Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Oscars 2011

Overnight it was the 83rd Academy Awards and on the way for my swim I did not turn the radio as I prepared myself to go out or turn on the Telly as I drank coffee, or the car radio there or back. I took care turning on the computer to avoid looking at the Yahoo pop up screen. I decided to play the recording of the Red Carpet segment although it is excruciating awful as usual. Because of the USA advertising mania watchers in the UK are subjected to a studio presenter with guests who are all nonentities intended to appeal to the young people who it is presumed form the bulk of those who stay up to watch. The level of jokes and discussion is minus moronic. However I also want to write up the sport and TV watching weekend separately so I can turn off the sound or flip through this nonsense. I avoid the news as it will be difficult not learn of the success or disappointment for Colin Firth and the King’s speech. The opening sequence officially lasts one hour but fortunately I can I flip through in minutes. It was a good decision not to stay up

The next segment of hour has USA presenters cutting back to the UK studio during advertising bursts. The red carpet is 500 ft in length with stands built either side so punters can watch the comings in special ticket comfort. We are also given a shot of the specially created Green Room for the presenters during show time. I have twice been in a Green Room for a live TV regional news show and was kept on my own for about 15 mins before and for 20 minutes of the 30 minute show, in both instances I was the only studio guest. Once as the author of a Child Care Inquiry majority report where Sue Lawley did the interviewing from London and once re a row with the Shelter Homeless Charity. More on this hour later

My swim poses a challenge because of the target 50 lengths. I try and break down into 10 length sections and the second half is always better than first as the count down begins. This morning I reflected on what I was going to write, on the situation in the Middle East and how I would spend a large win on the Euro lottery, buying local domestic properties and shop front businesses, doing them up and then low cost renting out operating, my own property maintenance services, using local legal and financial services, all designed to stimulate the local economy, but also create a sustainable business to be managed as a charity foundation when I depart. It is a nice fully awake dream.

On the return journey I admired the banks of blue and white crocus along the roadside and by the pathway in North Marine Park. I have one yellow mini daffodil in a hanging basket outside this room. So to the main event.

Yes they did it. The King’s Speech took the Best Picture Oscar where traditionally the Producers collect the award, in this instance Ian canning, Emile Sherman and Gareth Unwin. They ensured that unsuccessful nominees Jeffrey Rush and Helena Bonham Carter went on stage with the other winners. The film which took less than £10 million to make has so far grossed over £140 million world wide including £40 million in the UK and is anticipated to make another 10 to 20% and everyone who has not yet seen it will go. The stars and other workers on the film will all be paid bonuses as a consequence with the latest estimate about £30 million for the production and actors and a similar amount to the financial backers.

Other films nominated included for the top and other awards were The Kids are alright which I have seen along with Alice in Wonderland. My hope to see in the future list is the Black Swan, the Social Network, Inception, Another Year, Winter’s Bone, Hereafter, Tron Legacy, Harry Potter and Deadly Hollows part 1, Salt and True Grit.

Colin Firth won an Oscar for his leading role in the King’s Speech. This is but one of some thirty awards his role in the film has gained and will guarantee his choice of high paid roles for the rest of his professional career. Jeff Bridges who won the Oscar last year against Colin’s role in A Single Man was also nominated this year for Tue Grit. The one role I missed and wish to see is Javier Bardem, the partner of Penelope Cruz whose film is Biutiful.

Tom Hooper won the award for Directing the King‘s Speech, an amazing achievement as this is only his second feature film, the first being the Story of Brian Clough. Before then his work was mainly in Television and stage productions at University. He read English at Oxford University and it was his mother, an academic, who after attending a reading of the play told her son that he should make the play into a film. For me the best award was that given to the writer of the screen play for King’s Speech, David Seidler.

David was born two years before me and proudly boasts now being the oldest recipient of the award. His grandparents were slaughtered by the Nazi’s and after the family home in London was bombed, the family decided to resettle in the USA. And one of three ships in their convoy with Italian prisoners of war was sunk. He developed a stammer at this time and his solution was keep quiet to avoid the reactions of others. He graduated from Cornell University but what happened to him after that until he arrived in Hollywood aged 40 is not known to me. He was responsible for the writing of several films spaced out over the past 30 years. Forty years ago he became interested in the idea of a work about the speech impediment of King George VI and he met a son of Lionel. Valentine, a brain surgeon, who agreed to show the records of his father in his possession, but insisted that permission be gained from the Queen mother regarding any production. The Palace for the Queen Mother indicated that she did not wish anything to be undertaken until after her death.
He agreed and reviewed the position in when she died in 2002. By that time he was suffering from throat cancer. His wife suggested that he try and create a play to concentrate on relationships which gives the film its strength. His cancer is in remission.

Not much else impressed or engaged me on the night. The set at the Kodak theatre was great as always and the most startling aspect was the appearance of stroke victim Kirk Douglas at the age of 94, flirting with a female star. His son Michael has followed in his Cinematic acting to great acclaim footsteps and is recovering from cancer, and was able to attend the investiture of his wife Catherine Zeta Jones at Buckingham Palace recently.

So what else happened? There was an even more tight control of acceptance speeches than before and the special award category and look back was held on another night with the recipients introduced. There was also the goodby segment in which Tony Curtis was perhaps the most well know departure. Today the death of Jane Russell was announced.

Natalie Portman as expected won Best Actor in a female role for the Black Swan and Melissa Leo as best supporting Actor in a female role in The fighter. Englishman Christian Bale received the award for Best supporting actor in a male role.

The Social network won awards for Social Network Original Musical score, Adapted Screenplay and Film Editing; Inception for Visual Effects, Sound Mixing, Sound Editing and Cinematography; Alice in Wonderland for Art Direction and Costume Design. The Foreign Language film award was In a better world and also nominated were Incendies, Outside the law Dog Tooth and Biutiful.

I cannot end this review of Oscars 2001 without some memorable lines from the Red Carpet. Oh my God, Oh my God; you know you know; I am nervous, excited and so happy tonight to be here in a real party dress; you are a delight; You look ravishing tonight; this is huge (500 media reps on Red Carpet);How special it is; He is playing to the gallery; praying and hoping she does tonight; You must be proud of him; Hair like Medusa; Subliminal erotic tensions; Have an amazing time; you two have a great time; honour for me to meet you; for me I am excited; the brainy and the beautiful; what are you wearing you look gorgeous; risk taker fashion; I was thrilled to meet her; you make the carpet look even more beautiful; your dress is staggering; You look stunning, the most beautiful couple on the red carpet; we will score even if we go home empty handed; What are the nominees thinking- you will have to ask them! Forgot I have work to do tonight; what are you wearing, Armani; I feel good, really good; gorgeous, incredible colour; all a blessing, led to me to places like this; it has taken an hour to get along the red carpet; love to see everyone dressed up: slave to fashion; fashion interpretation of themselves; backstage buzzing.

Among those on the red carpet were Amy Adams, Annette Bening, Halle Berry, Kate Blanchette’, Robert Downey Jr and wife, Colin Firth Tom Hanks Jennifer Hudson, Scarlett Johansson, Helen Mirren, Natalie Portman, Mark Ruffulo, Russell Brand and wife Barbara, Jeffrey Rush, Kevin Spacey; Justine Timberlake and Reece Witherspoon. Sorry I missed the others and too lazy to watch the recording again.

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