Oscar Goes Gaga

The sound you hear in the Halls of Oscar is that of a bouncing ball.

It’s all part of the rejuvenation (juvenile-ization?) of the Academy Awards, a move meant to reel in a younger demographic and improve the award show’s flagging ratings.

Franco, Hathaway & Jean-Luc WHO?

Last year there was that embarrassing and pointless horror montage tied to “Twilight”-mania.

This year we get Oscar newbies James Franco and Anne Hathaway as the main hosts. Combined age? I haven’t done the math but I’m guessing it’s somewhat less than what’s on Robert De Niro‘s driver’s license.

Need more proof that Oscar has a serious case of the Twitters?

This year’s special Oscars ‒ bestowed by the Board of Governors on French director Jean-Luc Godard, actor Eli Wallach, historian-preservationist Kevin Brownlow and Francis Ford Coppola ‒ were handed out more than three months ago in a ceremony attended by George Lucas, Clint Eastwood and a few members of the media. In a promo airing on TCM, organizers go to great pains to explain the move.

Academy prez Tom Sherak’s justification for what amounts to a devaluation of an award that once went, mid-telecast, to the likes of Kurosawa and Spielberg: “You’re able to spend the time … to have friends who have worked with them for years … to tell little stories that nobody knows or nobody has read about … to feel free that it’s going to be in that room. People feel comfortable.”

Yeah, sure. And it has nothing to do with the recipients’ ages and, at least to some, relative obscurity? So what if Actors Studio legend Wallach, still at it at 95, lists “The Misfits” and “The Magnificent Seven” among his credits. So what if Godard (who sent his regrets) reinvented cinema in the ‘60s with “Breathless” and “Weekend,” and is generally acknowledged to be the single greatest influence on such New Hollywood auteurs as Arthur Penn and Bob Rafelson . . .

The irony is that the average age of the Academy’s 6,000 members is still north of 50. And this will finally determine who takes home the hardware at the 83rd annual Oscars Sunday.

√ Best Picture: “The King’s Speech”; Our Choice: “True Grit”

√ Best Actor: Colin Firth (“King’s Speech”); OC: Jeff Bridges (“True Grit”)

√ Best Actress: Annette Bening (“The Kids Are All Right”); OC: Jennifer Lawrence (“Winter’s Bone”)

√ Supporting Actor: Christian Bale (“The Fighter”); OC: Geoffrey Rush (“King’s Speech)

√ Supporting Actress: Melissa Leo (“The Fighter”); OC: Leo

√ Director: Tom Hooper (“King’s Speech”); OC: David Fincher (“Social Network”)

√ Original Screenplay: David Seidler (“King’s Speech”); OC: Seidler

√ Adapted Screenplay: Aaron Sorkin (“Social Network”); OC: Sorkin

√ Cinematography: Danny Cohen (“King’s Speech”); OC: Roger Deakins (“True Grit”)

√ Editing: “The Social Network”; OC: “The Social Network”

√ Animated Feature: “Toy Story 3”; OC: “The Illusionist”

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