What Did You Think of the Oscars?

On Sunday, March 7, the 2010 Academy Awards were handed out at the Kodak Theater in Hollywood, California, and like 41.3 million other viewers around the world (including 3.1 million New York Cablevision subscribers who almost didn't get to see it due to a dispute with ABC), my wife and I watched the spectacle live as it unfolded only a few miles from our house. Well, okay, we didn't watch it live, exactly—we waited a couple of hours so we could skip through the commercials and acceptance speeches thanks to TiVo. So what I'd like to know from you is...

What did you think of the show?

I thought it was excellent. A clear return to Hollywood's glamorous roots, the stage was awash in glittering crystals and gowns, and the tuxedo made a distinct comeback after years of casual chic from the men. Hosts Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin were fantastic, though Martin's timing and one-liners were a bit better than Baldwin's. And despite a few underprepared presenters, the overall pacing and flow were superb.

I was disappointed that there wasn't nearly as much live music as in years past—usually, the Best Song nominees are performed live during the show, but not this year. The opening production number was pretty good, even though Neil Patrick Harris left something to be desired, and the dance troupe that accompanied clips from the nominated music scores was incredible. I also really enjoyed James Taylor's performance of "In My Life" during the memorial segment.

As for the awards themselves, I was glad to see that Avatar didn't make a clean sweep—it won the Cinematography, Art Direction, and Visual Effects categories, as it should have, but not Best Picture or Best Director, which it didn't deserve in my view. Overall, the awards were well-balanced among several worthy contenders, though The Hurt Locker managed a mini-sweep. (I haven't seen it, so I don't know if it deserved to win six out of nine nominations.)

I clearly disagreed with only two awards—Short Film (Animated) and Music (Original Score). In the first case, I haven't seen any of the nominees, and the winner, Logorama, looked very creative from the clip that was played during the show, so I can't really begrudge that one. But I'm a big Wallace and Gromit fan, so I was rooting for A Matter of Loaf and Death.

As for the Best Music award, Michael Giacchino's score for Up was charming, but it consisted mainly of variations on a single song, which I was fairly sick of by the end of that movie. Avatar and Sherlock Holmes had much better music overall, and maybe The Hurt Locker did, too. (I thought the music in Fantastic Mr. Fox was interesting but a bit thin, as was the movie in general.) In any event, there were better candidates than Up in my opinion. (BTW, I don't dispute giving the Best Animated Feature Film award to Up, though Coraline was also deserving.)

I'd love to know what you thought of the show and the winners, so please post a comment here. I look forward to reading your responses!

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COMMENTS
Nathan's picture

I agree with you in regards to the awards Avatar won(and didn't). You should see the Hurt Locker; it definitely deserved to win. I don't know if I agree with you about musical score, though...What are the elements of a good score? If catchiness is a factor, then Up definitely deserved it. I've had that theme running through my head for days now; I would agree that it's slightly repetitive, but it was varied enough in its elements and emotional shifts to keep it interesting, at least in my opinion. The Avatar score was pedestrian and bombastic, just like much of the film. And I forgot it before the movie was even over. As far as animated film, as much as I love Up, and Director Pete Docter, there were some real strong entries in that category. Coraline was a great film, not to mention they started it in a studio four blocks from where I used to live.

David Vaughn's picture

I enjoyed the telecast and agree with your assessment of Neil Patrick Harris' opening number--he has no range as a singer. I haven't seen The Hurt Locker yet, but it is in my Netflix queue in the #1 position. I thought the hosts were good, although Baldwin was a little stiff. They need to figure out a way to make the show shorter though. One question, why did they have the tribute to horror films??? It seemed out of place. Also, they had the introductions of the best actor/actress and then had the presenter reread the nominees. Then when Hanks came out and announced the Best Picture, they didn't reread the nominations??? I'm glad Avatar didn't win Best Picture...it didn't deserve it.

The Audio Dufus's picture

I tried to watch the Oscars, it was very long. My 2009 Panasonic plasma kept increasing the idle voltage incrementally every couple of hours. By the time Best Picture was announced, I had only a white screen and sound. I called Panasonic and was advised not to be concerned, this was perfectly normal operation. Better yet, because of this feature, the set should now operate 200,000 hours to half brightness. I was glad to hear that. I knew this was a smart purchase. I will buy a Panasonic again 200,000 viewing hours from now. I taped the Oscars to Sony SuperBetamax for future reference.

Scott Wilkinson's picture

Audio Dufus, LOL!

