Feature Blogs

King's Speech Sneaks Home In "Worst Oscars Ever"


Think of the Comic Book Guy from The Simpsons and say out loud “worst Oscars ever!”  I’m trying not to be sensationalistic but that seems to be the general consensus within the online film community.  The world’s leading film critic, Roger Ebert, had this to say on Twitter – “The worst Oscarcast I've seen, and I go back awhile. Some great winners, a nice distribution of awards, but the show? Dead. In. The. Water.


I couldn’t agree more.  There were some nice touches to the ceremony.  It was great to see them reflect back on some of the films which have dominated the Oscars.  A good example was the opening award of the night – art direction and cinematography – which were dished out my Tom Hanks.  There was a nice tribute to Titanic snuck in.


You can see that great efforts were made to reduce the running time of the ceremony.  The final product was just over 3 hours which makes it one of the shortest in recent memory.  They moved quickly from award to award and got rid of unnecessary tributes and dance numbers.  I also think this is a positive.


All of that said, new hosts James Franco and Anne Hathaway were a failure.  I liked their spoof opening (where they inserted themselves in a series of best picture nominees) but from then on in, it was dreadful.  Some are speculating that Franco was “stoned”.  That might explain his apparent disinterest in the ceremony.  Hathaway was trying to give it a kick but she had no material to work with.  A dance number where she poked fun at Hugh Jackman was simply awful.  Who wrote that dribble?  I could say the same for their opening speech where they say hello to their mother / grandmother in the crowd.


It’s as if the producers of the show were playing it too safe.  They wanted to avoid a Ricky Gervais like backlash and so they took no chances.  All the humour was G-rated and there was hardly any controversy.


As has been the case with a lot of other recent Oscars, there was a noticeable lack of surprises.  Tom Hooper winning best director and Inception stealing cinematography were probably the biggest upsets of the night (and that’s not saying much).  It’s nice to see the right people win but you’re always hoping there’ll be a big “shocker” to catch people off guard.  The speeches were also fairly drab.  I don’t think any will be going down in the history books.  I’m sure some will talk about Melissa Leo’s poorly timed “f bomb”.  I didn’t like her speech at all.


The highlight for me might have been seeing Kirk Douglas present the best supporting actress Oscar.  Yes, I realise it was hard to make out everything he was saying but I’m more than prepared to cut him some slack.  To see a 94 year old (who also suffered a stroke 15 years ago) on stage was a magical moment.  He must be one of the oldest, if not the oldest, presenters in history.  Despite being 80 years older than one of the nominees, he still showed he had a great sense of humour.  I couldn’t help but smile as he strung out the announcement of the winner.


I didn’t end up watching the ceremony at home as planned.  I was invited to follow it at the 612ABC studios at Toowong and I was on air providing regular updates with host Richard Fidler.  It was a fun afternoon.  Here’s a photo of the view I had – watching whilst Tweeting – click here.  I also chatted with Spencer Howson in the morning for my special preview and you can listen to the podcast by clicking here.


Oscar Betting


It was a wild ride for me in terms of my Oscar bets.  I had a record $1,450 “invested” in this year’s ceremony and things were looking awfully grim half way through the ceremony.  I had gone for a few roughies and they were all defeated.


Miraculously, Tom Hooper’s best director win and The King’s Speech best picture win saved the night for me.  I finished up $250 which can be offset against my $250 BAFTA loss and my $30 Golden Globes win.  All in all, the net profit for the season was $30.  Could have been a lot better, could have been a lot worse.  I can’t complain.  Here’s my cumulative scoreboard…


1996 – profit of $750 – won on Susan Saranadon

1997 – profit of $300 (cumulative profit $1,050) – won on Frances McDormand

1998 – loss of $250 (cumulative profit $800)

1999 – loss of $250 (cumulative profit $550)

2000 – profit of $620 (cumulative profit $1,170) – won on Kevin Spacey and Michael Caine

2001 – loss of $190 (cumulative profit $980) – won on director Steven Soderbergh

2002 – profit of $480 (cumulative profit $1,460) – won on Halle Berry

2003 – profit of $275 (cumulative profit $1,735) – won on Catherine Zeta-Jones and Adrian Brody

2004 – profit of $150 (cumulative profit $1,875) – won on Sean Penn

2005 – profit of $214 (cumulative profit $2,089) – won on Hilary Swank

2006 – profit of $350 (cumulative profit $2,439) – won on Reese Witherspoon

2007 – profit of $1,463 (cumulative profit $3,912) – won on Eddie Murphy at Globes, Alan Arkin & West Bank Story at Oscars

2008 – profit of $268 (cumulative profit of $4,280) – won on Tilda Swinton and the Coen brothers

2009 – profit of $253 (cumulative profit of $4,533) – won on Mickey Rourke & Kate Winslet at Globes, Kate Winslet at Oscars

2010 – loss of $830 (cumulative profit of $3,703)

2011 – profit of $30 (cumulative profit of $3,733) – won on Social Network at Globes, Tom Hooper & King’s Speech at Oscars


I’m up $3,733 in career earnings and I’ll be aiming for a better effort next year.  I’ll be studying the form in the meantime.


