The 83rd annual Academy Awards got off to a strong and funny start with co-hosts Anne Hathaway and James Franco’s laugh-getting movie montage through Best Picture nominees of the year, plus a couple bonus features including BACK TO THE FUTURE.
Oscar switched up the order a little as Tom Hanks opened announcing ALICE IN WONDERLAND as winner of Best Art Direction and Wally Pfister’s camerawork for INCEPTION Best Cinematography. Unfortunately this got FilmEdge’s predictions off to an 0-for-2 start, but that’s show biz.
Melissa Leo earned the first acting award of the night as Best Supporting Actress for her strong character work in THE FIGHTER, one of our favorite film’s of the year. Contrary to that odds-on winner, THE LOST THING scored a major upset winning Best Animated Short Film when many considered Pixar’s DAY & NIGHT the front runner. Lee Unkrich made up for the loss accepting the Best Animated Feature for Disney/Pixar’s TOY STORY 3.
Our predictions did well in the writing categories as both Aaron Sorkin won the gold with THE SOCIAL NETWORK for Best Adapted Screenplay — though apparently the director had extra exit music to play while Sorkin attempted to accept it. Cool of Sorkin to acknowledge Paddy Chayefsky who wrote and won the Oscar for NETWORK 30 years before. David Seidler, as expected, won the Best Original Screenplay award for THE KING’S SPEECH, giving a solid and uninterrupted speech himself.
The comedy continued with Anne Hathaway’s heartbreak number or James Franco in drag getting texted by Charlie Sheen? Who cared, it was all good and kept the show moving.
IN A BETTER WORLD (Denmark) won Best Foreign Film in another apparent upset over BIUTIFUL. Christian Bale steered it back to odds-on front runners by winning Best Supporting Actor playing Dickie Ward in THE FIGHTER. Meanwhile a combination of THE SOCIAL NETWORK’s buzz heat and a younger Academy demo likely contributed to Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross winning Best Original Score for their n0-less deserving Oscar which really set the tone for the film.
INCEPTION continued to roll up technical awards, winning both Best Sound Editing and Best Sound Mixing back-to-back. It looked like the film was dreaming up a semi-sweep, save for its un-nominated director Christopher Nolan of course — which proved the nomination system was sleeping at the wheel.
Rick Baker and Dave Elsey scared up the Oscar for Best Makeup for their old-school monster creations in THE WOLFMAN, and Colleen Atwood can afford to bet a big head after winning Best Costume for ALICE IN WONDERLAND.
Presenters Jake Gyllenhaal and nominee Amy Adams presented short films, with STRANGERS NO MORE winning Documentary Short and GOD OF LOVE won for Live Action Short Film.
With a moment of political commentary, the makers of INSIDE JOB accepted the Oscar for Best Documentary Feature about the financial meltdown — though the telecast still cleared very wide of approaching any true controversy overall in an entertaining but tame telecast.
INCEPTION continued its tech sweep, winning all of its nominations thus far and only losing Best Score to THE SOCIAL NETWORK, making Nolan’s sci-fi thriller the lead closer of the night.
Randy Newman’s soulful tune “We Belong Together” from TOY STORY 3 for Best Original Song, and managed to repeat FilmEdge’s joke about not even bothering to nominate a fifth song in the category. Fun acceptance speech.
Tom Hooper’s win as Best Director for THE KING’S SPEECH, elbowing out David Fincher who many (including FilmEdge) thought might take the award in a split as Hooper’s royal drama took Best Picture. Once again, the DGA win holds up for Academy stats in taking this category.
Congratulations to documentary maker Kevin Brownlow, producer/director Francis Ford Coppola and actor Eli Wallach on their Governor’s Award recognition for fantastic and influential film careers.
As fully expected, Natalie Portman won the Best Actress award for her intense role in BLACK SWAN, thanking nearly everyone who helped her achieve the moment from career-starter George Lucas to director Darren Aronofsky in a composed acceptance speech.
Similarly, Colin Firth was crowned Best Actor for reigning supreme in THE KING’S SPEECH as the stammering King George VI who battled his own self-doubt in order to lead his nation.
Wrapping up the night, cinematic icon Steven Spielberg announced THE KING’S SPEECH as Best Picture of the 2011 Academy Awards, but taking only 4 of its 12 nominations of the year. Christopher Nolan’s INCEPTION tied, winning 4 of its 8 Oscar nods.
FilmEdge’s Oscar predictions didn’t fare well this year, correctly picking only 16 of the 24 total categories, though we aced all five top awards and both screenplay contenders. That’s our wrap-up for the 83rd Academy Awards, and we invite you to follow FilmEdge on Facebook, Twitter and on our website FilmEdge.net.