Some quick notes from Washington on ABC’s production of the Oscars. Hugh Jackman was an engaging host and should probably be the next Bond, or perhaps should have been the current one, and not just becuase he looks great in a tux.
I noticed they didn’t announce the past nominations or wins for the winners, which they have done for as long as I can remember. You know, as they are bounding up the aisle the announcer would say that this was the third nomination and first win for “fill in the blank.”
I did not like the way they handled the annual “in memoriam” segment. Queen Latifah sang a solid “I’ll be seeing you,” but instead of letting the home viewer see the clip roll of the various actors, writers and directors, they tried to do it by shooting the monitors in a mix of closeups and mid-range shots. If Heath Ledger was there, I missed it, or maybe it was in a long shot that my old eyes missed.
I think they forgot to introduce Goldie Hawn, the curtain wouldn’t open initially for a quick shout-out for Meryl Streep, and there was one awkward moment for me when it seemed that there was a laugh at the expense of the sadness over Heath Ledger’s posthumous best supporting actor awards.
It was a politics-lite night, perhaps because there is a new and “elegant” president, as Sean Penn put it. What politics there was was social and confined to equal rights for gays, which is such a no-brainer that the fact that it has to be a cause is a sad commentary.
Then there was the requisite Bill Maher moment, this one his observation about our silly gods and what they have done to the world. I understood his point, but maybe handing out the documentary award to someone else wasn’t the moment to turn the spotlight on himself and his documentary, which wasn’t nominated.
They gave Best Song short shrift, but probably dervedly so given that it was a very weak category with only three nominees, two from “Slumdog Millionaire.”
The show ran too long by half an hour, which may have been because the orchestra did not play off a single nominee, which either meant they decided that had gotten old and they were just going to let the show go, or because noone ran long (fat chance). Frankly, the salute to the musical could probably have been scrapped, but it was definitely a classy affair with great sets and a lush orchestra.