The Academy Awards, 2011


OMGOMGOMGOMGOMG you guys it’s the Oscars!  We can finally stop pretending to care about all these other shows, because the Oscars are here!

Seriously though, I’ve made a lot of jokes about award shows, but I clearly enjoy them.  Over the past couple of years, however, I’ve realized that this is the only one that takes its job at all seriously.  I mean, the only other award show that even seems like it is moderately trying is the Emmys, and even then approximately two nominees in every category are totally ridiculous.  But nine out of the ten nominees for Best Picture here are really good movies.  And the tenth isn’t really all that bad (Just so you know, the odd man out here is The Kids Are All Right, which was, at best, all right.).  This is a show that respects itself!  And for that, I respect it.

And yes, you did not misread me; I have opinions on all ten Best Picture nominees.  Because I saw ALL TEN OF THEM.  I did my homework!  This is, I’m pretty sure, the first time I have seen all of the Best Picture nominees before the Oscars.  And I am therefore full of opinions on ALL TEN OF THEM.   This should be fun.

Detracting from the fun is the fact that a lot of these categories seem preordained.  As always, my wife Johanna and I will be competing in a winner-picking competition here, and I’m worried that we’ll end up in a tie like we did with the Golden Globes. One can only hope that the costume/sound/editing categories will allow one of us to differentiate ourselves.

Johanna is, as ever, in charge of drinks.  She’s got like a thousand things going on right now, so I’m not going to make her try to come up with something crazy.  I think we’re just going to go with gin and tonics, because it’s a classy drink for a classy evening.  We’ll be upping the classiness to astronomical levels by referring to them as “The Meryl Streep.”  Also, it was 78 degrees outside today!  Warm weather drink alert, whattttt!


How are we feeling about Anne Hathaway and James Franco as hosts?  I think they could be fun.  Or at least not boring.  Anne Hathaway is musical and funny and super hot, right?  And James Franco is also all of those things, except maybe musical.  I’ve never heard him sing, I don’t think.

So are we ready for this?  Remember, it’s a marathon, not a sprint.  Let’s ease in here, folks.  As always, winners and categories and score and such in bold.

8:31 Johanna is still agonizing over her picks as the obligatory “hosts romp through the movies of the year” montage begins.  These are always enjoyable.  I am not being sarcastic.


These two people are so charming!  I know both of them, particularly Mr. Franco, have their haters, but those people need to cheer up.  Cheer up, haters!


This is fun.  I’m feeling really good about their hosting thus far.


8:34 – “I haven’t even had a chance to look at everyone’s dresses yet!  Exciting!” – Johanna.

8:42 – Tom Hanks has joined them.  Is it possible to have too much charm onstage at once?


He’s presenting Best Art Direction.  Kind of a waste of Hanks?  Johanna and I are quickly discovering that we have pretty different ballots.  She went with Inception here, while I chose the incredibly garish Alice In Wonderland.  I’m not sure how much “direction” there was of the “art” in that nightmare (Note: I haven’t seen it), but it has a whole lot of something.  It wins, and Johanna pounds the table in frustration.  1-0 me.


Johanna requests that I take a picture of this woman’s “bitchface” and then immediately feels bad.  “I’m sure she is a very nice woman, she just looks so unhappy!”


8:46 – Hanks is also presenting Best Cinematography.  Johanna and I again differed, with her choosing Black Swan and me going with True GritInception wins instead.  All right, I’m fine with that.  “Where did I put my glasses??  I swear I just had them!” – This guy.


8:52 – Emperor Palpatine is here.


Seriously though, nothing makes me more uncomfortable than aging, and I apologize to Kirk Douglas for joking about it.  He actually is making some good jokes, but YIKES.  This is like Dick Clark’s New Year’s Eve Rock and Rolling Fundown.  Anyway, he’s presenting Best Supporting Actress.  I strongly considered going with Melissa Leo, but in the end we both chose the absolutely awesome Hailee Steinfeld.  Bonus points for being young!  “You should take a photo of her in case she doesn’t win, because she looks so pretty!” requests Johanna.


Melissa Leo wins.  She was good, so that’s cool.  Maybe a bit too much at times, but very good.  Too much was sort of the point, right?  I thought this might happen when it started to feel like there was a backlash against the backlash of her self-promotional “For Your Consideration” ads.


Now she’s dropping f-bombs.  That seemed rehearsed.  This whole thing does.  This has a Sally Field “You really love me!” vibe to it that I find to be off-putting.  Wouldn’t we all rather be listening to Hailee Steinfeld right now?

