less-severe examples have certainly done well at the Academy Awards in recent years. Like "Silence of the Lambs," which pulled off a clean sweep of the top Oscar races (picture, director, screenplay, actor, actress) in 1991. Or "Misery" (lead actress, 1990). The horror segment ended up showing clips of both films, plus others. Huh? Were the writers of this segment just bad at math? Or totally ignorant of what's occurred at the Oscars in the past 37 years?


Complete List of Oscar winners

'The Hurt Locker' wins six Oscars, including history maker for director Kathryn Bigelow

Poll: What did you think of the Oscars telecast?

Photo: AP

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WRONG to omit Farrah Fawcwett. . .Extremities was an amazing movie ! I am shocked, because I was waiting to see her face on the screen. It was boring! Stop the stupid introductions and get Billy back. . .I have watched for over 30 years, but it is just getting WORSE! The writers were terrible and the only time I laughed was when Bemn Stiller walked out with his blue face. The Oscars try to act all prim and proper and lets face it. . .they are a bunch of actors. Yes, best director for a woman was about time, but come on. . .I am Woman in the background? I don't know if I will watch again after the exclusion of Farrah. I actually liked her in Dr. T, too. Let's face it, not the best movie but she wasn't just a pretty face. SHAME on YOU!!!!!

I loved last year's Oscars so much more than this one because I liked the movies better last year.

The biggest problem for me this year is that there were NO surprises. Everything - even Best Picture - I could've told you who was going to win. It was predictable.

It was also tooooooo long. An hour over time!

I hate the fact they bring in young stars... I didn't mind Kristen Stewart because I actually think she is a good actress, but I hate that Miley Cyrus, Zac Efron, Taylor Lautner, and Vanessa Hudgens have to come. Also, it seemed like presenters took longer to get on/off stage and the clips of nominees were way longer than usual and that's what took so long.

The fact they include Michael Jackson but omit Farrah Fawcett is horrible.

The parts I loved: Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin. They were funny and didn't make stupid, gross jokes.
I LOVED Ben Stiller... haha I really laughed hard at that.
I loved the things that Colin Farrell, Vera Farmiga, Stanley Tucci, and Oprah Winfrey said to the nominees... they were all really funny and touching.

I just thought the whole thing this year with movies was kind of messed up. "Avatar" a good movie, but nothing more at all, in my opinion, was considered a frontrunner for Best Picture when a few months ago, no one thought it would make it into the nominees if had only 5 Best Picture noms.
I hate that movies like "The Dark Knight" and "Wall-E" which got MUCH better reviews than "Avatar" and were MUCH better movies, and didn't get Oscar noms. but Avatar which wouldn't have gotten a nomination if there had only been 5 Best Picture nominees, all of a sudden became a frontrunner... all of the hype/money it's getting all of a sudden made people think it was the best movie of the year.

I'm sick of all of these snide comments about MJ upstaging Farrah, let alone putting those two people in the same category. In addition to this past year's "This Is It," Michael Jackson's "Ben" was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song in 1973--one of the most endearing songs of all time. He was also narrator of "E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial: Music from the Original Soundtrack," and had a lead role as the Scarecrow in the film adaptation of "The Wiz" in 1978. And let's not forget Francis Ford Coppola's "Captain Eo" and 1988's "Michael Jackson: Moonwalker."

And last but not the least--although not feature films, he revolutionized the music video and "short film" genre with his electrifying talents. If Oscar had not paid homage to Michael, it would have been truly wrong.

First the good news: The best film won. By and large most of the wins were deserved, the most notable exception being Sandra Bullock (who I like, I really really like) over Meryl Streep.

Other things I liked: Mo'nique's speech for winning for the performance of the year. The show moved. Neil Patrick Harris, who should host the show as soon as possible.

The show was okay. I thought the tribute to John Hughes was interesting, but, really, who thinks of Hughes as a great writer or director? They gave less time to the deaths of Robert Altman and Stanley Kubrick.

