Oscar Redux

So the Oscars went down last night. How do you think they stacked up?

So the Oscars went down last night. How do you think they stacked up?

Well, I think Hugh Jackman did a great job. Usually, the best part of the night is the final moment, when they announce the winner of the award for best picture. This time, as much as I love Slumdog Millionaire, the most excitement came from Hugh Jackman’s opening musical number — his “low-budget” salute to the nominated films. Take a look (the good stuff starts about two minutes into this clip):


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Really, that’s all you need to see. The second musical number of the evening — a salute to movie musicals in a year when none were nominated for best picture — felt awkward, though the (shorter) medley of tunes nominated for best song had a bit more Bollywood energy. Sure, there were some great speeches (the Milk boys were certainly touching, as was Heath Ledger’s family), fabulous dresses (Marisa Tomei! Amy Adams!), and a couple of little awards surprises (it was a good night to be a filmmaker from Japan), but no huge upsets, on-stage meltdowns, or unbleeped profanity (maybe because Mickey Rourke didn’t win).

For me, the strangest parts of the evening were the delivery of acting awards. Instead of showing clips of the nominated performances, previous acting winners gave compliments to the current crop of nominees. As cool as it was to see past winners share the stage (Ben Kingsley, Anthony Hopkins, Adrien Brody, Michael Douglas, and Robert DeNiro joined forces to give out the best actor award), hearing people talk about a performance was not as powerful as actually seeing a piece of it. Plus, it takes all the fun out of guessing which clips they were going to use. (“I’m a broken-down piece of meat!”)

Oh, and how did I do in my Oscar pool? Not to toot my own horn here — fine, maybe just a little — but I am not expecting any anger from people who followed my predictions. I got 17 categories right and only six wrong. Not too shabby! My failures were in predicting the live-action and documentary shorts — which are always a toss-up because I think the Academy knows as much about them as I do (very little) — the foreign language film (truly a surprise for me, since I never would’ve guessed that), the best song and sound mixing categories (never underestimate the zeitgeist of Slumdog Millionaire), and the best actress race (a bad gamble on my part). You can see a complete list of winners here.

So, what’d you think? Any surprises, upsets, outfits, favorite moments? Ways they should do the telecast differently? Share your thoughts in the comments box below.

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