After resisting the temptation to make a last-minute switch to Mickey Rourke (because I saw his Spirit Awards speech), I held fast with my picks and nailed 22 out of 24 to take the win at my Oscar party. Thanks to In Contention for some insight into the Foreign Language Category that convinced me the two most high-profile nominees wouldn't win. As for the ceremony, Hugh Jackman was a very agreeable host, though I think a way must be found to keep whoever is hosting involved for the second half of the show.
The group presentation of the acting awards seemed like a good idea at the beginning of the night but by the time Best Actor rolled around I was ready for them to get on with it. Is there an audience for seeing the nominees reassured Oprah-style and told they're all pretty too before the winner is announced? I'm all for the inclusion of past winners and classic stars, but many of those people could have been worked into the ceremony in other ways. The Oscars are self-congratulatory enough without all the psychic group hugging. The time saved could have been better spent on music; the Original Score felt tacked on and the condensation of the Original Song nominees into a medley (and resulting absence of Peter Gabriel) has to be regarded as a major embarrassment. Does anyone believe this award would have been handled the same way if Springsteen had been among the nominees? I'm not exactly sure how the salute to musicals related to this year's field of nominees. But the ceremony did have an energy and humor lacking in recent years and the intimate design of the theater may have played a role in loosening everybody up. I haven't seen any mention of the TV ratings, but who cares? You know they're going to try it again next year.