Surveying the punditry from last night's Oscarcast, everyone agrees the show ran way too long. I agree. L.A. Weekly's Nikki Finke is foaming at the sequins, saying "It was lacking in razzle-dazzle. It had no trash and flash." Tom Shales of The Washington Post graded it "alternately (and sometimes simultaneously) a bore and a horror."
Bore, maybe. But horror? If Scorsese lost for Best Director, that would be horror. Without replaying the entire ceremony, I submit some snapshot thoughts:
* Ellen DeGeneres may be a great talk show host, but she's too cute and not funny enough. The improvised bit with Steven Spielberg taking a digital photo of her and Scorsese was a hoot, though.
* How the heck did Melissa Ethridge's "I Need To Wake Up" beat three songs from Dreamgirls? Was the Academy using Diebold voting machines?
* I wish the Academy would create (and announce) a streaming-video site where we could see the nominees for the short-subject films, animated and live action. Year after year, these awards go out to films 95% percent of America hasn't seen, with no way to see them.
* Dump some production numbers. Will Ferrell and Jack Black are no song-and-dance team. The Pilobolus Dance Theatre was intriguing, but it just padded out time. Don't get me started on the half-hour red carpet show or the opening interview montage with the nominees. Keep the Dreamgirls songs.
* An Inconvenient Truth winning for Best Documentary Feature surprised nobody. Pan's Labryinth losing Best Foreign-Language film was a Brink's job.
* Despite what you heard, Celene Dion's "World Premiere" of composer Ennio Morricone's "I Knew I Loved You" was anything but. The song is from Sergio Leone's 1984 gangster epic Once Upon A Time In America. The words to the music are the only thing that premiered. Snarks Shales: "Unfortunately it sounded like the theme from Titanic and every other song she sang."
* Forest Whitaker is now the hottest property in Hollywood after winning for The Last King Of Scotland.
* Happy Feet wins Best Animated Film. March Of The Penguins won in last year's Documentary Feature category. The Academy clearly has what the comic strip "Bloom County" used to call "penguin lust."
* Maybe we can shave a half hour off the Oscars by handing out the Sound Mixing and Sound Editing awards off camera. How many people know the difference, anyway?
* Jennifer Hudson's Best Supporting Actress win for Dreamgirls proves American Idol's Simon doesn't know Jack.
* Even with Al Gore, the entire show went out of its way to come off apolitical. Gore stressed the global warming battle was a winnable fight. Ethridge declared it a nonpartisan issue. It's as if the thought police were waiting offstage to drag them away should they bash Republicans.
* Someone explain to me how Borat's improvised pranks qualify for the Best Adapted Screenplay category.
* Best Blooper: Will Smith's son accidentally started reading ahead to the next category in the teleprompter before his cohort Abigail Breslin presented the award for Best Animated Short film. It came off funnier and more genuine than most of the evening's scripted jokes.