Wednesday, October 1, 2014
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"King's Speech" Coronation Spearheads Another British Invasion

By Kam Williams
Sentinel Contributing Writer


The King's Speech not only won the Oscars for Best Picture, Original Screenplay and Actor (Colin Firth) as expected, but also for Best Director (Tom Hooper) in something of a slight upset over The Social Network's David Fincher. Most of the awards went as this critic anticipated (16/20 picks correct), with Natalie Portman (Black Swan) landing Best Actress while Christian Bale and Melissa Leo prevailed in the supporting categories for The Fighter.

Over the years, I've made a habit of pointing out how Anglophilic the Academy tends to be, and this year was no exception. You couldn't help but notice the profusion of English accents during acceptance speeches, between The King's Speech and Inception, British productions which netted four Oscars apiece. Even Christian Bale's thick Welsh brogue probably surprised a lot of folks who'd presumed him to be Yank after seeing him play so many American characters.

Why the U.S. continues to display such post-colonial deference to England centuries after declaring its independence is disconcerting. As a consequence of this lack of self-esteem, many deserving domestic talents remain fated never to enjoy a share the limelight.

The evening's most memorable moment arrived courtesy of Ms. Leo who had to be bleeped when she tastelessly used the F-word while thanking the Academy.

What's perhaps more interesting is that she had come under criticism in recent weeks for launching her own ad campaign in the industry trade papers lobbying for votes. Obviously, the tactic worked, as it helped her edge out a Brit, The King's Speech's Helena Bonham Carter.

As for the co-hosts, James Franco and Anne Hathaway were visually appealing, but exhibited little in the way of chemistry or comedy chops. In fact, their performances peaked during the show's opening, a pre-recorded parody featuring the pair immersed in famous scenes from screen classics courtesy of trick photography.

The absence of suspense or entertainment rendered the Academy Awards little more than a self-congratulatory celebration of material excess. This crop of Oscar-winners was lily-white, and unless I dozed off (which isn't out of the realm of possibility), the only minority members who even appeared onstage as presenters, were Oprah, Jennifer Hudson and Halle Berry who paid a posthumous tribute to the late Lena Horne. Hey, Javier Bardem doesn't count because he was born in Spain, and I don't think Castilians qualify as Latino.

The curtain came down on the night's festivities with a cleansing Kumbaya moment courtesy of an ethnically-diverse choir of school kids from Staten Island who sang "Somewhere over the Rainbow" during the closing credits. Let's just pray that next year's affair is a little more inclusive for the whole three hours.

COMPLETE LIST OF ACADEMY AWARD WINNERS

BEST PICTURE
The King's Speech

BEST DIRECTOR
Tom Hooper, The King's Speech

BEST ACTOR
Colin Firth, The King's Speech

BEST ACTRESS
Natalie Portman, Black Swan

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Christian Bale, The Fighter

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Melissa Leo, The Fighter

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
The King's Speech, Screenplay by David Seidler

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
The Social Network, Screenplay by Aaron Sorkin

BEST ANIMATED FILM
Toy Story 3

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
In a Better World (Denmark)

BEST DOCUMENTARY
Inside Job, Charles Ferguson and Audrey Marrs

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
Inception, Wally Pfister

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE
The Social Network, Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross

BEST SONG
"We Belong Together," Toy Story 3, Randy Newman

BEST EDITING
The Social Network, Angus Wall and Kirk Baxter

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS
Inception, Paul Franklin, Chris Corbould, Andrew Lockley and Peter Bebb

BEST COSTUME DESIGN
Alice in Wonderland, Colleen Atwood

BEST MAKEUP
The Wolfman, Rick Baker and Dave Elsey

BEST SOUND EDITING
Inception, Richard King

BEST SOUND MIXING
Inception, Lora Hirschberg, Gary A. Rizzo, and Ed Novick

BEST ART DIRECTION
Alice in Wonderland, Robert Stromberg, Karen O'Hara

BEST ANIMATED SHORT
The Lost Thing, Shaun Tan and Andrew Ruhemann

BEST LIVE-ACTION SHORT
God of Love, Luke Matheny

BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT
Strangers No More, Karen Goodman and Kirk Simon

Category: News


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