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Opie Gets an Oscar

Well, the 74th annual Academy Awards ceremony is now done. And it’s definitely been an interesting year, not so for the ceremony.

The ceremony this year definitely dragged on more than any in recent years. The roughly four-hour, fifteen minute broadcast is officially the longest in the history of the Oscars, and it felt every minute of it.

Last year’s broadcast, hosted by Steve Martin, felt fast-paced and entertaining due in great part to Martin’s impeccable comic timing. This year, Whoopi Goldberg brought the ceremony to a crawl with bad joke after bad joke (and I realize that she alone is not responsible, I heartily blame the writers, especially Bruce Vilanch, as well.), and her inability to drop the crap and just get the ceremony moving resulted in the dullest Oscar ceremony I can recall.

The high points, while few and far between, were very high.

The introduction started out with a very scruffy Tom Cruise introducing a clip with various people talking about their favourite films. Mixed in with all the “regular people” were such famous faces as Mikhail Gorbachev and Rev. Al Sharpton.

Owen Wilson and Ben Stiller did a great comic bit involving some costumes from last year’s biggest films.

Nathan Lane seemed to have a good time introducing the award for Best Animated Film, including a great joke about the cryogenic adventures of Walt Disney. When Shrek takes the award, animated clips of Jimmy Neutron and the Monster’s, Inc. crew being none-too-pleased show us all what we’d really like to see at these ceremonies, sore losers.

Cirque de Soleil featured an amazing performance that showed us why Debbie Harry is no longer involved with the Oscar telecast, and actually managed to make us forget how bored we were for a few minutes.

Sidney Poitier defined class and presence while receiving his honorary Oscar. Maybe they should give him an honorary Oscar every year.

Oscar’s Susan Lucci, Randy Newman, finally wins an Oscar, and manages to give a short (other Oscar winners take note) speech that is heartfelt, honest and entertaining.

As for the bad moments, well, there are too many to list, but I’ll point out a few.

Whoopi Goldberg makes her entrance, announces that she’s the original “Sexy Beast” (at least she got the last part right) and gets the show off to a start that makes me wish I had decided to watch Hogan’s Heroes and Gilligan’s Island reruns instead.

Woody Allen shows up and reminds us all of why pedophile parents aren’t usually allowed on the Oscars. He introduces a series of clips from films shot in New York. None of the clips show the World Trade Centre.

The moment of silence for the victims of September 11th lasted mere seconds, truly a “Hollywood Minute”. If you’re going to do something like this, then don’t insult the victims and their families; give them a full minute (I don’t think that’s too much to ask in a four hour program). If you’re not going to give them the time they deserve, then don’t do it at all.

Robert Redford receives an Honorary Oscar and makes us wish they had given another one to Sidney Poitier instead.

Halle Berry wins Best Actress and starts out on a true Oscar classic moment, then quickly degrades into a bumbling crying seven-minute debacle of blubbering idiocy. I’m assuming the mechanism that makes the microphone sink into the floor was broken.

Denzel Washington wins Best Actor, even though Russell Crowe was better, and racism officially overtakes the Oscars. In an effort to not look racist, the Academy manages to recognize a performance that was so over the top it makes Jim Carrey in Ace Ventura look restrained. The award genuinely became about the colour of the actor’s skin instead of the performance in the film. Denzel’s speech was very poignant, though, and he comes across as a nice guy.

Ron Howard wins Best Director for A Beautiful Mind. Everyone marvels at how he really needs a toupee.

A Beautiful Mind takes Best Picture, nobody proclaims himself King of the World, Brian Grazer keeps it short, and the evening ends with Whoopi showing her back to an audience of millions (no tally on how many were sleeping at that point).

Hundreds of millionaires in Hollywood get liquored up and congratulate themselves.

Maybe I’m just jaded this year, but the Oscars really sucked. I don’t have too much of a problem with the actual awards given, but seeing as how this was one of the most unpredictable Oscar years in history, the ceremony was stunningly bad. I hope next year is better, because I was embarrassed that I invited people over to watch this debacle.