I didn't run a commentary of the awards tonight because for the first time in a while, I actually watched with other people...in the physical world, my mom and Emily watched with me, and in the cyber realm, Zoe chatted with me periodically.
However, I do have a few thoughts on the show.
First, Jon Stewart was excellent. There weren't many of those awkward moments where the audience goes "so...that joke crashed and burned..." I think Jon was extremely well-prepared, due mostly to the fact that he not only works with a live audience but interacts with them. The Oscars was like a bigger venue for The Daily Show and it worked surprisingly well. Not too many political jokes, which is good, but his Bjork/Cheney gag was hilarious. The opening sequence where it showed all the famous past hosts turning down the job was also hilarious. Oh, and George Clooney in Jon Stewart's bed? My wet dream. Also, the "smear campaign" ads were hilarious. Very Daily Show-esque.
Second, "It's Hard Out Here For a Pimp" really shouldn't have won against "In the Deep"...though it was funny. But "In the Deep" is actually a good song, and I've heard much better than "It's Hard Out Here For A Pimp."
Third, George Clooney getting the Oscar. A bit of a shock for me, but a good one. While I think Paul Giamatti and Jake Gyllenhaal are both incredibly talented, I don't think either stood out in their roles. I can't comment on William Hurt (I haven't seen History of Violence, but I'm glad Matt Dillon didn't win. I haven't seen Syriana either, and I've certainly heard mixed reviews, but this seems the classic case of the Academy awarding someone based on past and overall talent. Had Paul or Jake won, it would have been a similar situation. Paul's roles in American Splendor and Sideways were far superior, but it just happened to work out that this was his nomination. Jake has also had a stellar past, and Brokeback Mountain was good enough to give him the nod. I think Clooney does deserve an Oscar, but it should have been for best direction of Good Night, and Good Luck. He acknowledged this by saying that he wouldn't be winning the directing or writing award later in the evening. The politics are overwhelming. But at least there wasn't a more deserving actor in the group (only equally deserving).
Fourth, Rachel Weisz, predictable. Philip Seymour Hoffman, painfully predictable.
Fifth, Reese? Seriously? No...seriously? Never in a million years. I like her a lot. I think she's adorable, and is great in romantic comedies. But seriously? Mrs. Henderson Presents was not Dame Judi Dench's best performance, and I've never been a huge fan of Charlize Theron (except in The Italian Job)...but Keira and Felicity were both very good. I might be slightly biased when it comes to Keira...I adore her and I absolutely fell in love with Pride & Prejudice, but still. She is one of, if not THE best actress under 40 right now. And Felicity's role was not only physically demanding, but mentally taxing and amazingly well-performed. I don't know if I can think of another actress who could have pulled off that role even half as well. I not only expected Felicity Huffman to take home the Oscar, but I was hoping for it. This was a huge disappointment, I feel.
Sixth, Brokeback Mountain for adapted screenplay, and Crash for original screenplay? Duh. Ang Lee's Oscar for direction? Double duh.
Seventh, I liked Crash. It was a fine movie. It made you thing. It spoke of preconceived notions and expectations and taught you to think twice...and all that jazz. But as far as everything goes...acting, directing, writing, producing...the whole package? Maybe I've been too harsh on the film, but I just didn't think it was Academy Award Best Picture material. It was a movie of important issues, but that is not the same as a movie of importance, in my opinion. I felt unfulfilled by Crash and the hype surrounding it. I thought Brokeback Mountain was superior in many ways, not the least of which was the feeling of watching something important, something that signaled a change, something that left you with that feeling inside. That feeling you get when you see a really great film. That feeling that leaves you going, "Yeah, that's what filmmaking is all about." Granted, I don't think this is always the case, but when you see a great film, you know it. And for me, Crash was not a great film. Brokeback Mountain was.
*sigh* So that was a bit of an upset. But overall, the show was enjoyable.
Now, watching Jon Stewart (and Quentin Tarantino) on Jimmy Kimmel's post-Oscars show before bed.