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Oscars postmortem

Oscaraward In no particular order, here are some random thoughts and observations on tonight's Oscar telecast (you can check out the list of winners here):

- I am really happy The Hurt Locker won - not only because I wasn't a huge fan of Avatar, but also because the war movie really was the most deserving nominee of the bunch by a wide margin. OK, mostly because I just wasn't a huge fan of Avatar.

- This was the first Oscar telecast I can remember seeing - like, ever - in which Jack Nicholson was not seated in the front row, leering at everybody.

Sidibe

- Without question, Precious star Gabourey Sidibe was the happiest and most excited celebrity to be there. She made me believe in the whole "It's an honor just to be nominated" thing.

Bullock

- Sandra Bullock's acceptance speech for the Best Actress Oscar was the best of the night. Everyone expected her to win - even she probably did - and it still felt like a surprise.

 - The Paranomal Activity skit, which aired about two hours into the show, was the first time co-hosts Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin got a real laugh out of me. That was followed by a way-cool tribute to horror movies, which rarely get much Oscar love. Who'd ever think you'd see Leatherface, Friday the 13th and Night of the Living Dead on the Academy Awards? Too many clips from The Shining, though - and that's coming from me.

Bigelow

- You know how nice and modest and humble Kathryn Bigelow came off in her acceptance speech for the Best Director Oscar? She really is like that - the mirror opposite of her ex-husband, Avatar director James Cameron.Seriously, this could not have happened to a sweeter, more gracious person. And she makes such tough films! I wonder what movie she will direct next.

- I really dug the idea of having five presenters, each of them a former co-star, introduce each of the nominees in the Best Actor and Best Actress Oscars. By the time Michelle Pfeiffer was done giving props to Jeff Bridges, she had the actor in tears, and he hadn't even received the award yet.

Bridges

- Wasn't it awesome watching The Dude get an Oscar, man?

Almodovartarantino

- The oddball pairing of Pedro Almodovar and Quentin Tarantino to present the Foreign Language Film Oscar was inspired. Forget different countries: These two hail from different universes.

- The surprise win in that category by Argentina's The Secret in Their Eyes guarantees the closing night festivities at the Miami Film Festival next weekend will sell out.

Cameron

- James Cameron may be a very, very rich man. But you know the lack of Oscar love for Avatar has to be eating away at him. Sorry, Jim. You'll have to settle for being the guy who directed the two highest-grossing films of all time, back to back. Also, Aliens.

- Every time the cameras cut away to The Hurt Locker team, they still seemed so grateful just to be there - even after the movie had started racking up Oscars.

- Meanwhile, George Clooney looked annoyed or impatient every time the cameras looked his way.

Burkett

- That exuberant red-haired woman in the purple dress who interrupted Music By Prudence director Roger Ross Williams while he was accepting the Best Documentary Short Oscar (video clip here) was former Herald features writer Elinor Burkett. She was a producer on the movie and used to behave exactly the same way in the newsroom. Congrats, Elinor! (Update: The incident is already known as the Oscars' Kanye moment. Read Williams' and Burkett's accounts of the bizarre moment here.)

Fletcher

- Both of the screenwriting Oscar winners - Precious' Geoffrey Fletcher (Best Adapted) and The Hurt Locker's Mark Boal (Best Original) - appeared to have been caught off-guard by their wins. I interviewed each of them last year for stories about their respective films, and both seemed surprised by the attention their movies were getting at the time. Now they're Oscar winners.

Stiller

- The Ben Stiller as a Na'Vi bit could have easily bombed, but the actor kept it alive much more than it deserved.

- The cynic in me knows the John Hughes tribute was a bit much and went on a bit long - a sop to the Generation Xers watching the show. But I, too, grew up in the 1980s watching Hughes' films, so I got a little lump in the throat anyway when that informal Breakfast Club reunion took place onstage (Emilio Estevez, where were you?) 


Dance

- This was the first year I can remember in which I actually enjoyed the presentation of the five nominees for Best Original Score - proof that everything in life goes better with a little interpretive dance.

- Robert Downey, Jr. continues to get weirdly cooler, even when he's just handing out the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay. On actors and writers working together: "A collaboration between handsome, gifted people and sickly, little mole people.''

Waltz

 - I know that Christoph Waltz has been winning awards for his portrayal of a cunning Nazi colonel in Inglourious Basterds since it premiered at the Cannes Film Festival last May. But I wish Waltz had tried to be a tiny bit genuine when he won, or come up with a better acceptance speech other than just kissing up to Quentin Tarantino and Harvey Weinstein. Up director Pete Docter probably knew he was going to win too, but he seemed honestly excited when he got his hands on his statuette. Even Mo'Nique managed to seem a little overwhelmed, and she was the safest bet of the night.

Monique

- Opening the show by having the Best Actor and Actress nominees standing awkwardly onstage as they basked in the applause of the crowd got the night started on a way-too reverential note. Fortunately, Neil Patrick Harris showed up a few moments later to deflate some of the pretension out of the show. And then co-hosts Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin did their best to try to get everyone to shut off their TV sets.

- I went 16 for 21 in my predictions. Not my best showing, but not my worst.

Comments

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Juan

most of my predictions were pretty spot on lol.

And I am a huge fan of Avatar, and I'm still glad to see The Hurt Locker win. I was actually hoping that or Inglorious Basterds would win, but i'd have been perfectly fine with Avatar winning.

can't fight this feeling anymore

No surprises this year, but that's OK; I'm just happy Avatar didn't win. But wow, I thought Elinor Burkett made an obnoxious ass out of herself.

Harry Lime

Elinor Burkett pulled a reverse-Kanye. That was surreal and I don't find it at all surprising that she spent time in Miami. Par for the course. As for Clooney, I think he was just putting on some sort of act. Unless he had a benefit to organize or something. Don't know what was up with him last night, but I don't think that was genuine impatience.

Anyway, I'm already hearing it from my friends who haven't seen "Up in the Air" who are now telling me they won't see it because last night proved it isn't a good movie. We are such sheep, aren't we?

Martin and Baldwin were dreadful. Martin hasn't been funny since L.A. Story. I expected better from Baldwin, and will now gladly never watch 30 Rock or any other movie he does again. Dreadful. Worst I've ever seen.

Sandy A.

Haven't seen "Locker," YET! Loved Avatar. I echo Harry, above, in his comments on hosts, save for the word "again." Never seen "Rock" and never plan to, especially now. Dreadful doesn't even begin to describe either of them. Worse, I suspect they originally had been given even more time, but the directors of the program saw how godawful they were and cut their exposure back. If so, hoooray for good taste and good sense and being observant. if not, well they might have been cut back even more. Loved Sandy and her tribute to her "others."
Another Sandy

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