The 2011 Oscars: Winners, Losers, and Analysis

  • Publish Date: February 28, 2011
  • Comments: ↓ 19 user comments

The King's speeches

Image
Films with Most Oscar Wins
1 The King's Speech 4 wins
  Inception 4 wins
3 The Social Network 3 wins

Sunday night, as expected, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences named The King's Speech the best film of 2010 when it handed out its 83rd annual Oscar awards. All told, representatives of that movie approached the microphone four times on the evening, matching Inception for the most Oscar wins this year.

In a moment, we'll reveal how accurate the experts -- and Metacritic users -- were in making their predictions, and we'll also sample the critical (with an emphasis on the word "critical") reaction to the broadcast itself, and the performance of first-time hosts Anne Hathaway and James Franco in particular. But first, let's look at the evening's winners and losers.

The winners... and the surprises

Wait -- did we say "surprises"? You won't find any in the major categories (including acting and writing), which went pretty much as expected for months. Though a majority of experts had predicted that The Social Network's David Fincher would triumph over The King's Speech director Tom Hooper, it is not too unexpected the latter won the trophy, given that the director award usually goes to to the director of the best picture winner.

One surprising victory came in the admittedly hard-to-predict animated short category, where winner The Lost Thing was the only one of the five nominees not to be predicted to win by the three dozen experts we tracked. And Wally Pfister's win in the cinematography category for Inception can also be considered an upset; most experts had the award going to True Grit's Roger Deakins.

Listed below are this year's winners in each of the 24 categories.

83rd Annual Academy Award Winners
Category Winner
Best Picture The King's Speech
Director Tom Hooper, The King's Speech
Lead Actress Natalie Portman, Black Swan
Lead Actor Colin Firth, The King's Speech
Supporting Actress Melissa Leo, The Fighter
Supporting Actor Christian Bale, The Fighter
Original Screenplay David Seidler, The King's Speech
Adapted Screenplay Aaron Sorkin, The Social Network
Animated Feature Toy Story 3
Animated Short The Lost Thing
Documentary Feature Inside Job
Documentary Short Strangers No More
Foreign-Language Feature In a Better World
Live-Action Short God of Love
Original Score Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, The Social Network
Original Song Randy Newman, "We Belong Together," Toy Story 3
Art Direction Robert Stromberg and Karen O'Hara, Alice in Wonderland
Cinematography Wally Pfister, Inception
Costume Design Colleen Atwood, Alice in Wonderland
Film Editing Angus Wall and Kirk Baxter, The Social Network
Makeup Rick Baker and Dave Elsey, The Wolfman
Sound Editing Richard King, Inception
Sound Mixing Lora Hirschberg, Gary A. Rizzo and Ed Novick, Inception
Visual Effects Paul Franklin, Chris Corbould, Andrew Lockley and Peter Bebb, Inception

How accurate were the predictions?

Out of the 38 experts we tracked, just one -- Deadline's Pete Hammond -- was able to correctly predict at least 18 (75%) of the categories. (Last year, by contrast, there were seven experts with at least 18 correct picks.) These experts averaged just 15 correct picks, with the short film categories, cinematography, and director (where David Fincher was heavily favored) among their biggest failings.

Most Successful Oscar Prognosticators
Expert Site/Publication Correct Picks (out of 24 possible)
Pete Hammond Deadline Hollywood 19
Thelma Adams US Weekly 17
Tim Appelo Hollywood Reporter 17
Peter Howell Toronto Star 17
Michael Musto Village Voice 17
Tom O'Neil The Envelope 17
Bob Tourtellotte Reuters 17
Peter Travers Rolling Stone 17
Chuck Walton Fandango 17
(uncredited) Moviefone 17
Metacritic User Consensus
15

As a group, Metacritic users performed as well as the average expert, and also picked one more category correctly than they did last year. Individually, however, there were five Metacritic users who had more correct picks than the leading expert. The most accurate individual participants in our Oscar poll were:

  • Conor Samphire, 20 of 24 (83%) correct
  • Andrew Warshauer, 20 of 24 (83%) correct
  • 3 anonymous users, 20 of 24 (83%) correct

Another 16 users had 19 correct picks, tying the leading expert.

