I loved it… I really really loved it.
Okay, so ‘love’ might be a tiny bit of an overstatement. But can you blame me? We’re talking Hollywood’s most glamorous night, is not overstatement what it’s all about?
With apologies in advanced to notorious Hugh Jackman-hater Dr. Cox (of SCRUBS fame), from his over-the-top opening number complete with craigslist dancers, a radiant Anne Hathaway and the hilarious confession that he has yet to, but is meaning to see The Reader (same here!), Hugh Jackman brought an energy and enthusiasm to the Kodak Theater that hasn’t been scene since the early days of Billy Crystal.
Adding to the magic were those always unexpected moments that have already become a part of Oscar lore, including: Philippe Petit, the subject of last night’s Oscar winning documentary Man on Wire flawlessly balancing the little gold statue on his chin following his film’s acceptance speech. The whistle heard round the world courtesy of Kate Winslet’s father as she scanned the audience in search of him during her own Best Actress acceptance speech. The manner in which the Ledger family accepted Heath’s much-deserved Best Supporting Actor award with grace and dignity. And the always welcome moments of levity from the likes of Seth Rogan, James Franco, Janusz Kaminski, Jack Black, Jennifer Aniston and Ben Stiller channeling Joaquin Phoenix alongside an absolutely stunning Natalie Portman.
Of course, with three plus hours to fill, last night’s Oscars certainly were not devoid of low points. Or to be more specific: Queen Latifah’s beautiful rendition of “I’ll Be Seeing You” failed to put a stop to the audience’s insistence on clapping for their favorite dearly departed Hollywood type during the traditional ‘In Memoriam.’ The tediousness of the awards for sound editing, which with apologies to those in the business, should be relegated to the previous week’s Sci-Tech Ceremony. And of course, the night’s most questionable decision in which previous Oscar winners payed tribute to the year’s nominees with a few choice remarks. Some of which, like Robert De Niro praising Sean Penn worked, and some, as in the case of Nicole Kidman talking to Angelina Jolie, well, not so much.
But all in all, a great night. A celebration of the films we loved. And a reminder, thanks to winner’s such as Penelope Cruz, Milk writer Dustin Lance Black and the entire effusive cast of Slumdog Millionare that as cheesy as it sounds, film does indeed have the power to change lives and bring people together.
And now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to iTunes to buy the Slumdog Millioniare soundtrack! Jai Ho!