The Academy Awards is the biggest night in Hollywood — a night when the most talented stars gather to reward the best performances of the year. In the past, there have been huge upsets, inspiring speeches and an overall spectacle for the viewing audience. However, the awards this year left much to be desired. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t good; it was simply forgettable. The show’s host, Ellen Degeneres, was funny, but nothing to praise. The winners were all predictable and the span of four hours pretty much put the nail in the coffin.
p. Thing is, 2006 was a great year for cinema. With movies such as “The Departed,” “Little Miss Sunshine” and “An Inconvenient Truth,” the year has definitely left audiences satisfied. Maybe that’s the tradeoff. When movies and performances are this good, there are often clear winners when award season comes around. Nobody questions that the winners deserve the awards, but it’s boring to watch.
p. All the big awards were pretty much set. It was no surprise that the Best Actor award went to Forest Whitaker for his thrilling performance as Idi Amin in “The Last King of Scotland” and the Best Actress award went to Hellen Mirren for her performance as Queen Elizabeth II in “The Queen.” Both actors won every award at the prior shows, such as the Golden Globes and the Screen Actors Guild Awards. They knew they were going to win and didn’t hesitate to show it. Both accepted their awards with a clearly prepared speech and moved through the typical motions. The only award that seemed even somewhat undecided was the biggest of the night — Best Picture. Still, I don’t think anyone fell out of their seats when “The Departed” won.
p. Since the Oscars were so predictable, I thought I would provide The Flat Hat readers with a list of my own awards for the night:
The Most Lifeless Acceptance Speech definitely goes to Martin Scorsese. After decades of walking away empty-handed, the six-time nominee finally won the coveted Oscar for Best Director — and yet it somehow seemed completely anti-climactic. He knew he was going to win and so did everyone else. During the pre-show, when the stars were asked why they were attending this year’s Oscars, many of them plainly stated, “I want to see Martin Scorsese’s win.” After his name was called, he made a quick joke that they should check the envelope just to make sure, but overall, the moment was entirely forgettable.
p. The Most Undeserved Oscar goes to American Idol reject Jennifer Hudson for her Best Supporting Actress win for her performance in “Dreamgirls.” Though the Oscars are meant to award the best performance of the year, in reality they award an actor’s body of work, rather than a single performance. An actor may have the year’s best performance, but the academy voters typically award those who are consistent, which is why the award is such an honor. The Oscar loses its prestige when it is awarded to an actress who has been in exactly one film.
p. The Best Joke of the Night goes to presenter Robert Downey Jr. While presenting the award for best visual effects, he made a hilarious reference to his past drug use, stating, “Visual effects: They enable us to see aliens, experience other universes, move in slow motion or watch spiders climbing high above the city landscape. For me, just a typical weeknight in the mid ’90s.”
p. Finally, the award for Best Appearance of the Night goes to former Vice President Al Gore. He pretty much knocked it out of the park. His film, “An Inconvenient Truth,” won the award for Best Documentary Film, and his acceptance speech received a standing ovation from the crowd. While presenting, Leonardo DiCaprio urged him to make a certain “announcement,” and he jokingly responded, “Even though I honestly did not plan on doing this, I guess with a billion people watching it’s as good a time as any.” He was praised throughout the night for his work to save the environment, clearly holding enormous support from the Hollywood community.
p. While the night had its moments, it’s not one that people will still be talking about next year. A mix of forgettable jokes and predictable winners led to bored viewers. It failed to live up to the glamour and entertainment that most of us expect from Hollywood.