Best & Worst of the 2011 Oscars: Yes, It's That Bad

Funniest, strangest and most moving moments from the 83rd Annual Academy Awards

By Erik Pedersen Feb 28, 2011 4:23 AMTags
James Franco, Anne HathawayMichael Caulfield/WireImage

Hollywood's Super Bowl was supposed be a match-up between Colin Firth and The King's Speech versus the nerds billionaire boys of The Social Network, with some gimmes involving Christian Bale thrown in.

But that's so not what everybody is gonna be talking about now:

Worst Oscars Ever? This was sizing up to be everything the Oscars are not supposed to be: clunky, amateurish, and pretty much lacking in actual entertainment value for those of us not picking up awards.

Worst Moment of the Pre-Show: Sitting through the ABC countdown chatfest, which featured the biggest stars in the world and still managed to be really boring. Stop that!

Best Moment of the Opening: The two montages opening the show were one too many, but as we are fans of (a) Inception; (b) host-inserted award show videos; and (c) Alec Baldwin and Morgan Freeman; we will give this part a pass, mainly because we have a sick feeling that the whole thing about to go downhill from here...

Worst Moment of the Opening: Realizing that James Franco and Anne Hathaway actually were going to keep hosting through the whole thing and it wasn't all an Inception dream. Blame Hugh Jackman for making us think all good actors must be good hosts.

Worst Segue: One minute Hathaway is yelling something about lesbians and then...

Biggest WTF: And then Tom Hanks comes talking about Gone With the Wind...which already won, we're fairly sure. Like 60 years ago.

Best Save: Kirk Douglas isn't the obvious choice for a show aiming at a younger demographic, but the screen idol proved that his charm is undiminished, though the show did seem to get sidetracked by his antics.

Worst Takeaway, Part One: For all the talk about Melissa Leo turning off voters with her personal For Your Consideration ad, she not only won, but she probably ensured that next year we'll see more of them.

Worst Takeaway, Part Two: Oh, and that they'll keep using the dump button to bleep out inadvertent cursing.

Best Written Speeches: A tie. Social Network's Aaron Sorkin and King's Speech scribe David Seidler offered up wry, well-written speeches, which just got us wishing they'd been around to help out with this telecast.

Best Commercial: Christian Bale dropping in a plug for the website of Dickie Eklund during a speech that ended on a moving note as he talked about his wife and daughter.

Worst Commercial: ABC letting us know that they were going to be airing the show for the next ten years, which didn't make us feel comforted at all.

Best Quip: "That's gross," said the divine Cate Blanchett, while presenting the make-up award to The Wolfman. We already love her, but she wins geek points for knowing the sci-fi term for "Excellent work."

Best Star-Making Performance: Luke Matheny's vibrant, funny speech for Live Action Short Film was not only a jolt of energy for the show, but it made us want to watch whatever he does next. And really if you're going to be charming, it's probably not a bad idea to do it in a roomful of film executives.

Latest Entrance: Billy Crystal showed up and got a standing ovation, both for his past hosting work and in hopes he might stay and host the rest of this one.

Biggest Disconnect: Maybe we missed the memo, but for a show that was supposed to draw in the youth, it seemed to rely on old(er) folks for its best bits.

Best (Delayed) Comeback: Robert Downey Jr. may have seemed a little prickly at the Golden Globes when Ricky Gervais made a stale joke about his past mishaps, but he and Jude Law managed to mine his past for a funny bit on stage.

Second Best (Delayed) Comeback: Christian Bale's sly allusion to his own infamous f-bomb barrage while mentioning costar Leo's bleep-worthy moment.

Best Musical Performance: As much as Florence Welch and Gwyneth Paltrow were terrific, Randy Newman not only got a deserved Best Song win but he gave a drily comic speech that killed.

Best Mom: Tom Hooper won for The King's Speech, and then told how his mother basically found The King's Speech for him. Isn't that like a mom: First, she finds where you left your bookbag, then she finds you an Oscar-winning script.

Worst in Translation: In one of the night's best moments, Russell Brand delivered a delightfully incorrect translation of what Helen Mirren was saying while introducing the Best Foreign Language Film award.

Best Host: Sandra Bullock delivered the goods while introducing the Best Actor nominees, making the whole thing seem fun and funny and unpretentious. Everything that this night wasn't, but could have been.

Worst Surprise: When Oprah Winfrey came out, you could tell everyone was hoping that they'd find an Oscar under their chair.

Best Firth Place Finish: "I have a feeling my career has just peaked," Colin Firth, who gave a charming, gracious speech that  belied the fact that him winning was kind of a lock.

Least Surprising: The show ran late, The King's Speech won Best Picture and those adorable kids from PS 22 who closed the show were terrific. (Next time, start with the kid singers, OK?)

Biggest Question: What did you think of the show? Tell us what you thought in the comments.