You know what I love most about Oscar night? Knowing it's at least another six months before I need to think about the Oscars again. Nevertheless, here's your friendly neighborhood critic's roundup of Oscar night highs and lows. ---
Host(s) Report: There was some enjoyable give and take between Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin, but pairing the two on stage for the jokey opening duologue just didn't work. Maybe the format of these bits has become as traditional as the statuette, but "Hey, it's (fill in celebrity name)!" followed by an obvious gag can be gruelling when it's just one talented guy. Turn it into a back-and-forth, and it starts to seem like we should be at a Catskills resort, with someone playing a rim shot after every punch line.
Speeches: Yes, Sandra Bullock was self-effacing, funny and touching. She also was given as much time as she wanted. The producer for the Animated Short winner Logorama didn't have that luxury, so he had to be witty and concise -- fitting, given the category and the film itself. Also, if you were betting the "over/under" on the number of times Jeff Bridges would use the word "man" in his acceptance speech, I hope you took the over.
Cringe-worthy Stuff: As Best Director winner Kathryn Bigelow -- as noted by presenter Barbra Streisand, the first woman ever to take the%uFFFDaward --%uFFFDleft the stage, the orchestra played "I Am Woman." Seriously? Why not "She Works Hard for the Money"? Or maybe "She's a Lady"? Also contending in the epicfail category: Sean Penn's rambling; obligatory cutaways to every black face in the audience whenever Precious won anything or was mentioned; Ben Stiller not knowing when to quit with the Na'Vi language stuff.
The John Hughes Tribute: Look, I'm a guy who grew up on Hughes films. But really, was it such a slow year for Hollywood death that he warranted that much time? He directed exactly eight movies in his career -- most remembered fondly, but not a one of them a bona fide great film -- and wrote and produced a handful of others. Sorry, I'm just not feeling it. That said, the producers of the broadcast must have been pretty pleased with themselves that the could find clips of both of their hosts in Hughes films for the montage. Also, who has aged more freakishly: Anthony Michael Hall, Judd Nelson or Macaulay Culkin?
Weirdest Moment: Wondering about the woman who cut into the middle of the acceptance speech for Best Documentary Short winner Dear Prudence? CNN.com breaks down the situation, which involves that most traditionally Hollywood of all controversies, a legal battle over credit. On the plus side, it did actually get viewers to perk up and take notice during a category where most of them opt to refresh the bowl of popcorn.
Fashions: Oh you have so come to the wrong place if you think there's going to be any discussion of that subject here.