The Oscars were very elegant this year all the way up to the opening number. Then Neil Patrick Harris sang about sodomy, masturbation, and prison and Hollywood's classiest night was underway! But the hosts were good, there was some genuine suspense for a change, and if you could make it all the way till the end, a very satisfying ending.
People are saying Hurt Locker was an upset. No. A Serious Man would have been an upset. Hurt Locker deserved Best Picture and it's just an added bonus that it beat out the most expensive movie ever made shot by the most pretentious director who ever lived.
But first things first -- the red carpet shows. Several channels covered it but for sheer obsequiousness and stupidity you can't beat Channel 5 with the publicists' best bitch, Sam Rubin and some anorexic named Jessica Holmes. In the middle of Sam's interview with A Single Man director Tom Ford he blurted out, "Oooh, there's Kathryn Bigelow. But I'll spend a few minutes talking to you." Nice.
Jessica whoever-she-is to Christoph Waltz: "If you win, what language will you give your speech in?" Later she paid Christopher Plummer the ultimate compliment. "You play crazy very well."
No rain unfortunately. That alone spoiled the red carpet show for me. I was so looking forward to hearing, "So who did your poncho?" "Do you think rain on Oscar night is proof there is global warming?" "Fashion catastrophe! Kathy Bates and Penelope Cruz have the same galoshes!"
The Oscars were held at the now legendary Kodak Theatre. Believe it or not, it was on that very stage that Siobhan Magnus learned she had made the top 24 of American Idol.
The opening monologue with Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin had some good laughs. There were the obligatory five "Meryl Streep number of nominations jokes" but Steve Martin comparing Precious to The Jerk was hilarious, even if no one under 60 had ever heard of The Jerk.
Alec Baldwin proves once again that the way to get respect in the film industry is to leave it for television.
The academy and ABC were not subtle in their desperate attempt to rope in more young viewers. Early presenters included film queen Miley Cyrus, national treasure Amanda Seyfried, that grand dame Kristen Stewart, and master thespian Taylor Lautner.
For every time they featured Helen Mirren in the audience they showed Star Trek's Chris Pine twenty times.
I was thrilled Christoph Waltz won. The last time I rooted for a Nazi was my high school production of Sound of Music.
Sorry Woody Harrelson lost but this was a big step in his quest to become Robert Duvall.
My daughter Annie said Tina Fey was there to show she can still dress after the Golden Globes.
It's bad enough they now have ten "Best Picture" nominees when you know it's a two-man race and all the rest are just schmuck bait. But now we had to sit through all ten introductions and film clips. Hey there academy, don't insist you're taking steps to shorten the show then spend five minutes telling us why District 9 should be movie of the year.
Nothing against Jeff Bridges but they couldn't find a single Jew to introduce A Serious Man?
All in all, better gowns this year. J-Lo looked gorgeous as did Sandra Bullock. Charlize Theron had what looked like two purple cupcakes on her breasts. I didn't notice the rest of her dress.
It's bad enough no one knows any of the "Best Song" nominees but this year I didn't even know one of the movies it was from. What the hell is Paris 36? Was it actually released or was it one of those films that opened at 35,000 feet?
Sarah Jessica Parker's gown looked like a Torah cover. And she was presenting for "Best Costume Design."
There was a "thank you cam" backstage so winners could take as long as they wanted to acknowledge people. I thought that was a bad idea until Jeff Bridges' endless, rambling, pointless speech. Hey man, you're the Dude. You should know better.
Robert Downey Jr. wore his best sneakers for the occasion. I find it ironic that he was presenting for "Best Screenplay" when he is a notorious writer killer.
Glad Mark Boal won for The Hurt Locker screenplay. He's being sued left and right for possibly lifting the idea from a magazine article. But I think it's a stretch to say stole The Hurt Locker from Cosmo's "75 Crazy Hot-Sex Moves".
It kind of takes away from the prestige of the Oscars when they break away for a Spam commercial. And excuse me, but when they showed that ad with the starry eyed young woman and you think it's a perfume commercial only to learn it's about cervical cancer, I laughed. It takes a special Mad Man to turn "cervical cancer" into a punchline.
Whatever happened to Revlon?
Gee, Transformers lost.
Was Vera Fermiga wearing a giant red fan?
Dumbest acceptance speech line goes to Ryan Bingham who said, "I love you more than rainbows." He won his Oscar for lyrics, by the way.
The tribute to John Hughes was lovely but when they introduced the Brat Pack how many times did you gasp?
Nice to see David Frankel sing the praises of short films. He won an Oscar for his. But in his speech he neglected to say his was really a failed TV pilot that on some technicality managed to qualify.
I guess the academy didn't think Music by Prudence was going to win anything. They were in the last row. They had worse seats than the KRTH contest winners. And that woman who won? Could you understand a single word she said? Jesus, the "Best Foreign Film" winner was easier to understand.
No one can take a funny bit, milk it, stomp it, kill it, kill it some more, and grind it into the ground until it's powder like Ben Stiller.
No surprise that Mo'Nique won. First one to her feet for the standing ovation -- fellow nominee Vera Fermiga. You sure didn't see that when Quentin Tarantino lost.
Young Victoria was nominated for best make-up? How hard is it to make Emily Blunt even more beautiful?
The Legion of Extraordinary Dancers hoofed their way through the "Best Original Score" sequence. As my daughter Annie said, "They re-imagined Hurt Locker as a breakdance competition."
"Original Score" winner Michael Giacchino gave a lovely speech telling young people that creative pursuits are not "a waste of time." Unless that pursuit is "red carpet show host."
I LOVED James Taylor singing "In My Life" during the In Memoriam tribute. But when people applaud for certain individuals it always feels like they're happy they're dead. Of course, knowing this crowd, they probably are.
Once Hurt Locker started racking up wins you got the sense An Education was going down.
Michelle Pheiffer looked fabulous. Of course they only showed her in a medium shot on a split screen. But still!
The only award I really disagreed with was Sandra Bullock winning "Best Actress" over either Cary Mulligan or Gabourey Sidibe. But Hollywood loves its own. And I'm sure this was a make-good for The Lake House.
To present the award for "Best Director" the academy turned to the esteemed director of that motion picture classic, Yentl -- Barbra Streisand. I'm sorry but unless she sings, I don't want to see her.
But Kathryn Bigelow winning "Best Director" was historic. She becomes the first director to have slept with one of the other nominees.
And then Hurt Locker beat Avatar. Oh... and District 9. Revolutionizing film is still not as important as telling a good human story. But I don't think that's the lesson James Cameron will take from last evening. A) he'll be worried that Linda Hamilton has a project, and B) it's time to invent 4D.