Oscar 2010: Slow, Boring Show

Overall, with the exception of a few emotional and funny moments, the 83rd Oscar telecast was one big bore, a largely predictable affair that was never exciting.

The only good thing about the telecast was it brevity.  With a running time of three hours and 15 minutes, it was one of the shortest shows in recent memory.

But the attempt to rejuvenate the awards kudo by choosing hosts that are young and hip, James Franco and Anne Hathaway, did not fulfill expectations, as the format was as clunky and the contents as old-fashioned as in past years.

After the opening montage, Hathaway assured Franco that he is “very appealing to a younger demographic as well,” an acknowledgement of the calculated logic that guided their very selection as hosts.  (It will be interesting to see what the rating of the show is, especially among young viewers).

I doubt if the producers and/or hosts would be invited again next year.

Why the Show Was Boring:

James Franco, Lazy and Bewildered

For most of the show, it seemed that co-host James Franco was too cool to be there, or did not care much about the show.  He tended to disappear for long periods of time, and he looked uncomfortable or uninterested in the show.  (Was he upset that his musical number was excised from the show?).

No Chemistry between Co-hosts

There was no strong chemistry between Franco and Hathaway, who was more motivated, energetic and enthusiastic.  At least, she changed four or five costumes to make it easy on the eye.  But the banter between them is mostly awkward and often witless.

Familiar Opening Montage

The opening of inserting the actors in a montage of the 10 Best Picture nominees was not bad, but overly familiar.  If memory serves, Bill Crystal, who was much better and funnier host than either Franco or Hathaway, began this tradition about two decades ago.

Anti-Climactic Closure

The crowd-pleasing ending was anti-climactic, to say the least.  The decision to close the show, after the announcement of Best Picture (by Steven Spielberg, no less), with a choir of school children in uniform was sentimental and came too late.

Obama’s Underwhelming Cameo

The cameo by President Barack Obama, in which he just said that his favorite movie song is “As Times Goes By” from “Casablanca” felt like an afterthought.  To have such an attractive and charismatic man like Obama in such a brief and underwhelming turn, was truly a waste of talent.

No Politics or any Other Upsets

Charles Ferguson, director of the winning documentary feature, The Inside Job, was the only one who made a reference to the outside economic reality, namely, that “three years after the film, none of the exec has gone to jail.”

Other than that, there were no political speeches, no acknowledgment of the various wars, the grim economy, unrest in the Middle east–not even a mention of our fighting soldiers.


A whole sequence was devoted to movies that have won the following three Oscars, Best Picture, Director, and Cinematography, offering sort of an historical lesson that “Gone with the Wind,” the 1939 winner, was the first to accomplish that.

But why is this particular combination of awards interesting, or significant?  It’s far more interesting to single out the movies that have won all top five awards: Picture, Director, Screenplay, Actor, and Actress.

As it turns out, in today’s show, three different pictures won the aforementioned Oscars.  “The King’s Speech” received the Best Picture, “Inception” the Cinematography, and “Alice in Wonderland” the Art Direction.

Bad Taste

The formal on stage announcement that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has renewed its vows with ABC (which is owned by Disney) for another decade was crass and unnecessary.  As viewers, do we really care if ABC or NBC is broadcasting the show?

A show in which the only unexpected (highlight of sorts?) is dropping the F–bomb, by Melissa Leo, Supporting Actress winner, cannot be that good, after all.