There was Aaron Sorkin’s win for scripting “The Social Network;” Natalie Portman’s for her turn as a deranged ballerina in “Black Swan;” David Seidler‘s for his original screenplay, “The King’s Speech;” Jesse Eisenberg vs. James Franco for best actor, with Colin Firth taking home that prize for his portrayal of the stuttering monarch of “The King’s Speech.” In between, there were the usual bon mots and faux pas that characterize the Academy Awards—which this year is getting panned by some critics (at least so far) as among the worst ever. Even so, there were some interesting moments:
- Oscar co-hosts James Franco (MOT) and Anne Hathaway in a parody of “Inception’s” sci-fi dream sequences—with a dreidl standing in for the spinning top that signals when that film’s protagonist is still in the dream state. Hathaway: “What are you doing?” Franco: “I’m just trying to see if we’re still in a dream.” Hathaway: “With a dreidl?”
- James Franco thanking his grandmother in the audience, who informs him that she just saw “Marky Mark.” “No, Grandma,” he corrects her. “That’s actually Mark Wahlberg.”
- Franco’s unscripted crack after Melissa Leo dropped the f-bomb while accepting her supporting actress statuette: “Congratu-effing-lations.”
- Aaron Sorkin’s pithy acceptance speech for best adapted screenplay, in which he informs his daughter: “Roxy Sorkin, your father just won the Academy Award. I’m going to have to demand some respect from your guinea pig.”
- The elegant David Seidler, 74, on winning the original screenplay award for “The King’s Speech:” “My father always said to me I’d be a late bloomer. I believe I’m the oldest person ever to win this particular award. I hope this record is broken quickly and often.” Seidler also thanked “her majesty the Queen for not putting me in the Tower of London” for putting f-words in the mouth of her father, George VI, the speech-impaired King of the film. In my interview with Seider, he attributed his stutter in large part to the trauma of fleeing the Blitz with his Jewish family during World War II. The film’s critical acclaim has made him feel “I have a voice,” he told the Academy. “I have been heard.”
- The documentary short “Strangers No More”—which spotlights the multinational students at the Biolik-Rogozin School in Tel Aviv—winning the documentary short contest, prompting one of its filmmakers to thank “The children who opened their hearts to us.” The students had fled poverty and warfare in 48 countries before arriving in Israel.
- Past Oscar host Billy Crystal inserting a bit of shtick as he joked that the show was running a little long, “so here’s best picture”—long before the end of the show.
Here’s the trailer for “Strangers No More:”