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February 28, 2011  | by: Brandon Kirby

Winners, Hosts, and 5th Graders at the Oscars' Finale

Missed out on watching the 83rd Annual Academy Awards last night? Dying to know just what you missed? Have no fear. Here’s a breakdown of the shining (and maybe not too shining moments) from last night’s telecast. I call it the Oscar 2011 Cheat Sheet.

The Totals:

Inception and The King’s Speech tied with four wins each followed by The Social Network with three and The Fighter, Alice in Wonderland, and Toy Story 3 tied with two each.

The Breakdown:

Stoned Franco and Goofy Hathaway

– Anne Hathaway and James Franco appeared in a rather hilarious opening to the ceremony acting in several of the films nominated for Best Picture, which kicked things off to a nice start. That Alec Baldwin/Morgan Freeman cameo combination was killer. This was followed by their opening monologue which was quick and to the point. Not as humorous as what preceded but soaked in cuteness with shout-outs to the hosts moms and grandmas. Oh, and of course, a crack from Franco about getting nominated and Hathaway, well, not. Hathaway probably could have hosted on her own considering Franco managed to channel his character from Pineapple Express and seemed high the whole time, while Hathaway made up for it by giggling herself into a frenzy.

– The awards started off with two surprise wins, though in minor categories. Alice in Wonderland won for Best Art Direction over the expected The King’s Speech, and Inception won for Best Cinematography over the expected True Grit. With these initial upsets, I figured we were in for a slew of surprises! Turned out not to be the case.

Natalie Portman Delivers Her Acceptance Speech

– The acting awards all fell easily into place. Colin Firth for Best Actor, Natalie Portman for Best Actress, Melissa Leo for Best Supporting Actress, and Christian Bale for Best Supporting Actor — all expected and all ended up winning. No upsets in sight for Hailee Steinfeld in True Grit over Leo or Geoffrey Rush in The King’s Speech over Bale.

– The way the Best Actor and Best Actress nominees were announced from Sandra Bullock and Jeff Bridges was wonderful. I loved the personal addresses, which were similar to last’s year approach but much less showy and better timed. These lead to equally wonderful speeches from both Colin Firth and Natalie Portman.

– At one point, James Franco mentioned that last year was the year of the movie musical. Hathaway quickly reminded him this year was musical as well, and the pair presented a video clip featuring several autotuned scenes from last year’s movies (including Harry Potter and Twilight) making for a ridiculous but — you couldn’t deny it — rather humorous moment. It almost beat Hathaway shouting how it was “a great year for lesbians!”

– Celine Dion performed the song, “Smile” for the In Memoriam portion of the evening.  Strange song choice to say the least.

Douglas and an Astounded Leo

– During her acceptance speech, Melissa Leo dropped the F-bomb which was later mocked by her co-star Christian Bale in his speech. Almost as awkward as Leo hitting on an ancient Kirk Douglas before her speech. But not nearly as awkward as, during Bale’s speech, what appeared to be him forgetting his own wife’s name. Or him just taking a pause. You decide.

– The mystery of whether Banksy would show up to the Oscars was revealed when Justin Timberlake–during his presenting bit with Mila Kunis–announced he was the famed graffiti artist. He fooled no one.

– Anne Hathaway caused a digression during the ceremony when she sang a solo musical number in tribute to bashing Hugh Jackman. Unnecessary? Sure, but funny nonetheless.

– After announcing the Best Makeup nominees, the last one being for The Wolfman, Cate Blanchett stated, “That’s gross.” That movie winning an Academy Award? Gross indeed.

– There was a message from the dead after a surprise appearance from Billy Crystal as he talked about Bob Hope’s hosting duties which lead to a bizarre but stunning holographic image of the late Hope addressing the audience.

– The telecast opened with a lovely montage of all ten Best Picture nominees set to “In the Hall of the Mountain King” from The Social Network. The telecast then closed, just before announcing Best Picture, with another montage this time set to King George VI’s closing speech from The King’s Speech. The fact that the montage narrated the film’s own win seemed a bit too obvious at that point even if it was entirely unintentional.

The King's Speech Winning Best Picture

The King’s Speech dominated the evening by the end, winning Best Actor for Firth and Best Director over David Fincher which then led to an easy win for Best Picture. I call it an Academy backslide for not crowning The Social Network.

And that’s a wrap.  All in all, the winners turned out to be quite predictable, but I thought our hosts did a fine job. It definitely could have gone worse, and best of all, it clipped along at a reasonable pace and didn’t go past the 3-and-a-half-hour mark.  I’d call that a success.

Check here for a full list of winners from the 83rd Annual Academy Awards.

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