Monday, March 8, 2010

And the Winner Is...

The good news is, I won't have to boycott the Oscars. The bad news is, my attempts at tipping the scale in Meryl Streep's honor were not successful.

This year's show itself was quite impressive, dare I state "one of the absolute best in recent history?" Despite the nominees and the general atmosphere surrounding event, the show itself can be hit or miss depending on who is producing. This year's producer was a keeper, indeed, and should serve as a model for future broadcasts.

The most impressive feat? An across-the-board elimination of all the eye-roll-inducing show fat. The worst offender, the Irving J. Thalberg award? Gone! Never mentioned. I would apologize to all of the Irving J. Thalberg fans out there if I believed there were any. I don't mean to dismiss the accomplishments of anyone who managed any sort of artist longevity out there, but seriously, if someone like me had to wikipedia this man and the person receiving the award, does it really belong in the last half hour of the show, between the Best Actor and Actress awards?

Whew. I've been waiting years to get that off my chest...

As for the dance numbers that are such easy targets, they were finally done right. I don't know how, but the opening number with Neil Patrick Harris and a cast of a couple hundred dancers managed to be both elegant and jaunty and lavish and precise all at the same time. And the decision to cut the live performances of each Best Song nominee and replace it with a dance montage to all of the nominated scores? Genius. Who knew you could break dance to the score of Avatar?

The fashion? Perfect. Lots of silvers and golds. Nothing too wacky. No yellow. Old-time elegance that seemed new. My favorite dress? Demi Moore.

And my favorite element, the speeches, didn't disappoint. Yes, there were the ramblers, the starstruck. (On a side note, my advice to future nominees, even if you think you will not win, prepare something. It's only a few minutes and it will be the clip they play when you die.) The first great line was by the co-writer of the Best Song who thanked his wife and said, "I love you more than rainbows, Baby." Awesome. And the guy who won Best Animated short said it took him six years to make the short, adding, "I hope to make a feature and come back in 36 years."

James Taylor singing the Beatles' "In My Life" during the In Memoriam? Perfection. As was the tribute to John Hughes.

I even (or, I guess, especially) loved the tribute to Horror. When I'd first heard about it, I was skeptical. I took is as another desperate attempt to appeal to a younger audience. Which it was, but the desperation fell away and a new generation of Academy Award fans was conceived.

The pairing up Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin was just as good as everyone suspected they would be. I hope they keep that going for many years.

The only negative thing I can say is, I was disappointed there were no surprises. Perhaps the day of the Oscar night surprise winner (the Halle Barry or Marissa Tomei or other underdog) is over. Perhaps this is simply a result of too much media exposure. I don't know. But I will miss it.

Oh, and did anyone notice they brought back the, "And the winner is..." which had been formally replaced by the PC-laden "And the Oscar goes to..." I think that's a good sign. Of what I don't know, but it feels supremely right...

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