Hugh Jackman did a wonderful job. The opening number was dynamite. I wished he had been around more often (he seemed to disappear at the mid-show point) but overall, he did a great job. The stage itself was beautiful and it the entire production oozed class and old-school Hollywood charm.
The awards themselves were exceedingly predictable. I got 20 out of 23 predictions correct. The only major surprise was Departures snagging best foreign language film from Waltz with Bashir, the film that had been expected to take the prize. Sean Penn winning best actor, I guess, was inevitable, but I'd have given the trophy to Mickey Rourke. Penn was indeed great as Harvey Milk, but there was something about actor and role for Rourke in The Wrestler that was just totally sublime.
As for my totally superficial comments about the ladies and the guys, Anne Hathaway looked very classy and elegant (great dress). Angelina Jolie was viper-licious in a simple black dress with emerald earings and ring. I liked Jessica Biel's hair-style, even if her dress was very outrageous. Amy Adams is very cute and she had some great make-up going on. Both Natalie Portman and Jennifer Anniston looked sexy. Brad Pitt looked classic and cool in his tux. Hugh Jackman oozed sex-appeal and charm.
Where was Jack Nicholson?
Jerry Lewis was a class-act but he looked a bit off.
Wasn't M.I.A supposed to sing?
Ben Stiller did one of the funniest things of his career with his impression of the recently in-a-daze Joaquin Phoenix.
Bill Maher was his ususal funny, sarcastic self. Love the dude. When Phillipe Petit balanced the Oscar on his chin after Man On Wire won best documentary was hilarious and totally in keeping with that guy's energy and spirit.
The bit with Rogen and Franco reprising their roles from 2008's funniest film Pineapple Express was inspired. It would've been SO FUNNY had they hosted the entire show in character. Now THAT would have been ballsy.
The best quote of the night was from Rourke, when he appeared on the Barbara Walters special. When asked by Walters if he cared about winning best actor, he responded that it would be a nice way to "cap off this comeback that everyone keeps talking about," but at the end of the day, he didn't really care. Then he layed this choice nugget down:
"I can't eat it. I can't fuck it. And it's not gonna get me into Heaven." Way to stay grounded, Mickey.
The clip montages were all really well done. Lots of good movie moments from 2008.
One thing that disappointed me with the show was the fact that the prodcuers eliminated the "Oscar clip" for the nominated actors. Yes, the idea to bring out past Oscar winners and having them address the nominees directly was very cool and very classy, but there is something always so powerful about when you see that 60 second Oscar clip of each actor doing their thing. I was hoping that a clip would be played for the eventual winner after they gave their acceptance speech, but that wasn't in the cards.
And also, at the end of the show, there was a preview of upcoming films from 2009 that ran over the credits. That brief glimpse of Michael Mann's Public Enemies was fucking awesome. The images of Depp's blasting-away machine gun and of Marion Cotillard's legs (I presume they're hers) in the bathtub were really exciting.
All in all, it was a fun night, even if the show ran 20 minutes over its scheduled run time. The show itself was lavish and extremely well done. I hope the Academy brings back Bill Condon to steerthe ship again.