On the whole, last night’s Oscar ceremony was one of the most entertaining we can remember, and we totally approve of most of the changes to standard protocol made by new producers Bill Condon and Laurence Mark. The only major exception: What was up with the way they gave out the acting Oscars? In theory, the idea of having five previous winners talk about each of the nominees sounds like it would be long, awkward, and error-filled. And that’s pretty much what it was!
Apart from depriving us of what surely would’ve been the sexiest awards handoff in history and providing Cuba Gooding Jr. with his only possible chance of ever setting foot on an Oscar stage again, the new method mostly just created four more opportunities per category for presenters to make hilarious gaffes — like when Adrien Brody basically admitted that he’d never heard of Richard Jenkins before last night, and when Alan Arkin paid tribute to “Seymour Philip Hoffman.”
And how did they choose which former winner would talk about which nominee? Couldn’t you just see Kate Winslet thinking, “Of all those women up there, I get Marion Cotillard?” And was Anthony Hopkins chosen for Brad Pitt because he looks sort of like an old-man baby?
Here’s the award for Best Actress. Admittedly, Shirley MacLaine’s speech on Anne Hathaway was pretty great, but you can just feel Kate Winslet’s disappointment:
And here’s Alan Arkin making the presentation of Heath Ledger’s posthumous Oscar even more uncomfortable by screwing up Philip Seymour Hoffman’s name. We wonder which presenter had to be called as a second choice after Javier Bardem refused to do this.
Robert De Niro’s speech on Sean Penn was pretty great, too, but watch Adrien Brody suck the air out of the room when he tells everybody to google Richard Jenkins:
Okay, the Best Supporting Actress one was pretty great all the way through. Even so, we hope they never do this again.