Published February 28, 2011
Colin Firth and Natalie Portman scooped the pool for Best Actor and Actress, Christian Bale and Melissa Leo took home the naked statue for Best Supporting Actor and Actress, and “The King’s Speech” won Best Picture.
And it went downhill from there.
The Orlando Sentinel said that the show was a “disaster.” USA Today said the “pleasure diminished” as the night progressed. Moviefone.com commented that the whole thing was “boring” and “produced horribly.” CBS referred to numerous skits by rookie hosts Anne Hathaway and James Franco as “uninspiring.” And The Hollywood Reporter noted that the hosting duet was “spectacularly bad” – particularly James Franco.
“Franco seemed distant, uninterested and content to keep his Cheshire-cat-meets-smug smile on display throughout,” THR said. “This year, the Oscars hit a new low. Like it fell into a hole.”
Franco’s particularly mellow performance had many backstage wondering if he was a) high, b) just didn’t want to be there, or c) both
Furthermore, Los Angeles-based entertainment correspondent and industry expert, Gayl Murphy, concurred that the 2011 Oscars was a huge disappointment.
“So the Academy hired two young hip actors to host the Oscars. Someone should have told them they also needed to hire writers. Good ones, with live TV experience that can maybe write a joke or two. Actors need a script,” Murphy told usFOX411's Pop Tarts. “But, even that wouldn’t have taken this show off life support, because it had no core focus. These two talented actors have to work in this highly political town, so they’re not about to call any A-list stars out as the brunt of a joke, they need their next job. The Oscars are Hollywood¹s biggest most glamorous night of the year with all the glitz and panache on the planet. The host of a show is it's compass – unfortunately, these hosts drove off a cliff.”
The evening kicked off with the tried and true skit of inserting the hosts, James Franco and Anne Hathaway, into movie clips. While it was successful in triggering some laughs in the audience, it didn’t exactly score points on the chart of originality. Furthermore, the flow of the very, very long show seemed a little stilted and had us scratching our heads. One moment Hathaway was ranting about how great the year was for lesbians in the business, and the next thing you know Tom Hanks is on-stage against a backdrop of the 1939 film “Gone With the Wind.”
A little later, Franco appeared in drag for no real reason – and no real reaction of amusement from the audience either. Yes, cringe worthy.
One of the few redeeming moments in the program was the appearance of 94-year-old Kirk Douglas as a presenter – a true Hollywood veteran who prompted a well-deserved standing ovation. Nonetheless, even he was later ridiculed by presenter Justin Timberlake who deliberately drew out his award announcement in the same manner Douglas did.
But is poking fun at a stroke survivor even remotely funny?
On the subject of mocking others, Jude Law took a stab at his co-presenter Robert Downey Jr.’s scandalous past by snapping that in 2001 he was “busted in a cheap hotel with a woman dressed as Batgirl." However, this came over as neither controversial nor clever seeing as though Ricky Gervais made a similar “joke” at the Golden Globes just last month.
And when it came to this year’s Oscar fashion, the most anticipated aspect of Hollywood’s night of nights, some experts felt it too was something of a snooze fest.
“Cate Blanchett's Givenchy dress is the most modern shape color and texture there. Literally EVERY other dress – every single color, shape, and fabric has already been done and worn on a carpet,” Associated Press fashion expert Natalie Rotman said. “In fact, (Best Actress nominee) Jennifer Lawrence wore the exact same dress Scarlett Johansson wore to the Golden Globes in 2006.”
Speaking of ScarJo, the newly single actress donned a partially see-through Dolce & Gabbana red dress, which had many onlookers whispering whether her outfit choice was a little lowbrow for the uber-classy event.
However, not everyone perceived the night as an epic failure.
“Funny, poised, relaxed, and smart, Anne Hathaway and James Franco made for marvelous Oscar hosts. Their combination of respect and informality struck the right tone for the night, a happily surprising production that had its share of fine moments both planned and ad-libbed,” reported Entertainment Weekly. “All in all, it was a fun, briskly paced night.”
(Entertainment Weekly, what were you smoking?)
While most critics concluded that the show itself was devoid of excitement, there was drama just a couple of hours before the red carpet began. Several extra streets surrounding the famed Kodak Theater were closed off causing even more traffic and security mayhem, and the LAPD confirmed to Pop Tarts that a “suspicious package” was found in the area. Nearby businesses were evacuated as the bomb squad was called in to investigate, although the unattended pink parcel was later deemed safe.
But in Hollywood, the show must go on. This time, unfortunately.
Shall we lobby for Charlie Sheen and Ricky Gervais to take over the 2012 hosting duties?
- Deidre Behar contributed to this report.