9:01 – Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis are here.  I like these both of these people a lot!  Timberlake is very funny, both while claiming to be Banksy and when aping Kirk Douglas.  Johanna doesn’t like Mila’s dress, though.  “It looks like she has boob tattoos.”


They’re presenting Best Visual Short Film (Animated).  You know, one of the annual guessing-roulette categories.  Johanna went with Day & Night, and she didn’t even know it was the Pixar entry when she chose it.  I chose The Gruffalo because someone online said it was good.  The Lost Thing wins.  Oh, well.  The creators of The Lost Thing also win the Oscar for biggest height disparity between collaborators.


9:05 – Justin and Mila are also presenting Best Animated Feature Film.  We both went with Toy Story 3 because OBVZZZZZZZZZZZ.  How to Train Your Dragon was totally better, though!  Much more subtle emotional stuff going on there compared to the nostalgia jackhammer that is Toy Story 3.  That movie was overrated.  I know you disagree, but I’m telling you, Toy Story 3 was not a “great” movie.  It was not even a great Pixar movie.  It’s not that I didn’t like it, but it really left me cold, and people had been hyping it like they were a Disney street team.  Again, oh, well.  It wins.  2-1 me.


9:12 – Josh Brolin and Javier Bardem are here as part of the wait staff for the evening.  That’s really down-to-Earth of you, guys!  Celebrities: they’re just like us.


They’re presenting Best Adapted Screenplay.  Johanna and I both went with The Social Network, and let me tell you, having read about half of the book on which it was based, Aaron Sorkin adapted the shit out of that.  I know people sometimes have a problem with Sorkin’s writing style, but I found a lot of the dialogue he wrote for this to be actually sort of thrilling, and it was structured so well, and that book was a dud.  Sorkin wins.  3-2 me.


9:16 – Brolin and Bardem have reloaded their appetizer trays and are back to present Best Original Screenplay.  We both went with The King’s Speech, but boy does it not deserve it.  You agree with me, right, Christopher Hitchens?  The King’s Speech wins the first of what will undoubtedly be many undeserved awards tonight.  4-2 me.


9:25 – I was planning on ignoring Anne’s song and dance number here, but then James Franco came out in drag, and I can’t just pretend this isn’t happening.


Helen Mirren and Russell Brand are here.  I actually like both of these people, and I’m officially worried about this upcoming Arthur remake.  We are all in agreement about that looking bad, right?


They’re presenting Best Foreign Language Film.  Clearly we both went with Biutiful, considering that’s the only movie in this category that literally anyone has ever heard of.  Predictably, something else wins.  In a Better World, whatever that is.  I believe it also won the Golden Globe.


9:29 – Reese Witherspoon is here and Johanna and I launch into a discussion of whether we still like her.  We agree that it seems like we should have tired of her at this point, but she’s never done anything offensive, as far as we know, so we’re still onboard.  Congratulations, Reese!  Our fan club dues are in the mail.


She’s presenting Best Supporting Actor.  This category is really stacked.  All of these guys are so good!  We both chose the favorite, Christian Bale.  He was so good in The Fighter, right?  I mean, there were times that I was concerned that he was a bit over-the-top, but eventually I concluded that it is impossible to be over-the-top when one is portraying a crack addict from Lowell, Massachusetts.  Bale wins!  Good for him.


Johanna hilariously speculated on the way home from The Fighter that pulling off a good Boston accent might be the new Oscar-bait version of playing retarded.  Sorry to drop an r-bomb on you guys there.  I also had to ask Johanna for permission before including her comment here.  We are both so worried about offending people all the time!

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9:38 – Some randos are out to chat.  They are not important enough for me to rewind and hear their names.  Sorry guys!


9:40 – Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman are here.  Remember when they made that movie Australia?  That was hilarious how they thought that was going to be a thing.  Not a thing, you two!


They’re presenting Best Original Score, and we both went with Inception because BBBRRRRAAAAAHHHHHHMMMMMM. The Social Network wins, though, which is actually, I think, my favorite score of the year.  It’s the one I can most easily hear in my head when I’m thinking about it.  Good job Trent Reznor and other guy!


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9:46 – Matthew McConaughey and Scarlett Johansson are here.  I had to look up how to spell both of their last names.


