Some day-after observations about the 81st annual Academy Awards telecast:
— A little song-and-dance goes a long ways. Host Hugh Jackman, a musical theater veteran, played to his strengths, and was front-and-center for two big production numbers.
But the recipe for success for the Oscars seems to be having fewer (and shorter) musical numbers, not more of them.
(But perhaps Jackman’s hosting stint was a cost-cutting measure by the Oscar telecast producers. After all, they could have gotten him for a song!)
— The “roasts” of the acting category nominees — in which some previous winners introduced the nominees — got old. Fast.
Particularly in the Best Actor category, in which Robert De Niro sang the praises of his sometimes cantankerous friend, “Milk” nominee Sean Penn, for what seemed like an eternity.
(Penn wound up winning Best Actor, in an upset over the favored “Wrestler” star Mickey Rourke.)
Besides, it would have be nice to actually see some clips from the nominated performances, wouldn’t it?
— By my count, that makes it four R-rated Best Picture winners in a row … “Slumdog Millionaire” (2009), “No Country for Old Men” (2008), “The Departed” (2007), “Crash” (2006).
Coincidentally, those four movies barely made more money at the box office than the most popular Best Picture this decade, the PG-13 rated “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” (2004).