No surprises at the 83rd Academy Awards

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By Tressa Eckermann, Senior Staff Writer

The Super Bowl for movie fans kicked off Sunday night with the 83rd Acadamy Awards. Producers attempted to enliven the show by hiring young, hip actors Anne Hathaway and James Franco to host.

Major backfire. I can’t blame Hathaway and Franco. They’re wonderfully talented, funny actors. So what were the writers thinking when they gave them such lame material to work with? The only thing I can fault Hathaway for was thinking it was okay to keep shouting “whoo” straight into the microphone. I actually had to turn down my TV.

When Oscar host of years past Billy Crystal came out for a short dialogue, he got a standing ovation. That may have had something to do with everyone in attendance being relieved to get a break from Hathaway and Franco.

Melissa Leo took home the first award, for Best Supporting Actress in “The Fighter.” Her genuinely wonderful performance in the movie was overshadowed by a tacky, cringe-inducing speech that featured foul language and culminated in her ‘stealing’ 94-year-old Kirk Douglas’ cane.

Best Supporting Actor went to Leo’s “Fighter” co-star, Christian Bale. His humble, sweet speech, which made reference to his infamous rant on set at “Terminator Salvation,”  was worthy of the award. Though Bale is a great actor and one of the last true Hollywood rebels, it should’ve gone to John Hawkes for “Winter’s Bone.”

Pretty much everyone who follows award shows knew Hawkes didn’t have a shot at winning, but his performance in “Winter’s Bone” was so startling and consuming that it still gives me goosepimples.  Hawkes proved one thing last night – he’s easily the most underappreciated actor working today.

Again, there were no surprises in the Best Animated Feature category, which went to “Toy Story 3.”  Best Adapted Screenplay went to a genuinely appreciative Aaron Sorkin for “The Social Newtork.” And at the ripe old age of 73, David Siedler won Best Original Screenplay for “The King’s Speech.”

Every year, there’s at least one category that I have to see and this year it was Best Live Action Short Film, which should tell you a little about me. You can usually count on me breaking out in cheers. The wonderfully charming and witty “God of Love” won. It was the film that I and many others who saw the short films hoped to see win.

I can’t wait to see what Luke Matheny, who made “God of Love” for his thesis project at NYU film school, does next. I say the Academy should’ve shucked the rules and just given “God of Love” the Best Picture Oscar. It was certainly deserving.

Like always, the night culminated with the big four –  Best Director, Actress, Actor and Picture. Tom Hooper took home Best Director for “The King’s Speech,” as many predicted would happen. I was upset Darren Aronofsky didn’t win for “Black Swan.” As much as I like Hooper – and he was a worthy candidate – I can’t help but wish Aronofsky would’ve won.

Was there any doubt about Colin Firth winning Best Actor for “The King’s Speech?” It’s about time he was recognized for his work – movie fans still get worked up over him not winning last year for “A Single Man.” Plus, his debonair charm made up for Leo’s failures at the podium.

Not surprisingly, Natalie Portman took home Best Actress for “Black Swan.”

And finally, “The King’s Speech” captured  Best Picture honors, and rightfully so. Yes, “The Social Network” is the film of our generation, and it was  extraordinary, but there was heart and depth to “The King’s Speech” that “The Social Network” couldn’t match.

All in all, it was a pretty standard year for the Oscars. Some years you don’t have any idea who’s going to win, and some years you can predict every single award. That’s what happened this year. Everyone who won, won deservedly, and gave great performances. Except I’m pretty sure that I’m not the only person shedding silent tears for the woefully underappreciated Aronofsky and Hawkes. That’s going to sting for the next year.

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