oscars

Oscars 2012: The best and worst from Hollywood's biggest night

By Emma Badame on February 28, 2012
Awards and Festivals, Listed, Oscars

So the Oscars...happened.

It's easy to get blasé about Hollywood's biggest and most glamourous night given it seems to get slightly more predictable each go-round. Another year, another Oscars. Ho-hum. But between the red carpet, the winners, the host and the presenters, there's always something to keep us entertained. Sure Sunday night's telecast, like every Oscar telecast before, had its highs and lows or, in the case of the 84th annual Academy Awards, its slightly above mediums and slightly belows. There were no real shockers or upsets, no big unscripted moments and no notable wardrobe malfunctions to speak of. Everything went pretty much according to plan, even where the majority of winners were concerned. (See the full list here)

Does it follow that nothing stood out? That there weren't moments of hilarity and a few flares of second-hand embarrassment? Heck no!

So without further ado, here's our rundown of the best and the worst this year's Oscars had to offer:

 

The Hot:

Colin FirthCOLIN FIRTH PRESENTS THE BEST ACTRESS OSCAR:

Frithy - yes, we have nicknames for our favourites - took on the unenviable task of delivering the required award presentation patter and made it all look ridiculously effortless and genuine. That should come as a shock to exactly no one, especially if you followed him on last year's award circuit. Every note of his Best Actress Award intro came across as witty and heartfelt, though he saved his most note-worthy observations for former co-stars Michelle Williams and Meryl Streep. First Firth praised the My Week With Marilyn nominee for her professionalism and grace on the set of their only film together, A Thousand Acres, and noted she was his mentor at the time -  when when she was 12 and he was 35. Then he moved on to Streep, leaving his very best laughs and lines for last. Nothing can improve upon his script, so here it is:  

"Meryl. Mamma Mia! We were in Greece, we danced, I was gay and we were happy. I probably fathered your only daughter. They were perplexing times but through all this, I watched you work and it's all too clear why you're on your 17th nomination...more than any other actress in the history of the awards. You are unreasonably good. Whatever role you play, you raise the bar making it a little more difficult for the rest of us and you've just done it again in your virtuoso portrayal of Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady."


Emma StoneEMMA STONE PRESENTS:

The only seriously funny award presentation of the night came courtesy of the talented It-girl, as she presented the award for Best Visual Effects alongside vet Ben Stiller. Though the actor/comedian has often graced the Oscar stage in less than formal wear - once as a Na'vi, one as Joaquin Phoenix and even once in a lime green unitard - this time he played the straight man to Emma's funny lady. Stone was committed, playful, entertaining and so full of energy, she may have single-handedly saved the audience from drifting off into the arms of Nod. Bonus points for her ability to do a bit of physical humour in four-inch stilettos. To quote Simon Pegg's pithy but accurate post-Oscar Tweet: "That kid's got something."

 

Christopher PlummerCHRISTOPHER PLUMMER WINS FOR BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR:

Though the 82-year-old actor was the odds-on favourite to take home the golden statuette on Sunday night, it didn't make his win any less exciting. His performance in Mike Mills' Beginners is masterfully charming and full of feeling, much like his acceptance speech on the night. Witty, heartfelt and perfectly timed, his speech kicked it off with a little wink to his age via Oscar's 84-year-old legacy: "You're only two years older than me, where have you been all my life?" He managed to squeeze in his thanks to friends, agents, co-stars and family, all with a twinkle in his eye and just the slightest hint of self-deprecation. If there was an award for classiest speech of the night, you know Plummer would've been taking it home too. Watch Plummer's fantastic speech here.

 

Octavia SpencerOCTAVIA SPENCER WINS BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS:

Crying at the Oscars is nothing new. After their previous tear-filled wins, both Tom Hanks and Halle Berry could teach a master class on the art of gratefully blubbering through important on-stage moments. If such a class existed, we're pretty sure Spencer audited a session or two. The Help actress balanced on the precipice of a total breakdown when accepting her statuette on Sunday but managed to just barely keep it together as she adorably stumbled through her thank-yous to her co-stars and director and date Tate Taylor. Her joy in winning both the award and the respect of her peers (if the standing ovation was anything to go on) is everything the Oscars should be about. A pure Academy moment. Watch it now.

 

Jim RashANGELINA JOLIE (AND HER RIGHT LEG):

No, your eyes are not deceiving you. That's not Angelina. Meet Jim Rash, talented actor ("Community"), Oscar-winning screenwriter for The Descendants and Jolie impersonator extraordinaire. The actress channeled her inner Jessica Rabbit when presenting the Best Adapted Screenplay on Sunday night band took advantage of the thigh-high slit in her dress to show off her lengthy gam to anyone possessing the sense of sight. It was a little odd, but we went with it. It paid off in spades when Rash took the stage alongside fellow writers Alexander Payne and Nat Faxon and seized the opportunity to channel his inner Jolie, much to the delight of audience members at home and at the Oscars.

 

Honourable Mentions:

  • Bret McKenzie's win for Best Original Song. That's right, ladies and gentleman, one half of The Flight of the Conchords is an Oscar winner. The ball's in your court, Jemaine.

  • The Bridesmaids cast presenting the three Short Film Oscars. Continuing the Martin Scorsese drinking game (first played during their appearance at the Golden Globes) was an inspired choice.

  • The montages. From the favourite movie memories, to the touching In Memoriam tribute, to the look back at the nine Best Picture nominees, the Oscars prove that when it comes to splicing together nostalgic movie clips and moments, nobody does it better.

 

Does that mean everything went smoothly on Sunday? Well it's true that nothing went horribly wrong (unless you count that poor Cirque Du Soleil guy that fell), it was far from a perfect event. So lest you think we only own a pair of rose-coloured glasses, here's our look at the more meh parts of the evening that failed to resonate.

 

The Not-So-Hot:

Billy CrystalTHE HOST:

Billy Crystal took on Oscar hosting duties for the ninth time this past Sunday and it showed...but not in a good way. While his opening routine brought to mind the best of Crystal from Oscars past (bonus points for the Bieber pandering and the Clooney kiss), the rest of the show saw him treading water with easy, obvious jokes (Brangelina have a ton of kids! Christopher Plummer is old!) that even Crystal seemed to know weren't quite up to snuff. We know he's capable of better, we just wish he'd brought it along with him on the night. He didn't make us yen for the return of Franco but we wouldn't be averse to a little Jackman come February 2013.

 

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2THE OSCARS PASS UP HARRY FOR HUGO:

Though our love for Hugo knows no bounds (seriously, we're film lovers, how could we NOT love it?), we were seriously bummed to see the Harry Potter franchise miss out on its last chance for Oscar gold. Both Potter and Rise of the Planet of the Apes tore onto screens this summer with special effects that wowed audiences around the globe. While Hugo was equally as impressive, it would've been nice to see Oscar share the technical love a bit, especially to the superbly done final Potter film.

 

 

Honourable Mentions:

  • J. Lo and Cameron Diaz: Listen, ladies, leave the improv to the professionals.

  • Original Song no-show: I really wish we'd gotten a chance to see Jason Segel and Walter perform "Man or Muppet" on stage. I guess I'll just have to wait for the DVD release of The Muppets to hear it again.

 

Now it's your turn! Weigh in below with your best and worst from Sunday night.

oscars, emma stone, colin firth, christopher plummer, octavia spencer

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