"Armchair quarterbacking the Oscars."

By Sean Leary

For such a predictable show, the Oscars was actually fairly brisk and entertaining this year.

That isn't to say I paid attention to it all of the time. There were several stretches where I didn't - in part because I had to pay attention to other stuff, and in part because I just got bored and quit watching.



Comments on the Oscarcast:

* There was little suspense and no real surprises. The winners were all obvious, with the exception of Best Picture (I'll get to that in a minute). I predicted all of the main category wins, even Best Pic, and most other prognosticators picked the same way I did, so I'm guessing that newspapers running Oscar contests are probably wringing their hands over tiebreakers around now. Everyone knew weeks ahead that Jeff Bridges, Sandra Bullock (more on her in a minute), et al. were going to win. The only question was whether or not the Academy was going to (okay, the minute has passed, here we are....) award commerce over art and give the Best Pic to “Avatar” even though it was obvious they were going to go with making history and give Best Director to Kathryn Bigalow. But it was nice to see they went with the critical fave for Best Pic.

* I'm really kind of surprised that Barbra Streisand - reknowned lefty - didn't make a comment about the historical parallel between the Best Director race and the last presidential race, wherein both involved a woman running against an African-American with both battling to see who was going to be the first of their group to win the award.

* I wonder why Sandra Bullock didn't thank her husband. I'm always surprised and a little irked when people don't thank their spouses. I think it's really crappy. I mean, the guy's sitting there all brimming with pride and she doesn't even mention him, instead wasting her time on inside jokes with Meryl Streep. That's really kinda lame. Especially since the rest of her speech, thanking her fellow nominees, was very gracious.



* I also find it bizarre when people get to the podium and don't have a speech ready, or they kind of stutter up and take up space and seem unprepared. Dude, you just won a freakin' Oscar. You were nominated. You had a one in five chance. You should've prepared something to say. At the very least thank all the people who have helped you get to where you are.

* Just once I'd like to hear someone - male or female - thank all the boyfriends/girlfriends who paid the rent and bills for them while they were starving actors looking for jobs. Surely there were many, many exes who had day jobs who helped keep food and shelter on hand while the beginning thesps needed to have their days free to go audition. So why shouldn't they get some recognition for helping along the way?

* The John Hughes tribute was phenomenal. It was sad to see him go, even sadder when you looked at all the clips of all the really funny, warm films he was involved with. Even if you hated “Home Alone” or the Brat Pack stuff you had to like one of his other movies, whether “Mr. Mom” or “Vacation.” The guy was a major talent, and he deserved the accolades.

So why was the show so entertaining? Well, Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin as hosts, that's why. Martin is the perfect host. He's got just the right sense of humor - dry, witty and sarcastic - to make it work and he's such a Hollywood insider he can joke about pretty much everyone and get away with it. The guy is immensely talented and has proven himself over and over again so he's got the cache to make those kinds of jokes. Baldwin is right behind him in terms of that, so he's a good choice as well. But whereas Baldwin is a good host, Martin is a great one. Here's hoping they go with these two, or at least Martin, next year.

BYLINE:

Sean Leary's recent and current projects include the alt-rock "Spinal Tap" comedy film "Your Favorite Band" (www.yourfavoritebandthefilm.com), the award-winning short story collection "Every Number Is Lucky To Someone" (available in bookstores nationwide and on Amazon.com) and his website: www.getyourgoodnews.com.

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