They’re presenting Best Sound Mixing, and we both went with Inception, because, again, BBBRRRRAAAAAHHHHHHMMMMMM. It wins.  5-3 me.  You know that episode of The Office where they’re clubbing in New York City with Ryan and Dwight keeps asking Ryan’s friend if he’s a Tolkien character?  Yeah, this guy looks like that guy.


9:48 – “I think we should rename our drink something that better conveys how these nights go on forever.  The Eternity, maybe?” – Johanna

9:49 – Matthew and Scarlett are back to present Best Sound Editing.  Again we both went with BBBRRRRAAAAAHHHHHHMMMMMM because BBBRRRRAAAAAHHHHHHMMMMMM and it BBBRRRRAAAAAHHHHHHMMMMMMs. 6-4 me.


9:54 – Marissa Tomei is here.  “I’ve decided I love Marissa Tomei,” declares Johanna.


She’s bringing us up to date on the Technical Awards.  Don’t get me wrong, I think Ms. Tomei is hawt and all, but I thought they usually went with a younger lady for this assignment.

9:55 – Cate Blanchett is here.  I’m going to describe her look as Toreador Chic.


She’s presenting Best Makeup.  We both went with The Wolfman, because I’ve never heard of The Way Back, and I still insist that Barney’s Version is not an actual movie.  The Wolfman wins.  Rick Baker could not be here tonight; his award will be accepted instead by Gandalf the Grey.  7-5 me.


9:58 – Cate is also presenting Best Costume Design.  We both went with Alice in Wonderland because whatevz.  It wins.  8-6 me.  The role of costume designer Colleen Atwood will be played tonight by Jennifer Coolidge.


10:02 – So you thought you were just watching a montage of movie songs, huh?  WRONG!  You just got rickrolled by Barack Obama!


Kevin Spacey is here singing rambling introducing Randy Newman.


It would be hard for me to care less about this.  This is even worse than the other Randy Newman Toy Story songs.


10:05 – Now a song from Tangled by Mandy Moore (Johanna: “Did she get fat?!”) and Zachary Levi (Me: “Really?”).


Zachary Levi looks weird.  Who does he look like here?  Carson Daly?  A cross between John Boehner and David Schwimmer?


10:11 – Jake Gyllenhaal is here with Amy Adams to present Best Documentary (Short Subject).


All right, let’s just put our heads down and get through these categories.  Keep calm and carry on.  I randomly selected Strangers No More; Johanna is a drama queen, so she of course chose Killing in the NameStrangers No More wins!  Way to extend your lead, Jared!  Self-high-five!  9-6 me.


Jake and Amy are also presenting Best Short Film (Live Action).  I went with The Confession, because it was the first one listed on the ballot, and, frankly, who knows and/or cares.  Johanna went with Na Wewe.  I say “Any reasoning there?” and she replies, “Sounds foreign.”  God of Love wins.  All right, then.  What are these, like, art school final projects?


“Thanks to everyone at NYU’s graduate film school!”  Yup.

10:20 — OPRAH’S HERE!!!/!1!!!!!!


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She’s presenting Best Documentary.  Johanna and I both went with Exit Through the Gift Shop, which was really great, but we also both liked Restrepo a lot.  I just want ETTGS to win because while I know Banksy ain’t unmasking himself at the behest of Oprah, it will be interesting to see how the situation is handled.  Mr. Brainwash, probably?  Inside Job wins.  BOO!  BORRRRIIIIINNNNNGGG.


You know what other documentary was really outstanding this year?  Catfish.  I mean, I still don’t know how much of a documentary it was, but even if it was fake it was so great!

10:27 – We’re taking a break here so that Johanna can listen to this Miley Cyrus/Notorious B.I.G. mashup that one of my oldest friends Andy W. directed us to.  “I should probably thank Andy for introducing me to my favorite song of the year.” – Johanna.

All right, back to the Oscars!

10:29 – Billy Crystal is the Toy Story 3 of Oscar hosts.  Like, yes, he’s good, but calm down everybody.  Let’s do our best to not go overboard.


“It kind of seems like Billy thinks he’s on a podcast right now and not a televised program that is running long.” – Johanna

10:31 – Robert Downey, Jr. and Jude Law are here and Johanna and I immediately have a conversation about how much hotter Jude Law used to be.  Not that he’s bad looking, but he’s older.  Aging affects even the best of us, everyone.


They’re presenting Best Visual Effects.  We both went with Inception, which, really, clearly should win.  It does, thankfully.  10-7 me.  Johanna is doing some math in her head and is starting to worry that she can’t win our contest tonight.  If it makes you feel any better, Johanna, I may consistently win these winner-picking competitions, but you are doing much, much better than me in, you know, life stuff.


