Tonight's Oscar telecast represented a return to form for the esteemed award show after last year's Hathaway/Franco debacle with Billy Crystal proving why he's a top emcee in a highly entertaining turn as host. In addition to Crystal's humorous opening skit and song-and-dance, the show also took some surprising chances which paid off nicely including a funny sketch by Christopher Guest and his gang and a breathtaking showcase by Cirque du Soleil. For a show which offered virtually no great surprises, the entire fare moved swiftly and was largely beguiling. Here are some notations of a few of my thoughts on the affair followed by my annual contest results which I unfortunately did not win again:
- "Hugo" succeeded beyond expectations and took many of the "lesser" awards many expected "The Artist" to take, and it was nice to see Marty looked so pleased in the audience as his collaborators took home several golden statues.
- While I thought "The Artist" was an excellent films, I felt its winners and their unfamiliarity with English hurt the show. Also Jean Dujardin's speech was disappointing which was also maybe the reason many voted for him in anticipation of. Also, for the record, it is not the first silent BP winner since 1929 because it contains brief talking, muffled speech, sound effects, and a soundtrack.
- As has been the trend, in my opinion, the Supporting Actor/Actress proved to be the highlight of the speeches. I loved overwhelmed Octavia Spencer's sincerity and Christopher Plummer was eloquent and funny as he became the eldest acting recipient.
- The Christopher Guest sketch was both unexpected and funny as the troupe imagined what a focus group screening the "Wizard of Oz" would have been like.
- I was also pleasantly surprised with the stunning Cirque du Soleil number which was a nice substitute for the dull and pointless interpretive dance or nominated song acts.
- Although she's nominated every year, it was nice to see Meryl Streep win for what is essentially a makeup award (she hasn't won since '82). She seemed surprised and her speech was humble and gracious.
- I wish Woody would have showed up.
- Many of the presenters were amusing as well: a perky Emma Stone and an annoyed Ben Stiller. Robert Downey Jr. documenting his presenting duties. Will Ferrell, Zach Galifianakis, and their symbols.
- All and all, I can't think of any real complaints and was immensely happy with the show overall.
This year's Oscar contest was won by a Mr. Michael Johnson, with yours truly finishing a little ahead of midstream with 50% of the vote. Here are the results, out of 24 categories:
18 Michael Johnson
17 Danny Porcaro
16 Brian Bedard
15 Paul Jarnagin
15 Eleanor Morse
12 dae'quan da dabbla
11 Katie C
11 Tom Gooderson-A'Court
9 Chris K
9 Feowyn Mackinnon
9 Maureen Kaiser
7 Greg M
7 joe vaccaro
7 Tom K
7 Tommy Kaiser
6 Andrea Altman
5 Shiv Issar