Before I get too far along in this uber-specific Oscar recap (yes, I meticulously took notes on the most obscure and most enjoyable parts of last night’s show), I’d like to start off by saying that I managed 17 for 24 in predictions – so, not the best, but respectable. I’ll aim for a clean sweep next year. But anyway, thanks to a pretty great ceremony that was scads better than last year’s (Slumdog! Slumdog! Slumdog! Yawn.), it was an enjoyable night that the shows’ producers apparent goal was to render their viewing audience blubbering messes.
**The best presenting team of the night was hands-down Tina Fey and Robert Downey, Jr. An odd combination, yes, but their banter about the difference between writers and actors was great fun. Get these two in a movie together!
**Did anyone else laugh out loud with joy when Carey Mulligan and Zoe Saldana’s walking music was “Thank Heavens for Little Girls” from Gigi? Marc Shaiman made some inspired choices this year.
**Probably the funniest one-liners from the night’s hosts (who were awfully absent for most of the show) was Steve Martin, in fine form, comparing himself to Precious‘s Gabourey Sidibe. “In our first movies, we were both born a poor black child.” Great The Jerk reference.
**I was duly impressed with the John Hughes tribute, which, unlike most Oscar tributes, was well-pieced together and moving (and that assembly of 1980s/1990s teen stars was great fun. Watch it here.
**And the Helen Mirren Award for hottest sixtysomething in the room goes to Sigourney Weaver. And Helen Mirren.
**Is it totally wrong that my favorite speech of the night (in terms of humor) was the Animated Short winner for Logorama? He thanked the 3,000 trademarked logos for allowing him to infringe upon them. Nice touch.
**All right, as expected, Mo’Nique’s speech was as usual moving like a gospel preacher. But for me, it was the extended clip of her riveting scene from Precious that had me a hyperventilating mess for the first time of the night. Many more to follow.
**I was truly glad that the Animated Feature category was as fun as it was. Considering Barbara Walters’ interview with Coraline and Mr. Fox were better than most of her Oscar interviews is really saying something. Loved Coraline’s planned response to her mother asking her to clean if she won the Oscar. “Mom. Oscar. Seriously.”
**Biggest surprise of the night goes to an unlikely category – Adapted Screenplay – where Geoffrey Fletcher took the award (rightfully) for Precious. And to think that at that point of the night the movie was the win leader!
**Hmmm… was that extra-long tribute to the sound work in The Dark Knight the Academy’s way of saying sorry for snubbing it for Best Picture last year? Too little, too late, Oscar…
**My most pissed-off moment of the night? The point when I realized that the Twilight kids had a better seat than Kathy Bates. Seriously, they’re a couple of bland cardboard cutouts, and she’s an Oscar winner for crying out loud! They somewhat redeemed themselves when they had her present Avatar for Best Picture.
**Worst presenter of the night – Jennifer Lopez. Although it was pretty comical when she gave such a heavy accent to pronouncing Marco Beltrami in the Best Original Score category and then pronounced the nominee following him as “du-SPLAT.” And sheesh, when Sam Worthington, with his uber-thick accent, announced the winner was Michael Giacchino, did anyone else think he said Marco – as in Beltrami?
**Most confusing intro of the night – you can understand my excitement when I heard the theme from E.T. begin to play and the announcer sounded so excited you’d think she was announcing the arrival of Steven Spielberg But then – “And now… [drumroll]… preeeeeeesenting…. [drumroll]… Eliiiiiiizabeth Baaaaanks!” Umm….
**Does it bother anyone else, though I don’t even like The Hangover, that Bradley Cooper gets to present all the awards even though he was the worst of three lead men just because he looks good in a tux? Where the hell is the far-superior Ed Helms?
**Jason Bateman presented Up in the Air… and all I could hear was someone loudly slurping something into a microphone. Anyone else hear that crap?
**Did anyone ever foretell that someone from Short Circuit would win an Oscar? Well, now Best Documentary Feature winner Fisher Stevens can fulfill that prophecy.
**Lamp shades? I don’t get it.
**On the lead acting categories, I was both glad to see the return of the previous-year, opposite-gender award hand-off – but even more, I was very pleased with the one-by-one co-worker tributes from fellow actors. Very personal and very moving. Hell, Michelle Pfeiffer even made Jeff Bridges cry!
**The best actor-to-actor tribute came from the unlikeliest of sources – Tim Robbins to Morgan Freeman?! Yeah, the “Ted, would you get me a cup of coffee” line was great fun.
**Uhh… was George Clooney toking something? First he had the weird “is her playing along or not?” death stare that he gave to the hosts during the opening monologue… and then there was the weird dance moves during the walking music for Michael Giacchino. Hmm…
**In the words of Liz Lemon, “Oh, Oprah.” Beautiful speech for Gabourey. So beautiful, in fact, she rendered the normally bubbly, giddy girl to tears. There’s something about Winfrey.
**I know there are haters out there, but that image above of Sandra Bullock holding an Oscar is one I’ve been hoping for for quite some time. Her speech was also a perfect combination of funny and moving. Her initial hug fake-out to Meryl Streep on the way to the stage was hilarious, and her tributes to Carey Mulligan (“You’re so talented… you make me sick.”) and Meryl (“She’s a great kisser.”) up on stage were expertly delivered. And her tribute to her late mother made the night for me.
**During the Quentin Tarantino director clip, I was pleasantly surprised with the great line from Brad Pitt. On Quentin’s directing, “The set is church. He is God. And no heretics allowed.”
**Tell me – did the producers want to wrap it up quickly, or was Tom Hanks plastered? Uh, Tommy… you forgot to even say the nominees! Kind of a letdown for a category that usually has so much build-up and drama. Ah well… at least he basically gave Kathryn Bigelow a panic attack from overwhelmedness since she’d barely exited the stage before she was dragged back out.
What were your favorite moments of the night?