Robert and Jude are also presenting Best Film Editing.  Johanna went with 127 Hours, which she is referring to as her “dark horse pick.”  I went with The Social Network, which I am referring to as my “nail in Johanna’s coffin pick.”  The Social Network wins.  11-7 me.  Johanna asks our dog Ernie, “Why am I so bad at this??”


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10:41 – Even Jennifer Hudson seems sort of shocked by how great she’s looking nowadays.


She’s introducing Florence Welch from Florence + the Machine to perform the song “If I Rise” from the end of 127 Hours.  I really like this song, and not just because I was so uplifted and full of emotion at the end of that movie that it was taking all of my mental energy to hold back sobs.  Unfortunately we only get to hear a really short version of it.


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Next up, Gwyneth Paltrow, singing country song from Country StrongI’m on record recently as saying people need to chill with the Gwyneth bashing because, come on, you know she’s not really that bad, but this seriously seems like a Saturday Night Live sketch.


Now we’re suddenly giving out the award!  Johanna and I both went with country song from Country StrongRandy Newman wins for that song he crapped out while half-conscious for Toy Story 3.  “Ugh,” says Johanna, “gross.”  I agree.  I just threw up a little bit.


10:51 – So, the cast of Modern Family spends half of their time filming the show and half of their time filming pre-recorded bits for award shows now?


10:52 – OH BOY, IN MEMORIAM!  Not to be morbid, but I always love this segment.  I pause it and tell Johanna that we need to prepare ourselves for this.  Also, Celine Dion.


The first exclamations of “Oh, right!” from Johanna and me come for Leslie Nielsen.


Seems like kind of a slow year in celebrity death, which is a good thing, I guess.  BTdubs, if I were a world famous celebrity I would totally pick the photo/footage that I wanted to be used of me in these montages before I died.  And it wouldn’t be this:


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11:01 – Hilary Swank comes out and I, all at once, feel myself lose steam.


And now she is introducing Kathryn Bigelow?  You two couldn’t just come out at the same time?


They’re presenting Best Director.  Wow, this is a great category.  So many good directors working right now, and these guys all did amazing jobs, except for Tom Hooper.  You might be sensing by this point that I was somewhat underwhelmed by The King’s Speech.  Johanna and I both went with David Fincher here.  And OOOOOHHHHHH GOOOOOODDD TOM HOOPER WINS.   GROOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAANNNNNNNNNNNNN.

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Absolutely undeserved.  That was a fine movie amongst great movies, and a fine directing job amongst great directing jobs.  I am now preparing myself for The King’s Speech’s Best Picture win.  At least Helena Bonham Carter lost.


11:06 – Annette Bening comes out and Johanna says, “So is this just her hairstyle now?”


OK, I don’t really know what’s going on.  I’m just going to put my forehead down on the coffee table for a second here.


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11:12 – The grizzled cowboy who lives inside of Jeff Bridges’ skin is here to present Best Actress.


You guys, Annette Bening had better not win this.  I mean, I went with Natalie Portman here, and by no means was she all that great, but at least the movie had a lot going for it.  The Kids Are All Right had very little going for it.  That movie was a little bit gross and quite a bit stupid.  And Bening was not as good as either Mark Ruffalo or Julianne Moore in it.  Johanna, meanwhile, went out on a bit of a limb with her choice of Michelle Williams.  Good luck, Johanna!  Also, Jennifer Lawrence, who was outstanding in Winter’s Bone, is totally like “SAVE THE CHEERLEADER, SAVE THE WORLD.”  AMIRITE??


Natalie Portman wins.  12-7 me.  Did you guys see Black Swan?  That was a really good movie, but it was like, boy oh boy, and I thought 127 Hours was hard to watch!  I found Black Swan to be SO unsettling and very difficult to sit through.  I just wanted to flee the theater the whole time.  Johanna says I was noticeably unhappy throughout, more than she’s ever seen me during a movie.


11:20 – America’s Sweetheart please explain this to me Sandra Bullock is here to present Best Actor.


Johanna and I (and the rest of the world) went with Colin Firth here, and he wins.  13-8 me.  I feel the same way about Firth as I do about the entire movie.  Good but not great.  Man, was he trying hard!  Really burning some calories.  I wasn’t really b-b-b-b-buying what he was s-s-s-s-selling, you know what I mean?  I do enjoy walking around the apartment yelling, “Because I bloody well stammer!” apropos of nothing, though.  James Franco should have won.


