You have to earn the Oscars. Not the gold statue itself, I mean you have to endure so much during the telecast as a viewer at home, hours of nothing really happening, but then at the end, looking back, surprisingly, there were a few shining moments worth remembering. (Like the documentary film Kanye moment.) Unfortunately not many came from the hosts, Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin, who had a few zingers but mostly they were funnier if you ignored the sound and just watch Baldwin's facial expressions.
After last year's lovefest for Milk, it's hard to go back to less gay Oscars. One of the themes of last night's telecast was "two men in a bed," but not in a legitimately sexy way, more in that unfunny tired old joke way. Though I didn't mind as much when Sandra Bullock said during her acceptance speech that her "lover Meryl Streep" was "such a good kisser." Overall it was a landmark night for women, as Kathryn Bigelow became the first to win Best Director for making Best Picture winner The Hurt Locker, also the butchest movie of the year. She looked great in that Marchesa dress, too, so it was a big win for Team AnythingButAvatar last night. Babs, on the other hand, rocked dowdy grandma lounging lingerie while handing out the director award and there were a few too many unpleasant poofy dresses last night (I love you Vera Farmiga, but no, and Miley Cyrus came to the ceremony from a "Party in the Contempo Casuals.")
The best actor/actress toasting segment, like last year, started off stilted but found its groove by the end. The producers prepared us for the Sandra Bullock win, softening the blow by having Forrest Whitaker talk about her work, then letting Oprah gush over Gabby Sidibe publicly as the consolation prize. The band playing Helen Ready's "I Am Woman" during Bigelow's win was ridiculous, but perhaps it was punishment for having to sit in the pit for so many hours, forced to play the taskmaster of the ceremony. As best actor winner Jeff Bridges learned last night, the Dude abides, but the Oscar orchestra waits for no one. -- RAYMOND JOHNSON