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Oscar winners no one expected: mothers everywhere

Oscar winners dispensed morsels of wisdom in their thank-you speeches Sunday night. 'Listen to your mother' was the advice of Best Director Tom Hooper, who won for the 'The King's Speech.'

By Staff writer / February 28, 2011

British actor Colin Firth (L) holds his Oscar he won for best actor for his role in "The King's Speech" as he arrives with his wife Livia Giuggioli at the 2011 Vanity Fair Oscar party in West Hollywood, California February 27.

Danny Moloshok/Reuters

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Los Angeles

The 83rd Annual Academy Awards were chock full of little morsels of life wisdom from the winners’ speeches. The evening was also a roadmap of where the business of both broadcast TV and the movies are headed.

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Sunday's awards ceremony seemed to have an informal theme of “mothers' night” – beginning with the two young hosts' shout out to their mother and grandmother in the audience and topped off by director Tom Hooper’s thank-you remarks, laughs pop culture pundit Robert Thompson of Syracuse University in New York. More than a few moms no doubt nudged their teenagers as they heard the director of the winning film, “The King’s Speech,” thank his mom and drop this bit of Hollywood wisdom: “Listen to your mother.” His mom is the one who discovered the script at a staged play reading and phoned her son to say, “I’ve found your next movie.”

ABC also took up valuable air time to affirm the importance of the Academy Awards to broadcast television, announcing it had signed with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for another nine years of Oscar telecasts. This underscores the importance of live events to broadcast television, says Mr. Thompson, noting the lesson that network TV executives took from the unprecedented audience – 111 million – that gathered for this month's Super Bowl.

Moreover, the awards broadcast itself is becoming more of a portal to online Oscars content, “with a decided focus on the youth audience,” he says. A number of youth-targeted strategies were evident this year, from the tag-team hosts Anne Hathaway and James Franco to the Web-based backstage access and premium content. (Viewers could pay $5 for up-close celebrity sighting images from 11 360-degree cameras posted throughout the event.)

As for the eagle-eyed moms, mainstream moviemaking could take some direction from them, perhaps prodding studio executives to finance a few more high-minded films, says Howard Suber, professor emeritus, Producers Program at UCLA School of Theater, Film, and Television.

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