The Best and Worst of the Academy Awards [2011 Oscars Review]

Written by Rebecca French March 03, 2011

The Best and Worst of the Academy Awards [Oscars Review]

Last Sunday, Anne Hathaway and James Franco hosted the 83rd Annual Academy Awards in Los Angeles, California. While this highly esteemed position has been held by other celebrity heavyweights such as Billy Crystal, Steve Martin, and Johnny Carson, Hathaway and Franco were chosen primarily to appeal to a younger demographic. With no comedy or hosting background for either actor, the young duo certainly brought a new dynamic to the Oscars this week. For those who missed it, here is a review of the newest hosts to hit the Academy Awards.

Pros

The Oscar Introduction

James Franco and Anne Hathaway opened the Academy Awards with a 5-minute comedic skit that included each film nominated for best picture. Based on the movie Inception, the short video recreated famous scenes from each nominated film. Following the movie, the hosts begin the ceremony.

I thought the introduction was humorous and relevant to the overall goal that the Oscars were trying to achieve. Firstly, the Oscar film found a way to tie each of the movie nominations together in a way that was entertaining. Secondly, I thought it affectively appealed to a younger demographic by incorporating physical gags and witty dialogue. Although the jokes dwindled by the end, I thought the clip was a great introduction.

The Promo Commercials

These commercials had me sold. Short and sweet, the commercials were punchy and were shown everywhere and anywhere. The promotional team did a good job at keeping with the show humorous while making the hosts seem more personable than in previous years. For example, one of the commercials was of Franco and Hathaway being interviewed during a photo shoot. They were asked simple questions like, “Describe your chemistry” or “When did you find out you were going to host the Oscars?”. Their responses were candid and natural which made the commercial enjoyable to watch.

Hathaway’s Singing and Franco’s Red Dress

I loved this callback to Hugh Jackman’s musical number in 2008. Although it was not as elaborate as the one seen two years before, Hathaway delivered some punchy jokes and had great comedic timing. Franco’s appearance at the end generated some laughs when he came on stage in drag. His final line about getting a call from Charlie Sheen gave the skit some cultural relevance, which finished the act nicely.

Cons

The Banter

While Franco and Hathaway may have many talents, spontaneous banter isn’t one of them. I felt second-degree embarrassment when I watched Anne Hathaway try to get the audience’s attention after Melissa Leo dropped the F-word during her acceptance speech for best supporting actress. Hathaway’s frantic giggling and quick comebacks were more of a distraction than a comedic relief.

James Franco

I wanted to dedicate an entire category to this one. When I first heard the pair were hosting the Oscars, I thought Franco would be the one to lead the ceremony. Being nominated for an Academy Award, I expected him produce a new level of excitement.

I expected him to be animated, charismatic and funny.

I expected him to…. not look permanently stoned.

James Franco seemed to have one facial expression for the entire the show. His eyes squinted, he had little body movement and his jokes did not deliver. I didn’t even know he was making jokes. His tone did not vary whether he was presenting an award, making a speech or wearing a dress. I found his performance to be a letdown.

Lack of Chemistry

Both Franco and Hathaway struggled to maintain chemistry during their hosting performance. I felt as though Hathaway tried to over compensate for Franco’s monotone responses and bland facial expressions. There was an imbalance of energy that remained consistent throughout the ceremony.

 

 

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