February 28th, 2011. As I arrived at work to start yet another week of teaching, I was so happy to be informed that my boss was allowing me to have the morning off! Now, having any form of paid time off is awesome, and anyone would agree. For me though, this particular Monday off meant I was able to watch the 83rd Annual Academy Awards live from the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood. A great spectacle for anyone who has any interest in film whatsoever, and the most important night of the year for the world's most prominent actors, directors, writers and technicians. So, how exciting......a morning off, the Academy Awards. I wish I could say the ceremony lived to up my expectations and excitement, but I would be lying. If I'm being totally honest, I wish I had spent my morning more productively than watching one of, if not the worst awards ceremony I can personally remember.

That's not to say it didn't start off strongly. It did. A really well made montage parodying some of the years biggest movies, including Inception, True Grit, The King's Speech and The Fighter (all of which were the key movies of the night; no surprises there). The montage also featured some of the world's biggest actors, including the two hosts, James Franco and Anne Hathoway, and also including the year's big actors from these big movies; Leonardo DiCaprio, Jeff Bridges, Colin Firth, and even legendary actors such as Morgan Freeman. 

The opening montage should have been a sign of things to come. A witty, bumpy ride full of unexpected events and cameos. However, this was the highlight of the evening. It's pretty sad when the opening sequence is the highlight, leaving the other 3 of 4 hours to just drag along with cringe-worthy jokes and half arsed presenters. The theme of the opening montage saw Anne Hathoway and James Franco infiltrating Alec Baldwin's dreams (a take on Christopher Nolan's Inception), and trying to find the secret of becoming a successful Oscars host. I wish they had spent more time down there, because from their presenting style, they didn't learn a damn thing!

The whole droning session for me actually began before the Awards, with British TV's presenters. Possibly one of the worst panels for any show ever. At least with things like sport, and music, they usually have people with prior knowledge of the business, or at least someone who knows music. Instead, Sky Movies HD had Edith Bowman who, according to my knowledge, has no idea about movies at all (although I have been away from England for 2 years, so I could be wrong), Alex Zane, who apparently is a Film Critic now (a long way from T4 I tell you that.....and if he is, then good for him!) and some woman named Brix Smith-Start, a fashion designer and presenter who somehow fits the bill to talk about the best movies of the year. 

Now okay, I will go with Alex Zane, if he is indeed now a film critic then he has a reason to be there, as that is his job. However, Bowman and Smith-Start I feel have no idea, and what authority are they on discussing the makings of a good movie. Anyway, the presenters droned on talking about their favourite movies of the year, which is fine, though I feel it wasn't necessary, but I do have to say they were a little better than the actual Oscars hosts.

Why were the hosts so bad? Well, as I stated before, the opening montage was impressive....very well made, quite witty and the two actors seemed to work really well together, but after that, there seemed to be nothing in the way of comedy or chemistry between the two.

The main part was the utter failure of comedic value. Their jokes fell flat on the audience, almost as though the audience needed prompting to laugh or applaud anything the two hosts said. As a couple, the back-and-forth between the two was awkward at times, and sometimes saw one having to carry the other. Not what you want from a host, or two hosts for that matter. The whole idea about a hosting duet is to have chemistry, and be able to bounce a gag to-and-forth.....something that wasn't there with these two presenting the show.

Even as individuals they seemed to be either out of their depth or just not too interested. James Franco looked almost like he was about to pass out through boredom, and Anne Hathoway was like a school girl meeting her celebrity crush for the first time, talking about making out and such; this is the Academy Awards, not a high school prom! Act like it!

However, that takes care of the bad things about the Oscars, as with anything though, there were highlights of the evening. The opening montage being the key one, but I also have to give a mention to some of the other high points. The people presenting the awards themselves were, on the most part, very good, and people I would want presenting people with awards. The only exception to this rule would be Kirk Douglas. A cinema legend he may be, but I was left less than impressed by his incoherent speech and perverted advances on host Hathoway, but other presenters included Tom Hanks (a personal favourite actor of mine), Billy Crystal, Justin Timerlake amongst others.

The montage of popular movie themes during the movie music section was another high point, with songs ranging from the Star Wars movies to E.T. In fact, the music section as a whole was good. Not just for my joy to see Trent Reznor now an Academy Award winner (that still sounds odd for me to say), but the montage of original songs from this years big movies, it was good. Mainly because the two hosts had very little to do with this particular section.

The awards themselves were pretty much what everyone expected too, with Inception picking up gongs for best visuals and music, The Fighter picking up gongs for best supporting Actor and Actress and The King's Speech picking up Best Picture and Best Actor (Colin Firth) amongst others. There weren't many surprises, but I can live with that. I expected movies that won each category to win (apart from Wolfman winning best make-up......I have to say I was a little stumped by that one).

On the whole, not the most impressive awards ceremony........I wasn't impressed in the slightest. Hopefully next year the organizers will take a look at this year's ceremony as a video on how not to present the Oscars.....starting with new hosts!