After months of predictably relentless anticipation, the Academy Awards were handed out last night — in a lackluster show that some are calling the "worst Oscars ever." There were few surprises: As expected, The King's Speech nabbed the Best Picture prize, and Colin Firth and Natalie Portman took home trophies for Best Actor and Best Actress, respectively. Still, the media found plenty to chatter about. Here, five key talking points from last night's ceremony:
1. The James Franco and Anne Hathaway hosting disaster
The two hosts seemed to be "operating in alternate realities," say Willa Paskin and Kyle Buchanan in New York. "Hathaway committed [to her hosting duties], and committed hard," energetically singing, dancing, toothily smiling and woo-hooing. "Franco, meanwhile, went blank-slate, projecting nothing except expressions verging on outright disdain," and left "Hathaway hanging in the wind." Maybe he was stoned, theorizes Melissa Bell in The Washington Post and she's not alone.
2. Kirk Douglas shows them how it's done
Though clearly frail, the 94-year-old acting legend was one of the night's strongest presenters, ably going off script and injecting some much needed life into the show. "The hammy Douglas cracked jokes, flirted with Anne Hathaway, riffed on his own Oscar success, played games with the man holding his cane, and deliciously refrained from announcing the winner for as long as possible," says Kyle Buchanan at New York. Indeed, the "deliciously feisty" old-timer "basically stole the show," says Liz Kelly in The Washington Post. He got more laughs in a few minutes than Franco did the entire night.
3. Melissa Leo's F-bomb
The Best Supporting Actress winner for The Fighter got a little mouthy. Overwhelmed by her victory, Leo unleashed an expletive in her acceptance speech, saying "When I watched Kate [Winslet] two years ago it looked so [insert expletive] easy." Well, "the unintentional F-bomb was sort of cute," says Dana Stevens at Slate. But then she "talked so long it started to get uncomfortable."
4. The general boringness of it all
This year's Oscars were "possibly the dullest ever," says The Daily Beast. Aside from Douglas, the show had the "spontaneity of a coma-patient," says John Lopez in Vanity Fair. The winners were quite predictable, and the show felt long, even though producers seemed to be rushing through the typically boring parts and skipping the usual glut of montages.
5. Billy Crystal saves the show... briefly
One of the Oscars' most beloved former hosts was greeted with a standing ovation when he walked on stage to introduce a series of Bob Hope clips. With Franco and Hathaway "pretty clearly bombing," Crystal, an eight-time host, was "welcomed as a savior," says Daniel Fienberg at HitFix. It's safe to bet he's now a leading candidate to host next year. Yeah, when he appeared on stage, it was a "relief... a royal restoration," says James Poniewozik in TIME.
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- The uncomfortable truth in The Giving Tree
- Why 2014 may be as good as it gets for the Republican Party
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- The U.S. government is actually trouncing Ebola. When will it get credit?
- Why America needs more billionaires
- Syrian women know how to defeat ISIS
- 5 baffling foreign-language versions of the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air theme song
- 3 horrific inaccuracies in Homeland's depiction of Islamabad
- The one thing the New Atheists get right about religion
Subscribe to the Week