I'm basically going to copy and paste what I have written in the comment sections of other blogs because I can't be bothered molding my very negative thoughts of the show into anything other than a very loose stream-of-consciousness piece.
This show was so terribly produced and directed, that it took away from the fact that, generally, all the winners were a-okay in my book. Really, Adam Shankman should NEVER be asked to return. NEVER. EVER. Good gawd, he strangled that show of any life it had last year (a ceremony I enjoyed tremendously).
I like Neil Patrick Harris, but, really, it appears that being liked by Adam Shankman is enough to get you a gig on the Oscars! And then you got people like Taylor Lautner and Miley Cyrus who barely have anything resembling a movie career getting to present. @scrivenersfancy (aka Tony Martin) said it best on Twitter: "Thank God they didn't let Roger Corman or Lauren Bacall make a speech. I really need to hear what Miley Cyrus has to say" Did Adam Shankman just go to Perez Hilton and ask people to present if they have 500 entries or more about them. Demi Moore, really? No.
I liked last year's five previous winners thing, but this year's five merely friends or co-stars thing was all wrong. And then trotting last year's winner out to announce the winner randomly? Weird. And that they only did it for the lead categories just shows you how they weren't completely behind the idea at all. Last year's ceremony was done so much better, but last year's worst moment was the horrendous Best Original Song presentation. They didn't include performances this year, which I still this is wrong. They can't make time for the likes of Marion Cotillard, Anika Noni Rose, Colin Farrell and Jeff Bridges to get on stage and perform what could have gone down as classic Oscar moments, but you could get the So You Think You Can Dance kids to do a weird un-related interpretive dance to the score nominees? That category has never been done better than when they simply had Yo Yo Ma on stage performing score vignettes in, I think, 2001. It was a car crash this year.
From a technical standpoint it was dreadful. The sound issues never let up. People watching the TV can barely hear the announcing lady as she introduces presenters. The backstage crew could repeatedly be heard during the presentations and those awkward silences between categories and the the baffling five-ten seconds after EACH AND EVERY best picture montage of just the crowd sitting there clapping BUT WITH NO SOUND were baffling! What the hell was going on there? I could repeatedly see workers running across the stage either before or just after the commercial breaks.
What about the stage sets? At one point when Jake Gyllenhaal came out to present there was literally no set at all! At one point the backdrop looked like cardboard cutouts of lampshades. It lacked all the class of last year's more intimate, but glamourous set. And I can only imagine that it was Adam Shankman's ridiculous and misguided thought that brought "and the winner is" back into the Oscar lexicon, not to mention the silly best actor presentation at the start of the ceremony. Embarrassing and yet more offensive decisions at the expense of people who work behind the camera. How about all the times people got cut off? Maybe if they didn't include stupid interpretive dance sequences then people would be able to talk and not get cut off.
And then there was that superfluous horror montage. It was nicely made and I did like that they actually included slasher flicks like Scream, Halloween, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Child's Play, Friday the 13th, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and even The Blob. What I didn't understand was what it was doing there? Or how about the fact that it featured only one tiny moment from a Roger Cormon movie, despite Cormon being specifically honoured just a while earlier! Why include Jennifer Aniston from Leprechaun, Renee Zellweger from Return of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre or Kevin Bacon in Friday the 13th, why not Brad Pitt in Cutting Class or Patricia Arquette in Friday the 13th Part III or Katherine Heigl in Bride of Chucky? It was all just so incredibly strange. Edward Scissorhands? Nothing from The Others, The Haunting or Suspiria, but clip after clip after clip of The Shining and Bram Stoker's Dracular. It was superfluous, but Casey Becker's intestine's appreciated the sentiment.
I do have to say that the default presenter thing is so annoying. Cameron Diaz has presented Best Animated Feature almost every year that the category has existed, I swear (I know for sure she's presented it three times) and Sarah Jessica Parker/Tina Fey presenting their categories two years in a row (for who are significantly more TV-oriented actors) is just annoying. There are SO MANY amazing actors that are working now (and many many more who aren't) that could do it. I'd rather see Shirley Maclaine present every year before I see Tina Fey (and I like Tina Fey!)
