The Oscar telecast clocked in at roughly 3 hours and 10 minutes long (not including the end credits), right in line with last year’s telecast and the 2008 awards and a good 20 minutes shorter than the 2007 ceremony.
It just felt a lot longer than those 190 minutes.
A few hours ago yours truly wrote a post about Oscar hosts James Franco and Anne Hathaway were very winning in the show’s opening moments. Consider that opinion revised. Hathaway remained a lively presence throughout the show and had a funny musical number about a third of the way into the broadcast, but aside from a couple of moments after the opening, the choice of Franco as her co-host didn’t play nearly as well as the academy probably was hoping.
Franco is a very talented actor and has been fantastic in comedic roles on film. On live TV, though, his detached, isn’t-this-ironic vibe came off more disinterested than hip. His walk-on in “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes”-esque drag and a crack about the supposedly naughty titles of some of the nominated movies got us laughing, but other than that he rarely matched Hathaway’s energy.
The hosts can only do so much in an awards show, though, and these Oscars weren’t really helped by the fact that there almost no surprises. Just about everyone who was expected to win — Natalie Portman, Colin Firth, Melissa Leo, Christian Bale, Aaron Sorkin, “The King’s Speech” — did win, just as most of them have done at several awards leading up to the Oscars. As a result, there was a same old-same old feel to much of the show, give or take an accidental F-bomb from best supporting actress winner Leo.
Having a pair of younger hosts that aren’t pulled from the ranks of comedians is a good idea in theory, and Hathaway showed flashes that it could work. But the combination of her and Franco didn’t really pull it off on Sunday.