I never thought much of Farah Fawcett (Beloved screen actress? What fan magazine was that poster reading?) but she should have been included in the parade of dead people. Who knew they limited the number to 30? And why limit it at all? This used to be the most moving segment in the show and now it is so perfunctory that it hardly brings a tear.

But, let's face it, the worst thing about the show was that there were virtually no surprises in the awards. By the time the Academy bestows its awards (Which are seldom the best, seen A BEAUTIFUL MIND or BRAVEHEART lately?) we already know who is going to win. There has no been a major upset since CRASH won over the infinitely superior BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN in 2006. And there were some who predicted even that.

However, I am content that with the exception of Bullock and the shutout of UP IN THE AIR, the second best American movie of the year, at least the prizes are going to the best or close to the best.

And I will be forever grateful for the virtual shutout of AVATAR, a cliched bore whose astounding success I still find mystifying.

The tributes were generally not as good as last year, but they were easily the most moving part of the show, the two times when you were literally glued to the screen. The show needs more of that, and the supporting categories deserved it too.

I am glad "The Hurt Locker" did so well - let's hear it for the little films that pack a big whallop.

Overall the show was a mess - last year's was much better.

Why didn't the supporting nominees get the same attention as the leads? The individuals tributes last year were wonderful.

I am a man, and I was insulted that they played "I Am Woman" as Kathryn Bigelow walked off the stage. Was that really necessary? Not classy at all.

I also caught a mistake in the introduction of Robert Downey, Jr. He was introduced as being an "Academy Award winning actor," yet he has only been nominated and has yet to win.

Also the obvious actors left out of the In Memoriam section - Farrah Fawcett and Beatrice Arthur.

Maybe the showbiz "experts" should let some fans help with the planning. At least the facts would be right!

Ho-hum broadcast, and the best joke in the entire thing came not from the scriptwriters but from an award winner -- the foreign film winner thanked the Academy for not deciding that Na'vi was a foreign language. And I'm sorry, but if Neil Patrick Harris HAD been the host (or if they'd seen fit to bring back Hugh Jackman), it might not have been the yawn it was. One thing I did like was having the nominees for Best Actor/Actress introduced by current or former costars (in Gabby Sidibe's case, her producer) -- that was a nice touch.

In all, two hosts did not equal twice the fun, IMO.

Edward Scissorshands was a horror movie...who knew??

To speak to the comment about the young presenters; They did not belong
at an awards ceremony of this caliber. In Hollywood there is indeed, pecking
order, even in the genre of presenters, in other words, you pay your"dues",so
to speak. It was appalling and rude of this kid presenter to cough over her
shoulder and just stumble on...... they all were ill fitting and not just in their
gowns. Don't they have their own award shows, like "My Favorite Teen", or
the MTV award show? Kudos, Kudos, Kudos, to grown ups and the two
great hosts!


Colin Farrell could be nominated this year if The Way Back is any good. And he should've been nominated over Brad Pitt's useless nod, for his work in In Bruges. (Just as Sally Hawkins should've been nodded over Pitt's snatch patch.)

For the record, I'd say Colin's, Vera's, and Stanley's were the only three tributes I enjoyed. Each of them were hilarious. Oprah's for Gabourey was very sweet though, so I enjoyed that one as well.

NPH is no Hugh Jackman. Please, bring Jackman back next year. I like NPH but this was the worst WTF moment ever. I am sure half of the people in Kodak theater and at home kept asking "who is this guy and what is he doing at the movie awards?". He is great in HIMYM and I am sure he is a good singer. But he was off key most of the time and wasn´t even funny. And, the whole number was only a rip off last year´s Jackman number.
Baldwin looked like he had a stick in his back. I think Martin would be perfect on his own.
I love musicals and all, but last year, it was more or less balanced. This year, producers kept dissing Hugh and the rest, and then made the same things they said were wrong last year.
Overall, the worst show in a long time and also very boring. Actors looked bored to death and probably wanted to be at some party instead.

