The Oscars had been on for at least an hour before I tuned in, and it looked like they were going to go on for at least another hour before I went to bed. Since the only awards show I consistently watch is the Tonys, it's disconcerting for me to see the Oscars telecast lumbering into its fourth hour with no more urgency than it had at the beginning. The Tony Awards ceremony always starts out with the same televised-awards-show torpidity, but by the last hour everyone is always scrambling to cut out the fat and finish up on time, because God knows the network isn't going to give them an extra 90 seconds to finish presenting the "Best Musical" award. Yet the Oscars broadcast just keeps creeping along its slow and boring path, montage after montage, until it outlasts the average Hollywood marriage. I know there are a few more people tuning in to watch the Oscars than tune in for the Tonys, but just how late are those people willing to stay up? How many pointless montages can they be expected to sit through?
In the nearly 3 hours I watched, I saw exactly one presenter who looked like he (a) had rehearsed and (b) gave a shit (Will Smith), and one award recipient who gave a polished and classy acceptance speech (Helen Mirren). Otherwise the evening seemed like an endless parade of people who aren't as good at English as they are at whatever else they do in the film industry giving halting speeches and boring me to tears. Oh, and shadow-puppet dancers. And cutaway shots to Nicole Kidman looking sour. I was suprised to note that I had seen every one of the nominated performances in the Supporting Actress category, a fact of which I am oddly proud. (For the record, Cate Blanchett was the winner in my heart -- and not just because she looked like a million trillion bucks in that gown.) But I was not suprised to see Jennier Hudson win, and neither was anyone else in the world -- except, apparently, Jennifer Hudson, who might have benefitted from a 10-minute acceptance-speech brainstorm session at some point in the last 2 weeks. Mostly, I yawned. If you stuck it out, enlighten me: did I miss any highlights in the first hour, or the last? Should I bother to see The Departed?