Monday, February 28, 2011

Aces Casino Blog: The 2011 Academy Awards Redux, A.K.A. "What In The HECK Was THAT?"

Aces Casino might be the gold standard when it comes to orange county casino party companies, but, here at our main office in beautiful downtown Whittier, CA., we like to think of ourselves as, shall we say, "Well-Rounded," when it comes to the important topics of the weekend.  We've been known to add our two cents to the water cooler chat on a wide range of pertinent topics of the day, from national news (Do NOT get me started up about gas prices again) to sports, and sometimes, to the world of entertainment.

Hey, when you have the word "entertainment"prominently displayed on your business license, you'd best have an opinion or two about the genre you profess to know something about.  And, BOY, do we have an opinion when it comes to that Sunday night "train wreck" that the TV Guide was describing as "The 83rd Annual Academy Awards Show" that aired on ABC-TV this Sunday evening. 

Now, right up front, we have to mention that we're a SUCKER for the "Oscars."  We LOVE the movies, ALL TYPES of movies - Comedies, Horror pictures, Action/Adventure, Drama, Sci/Fi's, Documentaries, you name it.  We love 'em ALL,   We're total saps for this type of drivel.  We're a tap-in putt on the golf course of entertainment when it comes to the Oscars.  It's almost IMPOSSIBLE to disappoint us with the Academy Awards presentations, year-in and year-out.

Notice that we used the term, "almost."

Friends, I'm here to tell you that not even Denzel Washington, Chris Pine or Rosario Dawson could have kept THAT "Unstoppable" train from running off the rails.  The MINUTE that the broadcast was over, we all looked at each other and said, "Holy MOLY.  There's a whole WEEK of Blog meterial in just that one show."

Indeed there is, my Aces Casino co-workers, indeed, there is.

Now, I'm sure that the Hollywood press agents-turned-spin doctors are already weaving their journalistic magic on Sunday's Kodak Theater-based mushroom cloud to distance their highly coiffed meal tickets (the "stars")  from the "accident," so we thought that it would only be fair if this orange county casino party company press agent beat them to the keyboard, and we came up with what we'd like to call ...

"The Top 5 Faux-Pas of the 83rd Annual Academy Awards."

Two years of College-course French went right down the drain.  Sorry, that's all the French we remember.  OK, without further adieu (Hey, wait a second, there's something ELSE we remember!), here they come, in reverse order....

#5 -- The Network's selection of the hosts for the telecast

If the Oscars have one thing going for it, that would HAVE to be the plethora of talent in and around Hollywood that ABC-TV could choose from when you're looking for an entertaining host for the Oscar broadcast.   This show has had FABULOUS hosts over the years, from Bob Hope to Johnny Carson, to Steve Martin and Billy Crystal.  Professional entertainers that always seemed to shine at the Oscar telecast, year-in and year-out.

Then came 2011.

Suddenly, Ricky Gervais doesn't look so bad, now DOES he, you members of the Hollywood Foreign Press?  I remember when I personally saw that James Franco and Anne Hathaway had been selected to host the 2011 Oscars.  My first response was, "What?  Who?  The guy from Spider-Man 2, and that girl from "The Devil Wears Prada?  You're KIDDING."

Nope.  No kidding, Aces. Now, I admit that I haven't seen Franco's latest film, the one he was nominated for Best Actor for, but he truly had no business hosting something like this.  He looked bored at times, and other times, he looked like he was searching for the right thing to say at the right time, but went 0-for-37 on the night in that regard.  The telecast seemed to LAST 127 hours with him doin' the hosting.  He is NOT an entertainer in any sense of the word, seemed to have NO experience in carrying off a show like this, and will truly be remembered as the worst host the Oscars have ever had.  It's a one-and-done, no doubt.  Put him on the milk carton, baby.  He's missing.

"Have You Seen Me?  Call 555-Bore."

Now, Anne Hathaway I like, but for sinister reasons.  One, she's beautiful, and two, she's intelligent, a rare mix in Tinseltown.  Unfortunately for her, she was saddled with the aforementioned James Franco, and had NOTHING to play off of when it was her turn to speak.  The good news was the fact that she must have had a NASCAR pit crew backstage working for her, because she changed dresses for the broadcast every four minutes.  It had to be tough to get that clothing off of her: most times, it looked like she was wearing PAINT, the dresses were so skin-tight.

