The 84th Annual Academy Awards aired Sunday, Feb. 26, on ABC. Yet film’s biggest night was a snoozer, according to television critics.
According to NPR blogger Linda Holmes, “It wasn’t a very good telecast, but [host Billy] Crystal and everyone else seemed to be delivering what they’d been asked to deliver: something with more nostalgia than daring. Perhaps even something downright retro. Almost like a black-and-white movie.”
And a controversial one at that.
For his opening monologue, Crystal decided to appear in blackface as Sammy Davis Jr., as he did on “Saturday Night Live” in the 1980s. This came as a surprise to many who took to Twitter to express their anger.
In addition, after Octavia Spencer won best supporting actress for “The Help,” a movie that centers around the civil rights era of the 1960s, Crystal made a joke about hugging black women in Beverly Hills, which many thought to be in bad taste.
Surprisingly, however, the awards managed to draw 39.3 million viewers. This was a 4 percent increase from the previous year’s viewership of 37.9 million.
Perhaps this was due to Jennifer Lopez’s alleged wardrobe malfunction and Angelina Jolie’s leg, which gained so much popularity that Twitter accounts were made in its honor. @angiesrightleg currently has more than 46,700 followers.
Controversy even began on the Red Carpet.
Sacha Baron Cohen showed up in full white dictator regalia, which, according to the National Post, was “dripping with medals,” on the arms of two female guards for his upcoming movie, “The Dictator.”
In addition to the two ladies standing on either side of him, the British comic actor also brought along what he jokingly called the ashes of late North Korean leader Kim Jong-il in an urn, which he later dumped onto Ryan Seacrest, who appeared confused and somewhat annoyed.
The controversial getup was by top celebrity designer, John Galliano, though the socks were “from Kmart,” Cohen quipped.
Oh, and the “ashes” were only pancake mix.
Despite the controversies, the Oscars are meant to recognize the talent of actors and actresses of the past year.
Actress Meryl Streep won the coveted best actress award, while Jean Dujardin won best actor.
However, the major and somewhat unexpected winner of the night was Martin Scorsese’s “Hugo,” which won in artistic categories like cinematography, sound editing and visual effects. Later in the night, the film took another two Golden Boys.