- I thought Hugh Jackman was an excellent host. He made the show everything it should be. I still don't quite get why the job of Oscar host automatically conjures up images of stand-up comedy. Go big. Go flashy. The ceremony is nearly four hours long, for God's sake.
- Kate Winslet finally wins her much deserved Academy Award. Many people are griping about the film that finally got her there, but I'm not one of them. First of all, I'm one of the few people who actually liked The Reader. It may not be her best performance (there's not really any trumping Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind or Heavenly Creatures--her two best performances). It wasn't even the best of the five nominated performances. But it was still a great one (on my shortlist) and since the Oscars are never going to be a truly measured celebration of talent and achievement, I'm happy to see her win, just as I was happy to see Martin Scorsese win for The Departed. One of our greatest living actresses finally has an Oscar and that's good.
- Sean Penn and Dustin Lance Black winning for Milk and giving some great, reserved speeches that represent dissatisfaction with the current state of affairs for the GLBQT community in this country. I loved Sean Penn calling out the people holding signs in support of Prop 8 and hitting them where it hurts--telling them that their grandchildren will be ashamed of them. Feliciations, Sean and Dustin, from one commie, homo-loving son of a gun to another.
- The acting presentations. Many people are very "accept no substitutes" when it comes to doing something in lieu of acting clips. But I really enjoyed the "welcome to the club" approach of having five previous winners present the trophy to the incumbent. I know a lot of people found it tacky and self-congratulatory. I thought it was great.
- The show didn't feel overlong. Though truth-be-told, the length of the show has never been a problem for me. It's how they choose to fill their time. I could have done without the animation montage, but overall, very well-paced and fun. Kudos.
- Hathaway singing and ascending into stardom. She was my favorite of the best actress nominees, but I'm so glad she didn't win. The backlash would have been immense. And she was so beautiful and in her element at the Oscars. A true star in our midst. I love Hathaway because her talent is so large (I was saying this before Rachel Getting Married), and yet she still seems very grateful and gracious when it comes to contemplating her success thus far. Shirley Maclaine was right. Hathaway will be back here again and I love it.
- The Slumdog steamroll. It was boring, and I guess I'm glad it's over. And of course, I'm glad that it kept Benjamin Button from winning best picture. But honestly, is anyone going to look back in a few years and call Slumdog one of the best pictures of the year? Milk was the best of the nominees, and in my top 5, but it's insane that THAT movie should be the best of the nominated 5. What a middling year, especially in the best picture category.
- Jennifer Aniston. God, why was she there. And of course, her being there brought up the inevitable "Aniston/Jolie" showdown conjured up by the Nancy O'Dells and Billy Bushes of this world. So many things to address here. First of all, what the hell is Jennifer Aniston doing at the Oscars? Seriously? Is it suddenly the place to be for mediocre former television stars with floundering film careers (hello, Jessica Biel). There, I said it. And secondly, there is no showdown. Because I'd be very surprised if Jolie cares about Aniston, or even thinks about her at all. And really, let's not go there. To paraphrase Arrested Development, comparing Angelina Jolie to Jennifer Aniston is like comparing apples to...some fruit that no one cares about. She makes me sad and I'd kind of like it if she went away and took John Mayer with her. And while we're at it...
- Beyonce' needs to go away too, at least from the Oscars. Why does she have to be here EVERY damn year? She so wants one, she can taste it. Be it for songwriting, acting, whatever. I swear, Beyonce's going to make a documentary short just so she can win an Oscar. When is she going to accept the fact that the world fell in love with Jennifer Hudson in 2006 and not her?
- Miley Cyrus kind of needs to go away period. I'm aware that that's not going to happen anytime soon, but seriously. I'm fine with tolerating her omnipresence on the Disney Channel, where I don't have to see her. But when you enter the Oscars, you enter my territory and I'm not sharing. Though I will say, fully aware of the sexist undertones, that her lack of poise or couth of any kind makes me laugh just a little bit. She truly is Billy Ray Cyrus's daughter.
Peace Love and Pretension