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Oscar Insider 2011

The 2011 Academy AwardsRiding a wave of momentum, The King’s Speech won 4 key awards at the 83rd Academy Awards on Sunday, including Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay, Best Director and Best Actor for Colin Firth. Although it wasn’t a major upset, The King’s Speech beat out The Social Network, which had won 10 awards for best picture since early December, including a nod from The Los Angeles Film Critics Assn. and was nominated in eight categories.

While The Social Network was a critical favorite from the outset for its cultural relevance and topicality, The King’s Speech turned out to be the more emotionally satisfying film, recounting the verbal struggles of King George VI in addressing his nation. “We didn’t steal it,†said screenwriter David Seidler, who won an Oscar for best original screenplay. “It just happened.â€

/>Seidler, a 74-year old whose win was particularly satisfying in a climate of the chronically younger thinking Hollywood, was himself a stutterer who cleared the rights with the British royal family before his script went in front of the camera. The King’s Speech had been a Cinderella story from its inception, when director Tom Hooper was encouraged to do the film by his mother. Audiences also connected to David Seidler’s script emotionally, finding it not simply a story about royalty, but more about human frailty and the will to overcome personal limitations, something everyone can relate to.

After an amusing opening montage where hosts James Franco and Anne Hathaway were transported through vignettes of best pictures nominees (including Anne Hathaway dressed up as The Brown Duck in a spoof of TGift Lounges; Featured: Art by Dr. Loraine Sternhe Black Swan), the awards moved along smoothly and with several notable appearances, including Kirk Douglas who hammed it up to the delight of the crowd before presenting the award for best supporting actress, former host Billy Crystal, a vintage clip of Bob Hope offering his classic dry wit during a broadcast from the 50s, the annual In Memorium tribute to passing industry stars accompanied by Celine Dion signing “Smile,†and a finale that included a performance of “Over the Rainbow†by school kids from New York’s PS-22.

Other significant winners included the elegantly glamorous Natalie Portman, who won a Best Actress award for her role in The Black Swan, a bearded Christian Bale for Best Supporting Actor for his role in The Fighter, and Melissa Leo, who was so surprised at winning the Best Supporting Actress statuette that she added an Oscar footnote by dropping the first F-word bomb in Academy broadcast history. Tom Hooper won the Best Director award for The King’s Speech and let it be known that he made the film at the suggestion of his mother, and Aaron Sorkin was eloquent in accepting the award for the best adapted screenplay for The Social Network.

On a night when Hollywood honors its finest performers, the elegance and glamour that has become synonymous with the event was on full display, both out on the red carpet and in the Kodak theater. In addition to Natalie Portman, who was elegantly pregnant in a plum off-the shoulder gown by Rodarte, host Anne Hathaway made numerous costume changes, moving from Valentino to Armani without missing a beat, while Sandra Bullock, Halle Berry, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jennifer Hudson and Nicole Kidman each distinguished themselves in stunning couture, floating elegantly over the carpet and into The Kodak. Other attendees who turned heads and attracted camera flashes were Hillary Swank in a silver strapless Gucci gown, Scarlett Johansson in burgundy form-fitting lace form Dolce & Gabbana and young starlet Hailee Steinfeld, nominated for her role in True Grit in a stunning but age-appropriate crystal-flecked Marchesa gown.

With its new formula and young hosts, The 83rd Academy Award broadcast proved that the state of movie making, despite a challenging economy is healthy and alive, and that great talent and art can come from anywhere. It is always exciting and glamorous to see the myriad of stars come out when Hollywood holds its biggest party, proving that it really is and always will be the Greatest Show on Earth.

Along with the glamour and unforgettable stage settings came of course the famous tradition: various star studded gift lounges all around town for two full days prior to Oscar night offering exclusive and expensive gifts the stars got to take home. In our eco conscious society a big attraction was a weekend of eco-friendly awareness offering the media and the stars eco-products while presenting them with a flair for luxury. This year, along with Only You Can Save Energy and Fortunate Angels the exclusive 2-day event featured live entertainment, gifting, eco-education, celebrity photo studio, PSA station, gourmet snacks & beverages, cupcakes from My Delight CupCakery and much more! The Photo Studio was an exclusive opportunity for celebrities and notables to share their ecological efforts in Project Green’s upcoming coffee table book on “Celebrities Going G-R-E-E-N.†Focusing on sustainability and teaching the 3 R’s— “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle,†with partial proceeds benefiting Project Green’s objectives.

Another attraction was the exceptionally classy and elegant work of Dr. Loraine Stern befitting the Oscars perfectly with her sketches and drawings of female nudes that do not circle around the skinny teens image, or the airbrushed waist and legs that show unrealistic figures on magazine covers and only serve to make women feel badly about their body. Dr. Stern’s message is: every female body is beautiful and one can find beauty in curves, it does not need to be all skin and bones.

This year’s Oscar has exceeded expectations, was very well produced and offered a memorable evening to all ages. It was only right that the King’s Speech took home four Oscars. The script and the film is truly the best of the year if not a classic that will go down in cinema history remembered forever.

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