The Academy Awards played out without incident last night from Hollywood's Kodak Theater, and The Daily Show's Jon Stewart
is at least partly responsible. The duties of an Oscars host are as important as the host makes them. Over the years we've seen extensive pre-taped bits, elaborate set pieces, choreographed dance numbers and one ill fated Oprah-Uma-Uma-Oprah sketch. Jon Stewart did a admirable job last night as host because he mostly just stayed out of the way. The simplicity and natural ease of his performance gave the whole festivities a very laid-back feel. Some may call it boring, but don't kid yourselves - the Oscars are always boring. We all just forget this fact over the course of the year. There were no big numbers, no costume changes – nothing extravagant. Stewart came on stage for the opening by himself, gave a funny monologue, and then spouted off tasteful one-liners for the rest of the night, while no creating any awkward or cringe-inducing moments, which are generally staples of any awards show.
I suspect that the Academy Awards audience is happier when the host is of the “safe” variety. There's a reason David Letterman and Chris Rock haven't been back. Letterman's sensibilities just aren't for everybody and with Chris Rock, his humor is a little too abrasive (see: Sean Penn). This is the reason why non-controversial, PG-rated hosts Billy Crystal and Ellen Degeneres have been the most popular in recent years. Last night, however, Jon Stewart made his pitch to the Academy to become a long-time Oscars host. He toned down his Daily Show
act – with the exception of a few mild Iraq jokes in the monologue, the whole performance was safe and light-hearted. Stewart proved last night that he could be agreeable to a wider audience than the one he caters to on The Daily Show.
As for the Academy Awards, it was pretty standard. There weren't too many memorable moments. Marion Cottilard's acceptance speech. The performance from the Once couple and their “arrogant” acceptance speech. Javier Bardem speaking in Spanish. Diablo Cody and her ridiculous dress. There wasn't all that much – kind of forgettable. I blame the Coen Brothers. They won three of the big awards and, thus, gave multiple acceptance speeches. It's not that they weren't happy with winning, it's that they were incredibly subdued. Despite their deserved wins for No Country For Old Men, their speeches kind of sucked the energy out of the theater.
I'm going to go out and say that, ten or twenty years from now, last night's Academy Awards will be viewed as the Oscars that snubbed There Will Be Blood. TWBB is going to go down as an all-time film masterpiece, while No Country For Old Men will be historically regarded a notch or two below that (still great, not legendary). Paul Thomas Anderson should have either received the Oscar for Best Director or, at least, Best Adapted Screenplay (both awards went to the Coens). The most egregious snub, to me, was Michael Clayton's Amy Ryan losing out to Tilda Swinton for Best Supporting Actress.
Here are the winners in the major categories last night:
Best Picture: No Country for Old Men
Best Director: Joel and Ethan Coen, No Country for Old Men
Best Original Screenplay: Diablo Cody, Juno
Best Adapted Sscreenplay: Joel and Ethan Coen, No Country for Old Men
Best Actor: Daniel Day-Lewis, There Will Be Blood
Best Actress: Marion Cotillard, La Vie en Rose
Best Supporting Actor: Javier Bardem, No Country for Old Men
Best Supporting Actress: Tilda Swinton, Michael Clayton
-Oscar Dahl, BuddyTV Senior Writer
(Image Courtesy of ABC)