How was the telecast?

"Anne Hathaway and James Franco host a disastrous Academy Awards telecast" reads the headline of Alan Sepinwall's review at HitFix.com, and while some television critics weren't quite so extreme in their hatred of the broadcast, it is safe to say that few enjoyed it. The one portion of the broadcast that critics seemed to universally enjoy was the pre-taped opening film featuring Alec Baldwin and Morgan Freeman. But it was all downhill from there. And Hathaway and Franco as hosts? A major misfire, say the critics. Here's a sampling of their reviews, starting with the critics who had the biggest problems with the event:

"In what could go down as one of the worst Oscar telecasts in history, a bad and risky idea -- letting two actors host -- played out in spectacularly unwatchable fashion on the biggest of all nights for the film world. ... [Franco's] appearance played more like one of his performance art pieces than an actual attempt to be host."

--Tim Goodman, The Hollywood Reporter

"No matter the talent involved nor the intentions, virtually nothing worked. ... [Franco's] demeanor from the evening started out like he couldn't remember why he had agreed to do this and ended like he deeply regretted the choice. ... The show around the two hosts was as ill-conceived as their chemistry."

--Alan Sepinwall, HitFix

"Anne Hathaway hosted the 83rd Annual Academy Awards on ABC Sunday night, as scheduled. And her co-host, James Franco, did what exactly?"

--Hank Stuever, Washington Post

"In a year offering virtually no surprises among the top winners, the only shock was how quickly the show went off the rails, and stayed there in a sluggish slow dance of glittery incompetence."

--Matt Roush, TV Guide

"Sluggish, badly-written, a near-disaster from start to finish, the Oscar show was the best evidence yet that even if the Academy thinks it want to be younger and hipper, it has no idea how to do that."

--Caryn James, indieWIRE

"At times, the prolonged effort to pander to younger viewers was downright painful."

--Alessandra Stanley, The New York Times

"While Melissa Leo dropped an 'f-bomb' early on, the 'f' words best describing the proceedings would be 'flat,' 'fumbling' and 'familiar' -- proving it takes more than a new coat of paint to invigorate a ceremony that easily flummoxes innovation."

--Brian Lowry, Variety

"You can't blame Franco and Hathaway for the tame, unmemorable jokes written for them (though a comedian might have at least punched them up). But whether it was nerves or inexperience, their delivery was off from the get-go: they stepped on each other lines and over the audience laughter (or worse, seemed to pause for laughter that wasn't there). ... [But] plenty blame for the plodding show belongs to the producers. There was a rough, dress-rehearsal feel to much of the show, which also suffered from odd long shots, the usual slack middle and several clip reels which, weirdly, spoiled plot points and key moments from movies that, in part, the awards are supposed to promote to viewers who haven't seen them yet."

--James Poniewozik, Time

"Overall, the evening had an oddly business-like feel, a mind-numbing evenness that was exacerbated by the relentless predictability of the winners."

--Mary McNamara, Los Angeles Times

"Even when they stumbled, there was a sweetness to their performance that kept them from being aggravating. After so many hosts who seemed determined to prove they were smarter than the room, it was a pleasure to see two hosts who seemed happy to be in it. Unfortunately, as the evening wore on, as Oscar evenings tend to do, the pleasure diminished. Joy is nice, but professionalism, poise and — especially in Franco's case — presence would have been nice as well."

--Robert Bianco, USA Today

"James Franco and Anne Hathaway gave the 83rd Academy Awards the youthful energy it has needed for a long time ... But that energy quickly faded into the inertia of a bloated, self-important ceremony."

--Dominic Patten, The Wrap

A few critics enjoyed the affair a bit more than the others, however.

"Funny, poised, relaxed, and smart, Anne Hathaway and James Franco made for marvelous Oscar hosts. ... It was a fun, briskly paced night."

