So, the Oscars are over for one more year. I watched the 3.5-hour telecast at home with a few friends. I thought the show was actually an improvement over past years in several ways. First: It seemed to move more quickly with the presenters tackling several categories, instead of the constant parade of introducers and presenters. I also rather liked the gathering of five past winners in all the acting categories to bestow those awards.
Hugh Jackman was an OK host; nothing horrible, nothing fantastic. But I didn't care for the song-and-dance routines, which added at least 15 minutes of unnecessary time to the proceedings.
I found this year's categories very easy to predict. (I picked 14 out of the17 categories on the ballot I put together). Yay for Sean Penn, Heath Ledger, Penelope Cruz. Good for Kate Winslet, who won as much for her body of work as for The Reader. Of course, the big winner, with eight awards, was Slumdog Millionnaire -- a film whose praises I sang loudly in a past blog (The disappearing magic of movies, Jan. 19.) If you still haven't seen it -- no more excuses! I'm sure it will be in theaters for a while longer, riding this win for at least a month.