Monday, February 23, 2009

Oscar Night

I have to say, I really enjoyed the Oscar telecast tonight. The show's new producers changed some things that had gotten stale, provided context for the many of the less glamorous awards, and admirably kept the show moving. It clocked in at, what, 3 hours 20 minutes?

But the thing I liked best of it was the tone. The cliche is, "It's an honor just to be nominated." But with tonight's presentation of the acting awards, with five previous nominees singling out each nominated performer, it really felt like an honor. It was a recognition of all they achieved with their roles, rather than glossing that over in favor of singling one out. I don't know what it felt like for the nominees, but at home, the effect was that instead of one winner and four losers, there were five winners, and one of them got to make a speech. It was really heartwarming. I got the impression that Anne Hathaway was as moved by all the nice things Shirley MacLaine was saying about her as she would have been by the Oscar itself.

Adding to the effect was the lack of schadenfreude-cam. There was a split screen on all the nominees, and then when the Oscar was announced, the camera would move quickly to the winner, without lingering on the others for us to judge whose smiles were insincere and whose claps were halfhearted.

As someone who wanted to see Jon Stewart or Steve Martin host again, I have to admit: Hugh Jackman did one hell of a job as host. It was a great job all around, from presenter casting to production design to the staged numbers (you really can't go far wrong with Jackman, Beyonce and John Legend).

And the idea to show short previews of a number of 2009's upcoming releases was inspired. They've just broadcast the biggest commercial Hollywood gets every year, and for once they actually took the time to send us somewhere.


1 comment:

KBaby said...

I loved the idea of 5 previous winners speaking directly to the nominees. I felt most were actually very heartfelt and not read off the TelePrompTer - except for Adrien Brody who probably did have to Google Richard Jenkins. Amazing in The Visitor - great movie! The whole "welcome to the club" feeling it conveyed really added something to the ceremony and I hope the Academy keeps it up. It also will add a whole new twist as far as the audience wondering which past stars will be there and who is the best "match" to speak to a particular nominee.