Monday, February 23, 2009

Post-Oscar Notes

70% of people polled said that they approved of Hugh Jackman in his first hosting job at the Oscars.

Are they crazy? They just didn't ask the right questions. The REAL poll answers are:

100% of those watching the Oscars approved of Hugh Jackman.
92% of those watching the Oscars disapprove of the producers' decision not to put Jackman out there in a swimsuit and nothing else.

Whew. I'm glad we got that settled.

That said, I thought Jackman was stupendous. He's a song-and-dance man, and I can't believe he actually pulled off some of those dance steps on slick stairs. I loved, loved, loved that bit with Anne Hathaway. After that movie for which she was nominated, as well as Brokeback Mountain, we might forget that the lady is a real comedian. She's very funny, and we believe she hadn't rehearsed the bit ahead of time. Which they had.

I also liked Jackman's little thing about posing with Benjamin Button's clothes in a backdrop that showed him getting younger. And the song and lyrics sung were very funny.

And that little lyric moment when he said he hadn't seen The Reader, well, the writers recognized that nobody else had, either.

Poor Meryl Streep. If you're nominated and you have to sit down front, I guess you know you're going to be a target. She seemed to take it well.

I didn't quite get the concept of deconstructing the movie project, showing how a movie is put together, as I think it kind of slowed things down. But the sets were really cool. And having five former winners say something nice about each nominee -- well, that was a touch of class.

The sequence with Beyonce' convinced me that the woman can sing anything. However, the sequence also convinced me that the producers of an award show should never let Baz Luhrmann arrange anything ever again. God, what a cacophony.

Touching moments include:
1. Dustin Lance Black's acceptance speech.
2. Sean Penn's acceptance speech.
3. Panning the audience during the acceptance speech given by Heath Ledger's family. I'm sure you could hear a pin drop.

In fact, why don't we make a new rule for the Oscars: Give all the writers, when they win, five minutes or more for their acceptance speeches. And limit time for people like cinematographers and songwriters. Writers give wittier, better thought-out speeches.

So, all in all, I really enjoyed the broadcast. The little moments that really worked -- when they showed the script during an excerpt of film for best screenplay, for instance -- really vaulted this production above most in the past. There were negatives, however, like when the cameras pulled back too far during the homage to fallen stars in 2008; as Queen Latifah sang, all we saw were the curtains. There was also a loud, bass hum during the entire broadcast -- what was that all about?

It would have been a more exciting broadcast if it weren't so evident early that Slumdog Millionaire was going to snowball and gather most of the non-acting awards. But, still, the producers for this year's broadcast figured out that we're here to celebrate movies. And they did so. Well done.


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