The King’s Speech Sweeps 2011 Academy Awards, Inception Surprises

King's Speech garners Best Picture at 2011 Oscars

King's Speech garners Best Picture at 2011 Oscars

In an almost universally expected win, The King’s Speech swept the 83rd Annual Academy Awards with Colin Firth garnering Best Actor in a Leading Role, Tom Hooper with Best Directing and The King’s Speech pulling in Best Picture. It also won Best Original Screenplay. Leading the pack with 12 nominations, it’s little surprise that The King’s Speech performed so well.

What did suprise was Inception’s showing. Doing better than expected, Inception won Best Cinematography, Best Visual Effects, Sound Editing and Sound Mixing. Disney had a good showing with Alice in Wonderland garnering Best Art Direction and Costume Design, while Toy Story 3 won Best Animated Feature and Best Original Song.

Black Swan underperformed (in my opinion, for how great a film it was), although Natalie Portman did win Best Actress. Christian Bale won Best Supporting Actor for his role in The Fighter. And speaking of underperforming, True Grit won exactly zero awards, and with like ten nominations? I’d say it was jilted.

What may strike some viewers after watching hours and hours of glitzed-out celebs blowing kisses and flashing thousand-dollar smiles, is that the Oscars isn’t just an awards show for self-congratulating movie industry types; it’s a variety show. Step right up, folks. Hosts Anne Hathaway and James Franco played it safe, going light on the satire and comedy in favor of skits, songs, dances, films reprisals, and some cross-dressing.

The duo started the night in an Inception-inspired skit where they appeared in all the movies up for Best Picture. There were a few awkward moments and some really bad jokes, making for a generally disappointing show entertainment-wise. After all the ribbing they received at the hands of Ricky Gervais (controversial host of the Golden Globes this year) and the “alternate” opening monologue he penned for them (just in case they needed one), the hosts avoided the cheeky comedian route. After watching the Oscars this year, I’d say they should have taken Gervais up on his offer.

Franco and Hathaway weren’t the only stars on stage. Presenters this year included Hillary Swank, Josh Brolin, Annette Bening, Halle Berry, Cate Blanchett, Russell Brand, Jeff Bridges, Robert Downey Jr., Sandra Bullock, Tom Hanks, Hugh Jackman, Nicole Kidman, and Scarlett Johansson (among many others!). With the stars in the seats, and the stars on the stage, the event dazzled. But what else would we expect from Hollywood’s elite?