Ever wonder what would happen if a comedian didn't host the Oscars? Me neither, but someone must have considered the possibility because it happened. And the results were...not bad! Let's recap, shall we?
Sparkle...Magic: In case you were wondering, the sparkly curtain at the front of the Kodak Theater? Swarovski crystals.
Nice to meet Hugh: Still a little on the fence about Hugh as host, don't know why. Maybe because he was so relaxed and seemed to genuinely be having a good time. I'm not accustomed to the host not having at least one moment where things go wrong and they to want to be swallowed whole by the stage or played off by Bill Conti (who, by the way, was not missed by ANYONE).
Close to Hugh: The big show felt a little smaller, a little more intimate. The orchestra was moved and the audience got to be a little closer to the action. The good news is some winners had a shorter walk to the stage. The bad news is everyone in the front row got to see a whole lotta Beyonce.
And the winners were: I may be in the minority, but I really loved the whole "welcome to the club" presentation of the acting categories and the montages introducing those segments. I know some people thought it was too much mush, but think about it, people...you're nominated for an Academy Award, it's the biggest night of your life and instead of having to watch that same clip of yourself (the one you have now seen at the SAGs, the Globes, the BAFTA's and the Spirits), Shirley MacLaine or Robert DeNiro or Eva Marie Saint or Alan Arkin walks out and talks about how awesome you were in your movie. How are you NOT thrilled? How do you NOT get emotional? And if your name happens to be called when that envelope is opened? BONUS!
His and Hers: Last year, Javier Bardem became the first Spaniard to win the Academy Award. His co-star (and lady love) Penelope Cruz is now the second Spaniard to win. For those of you who do not speak the Spanish: All of the loyal people of Spain, now they share this moment with me and feel that this (Oscar) is theirs also, so I dedicate to them. To all of the actors and actresses of my country, Thanks a lot.
Que Viva Espana!
Kate, so great: Sixth time is the charm for our girl Kate, the youngest person to be nominated that many times for an Oscar. This was totally worth the wait, if only for that sweet moment when she said, "Dad, whistle or something, 'cause then I'll know where you are." (He whistles.) "Yeah!" (Waving to him.) "I love you." My sister and I agreed that our dear dad would have done the same thing...and then he would have started sobbing.
Bonus: This is what it looks like when it really hits her backstage.
Milk Men: What a beautiful speech by Dustin Lance Black. Heartfelt, genuine, lovely. Well done, sir. Well done.
About that dress, briefly: Penelope Cruz in vintage Balmain Coutoure. AWESOME. Natalie Portman in Rodarte? SO Audrey. Taraji P. Henson in Roberto Cavalli? Amazing (and that necklace! Love it.) I could have done without the feathers on Nicole Kidman's dress, but she looked good. Diane Lane? Perfect and lovely, as usual. Anne Hathaway in Armani Prive? Sparkly and gorgeous! Sarah Jessica Parker in Dior Haute Couture? Only person who could get away with it. You know who couldn't get away with it? Jessica Biel in Prada. As my mother would say, "No goo." On a brighter, hotter note...
Let's hear it for the boys: Damn, the men looked good in their tuxedoes. They combed their hair, wore ties, some of them even shaved! Even Mickey Rourke, in his white Gaultier suit looked good for Mickey Rourke. My favorite? Craig, Daniel Craig. Damn.
Two words: Slumdog Millionaire. Eight Oscars. Effing Brilliant. Haven't gone? Go NOW.