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The 6 weirdest gender moments of the 2011 Oscars

February 28, 2011 - 11:15 AM
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Anne Hathaway and James Franco (Photo: Associated Press)

Last night's 2011 Academy Awards telecast was terrible as ever, a grinding, three-and-a-quarter hour display of awkward film industry promotion. Best Supporting Actress award winner Melissa Leo said it best: "It's about selling motion pictures! And respecting the work!" The annual exercise of polite clapping, at least, offered a few crumbles of gender weirdness with which to fill my blogging quotas. The five weirdest gender moments in the Oscar telecast, below:

6. JAMES FRANCO AS MARILYN MONROE. Following Anne Hathaway's tux-clad solo musical number, co-host James Franco emerged in a Marilyn Monroe-esque satin get-up, explaining: "You got to wear a tuxedo, so I wore this."  But why was Anne Hathaway wearing a tuxedo, forcing this conspicuous cross-dressing moment? Oh, no reason.


The cast of the King's Speech at the 2011 Oscars

When King's Speech director Tom Hooper took the stage, he devoted his statuette to actors Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush, calling the three of them "a triangle of man love," and adding, "I'm only here because of you guys." Hooper then recognized Helena Bonham-Carter, saying, "I hope that reference doesn't make you too jealous." Way to take that introduction by Kathryn Bigelow, the only woman to ever win the thing, and devote your speech exclusively to your boy's club. (And later, your mom. Aww).


Natalie Portman Speech at the 2011 Oscars

While accepting the Best Actress Oscar for her punishing role in Black Swan, Natalie Portman thanked Benjamin Millepied, saying that her ballet dancing fiancee "has now given me the most important role of my life." By impregnating her. What, not Garden State? (Kidding!) Portman is obviously proud of her and Millepied's forthcoming human production, but she's also at the very height of her career as an actor. It feels a little icky to use that moment to reinforce the primacy of a woman's gender role.

3. ANNE HATHAWAY ANNOUNCING "LEEESSSSBIANNNS!" Repeatedly, in the show's opening monologue.


Kirk Douglas supporting

Particularly: "Where was [Anne Hathaway] when I was making movies?"; "Hugh Jackman is laughing . . . Colin Firth is not laughing"; and "I love women and I really love beautiful women, and now I'm gonna give you five of them—the nominees for Best Supporting Actress." Who thought it was a good idea to roll this 94-year-old out on stage to leer at a group of women, at excruciating length, before reluctantly handing over the prize? One of these women was born in 1996! Welcome Hollywood, Hailee!


Kirk Douglas pinches Melissa Leo at the 2011 Oscars

The oddly lascivious pinching of Melissa Leo was the most awkward gender moment of this year's telecast. Honorable mention to the gleeful laugh accompanying the pinching.



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  1. Golden Silence Golden Silence

    Golden Silence

    Mar 12, 2011 - 03:56:11 AM

    Looks like I didn't miss anything important. I gave up on these awards shows a long time ago.

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  2. TJ TJ

    TJ T

    Mar 02, 2011 - 08:46:39 AM

    Amanda, you might want to update the last sentence of the first paragraph to say "six" not "five."

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