David Vaughn's picture

Finally got to watch The Hurt Locker and I don't think it deserved the Best Picture award. There were at least 3 movies I thought were better. My pick is still Inglourious Basterds which I think is one of the best films of this century with outstanding performances, great cinematography, and a fun story. Next would be Up followed closely by The Blind Side. Just my $.02. David

jeffrey henning's picture

After reviewing this site, you really should change its name to UltimateAVPressRelease.com or just shut it down. You haven't done a substantive equipment review since Aug ust 2009 and started phasing out equipment reviews a year ago. The only reviews you do anymore are movie disc reviews that focus primarily on picture & sound quality. Oddly, almost none of these are concert releases. At present, this site is just a pathetic excuse to make money off of online advertisers and offers scant reason to visit. The only thing ultimate about it is how ultimately lame it has become.

The Audio Dufus's picture

Mr. Henning, certainly you are aware that this is the companion site to the magazine sold at your local media outlet, aren't you? This site offers the breaking news crucial to a home theater afficianado. The reviews, well, you know the saying, why buy the cow when the milk is free? Really, each issue is only a couple of dollars, even less if you subscribe and have the luxury of home delivery. Let's not be a cheapskate.

Scott Wilkinson's picture

Thanks for the support, Audio Dufus! Jeffrey sent me the same message in an e-mail, and I sent him a detailed response. In summary, we have indeed curtailed our reviews due to diminished resources in a poor economy, but we have posted reviews more recently than Aug ust 2009; see my review of the Digital Projection LED projector in Jan uary 2010 and the B&W Zeppelin in Feb ruary. I'm finishing a review of the Stax SR-007 headphones in a week or so, and I'll be posting a review of the Samsung 3D TV and BD player next month. However, such reviews take time, and I am required to post something every day, so I post profiles of extreme products for their entertainment value, much like the "extreme home" shows on HGTV. As for movie reviews, we do focus on picture and sound quality, but I see nothing wrong in that. More in the next comment...

Scott Wilkinson's picture

If you want more substance, check out my Home Theater Geeks podcast, in which I interview some of the most preeminent technologists in our industry. We definitely get down and dirty, digging deep into various topics of interest to UAV readers.

Jarod's picture

My wife and I enjoyed the oscors this year, with our usual qualms about the corny-ness of reading from a teleprompter. We have yet to see The Hurt Locker as well so we couldn't make an honest argument. Steve Mar tin was great and James Taylor performed wonderfully. Hey Scott, I love the Home Theater Geeks podcasts! Very enjoyable and interesting! Oh, and i loved reading about the Digital Projection Cine LED projector.

Scott Wilkinson's picture

Jarod, thanks for the kind words! I'm glad you enjoy the podcast; I certainly enjoy doing it. And look for more reviews in the weeks ahead...especially the Samsung 3D TV and Blu-ray player, which were delivered to the studio today.

Jarod's picture

I just heard the latest podcast with Mr. Kairoff and I absolutely loved it! It was incredibly educational on the inner working of plasmas. My favorite, tho, was the talk about the demise of the Kuro. I was lucky enought to pick up a 9g Kuro myself, which is my baby. Almost all the questions u asked were the same questions that I have been asking myself. Dont wanna sound like im on repeat, lol, but great work once again! Yours and Mr. Tom Nortons opinions are what i trust the most. Cant wait for the 3d reviews. Can u imagine a 3d capable Kuro panel? Actually thats prolly all we can do, is imagine that.

Scott Wilkinson's picture

Jarod, actually, the black level of the Samsung UN46C8000 3D TV is surprisingly low, at least by eye; I haven't measured it yet, but inter-scene black is REALLY black. When I saw it yesterday, I remember thinking, "Hey, that's in Kuro territory!" Surprised the heck out of me in an LED edge-lit LCD TV...

The Audio Dufus's picture

Let's make it clear, I was only joking before at what isn't true. That's why I'm called a dufus. I don't have a Panasonic plasma yet, but I just had the chance to see the new models and all I can say is W O W! Blu Ray looks better than film. Even in a darkened room, the picure was stunning. The best anti-reflective coating yet. The best picture I've seen yet. Need I say More? I plan on having one soon. I am now a firm believer in plasma. Once again spoke with owners of the current series and haven't found a ONE that has seen ANY appreciable change. Wouldn't it make sense that with any phosphor related display, the dark would get deeper with age, meaning wouldn't the measurements these folks have found shift down over time. I still don't think my eyes are sensitive enough, I'm not a Minolta monitor. My opinion, don't believe the hype. Nice job Panasonic.

Jarod's picture

Man that sure is awesome news Scott! I was worried when companies kept gravitating towards edge-lit LED panels. They didn't seem to get the lowest blacks like a backlit local-dimming set. Im so excited to see that edge-lit blacks are gettin in the Kuro range. Great news once again!!

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