--Ken Tucker, Entertainment Weekly

"James Franco and Anne Hathaway didn't necessarily make a brilliant splash as co-hosts -- Hathaway seemed determined to overcome Franco's sodden, wooden presence through sheer perkiness -- but they acquitted themselves respectably. ... This was not an Oscar telecast for the ages ... but as awardsfests go, this was a mild but entirely watchable celebration."

--Maureen Ryan, TV Squad

What do you think?

Were you happy with the Academy's selections? What did you think of the broadcast, and Franco and Hathaway as hosts? Let us know in the comments section below.

We're sorry, but comments are closed for this article.

Comments (19)

  • Pete  

    I thought Anne Hathaway did pretty well actually, given the corpse standing next to her. Not a totally disastrous telecast all in all.

    On the actual awards, only two major disappointments for me: 1. Best Score: The Social Network's music was definitely not the best of the lot. Hans Zimmer's Inception score is nothing short of a masterpiece and deserved the Oscar for Time and Dream is Collapsing alone. 2. Best Director: David Fincher was robbed. Enough said.

    Also very glad Inside Job won Best Documentary as that film deserves as much exposure and recognition as possible.

  • Nate  

    I was pretty disappointed with the show itself. Franco looked like he was made out of wood for most of the show; no facial expressions, no body movements, no emotion. Hathaway was OK, but she definitely needed some help. I hope we can let go of this obsession with duos and let Ricky Gervais or somebody like that host the thing (maybe even Steve Carell). This was the most boring show in years, both in terms or the hosts and the awards.

    I still think "The Social Network" should have won Best Picture, though "The King's Speech" is excellent. I can just see this year endlessly compared to the year in which "The English Patient" beat "Fargo" or something, one of those years that the film that was obviously painstakingly made for the Oscars beat a more irreverent, hip, and simply more entertaining film. There were really no surprises (when are there, really), and I had picked a few, namely Rush to beat out Bale and Steinfeld to beat out Leo, but neither happened. Congrats to Firth, who deserved this Oscar, as well as Portman, who gave the finest performance of her career in my opinion. Still, what a disappointing year for the Oscars.

  • Elie Shweih  

    I was surprised "the social network" won for the score, that was my major shock!
    As for the cinematography I thought either "the king's speech" or "true grit" but not "inception"
    And as a lot thought, Fincher would win, but anyway Hooper deserves it.
    Too bad "127 hours" & "true grit" didn't get anyhting

  • Sam Knight  

    It was hard to watch, so much so, I changed the channel often only to try to catch other presenters. Anne sounded like she was at a pep rally & that "wooohooooo" went ALL over me. Mentioning the "young demographic" was insulting as there are many baby boomers (still the largest group) who were watching. Please, can anyone say dignity. And, as it's already been said, if Franco did not want to be there, then he should NOT. Anyone (with the exception of Whoopi) would have been better.

  • Devin stevens  

    The opening scene with Franco and Hathaway green screened is was hilarious. From there on it was simply average. In terms of awards, the academy simply played it safe, like always. It would've been nice to see at least ONE deserving upset, such as Steinfield taking best supporting, or Fincher taking best director. Kings Speech arguably deserved best picture just as much as Social Network, so that's alright. Truly I was rooting for James Franco to take home best actor, due to the intensity and commitment to the role. Although Colin was great, I am part ofbthe minority who believes he did not deserve the award over Franco. Can't wait till next year!

  • Nathan Donarum  

    Worst. Oscarcast. Ever.

  • Kirk Douglas  

    Yanno...Kirk Douglas should be the next host!

  • CRonaldo  

    No suprise in the hosts being lackluster; but what was really disgraceful is that the Academy were showing "spoilers" and going overboard in showing pivitol scenes from films many havent seen.

  • Jack  

    The biggest mistake the producers of the telecast made was to bring Billy Crystal on. It showed people how much they were missing with Franco and Hathaway.

  • Randy  

    Totally boring and predictable, though Best Supporting Actor should've definitely gone to Geoffrey Rush.

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