Here's what I thought of the ceremony: James Franco was definitely lacking in energy, but the wonderfully charming Anne Hathaway more than made up for it (I'm biased, I know). The show didn't integrate Oscar history into the program as much as I would have hoped, mostly just as a reminder that, you know, people made good movies back then too. But overall I didn't think it was boring or terrible; not the best Oscars of all time but not a waste of time either.
As for the winners themselves, the night's biggest were The King's Speech and Inception, with four Oscars a piece, while The Social Network won three. I don't get why people are saying TKS swept the awards: yes, it won four, but out of 12 nominations, and its four wins were the big ones (Actor, Director, Original Screenplay, Picture), with no technical awards to show. I don't consider winning on 33% of your nominations a sweep, sorry. And Inception was kind of an unexpected champion; I thought it would win a few technicals but Wally Pfister's cinematography win was a surprise and I would have never thought it would tie for the most awards of the night. Among Best Picture nominees, Toy Story 3 and The Fighter won two awards, while Black Swan took home one.
Meanwhile, on the losers side, The Kids Are All Right, Winter's Bone, and 127 Hours ended up with no wins, while True Grit, which entered the night with 10 nominations, joins The Turning Point, The Color Purple, and Gangs of New York as films with 10+ nominations and 0 wins. So for those of you keeping score at home, that's Alice in Wonderland - two Oscars, True Grit - no Oscars. Speaking of that abomination, its two awards made it the biggest winner among non-Best Picture nominees, while The Wolfman, Inside Job, and In a Better World each claimed one (again, that's The Wolfman - one Oscar, True Grit/127 Hours/Winter's Bone/The Kids Are All Right - no Oscars). Seeing as how more than half of the night's awards went to Best Picture nominees, its clear that the Academy only really liked a handful of films this year.
And now, a few other observations:
- The King's Speech is the first Best Picture winner to prominently feature royalty. The Oscars have always loved films about kings and queens, but apparently never enough to give one the biggest prize until now.
- Biggest surprise of the evening: I'd have to say a tie between Inception's big score of awards and Wally Pfister's cinematography win. That race had shaped up to be a Matthew Libatique (Black Swan) - Roger Deakins (True Grit) showdown.
- I mentioned in my live-blog last night that In a Better World is Denmark's third Oscar win. This leaves the nation tied for fourth all-time with Sweden, the Netherlands, and the USSR, the latter of which obviously can't win any more; Spain is in third with four Oscars, France in second with nine, and Italy leads all-time with 10 wins in this category (the last of which was 1998's Life is Beautiful). Other foreign language stats: Mexico is now 0-for-8 in this category, tying Poland for the second-most nominations without a win. Israel leads that statistic, with nine nominations without a win.
- The King's Speech writer David Seidler is currently 71 years old, and according to what I can find, he is indeed the oldest winner ever in this category.
- For the seventh time in 10 years, the Best Picture (Drama) Golden Globe winner (The Social Network) lost the Best Picture Oscar (The King's Speech). The three to win both: A Beautiful Mind (2001), Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003), and Slumdog Millionaire (2008).
Well, that's all I've got for now. What did everyone else think?