It’s funny that although I preferred The Social Network, I found myself rooting more and more for The King’s Speech as the Oscars season wound down.  I got tired of The Social Network winning every award.  I got tired of Oscar pundits thinking The Social Network had a god given right to win the best picture prize.


To those who think the wins of Tom Hooper and The King’s Speech are a tragedy, I say boo-f***ing-hoo.  It may not have the originality of films like Inception, The Social Network and Black Swan but it has moved audiences.  So many have told me how much they liked it.  Just look at its exceptional box-office takings.  It has over $20m in Australia and over $100m in the United States.  Whether you like or not, the fact remains that people have enjoyed it immensely.  It is far from the worst Oscar winner in history (which some have described it as).


I can also now say that I’ve interviewed an Academy Award winning director!  I spoke with Tom Hooper back in December and you can check out my interview right here.


Oscar Competition


A record number of 95 people entered my 11th annual Oscars competition.  Thanks to everyone for having a go.  You’ll be happy to know that not a single person scored 0 out of 6.  You all got at least one right.


The toughest category was best supporting actress.  Just 29 out of 95 picked Melissa Leo.  The easiest category proved to be best picture with 77 out of 95 going with The King’s Speech.


For the record, the winners for the 6 categories in my competition were…


Best Picture – The King’s Speech

Best Director – Tom Hooper (The King’s Speech)

Best Supporting Actress – Melissa Leo (The Fighter)

Best Original Score – The Social Network

Best Cinematography – Inception

Best Documentary – Inside Job


For only the second time in my competition’s history, we had someone finish on a perfect score.  Despite the awards being shared around between several films, Solo Fogg managed 6 from 6.  A fantastic effort!  He wins a $100 voucher from JB Hi-Fi and I’ll get him and a guest along to the film preview of his choice.


We had two tied for 2nd place with 5 out of 6.  The runner’s up prize therefore went to Brian Bedard who was the closest with the tie-breaker.  The age of the best picture presenter was 64 (Señor Spielbergo) and Brian was closest with his guess of 60.  He wins a $50 voucher from JB Hi-Fi for his solid work.  The other entrant to finish with 5 out of 6 was Steve Eltis.


There were plenty on 4 out of 6 and they were Tina Hill, Simon Shaw, Shannon Saxby, Sarah Case, Prue Martin, Preston Towers, Nick Josey, Michaela Murray, Kat Healey, Judi Jabour, Ian Kilner, David Richard, Chris Hassall and Andreas Moutsatsos.


You’ll notice my name isn’t amongst the list.  I could only manage 3 out of 6 in my own competition.  In all, I finished with 16 out of 24.  I lost many of the technical categories as I took a punt in that The King’s Speech might sweep the night.  I was wrong.


I had an extra lucky entrant prize this year which was selected using a random Excel spreadsheet thingy.  That lucky person was Deborah Carmichael who also picked up a $50 JB Hi-Fi voucher.  I’ll be in touch with all the prize winners soon.


Oscar Winners


The awards were generally shared around this year.  The King’s Speech and Inception finished with 4 wins.  The Social Network was close behind with 3.  The Fighter, Toy Story 3 and Alice In Wonderland each nabbed 2.  Black Swan, The Wolfman and Inside Job were the other feature films to pick up single awards.


We had four Australians take home Oscars which was fantastic to see.  Kirk Baxter won best editing for The Social Network.  Dave Elsey won best makeup for The Wolfman.  Shaun Tan won best animated short film for The Lost Thing.  Emile Sherman was one of the producers who shared in the best picture win of The King’s Speech.


None of the Aussie actors were able to take away a golden statuette but it was still great to see them nominated.  It must have been an even bigger thrill for first time nominee Jacki Weaver and I hope it opens up many doors for her in Hollywood.


Here’s a quick rundown of the big 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

Best Adapted Screenplay – The Social Network

Best Animated Film – Toy Story 3

Best Foreign Language Film – In A Better World


Well, we’re done for another year.  I’m sure the major wins and losses will be dissected by many on the internet over the next few days.  It’s now time to get back to reality and focus on the 2011 crop of releases.  Which film will take the Oscar for best picture this time next year?  I’m not sure at the moment but I do hope I have money on it. :)