I give the Oscar show a D--disappointing. Steve and Alec were okay but could have been lots more funnier...I know they can...Maybe we should have Kathy Griffin as host next year...but don't see that happening at all since she's too risque for these awards. Well there's always Sarah Silverman. Anyhoo, Academy bring back the recording artists to sing their nominated songs and do away with dance numbers to Best Original Score (so unnecessary). A memorium to John Hughes...very unnecessary...just should have stuck his pic in with the others who passed away. The tribute to horror films could have been was pretty shoddy. Please do away with Best Actor/Actress gushing can tell in the nominees' facial expressions that it's very cringe inducing. A film clip of their work says more than all that ego-stroking blather. The Academy should inform and enforce a rule that multiple honorees taking the stage should choose one honoree to speak for all who've won. This way we don't have those awkward moments of honorees who want to speak have the mic turned off and/or the music cued in to cut them off or another honoree just cut in and start blathering about almost endlessly (winner of "Prudence" short documentary). Over all the show was very dull...the winners were very predictable...the Academy stuck to the winners script...the only surprise came in the Best Adapted Screenplay win for Precious over favorite Up In The Air. Obviously Avatar and Hurt Locker battled it out for the technical awards...When The Hurt Locker won for Best Film Editing, it was obvious that THL was definitely the favorite to win Best Pic and Director. AND MERYL WAS AGAIN ROBBED OF ANOTHER DESERVED OSCAR!! It is obvious from Sandra's speech that Ms. Bullock campaigned her ass off for the win. She pretty much kissed a lot industry arses to win. I guess that's how low one has to go to win an Oscar these days. Whereas Mo'Nique simply just said to the Academy...look at my work on the screen and you decide if it's worthy of an Oscar or not...and apparently the Academy agreed...Her actions didn't take any schmoozing up to the Academy to win...the work on the screen spoke for itself...good for Mo'Nique!

"Thus presenters weren't (for the most part) past winners. Some will probably never even be nominated (Colin Farrell, for starters)."

Actually, 70% of the presenters were either a past or current Oscar nominee or winner (aside from the aforementioned Farrell, well regarded actors Michael Sheen and Peter Sarsgaard have never been nominated).

Forest Whitaker (Winner - The Last King of Scotland)
Oprah Winfrey (Nominee - The Color Purple)
Stanley Tucci (Nominee - The Lovely Bones)

Michelle Pfeiffer (3 time Nominee)
Vera Farmiga (Nominee - Up in the Air)
Julianne Moore (4 time Nominee)
Tim Robbins (Winner - Mystic River)

That was the worst Oscar show in recent memory for me. Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin were so vanilla it was excruciating. Steve Martin: "If anyone wants a transcript of this show....get a life!" Oooh, how cutting edge.

The show was lame from start to finish. Highly disappointing.

Why only focus on the Best Actors??? Where was the love for the Supporting Actors? They didn't get any moment to stand on the stage collectively or be honored by a friend...they should've kept it the way it was last year.

Very surprised! Would expect more from Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin... MISS THE TIMES WHEN Billy Crystal and Whoopi hosted... Whatever happened to glitz and glamour! Eventhough its not the tony awards.. it still would be nice to have more dancing and presentation...

Remember Whoopi Goldberg hosting and had Jamie Curtis hang like "True lies".. THAT WAS AMAZING!

Billy Crystals - Funny , witty and Broadway style of presenting!!! WE MISS THAT!!

COMMON'!! Awards can be boring as it is.. add a little more action to it!!..



ALSO I WANT TO Congratulate SANDRA!!!! you desrved it...

Now, there's no way this is the worst Oscars ever. The worst is still Allan Carr's show, with the Rob Lowe-Snow White duet that made Disney sue the Academy. (OTOH, this time the Academy is more likely to sue Disney over the NYC Cablevision fiasco, since it wasn't resolved till after the show began.)

But then, I did point out in the chat where they mentioned no Oscar-winning horror films since "The Exorcist"--and then threw in a clip from "Silence of the Lambs". (Didn't catch the "Misery" clip, but that's just piling on.) I can understand differences in defining horror movies, but that clip contradicted its intro...

