I love watching the Oscars with my friends: good food, gossip, drinks. However, I cringe every year when the production team comes out ahead of time and tells everyone that they have tried to make the broadcast "shorter" - which is code for "We do crappy things to very grateful people because they are not movie stars."
The hosts: I do have a soft spot for Anne Hathaway. She is a genuinely goofy person and that has to be hard in the Hollywood fish tank. She's not afraid to be a fan-girl. I thought she was funny and looked happy to be hosting, she had fun with it. Plus, nasty black dress aside, she looked beautiful. James Franco, on the other hand, perpetually looked like he smelled something bad, had an eyebrow stuck in the "raised" position, and mumbled like he was going for a spot in the Dazed and Confused remake. They should have had Anne host by herself (loved her dig at Hugh Jackman).
The montages: There were fewer montages, thank goodness. The "genre tribute" montages of years past seemed odd and never really corresponded to a person or milestone anniversary. Also, I really liked how the producers did one montage of all the Best Picture nominees with Colin Firth's voice-over from The King's Speech. Soooo much better than ten montages - boring.
The dancers: The producers get a "fail" for not having dancers. That was always one of my favorite parts of the broadcast. So booooooo on you (also, Florence aside, I wasn't that impressed with the singers for the Best Original Song).
The set: The designers really did a fantastic job with the set. It was lively and interactive without being overbearing. Also, sparkly thanks to Swarovski.
The awards: I really wasn't surprised by any of the winners (although I did think that Biutiful was going to win Best Foreign Language film, which it didn't). Hooray for The King's Speech because I am a huge fan of Colin Firth (ol' hottie-pants himself) and it's such a wonderful story (the one area of history that always draws my attention is the British Royal family). I loved Melissa Leo's acceptance speech and Natalie Portman looked absolutely gorgeous.
The Please-wrap-up music: I really hate that the producers allot like 30 seconds to winners of categories like Best Sound Editing, who have at least 3 people per category who all have to get their people thanked in that time period, but let the actors/director ramble on for several minutes. The behind-the-scenes people are responsible for the look and sound of that movie we all love so much - like Inception which, cool idea aside, would not have looked half so interesting if the effects and editing guys hadn't worked their butts off. They're just as important as the actors. At least the producers scrapped that TERRIBLE idea from several years ago where they brought all the nominees in a category up on stage and pretty much went "Here's the winner, thanks for coming." That was pretty awful, as well as the idea to have them accept the award in the aisle to save the "time" it takes for them to get up to the stage. Tacky. If you're saving time by cutting the montages, at least let people get their thanks out appropriately.
Funniest part of the evening: A three-way tie between Kirk Douglas, the "musicals" segment, and Robert Downey Jr./Jude Law. Kirk Douglas is such a tough guy and for him to come out on stage at the Academy Awards and essentially do a little stand-up and draw out the suspense when presenting an award, I take my hat off. He was so funny and sweet. The "Auto-tune" movies segment was hilarious and so great for the Twilight sequence ("He doesn't own a shirt"...."Why doesn't he own a shirt?"...."She likes it that he doesn't own a shirt"). Downey Jr. and Law were hysterical channeling their Sherlock Holmes characters witty, bickering style when presenting (PS, can't wait until their new SH movie comes out).
Least funny part of the evening: Pretty much any time James Franco told a joke. Or tried to look "cool."
The clothes: Strangely, no one wore anything hideous requiring a comment from me. Everyone was "safe" to stunning and it was a pleasure to see a teen dressed age-appropriately at an awards show - Hailee Steinfeld's pink vintage-looking ball gown was perfect.
One last thing I missed: There wasn't an end-of-show montage of upcoming releases. There usually is one during the last commercial break before the credits. Isn't there?
Well, that's it for me! My go-to-the-theatre movie watching was woefully poor this year - I blame a combination of Marcus Theatres' selection, Marcus Theatres' exorbitant movie ticket prices, and my work schedule/buying a new house. Must do better this year.