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 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 comedic 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 combined to render the Academy Awards a bloated borefest. No members of any minority groups won an Oscar, and unless I dozed off (which isn’t out of the realm of possibility), I can safely say that none even appeared onstage as presenters, except for Halle Berry who paid a posthumous tribute to the late Lena Horne. Hey, Javier Bardem was born in Spain, and I don’t think Castilians qualify as Latino. So, let’s just pray that next year’s affair is a little more ethnically diverse.
 

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

 

Kam Williams

Special to the AFRO