The use of Streisand as Best Director presenter would have really backfired if Bigelow hadn't have won, yeah? But, still, it just joins a long list of obvious presenters. How about when they go George Lucas/Steven Spielberg/Francis Ford Coppola to present the year that Martin Scorsese won. Yeah, okay, that wasn't obvious was it? Maybe next year they can get Bigelow with Jane Campion and Sofia Coppola to present Best Director.
I wish they'd make more interesting combos like that. I really don't care about Sarah Jessica Parker presenting Best Costume Design, or whatever so-hot-right-now combination they put together. And getting Tom Hanks to present Best Picture? Yawn. Was Jack Nicholson busy? Why not famous pairs from past Best Picture winners? Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins! Shirley Maclaine and Debra Winger! I could go on for ages. Instead they bring out Tom Hanks who doesn't even get given the chance to read out the nominees names because he is being pushed along to finish things. Disgraceful.
How about the Best Cinematography presentation have no video! I'm sure it was a technical snafu, but it was a pathetic one if it was. How long do they have to get this show right? And then the category honouring the movie that looks the best doesn't even get a video package? Oy. Or speaking of offensive, how about playing Helen Reddy's "I Am Woman" as Kathryn Bigelow walked off the stage? How did John Hughes get his own tribute, too, I'd like to know. I love his movies, but that, yet again, stunk of Adam Shankman doing stuff for people he liked and not giving a damn about anyone else. I'm surprised he didn't do a tribute to Michael Jackson! And if they were going to do a big John Hughes tribute why not get all the names that appeared in his movies like Dave Poland suggests. Like, thanks Macualey Culkin for your insights that Hughes was "really nice". Not once, but twice. Really really nice.
Other random bad things about the show? The bizarre people they got to present the Best Picture nominees? How come Jason Bateman was the only one allowed to introduce a film he was actually in? How is Charlize Theron at all connected to Precious other than that she's African American (and the fact that she's also white would surely go over Adam Shankman's head, so we're back to square one and asking "why?") Or how about getting Colin Farrell to intro Jeremy Renner, his co-star from... er, S.W.A.T.? Why not get Charlize to intro Jeremy and get Helen Mirren to intro Precious (she was set to star in it and was in Lee Daniels' first film, Shadowboxer) and then things make slightly more sense. I don't even wanna go into why anybody thought the sodomy stuff from A Single Man was appropriate for the Oscar telecast, either.
Did I actually like anything I hear you ask? Well, yes, I did. I thought most of the winners were actually very good. I may have liked some variety in the technical categories, maybe throw a bone to Inglourious Basterds or The White Ribbon in Best Cinematography, and at least Sandy Powell was able to make a snarky jibe at the Academy's expense upon her absurd win for Best Costume Design. My favourite part of the evening was the acting clip montages they use, specifically during the supporting actor presentations. I think that should become the standard. None of this "we're friends/co-stars/spouses" mumbo jumbo anymore, and don't revert back to the standard "oscar clip". The montage gave a more rounded view of not only the performance, but the film. I wasn't aware that The Messender had some light-hearted moments in it, but I do now. I liked that Stanley Tucci was as unimpressed with his performance as Cate Blanchett was with hers from a few years back.
I enjoyed Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin at the start, but they disappeared after that and apart from the snuggie joke, they kinda got forgotten about. Not sure why they brought up The Last Station and Invictus when referring to the widening of the Best Picture field, but maybe it was just the way it was worded. I thought there were some nice speeches such as Sandra Bullock and Mo'Nique, but generally they were disappointing, and the only real surprise was Geoffrey Fletcher's win for Best Adapted Screenplay over Up in the Air (deserved too, I think). That Best Animated Feature presentation was spot on, too. Thankfully they ditched the tired routine of animated characters sitting in audience seats. I really liked the Coraline piece most of all.
Overall I think the show itself was, quite obviously, a disaster. Truly no other word for it. A big ol' disastrous sinking ship of an awards show. Just dreadful. What about you?