And what was that song she sang about an hour into the telecast about the missing Australian guy for her duet (Hugh Jackman, I'm guessing)?  Since when do we need filler for the OSCARS?  She CAN sing, no doubt, but the song was just unnecessarily awful.  Memo to Anne: inside jokes don't work on the Oscars, good-lookin', especially when only YOU and Jackman get the joke.  Fire THAT writer immediately.  Yep, the hosts didn't help the cause, that is for sure.  Grade: D.  A "C" for Hathaway, because she's gorgeous, but an "F" for Franco.  The columnists are going to tear him apart.

#4 -- Kirk Douglas 

OK, OK, put down your torches and pitchforks, get rid of the Tar and Feathers.  Hear me out, now.  Me?  I was glad to see him, and yes, I have known for some time that "Spartacus" has suffered a stroke a while back.  My problem with Michael Douglas' dad is, he had the wrong job.  HE should have been hosting the show, and NOT James Franco.  LOVED Kirk's line to Hathaway, "Hey, Anne - Where wre YOU when I was making pictures?"  Imagine the children THOSE two would have had.  But, I digress....Grade: a solid "A" for a true Hollywood icon that we wished would have gone over and booted James Franco off the set.

#3 -- That opening monologue

When I think of the Oscar opening monologues, I think of true entertainers like Steve Martin, and especially Billy Crystal.  Crystal would write up an impromptu song that touched upon the five "Best Picture" nominees (at that time), a song that made you laugh, and got you right in the mood for the telecast to come.  When Billy was done, it was "on with the show!"

Now, I knew that Billy Crystal wasn't in the 2011 starting lineup, and that we were going with two "rookies" on the hill. But...Whomever thought of that idea of intertwining Franco and Hathaway into scenes from the Best Picture lot in 2010 should have been given the day off, instead.  Our esteemed hosts don't have enough star-power or comedic talent to make the montage work, the lines edited into the piece from the films didn't say anything worthwhile or funny, and the whole thing was just poorly done.   An unfunny beginning to a broadcast that immediately sounded the alarm of what was unfortunately coming in those next three-plus hours.  THe only thing I could say upon it's completion was, "Uh-Ohh."

#2 (Tie) -- The lack of usage of what makes Hollywood great during the broadcast, coupled with the lack of mystery about who was going to win the big awards

Right off the bat in the 2011 Oscar broadcast, the theme from the 1939 classic "Gone With The Wind" was used as a backdrop for the appearance of Tom Hanks, the first presenter of the night.  I thought to myself, "Did someone nominate "GWTW" THIS year?"   Whose idea was it to kick off the show with that one film's theme?  Someone had best help this orange county casino party company with where all of that was supposed to go.

It was clumsy, was a VERY loose fity fit with what Hanks was presenting that night, and to top it off, later on, if I remember correctly, the theme from "Shrek" was used for what was it, ART Direction, or something?  "Shrek?"  Really?  Well, it's nice to know that the Academy places that all-time classic, "Shrek," right up there with "Gone With The Wind."  Yeah, right.  This broadcast, like Shrek himself, was "Far, Far Away."

Yep, Me and Clark Gable.  Ask Tom Hanks.

Were those the only two times that type of segue was used during the telecast?   If so, that was ONE good usage of the proverbial "DUMP" button.  The OTHER?  That had to be when Melissa Leo, who won for Best Supporting Actress, forced the guy manning the "DUMP" button to use it when she uttered the "F" word when giving her acceptance speech.  Hey, she was still in character!

Don't worry, Melissa.  After three hours of THAT Oscar broadcast, I must have used that word about five more times, courtesy of the timing-challenged hack that IS James Franco. 

And when you watch the Oscars every year, don'cha just LOVE it when the telecast pays homage to all the great films of the past, showing short clips from all the masterpieces that Hollywood has made over these many years?  I know I love it, but it appears that THIS broadcast didn't have any TIME for drivel like that.  The good news?  The broadcast only ran over it's alloted time by about 14 minutes.  The BAD news?  They didn't touch on ANYTHING "Hollywood!"  Someone tell ABC to get back to showing what makes Hollywood great, and forget about Anne Hathaway singing about her missing duet partner.

Then, when you move to the last hour or so of the broadcast, was there ANYONE in the viewing audience that DIDN'T know that Portman, Hooper, Firth, and "The King's Speech"  were going to take home the gold?  There wsn't any mystery or drama involved with the Oscars, in my not-so-humble opinion.  We have awards shows like the Golden Globes and the Writer's and/or Director's Guild Guild Awards Ceremonies to thank for that.

#1 -- Did I mention James Franco?

Oh.  Yeah, I guess I did.  I knew Franco was toast the minute the dog began to growl at the screen whenever Franco appeared.  The only other time our Aces Casino mascot did that was when somebody turned on a Pauly Shore film.

Not good company to be in, James, not good at all.

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