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A Predictable and Safe Oscars

Franco 2  Hollywood's biggest night delivered few surprises from its awards and hosts. Indie film "The King's Speech" reigned with four wins, including best picture. However, it's hard to argue that a film with roughly a $13 million budget and renowned actors could be considered an independent movie. "Winter's Bone" shares more characteristics with typical indie films given its small budget and cast of newcomers (break-out star Jennifer Lawrence) and lesser knowns. Due to its critical acclaim and four Oscar nominations, "Winter's Bone" enjoyed a model independent film run.

Then there were the hosts: Anne Hathaway tried and James Franco somewhat tried. Despite the critical bashing they received, especially toward Franco, the two were not horrible nor amazing. Anne Hathaway attempted to compensate for Franco's too-cool-for-school approach, but was sometimes too energetic. Franco may just have been himself, but that lax personality is not well-suited to host the Oscars. Kudos for trying, Franco, but you can't do everything. Hathaway may deserve another shot eventually: as Entertainment Weekly's Ken Tucker wrote, she had good energy, comic timing, and a great singing voice.

The show's producers also made some bad moves. By having veteran host Billy Crystal introduce a clip of veteran host Bob Hope, they teased the audience with a quality meal while it was fed an odd-tasting test batch. Also, during the best picture montage, the producers displayed favoritism for "The King's Speech" by airing the film's final radio address and score while showing clips of the other nominees, essentially saying it was superior.

The Oscars generally tried too hard to be modern, coming off like someone's parent dressing like a teenager: it just didn't fit in many ways. It's hard to be hip if people are in their formal attire. The producers should accept that the show is older, yet still can be a fun, classy night, which was done in a few instances.

Whether you laughed or winced during Kirk Douglas' appearance, the 94 year-old definitely stole the show before he announced Melissa Leo as best supporting actress. She then accidentally cursed during her speech, which was fitting since she won for a movie that repeatedly used that F-word. It may have been a wise move because everyone focused on that rather than her controversial Oscar advertisements. She later apologized for swearing.

On Saturday, the Film Independent Spirit Awards and the Razzies also gave out their prizes. At the Spirit Awards, it was a great night for "Black Swan," which won four prizes, including best picture. Natalie Portman mentioned in her acceptance speech the financial difficulties the film endured, highlighting that having a big budget does not always bring awards. Further illustrating that point, the Razzies named the $150 million "The Last Air Bender" as the worst film. 

The weekend proved fruitful for smaller films, but that's nothing new. The last three Oscars gave best picture to independent films: "Slumdog Millionaire," "The Hurt Locker," and "The King's Speech." For aspiring filmmakers, it bodes well that smaller films have a shot at the big award; just don't expect everyone to have seen your movie despite winning best picture. 

Pictured: James Franco and Anne Hathaway (Photo: Getty Images)

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Comments

I thought that Franco was SO laid back that he was "high" and I was not alone in thinking that.. He did not do his status in the film induistry much good... Bring back Crystal, Steve Martin, Whoopi, or Alec Baldwin either alone or in some combination.. I am surprised that a director or producer did not at some stage in the evening whisper in Franco's ear that he needed to be less comatose..

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