Shame on All of Hollywood for omitting Farrah Fawcett Shame on all of you, I 'm surprised there isn't more backlash on this FAUX PAS! And to Mr. chicago 48 if you were Ryan O'Neal you wouldn't be offended that she wasn't included?Everyone's life is important! I wonder how everyone would have reacted had MJ not been acknowledged, actually I figured he would get a solo act, and I liked MJ! but lets be fair I thought that was what we all are striving for! attack on Colin Farrel...did you see In Bruges, or Crazy Heart
Hart's War, Tigerland...I think the LA Times rather then needlessly attacking
a well regarded artist...might better spend it's time looking at the deplorable record of ridiculously slanted coverage it subjected us all to the entire Awards Season. Aside from being transparent shills for both Avatar and Inglorious Basterds...To have to slog our way through your obvious and petty last ditch attempt to corrupt and derail the amazing accomplishments of "The Hurt Locker" AND STILL the headlines are hardly resplendent...for one of the most remarkable runs by a small, all but unseen movie, that succeeded against all odds...just because it was that good. AND STILL we are expect to be filled with shock and awe (or interest) in the real story..Avatar didn't win,....I have been a real fan...But both you and Mr.(investigative reporter)Hammond...really need to take a step back..what we got is not the job of journalists..leave it to the publicists...and see if can't
revive what is now a reputation in decline.Sincerely Jc

Wow, an actress who had 16 feature films and they couldn't squeeze in a 3 second picture. Whoever mad this call is a total moron!

Farrah Fawcett Film History:
1969 - Love is a Funny Thing aka Un Homme Qui Me Plait (Her Role - Patricia)
1970 - Myra Breckenridge (Her Role - Mary Ann Pringle)
1976 - Logan's Run (Her Role - Holly13)
1978 - Somebody Killed Her Husband - (Her Role - Jenny Moore)
1979 - An Almost Perfect Affair - (Her Role - Herself)
1979 - Sunburn - (Her Role - Ellie)
1980 - Saturn 3 - (Her Role - Alex)
1981 - The Cannon Ball Run - (Her Role - Pamela Glover)
1986 - Extremities - (Her Role - Marjorie)
1989 - See You In The Morning - (Her Role - Jo Livingstone)
1995 - Man of the House - (Her Role - Sandy Archer)
1997 - The Love Master - (her Role - Hot Date)
1997 - The Apostle - (Her Role - Jessie Dewey)
1998 - The Brave Little Toaster Goes to Mars - (Her Role - The Faucet)
2000 - Dr.T & The Women - (Her Role - Kate)
2004 - The Cookout - (Her Role - Mrs. Crowley)

The "roundup" criticisms pale in comparison to the repulsive behavior of Documentary Short producer Elinor Burkett who--in a Kanye West moment--snatched the mic from the winner and proceeded to dominate the stage. Another loathsome acceptance speech came from costume designer Sandy Powell who airily boasted that she already had two Oscars, making the third one rather meaningless. Academy members take heed and make sure this one is her last.

Ugh! Bummer. You are right about the ridiculous intros for the actors. Barf. The Neil Patrick Harris-pointless waste of time! And the lyrics were so poor. Where were the songwriters. And how come you introduce songs with dancers? And did I see Paul Newman's face up there in the death log or was that just a very fast hallucuniation. Imean, Paul Newman--come on.....And no integration of the old and the young stars except Steve Martin's feeble joke. The Baldwin-Martin coupling-not terribly funny. OK, but bland at best. The only thing that added any pizazz was Robert Downy Jr., his blue bowtie and his clever ripostes with Tina Fey, the animated sequence and the blue Ben Stiller.

Bring back Hugh Jackman next year. The opening was awful - and I am a big fan of NPH.

Lame show. Definitely Obama's fault. And way too politically correct. Where was the Hollywood tribute to bigots and racists? Nothing for them. Not fair. Wah!




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