Johanna and I are speculating on Firth’s age, and settle on early forties.  I look it up, and when I tell Johanna he’s fifty, she says, “Wow, he looks good for his age.  Bangable.”  She then accidentally refers to him as “Colin Farrell.”

11:31 – If you had to pick the song to play as Steven Spielberg walks onstage, you would play the theme from Jurassic Park, right?


He’s here to present Best Picture.  I should say, I know I’ve been hating on The King’s Speech and Toy Story 3 and The Kids Are All Right, but this is a really, really good crop of movies.  Movies have gotten so good!  Since we’ve both seen them all, I asked Johanna to rank them for me.  Here are her choices, from worst to best:

10) The Kids Are All Right

9) Toy Story 3

8 ) Winter’s Bone

7) Black Swan

6) The Fighter

5) The King’s Speech

4) 127 Hours

3) Inception

2) True Grit

1) The Social Network

And mine:

10) The Kids Are All Right

9) Toy Story 3

8 ) The King’s Speech

7) Black Swan

6) Winter’s Bone

5) The Fighter

4) 127 Hours

3) Inception

2) True Grit

1) The Social Network

As you can see, she liked The King’s Speech a lot better than I did, but even she is objecting to the producers of this show just running the audio of the final speech in that film over clips from the other nine nominees.  “It’s so insulting to the other movies!”

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Anyway, The King’s Speech wins.  Johanna had held out hope for The Social Network, and chose it, so I end up winning our competition 14-8.  This was boring.


You know how the Tea Party is about how people miss Reagan or whatever?  This choice is about how the Academy misses the Nineties.  Because this is SUCH a Nineties movie.  If this had won Best Picture in the Nineties I would have been like, “Yay!  I loved that movie!  Good choice!”  But Nineties movies were so over-acted and glossy and middle-of-the-road and clichéd and easy, and that’s what this was.  Fun, but easy.  And not that artful.

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Whatevz.  Could have been worse.  Cue the children’s choir!


Well, that was a good time.  Anne and James perhaps started more strongly than they finished, but I certainly enjoyed spending my evening with them.  The internet seems to disagree with me, but the internet is occasionally wrong.  And I can complain about certain movies being overrated, but nothing terrible won anything, I don’t think.  Also, I beat Johanna once again, so that’s good.  Keep your chin up, Johanna!  There’s always The ESPYs!  See you all next time!


2 thoughts on “The Academy Awards, 2011

  1. I have some notes.
    1) When “bitchface” walked up I said, “oh a 12 year old” and then she raised her head and I was so startled I squealed.
    2) Disagree with Jo on Mia’s boobs. I actually called Chris into the room to look I thought they looked so good.
    3) When Anne came out in the tux in my head I immediately thought – oh please not James in drag. but there he was. In drag. I love him, and it made me hate him a little.
    4) So disappointed that I didn’t get a Helen Mirren French translation from Johanna. I actually said to Chris, “this will be even funnier tomorrow when we see the translation”
    5) Umm, I totally thought that Scarlet And Matthew got high right before they came out. Just saying.
    6) When they announced the best original score category Chris immediately said, “NOT RANDY NEWMAN”
    7) Ditto on Jude Law. I’m glad you put that out there though. Not sure he knows
    8) Did you not find it startling that Jennifer hudson’s face was totally different color than the rest of her body (and more closely matched her dress?)
    9) Totally thought Gweneth’s performance could have been saved if she would have gone with the spiral curls favored by carrie underwood and a dress that wasn’t skin colored. Just saying.
    10) So when we saw Celin we knew what we were in for and started trying to remember who died. Fun game. we only came up with Rue McClanahan, and felt bad about ourselves — until we saw who died. Then we felt okay about life again.

    Good job bro. We fast forwarded through a lot last night because we got home late and didn’t want to stay up till 2 watching and actually said, “well if we miss anything we’ll see it in Jared’s blog tomorrow”>

  2. 2 things:
    -Randy Newman. I feel like this guy has been a parody since day 1, because seriously, who sings like that? But at this point I dont care, and just shrug and smile with his songs, and I like to believe he knows this about himself. Plus, I actually liked his speech and found it endearing and funny. And so I’m actually glad he won.

    -Has Jennifer Hudson always had that accent/voice inflection? Or was I just hearing things?

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