Reporting Diane Thompson
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Oscar winners took home a nice, heavy statuette, but what will we, the viewers, take home from this year’s Oscarcast? Herewith, some moments to remember, marvel at, cry at, frown at or simply scratch our heads at:
THE YOU-KNOW-WHAT BOMB:
OK, let’s get right to it: Was Melissa Leo channeling her role in “The Fighter” when she unleashed the F-word in her supporting actress acceptance speech? It certainly was one of the most entertaining — albeit unitentionally –moments of the night. Suitable, too, when you consider her salty turn as Mark Wahlberg’s relentless mom in the film. Maybe she was frazzled not only by her Oscar win, but also by flirting with presenter Kirk Douglas (“What are you doing later?” she asked him.) The moment became a running theme for the early part of the show. “I’m not gonna drop the F-Bomb like she did, but I’ve done it plenty,” quipped fellow “Fighter” winner and best supporting actor Christian Bale. Original screenplay winner David Seidler (“The King’s Speech” thanked the Queen of England “for not putting me in the Tower of London for using the Melissa Leo F-word.”
AND SPEAKING OF DOUGLAS:
Yes, his lengthy presentation — and teasing before announcing the winner — may have threatened to overshadow the actual award, but so what? Douglas, 94, was still charming, showing he retains an eye for the ladies, a taste for showmanship, and was even game to joke about his cane.
A GREAT SPEECH BY THE KING:
Colin Firth may have won his Oscar for playing a stuttering king, but boy, is this actor’s delivery silky smooth in real life. All season, the eloquent Firth has shone at awards shows, and Sunday’s was no exception. “I have a feeling my career has just peaked,” he deadpanned upon arriving onstage, then launched into a perfectly dry description of the dance moves slowly and dangerously stirring in his body. Well trained by speech teacher Geoffrey Rush, indeed.
THE YEAR OF THE … MOM?
Oscar winners often thank their mothers. This year, though, mothers were the real heroines of the night. It wasn’t just the taped comments during the pre-show telecast from moms of nominees. Host Anne Hathaway called on her mom in the audience, who reminded her to stand up straight. James Franco called on his grandmother, who seemed to have a crush on Wahlberg (“I just saw Marky Mark,” she gushed.) The best tribute by far, though, came from best director Tom Hooper, who said the very idea for his taking on “The King’s Speech” had come from his own mum. The true lesson, he said: “Always listen to your mother.” Amen.
YES, THEY ARE HIP AND CUTE:
James Franco and Hathaway got right to the point in their opening moments as co-hosts, cleverly mocking the talk about how their purpose was to lure a younger audience. He told her she looked “so beautiful and so hip.” She replied: “You look very appealing to a younger demographic as well.” Their taped montage may have borrowed from former host Billy Crystal, with the actors inserting themselves into nominated films. But it was fun. A highlight: the actors invading a “Black Swan” rehearsal studio, she as a tap-dancing Brown Duck, he in an all-body white leotard that made him look more uncomfortable than when he cut off his arm in “127 Hours.”
AND SPEAKING OF CRYSTAL:
The new hosts, actors rather than the usual comics, may have had their laid-back (Franco, perhaps too laid-back) or exuberant (Hathaway) appeal. But as the show wore on, they seemed to run out of it, and the audience appeared to be yearning for a comedian’s touch — in other words, some better jokes — when it gave Crystal a standing ovation before he even said a word. In any case, he had the crowd promptly laughing. “So, where was I?” he began — then advised the crowd that since things were running late, he was going straight to the Best Picture award. Better yet was a clip of Bob Hope’s classic Oscar joke that the awards were known in his home as “Passover.” Ba dum bum.
TEEN (FASHION) QUEEN:
Hailee Steinfeld may have lost her first Oscar race, but the precocious 14-year-old from “True Grit” was victorious on the red carpet in a shimmery, blush-colored gown with a tiara-like headband. (Halle Berry looked smashing in a gown of a similar color.) Totally age-appropriate, pronounced fashion guru Tim Gunn. And gorgeous. Here’s hoping she’s back again soon.
GIVE HER A BROADWAY SHOW:
We already knew Hathaway could sing from a previous Oscar cameo. But she really let her pipes rip in a “Les Miz”-inspired number. Sure, it was puzzling to many why she was singing about being stood up by Hugh Jackman. Still, the girl can belt.
WOULDA SHOULDA COULDA:
If there’s ever a moment to focus on personal grooming, it might be, oh, the night you’re about to appear in front of A BILLION people. But Luke Matheny humorously mused that he “should’ve got a haircut” when he accepted his Oscar for live action short film for “God of Love.” Even more wistful: Robert Stromberg, a winner for art direction for “Alice in Wonderland,” who won a nation’s empathy when he noted: “I should have lost that 20 pounds.”
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