Oscar Wrap-Up: The Real Winners Last Night

Well, that's over. Before I rub anybody's noses in my flawless predictions, I will say that this year's ceremony seemed to flow somewhat better than others of recent years. This could be due to my hitting the sauce earlier than usual (during the red carpet...Jesus, Ryan Seacrest is short), though this actually led to a few problems.

I mean, how can they expect us to keep Up and Up in the Air or A Single Man and A Serious Man separate? And when did it become fashionable to bring your publicist along instead of an actual date? Does this mean Gerard Butler's much-hyped romance with Jennifer Aniston was only a publicity stunt to drum up interest in The Bounty Hunter, which had more commercials during the Oscar telecast than Cialis during NFL broadcasts?

Seriously, the "pre-game," if you will, of the Academy Awards is starting to rival the Super Bowl in bloat. And where the hell is Joan Rivers? Her usual train wreck always offered the possibility of prescription painkiller-induced rants, but instead we were stuck with anorexic boob model Giuliana Rancic and perma-bronzed alpha queen Jay Manuel.

We understand 5:30 PST is early for Hollywood types -- and judging by a lot of the hair on display, many of this year's nominees had just gotten out of bed -- but if you expect us to start paying attention two hours before the ceremony starts, we're gonna need the Joan of old.

As for the ceremony itself, it was as impressive an amalgamation of popular disinterest, audience miscalculation, and intermittent intrigue. Things didn't start off very favorably, as the opening number attempted to present Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin as a comedy team with the same history as Laurel & Hardy or Hope & Crosby, when in fact they probably never met until rehearsals started in January. Their cutting-edge Catskills-style banter didn't do much to modernize the Academy's stodgy image, but at least we got some gay jokes out of it.

But what of the Oscars themselves? Can I possibly break the proceedings down into an easily digestible format that today's jaded youth will understand? Maybe. Let's give it a shot.

The "We Weren't Born Early Enough to Appreciate This" Award

Goes to Twilight's Kristen Stewart and Taylor Lautner who were predictably befuddled by the John Hughes tribute, although it's hard to tell with Stewart, whose everyday expression can best be described as "puzzled."

The "Least Surprising Acceptance Speech Hook" Award

The crew accepting for Music by Prudence. "Kanye, Imma let you finish, but I'll be the first to admit I never saw an Oscar in a certain Phat Girlz star's future.

The "Best De-Emphasizing of One's Breasts" Award

Charlize Theron. Hopefully times aren't so tough you'll need to do that Aeon Flix sequel.

Best Segment That Made No Sense if You Hadn't Seen the Movie

Martin and Baldwin's Paranormal Activity sketch, which confused at least half of the people I was watching the show with. And yet, it wasn't included in the "horror" montage.

Most Notable Absence

Brad Pitt. Yes, the paparazzi would be murder, but even the cinematography guy came all the way from Italy...would it be that much of a hassle to truck Shiloh in? And he could have given the Morgan Freeman Best Actor presentation instead of Tim Robbins, who -- let's face it -- doesn't appear to be weathering the whole separation thing very well.

Biggest WTF? Moment

That interpretive dance shit designed to drum up interest in the Best Score nominees. Never before had individual Best Song performances looked so awesome.

Oh, and Michael Giacchino is pretty bad ass.

The Self-Loathing Award

Everybody who voted The Cove Best Documentary. Sure, it's well-filmed and very affecting, but to see a doc on dolphins win out over efforts about repression in Burma and how unsafe our food has become makes me want to punch Flipper in the bottlenose.

Most Excruciating "Comedy Segment," Four Years Running

Ben Stiller -- Hey, he's dressed up in Avatar make-up! How totally original and cutting-edge! You should do something like this every year, if you can spare the time between Madagascar sequels and movies featuring *hilarious* plays on the name "Focker."

The "What the Hell Happened to Her" Award

Suzy Amis. If you ever want to escape the soul-sucking embrace of James Cameron, call me up. We'll fandango until you're back up to a healthy weight.

The "At Least it Wasn't Drew Barrymore" Award

Kathryn Bigelow, who became the first woman to win a Best Director award, even if it wasn't for my two preferred movies of hers; Point Break and Near Dark.

I think I fell asleep during the best acting circle jerks, but apparently Jeff Bridges and Sandra Bullock won, which not only confirms my aforementioned genius, but allows me to close out with this:

Best Argument That The Oscars Are Completely Meaningless

Sandra Bullock winning for Best Actress a day after winning the Razzie for Worst Actress.

I may not like many of her movies, but that was pretty freaking hilarious.

KEEP THE HOUSTON PRESS FREE... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Peter Vonder Haar writes movie reviews for the Houston Press and the occasional book. The first three novels in the "Clarke & Clarke Mysteries" - Lucky Town, Point Blank, and Empty Sky - are out now.
Contact: Pete Vonder Haar