"King's Speech" Coronation Spearheads Another British InvasionBy Kam WilliamsSentinel Contributing WriterThe King's Speech not only won the Oscars for Best Picture, Original Screenplay and Actor (Colin Firth) as expected, but also for Best Director (Tom Hooper) in something of a slight upset over The Social Network's David Fincher. Most of the awards went as this critic anticipated (16/20 picks correct), with Natalie Portman (Black Swan) landing Best Actress while Christian Bale and Melissa Leo prevailed in the supporting categories for The Fighter.Over the years, I've made a habit of pointing out how Anglophilic the Academy tends to be, and this year was no exception. You couldn't help but notice the profusion of English accents during acceptance speeches, between The King's Speech and Inception, British productions which netted four Oscars apiece. Even Christian Bale's thick Welsh brogue probably surprised a lot of folks who'd presumed him to be Yank after seeing him play so many American characters.Why the U.S. continues to display such post-colonial deference to England centuries after declaring its independence is disconcerting. As a consequence of this lack of self-esteem, many deserving domestic talents remain fated never to enjoy a share the limelight.The evening's most memorable moment arrived courtesy of Ms. Leo who had to be bleeped when she tastelessly used the F-word while thanking the Academy.
What's perhaps more interesting is that she had come under criticism in recent weeks for launching her own ad campaign in the industry trade papers lobbying for votes. Obviously, the tactic worked, as it helped her edge out a Brit, The King's Speech's Helena Bonham Carter.As for the co-hosts, James Franco and Anne Hathaway were visually appealing, but exhibited little in the way of chemistry or comedy chops. In fact, their performances peaked during the show's opening, a pre-recorded parody featuring the pair immersed in famous scenes from screen classics courtesy of trick photography.The absence of suspense or entertainment rendered the Academy Awards little more than a self-congratulatory celebration of material excess. This crop of Oscar-winners was lily-white, and unless I dozed off (which isn't out of the realm of possibility), the only minority members who even appeared onstage as presenters, were Oprah, Jennifer Hudson and Halle Berry who paid a posthumous tribute to the late Lena Horne. Hey, Javier Bardem doesn't count because he was born in Spain, and I don't think Castilians qualify as Latino.The curtain came down on the night's festivities with a cleansing Kumbaya moment courtesy of an ethnically-diverse choir of school kids from Staten Island who sang "Somewhere over the Rainbow" during the closing credits. Let's just pray that next year's affair is a little more inclusive for the whole three hours. COMPLETE LIST OF ACADEMY AWARD WINNERSBEST PICTUREThe King's SpeechBEST DIRECTORTom Hooper, The King's SpeechBEST ACTORColin Firth, The King's SpeechBEST ACTRESSNatalie Portman, Black SwanBEST SUPPORTING ACTORChristian Bale, The FighterBEST SUPPORTING ACTRESSMelissa Leo, The FighterBEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAYThe King's Speech, Screenplay by David SeidlerBEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAYThe Social Network, Screenplay by Aaron SorkinBEST ANIMATED FILMToy Story 3BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILMIn a Better World (Denmark)BEST DOCUMENTARYInside Job, Charles Ferguson and Audrey MarrsBEST CINEMATOGRAPHYInception, Wally PfisterBEST ORIGINAL SCOREThe Social Network, Trent Reznor and Atticus RossBEST SONG"We Belong Together," Toy Story 3, Randy NewmanBEST EDITINGThe Social Network, Angus Wall and Kirk BaxterBEST VISUAL EFFECTSInception, Paul Franklin, Chris Corbould, Andrew Lockley and Peter BebbBEST COSTUME DESIGNAlice in Wonderland, Colleen AtwoodBEST MAKEUPThe Wolfman, Rick Baker and Dave ElseyBEST SOUND EDITINGInception, Richard KingBEST SOUND MIXINGInception, Lora Hirschberg, Gary A. Rizzo, and Ed NovickBEST ART DIRECTIONAlice in Wonderland, Robert Stromberg, Karen O'HaraBEST ANIMATED SHORTThe Lost Thing, Shaun Tan and Andrew RuhemannBEST LIVE-ACTION SHORTGod of Love, Luke MathenyBEST DOCUMENTARY SHORTStrangers No More, Karen Goodman and Kirk Simon