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Monday, February 27, 2012

And it's over. A very long and arguably dull Oscar season ended not with a bang, but with a whimper last night as The Artist and Hugo predictably cleaned up, each winning five awards, respectively. The former took home three big prizes—Picture, Director, Actor—while the latter won a slew of tech awards.

Frankly, I don't have a ton to say. It was a predictable evening, with the only surprises being unpleasant ones from where I sit. The show itself was frustratingly average. And I'm just too damn excited about 2012's crop of films to think any more about 2011 right now. But here are just some random observations about the night and the Oscar season as a whole.

—I know I wasn't the only one who felt Billy Crystal phoned it in. What was apparent to me from the start, though, was the feeling that almost no effort went into the telecast. The sound was poor. Everything felt sloppy. The jokes were painfully obvious. It wasn't train-wreck bad like last year—rather, it was lazy.

—Loved the Christopher Guest bit. That was probably my favorite moment of the night. The first montage (about movies, in general?) was maybe the worst moment. Too stupid for words that was.

—The presenters were a mixed bag. Enjoyed Emma Stone and Ben Stiller a lot. Chris Rock was hilarious. J-Lo's nipple! But for every great one there was a misfire—Ferrell and Galifianakis, Cameron Diaz, J-Lo's nipple...

—Acceptance speeches felt stronger than in years past. All four acting winners shined—particularly Christopher Plummer. Best of the night, however, was Asghar Farhadi, who used his 90 seconds after winner Best Foreign Language Feature for A Separation to say something meaningful, rather than thanking Harvey Weinstein.

—If you're stupid enough to curse during your acceptance speech, you deserve to get played off. Sorry, Undefeated guys. Congrats, though. Can't wait to see your movie!

Hugo was deserving of every technical award it won and more, but I do wish Visual Effects went to Rise of the Planet of the Apes. That was mind-bogglingly good work.

—Gotta watch The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo again because I don't recall anything spectacular about the way that film was edited. That was the first surprise of the night...

—The second was Meryl Streep's win over Viola Davis in Best Actress. It totally deflated me. Twenty-four hours later and I'm still thinking about it. What this award could have done for her career compared to what it will do for Streep's is incomparable. I'm taking solace, however, in the fact that when Davis does finally win, her standing ovation will be long, her applause loud, and her shining moment all the more deserved.

—Jean Dujardin was perhaps the weakest in the Best Actor lineup, but damn if he isn't charming. Like would have been the case for Davis, his win is probably more important than a win would have been for a Clooney or Pitt.

—I liked The Artist when I saw it. I still like it. But it's the worst Best Picture winner since A Beautiful Mind.

—Host for next year? I say do what you must to bring Hugh Jackman back. He's got Les Miserables coming out in December, which would mean some great cross-promotion...just saying...

—Potential Oscar movies for next year? I've got a list coming out this Friday, but I'll lead with two that I think, this far out, look really strong for Best Picture: Lincoln and The Dark Knight Rises. I'd be really surprised if either of those two films didn't make the lineup, especially if the rules remain the same.


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