Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity
Posted at 12:05 PM ET, 02/28/2011

The Oscars and the foregone conclusions syndrome

By Jen Chaney
Colin Firth, clutching the Oscar we all knew he would win. (AP)

At this year's Academy Awards, there wasn't one genuine surprise.

"The King's Speech" won best picture, as pretty much every prognosticator predicted.

Colin Firth was named best actor. We knew that was going to happen.

Natalie Portman won an Oscar, too. Which we also knew.

Even the sight of James Franco in drag felt like something we'd all seen before. Because, well, we had.

So have the Academy Awards become too predictable, just a formal, fancy way to call out a list of Hollywood winners that were already foregone conclusions?

To be fair, every once in a while, the Academy Awards still have the power to surprise.

At the 2008 Oscars, lead and supporting actress winners Marion Cotillard and Tilda Swinton both fell in the semi-unexpected category.

And at the 2003 Academy Awards, there were several shockers: Roman Polanski's win, Adrien Brody's best actor triumph (surprise!) and Brody's subsequent kiss of presenter Halle Berry (big surprise!).

But more often than not, we generally have a sense of what's going to happen on Oscar night well before it happens.

Part of the reason? The increased attention on the pre-Oscars awards ceremonies. With a brighter media spotlight on the Golden Globes, the Screen Actors Guild Awards and even some of the critics' prizes, the decks get stacked long before the golden statuettes are handed out in the awards season's grand finale.

And of course, we can blame the Internet. With an ever-increasing number of blogs playing the Oscar race-tracking game, often just milliseconds after the Toronto Film Festival begins, it's easy to see why the whole thing starts to feel stale by February or March.

It seems unlikely that these trends are going to change. Come this time next year, we'll probably be spending the morning after the Academy Awards once again bemoaning the fact that all of the winners were pretty obvious.

On the positive side, at least all of them, arguably, were deserving this year. And as far as next year goes, we can always hope that one of those completely expected winners will accidentally drop another unexpected f-bomb on live television.

By Jen Chaney  | February 28, 2011; 12:05 PM ET
Categories:  Awards Season, Movies, Oscars  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Could Billy Crystal host the Academy Awards again? It's a possibility.
Next: Charlie Sheen's TV tour -- it's on; Willow Smith launches second single

No comments have been posted to this entry.

Post a Comment

We encourage users to analyze, comment on and even challenge's articles, blogs, reviews and multimedia features.

User reviews and comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate comments or material will be removed from the site. Additionally, entries that are unsigned or contain "signatures" by someone other than the actual author will be removed. Finally, we will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or privacy policies or any other policies governing this site. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions.

characters remaining

RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2011 The Washington Post Company