Review: 84th Academy AwardsWritten by James A. Molnar | The Gold Knight | firstname.lastname@example.org
Billy Crystal was back and better than ever? Not quite, but this reviewer was pleased with most of the ceremony.
Five stars could be given to the ceremony alone for the “In Memoriam” video package and performance by Esperanza Spalding and the Southern California Children’s Chorus. The moment was perfect, classy and exactly what it should be. (You can also download the song and the Oscars soundtrack.)
Sprinkled throughout the ceremony were tributes that “Celebrate the movies in all of us,” along with some very funny presenters and segments.
The cast of “Bridesmaids” lived up to its expectations. Chris Rock was edgily funny. Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis were also hilarious.
The pacing of the show also seemed to be move along smoothly.
The set design was beautiful — kudos to John Myhre. The graphics were spot on. Cirque du Soleil’s tribune to the movies was also well done, with acrobats swinging around the theater formerly known as the Kodak.
What didn’t work
Those microphones! Whatever the technical glitch, it was strainingly hard to hear what Crystal was singing and saying during his opening. (The orchestra on the other hand sounded fantastic. Kudos to music directors Hans Zimmer and Pharrell Williams.)
The main microphone on stage was also picking up feedback — or at the very least, it made a reverberating echo that also took away from the show.
Typically, Oscar Night is known for its technical prowess and precision. Whatever happened, it is too bad, because it took away from the overall show.
What producers can’t change
Yes, the announcement of the winners was not as compelling as years past, but you cannot fault the show’s producers for that.
The technical categories always take a lot of heat for being boring, but it is this recognition during the show that sets the Academy Awards apart from other ceremonies.
Whether the general membership should vote for some of the technical categories — for which it may not be qualified — is another post for another day.
The speeches, which the producers cannot directly shape, can sometimes be uninspired and monotonous. Sunday night’s speeches were a mixture of bland and emotional. With 24 different categories, audiences should expect a potpourri of emotions, shock and speechlessness. Expecting incredible speeches is mostly a setup for failure.
While not living up to my favorite ceremony of recent years — the 81st Academy Awards with Hugh Jackman — by itself, the show did what the Oscars do best: it honored the movies. One could argue 2011 was not the best year at the movies, but the Academy Awards dealt with the nominees its voting members selected the bet way it could.