February 23, 2009
Oh, man, did you see that moment when that guy did that thing? Don't worry, we did. Read on and get the full story of Oscar's best, worst and otherest.
Best Performance: Even with the slightly forced "recession Oscars" conceit, host Hugh Jackman delivered a completely winning song and dance to open the show that totally made us forget they didn't hire a comedian. Showing off both talent and a sly sense of humor, Jackman nailed it.
Best Lyric From the Opening Song: "I would swim a sea of human excrement."
-Jackman, crooning sweet(?)ly to Kate Winslet...or pitching a new reality series
Worst Transition: From the goofily good opener-the techno Reader representation was more entertaining than the movie-the show bogged down with that somber bunch of Best Supporting Actresses intoning like they were going to banish the winner to the Forbidden Zone with General Zod.
Best Brangelina Quip: Jackman drew our attention to Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie before saying, "I don't actually have a joke for them, I'm just contractually required to mention them five times during the show." (Not bad; it's 25 times for us.)
Best Present: Copresenters Steve Martin and Tina Fey, who've been funny together on TV and film, delivered a hilarious tribute to writers that made us want to see them make another movie together. Or, you know, read something.
Best Reaction: Jolie looked totally charmed by her Kung Fu Panda costar Jack Black, who was onstage presenting with that actress from Friends.
Best Twilight Crossover: Rob Pattinson brought that undead charm of his to the Oscars, where it was familiar to Twihards and everyone who's ever had lunch with a Hollywood agent.
Best On-Air Design: Whoever thought to put Daniel Craig and Sarah Jessica Parker on stage together.
Best Reaction: Seth Rogen and James Franco's half-baked response to the comedies of 2008. Dude, cinematographer Janusz Kaminski was so high!
Joke Least Likely to Reach the Billion People Around the World: Ben Stiller's crazy, bearded Joaquin Phoenix impersonation was funny, but a little inside considering how few people recognize Stiller anyway.
Assault With a Medley Weapon: The top-hat-and-tails number with Beyonc, Zac Efron and the rest totally summed up the year in movies. And that year was 1936.
Most Likely to Spawn a "Who's in Your Five?" Commercial: The Best Supporting actor nomination five-way was like a presidential debate without all the humor.
Most Heartbreaking: Heath Ledger's family accepting his award.
Biggest Showstopper: Wirewalker Philippe Petit, the absolutely entertaining subject of documentary Man on Wire, balancing an Oscar on his chin while a billion people watched and wondered if it would fall. But for a man who once spent 45 minutes walking between the Twin Towers, well, that's probably no big deal.
Best Commercial: Coming in just ahead of the one for the website that helps you earn $5K a month working at home, the Tom Cruise-Jimmy Kimmel bit was funny like a house on fire.
Best Make-Good Decision: The loud and fast medley crammed full of action and comic book movies, because let's be honest: These were the best things that Hollywood had to offer last year, and The Dark Knight (not to mention iron man) got robbed. Take that, Reader.
Worst Make-Good Decision: After that whole medley thing, the movie about the wrinkly old baby beat Dark Knight and iron man. Obviously, there is no justice...except that meted out by costumed heroes.
Most Enlightened: Slumdog Millionaire composer and songwriter A.R. Rahman ended each of his wins with a thoughtful comment about God or seeking happiness. And you notice that he won more than once, right?
Worst Staging: The decision to move the camera around Queen Latifah during the "In Memoriam" segment made it hard to see who was being remembered. And that's kind of the point.
Best Speeches: There were some terrific speeches, and here are some of our favorite bites:
"I grew up in a place called Alcobendas, where this was not a very realistic dream. And always on the night of the Academy Awards, I stayed up to watch the show and I always felt that this ceremony was a moment of unity for the world because art in any form is and has been and will always be our universal language and we should do everything we can to protect its survival."
-Penlope Cruz, winner for Supporting Actress in Vicki Christina Barcelona
"When I was 13 years old, my beautiful mother and my father moved me from a conservative Mormon home in San Antonio, Texas, to California, and I heard the story of Harvey Milk. And it gave me hope. It gave me the hope to live my life, it gave me the hope to one day live my life openly as who I am and that maybe even I could fall in love and one day get married."
-Dustin Lance Black, winner for Milk screenplay
"All my life I've had a choice of hate and love. I chose love. And I'm here. God bless."
-Composer A.R. Rahman, accepting the award for Best Song
"You commie, homo-loving sons of guns. I did not expect this, and I want it to be very clear that I do know how hard I make it to appreciate me often."
-Sean Penn, accepting the Best Actor award for Milk
"I forgot a guy, the guy who choreographed the dance at the end of the film. He's called Longenus, and I forgot him off the credits and I only found out about it two weeks ago. I'm an idiot, and I apologize from the bottom of my heart, Longenus. Thank you so much."
-danny boyle, gracious in winning the award for directing Slumdog Millionaire
"Domo arigato, Mr. Roboto."
-Kunio Kato, winner for Best Animated Short
Biggest Beef: OK, we didn't like the way they handed out the acting awards. The soliloquies from five previous winners to the current nominees was full of the kind of simpering, quivering emotion that's best left for the eventual winner's speech. This was overkill.
Second Biggest Beef: The show, which had been moving along a fast, fun clip, totally bogged down in the last half-hour and made all the big awards seem anticlimactic. And nobody wants that, right?
Most Memorable Moment: Complaints aside, we say Hugh Jackman's masterful emceeing was the night's best surprise. But that's just us. What do you say?