Last night's 82nd Annual Academy Awards saw a host of changes made to the format that's dominated for the past bunch of years. From the 10 nominees in the newly expanded Best Picture category to the paring down of musical numbers and use of two co-hosts, there was a decidedly different vibe to the proceedings.
As with any year, there were high points and there were low points. The difference last night is that everyone was watching so much more closely. Why? Well there's a commonly held belief that the changes this year came as part of the Academy's effort to broaden the appeal of the 82-year-old awards show. A lot of moviegoers were left feeling alienated when "The Dark Knight" didn't land a Best Picture nomination in 2008, only the latest of many such sleights that more pop-oriented fare has suffered through the years.
So since everyone was watching so closely anyway, I decided to shine MTV's spotlight on the best and worst that the 82nd Annual Academy Awards show had to offer. You might not agree with all of these observations. That's fine. We want to hear from you too. Share your own thoughts in the comments section below.
Overall, I think the new format worked very well. My eyes still sort of glazed over during the single award category-oriented musical number we got -- the interpretive dance thing -- but the longer speeches and clips that came with the extra time really helped keep things interesting. The Best Actor/Actress presentations were especially enjoyable.
Neil Patrick Harris
"The Smurfs" star Neil Patrick Harris opened the evening with a Broadway-style musical number, and it was glorious. Best moment of the night? Possibly. Strong statement that NPH should have been the one to host? DEFINITELY.
Elinor Burkett's "Kanye Moment"
Look, based on the story behind the story, it seems as though Elinor Burkett might have been in the wrong when she stormed the stage during "Music by Prudence" director Roger Ross William's acceptance speech. But crowds love sensational stuff like this. And if the net result is bringing added exposure to a documentary short about a school in Zimbabwe for disable children, then I don't really see how anyone can complain. In that spirit, why don't you go learn some more about the Best Documentary Short winner.
Sandra Bullock's Acceptance Speech
Best Actress winner Sandra Bullock is getting a lot of accolades for saying nice things during her speech. Me, I just appreciate her honesty. Bullock opened with: "Did I really earn this or did I just wear y'all down?" A fitting kickoff for a woman who also won two Razzie awards in the same weekend she picked up her Best Actress Oscar.
Co-Hosts Alec Baldwin And Steve Martin
Separately, Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin are brilliant entertainers. Even together, there's a potent duo waiting to be set free. It didn't gel for them last night. I think a lot of it had to do with the writing, but Baldwin and Martin were not the best hosts the Academy Awards have seen. In this case, more did not equal better.
When did we start calling "Twilight" a horror movie? And "Beetlejuice"? For that matter, why did we celebrate horror last night when 2009 was a landmark year in the evolution of science fiction?
In Memoriam Fail
MTV contributor Josh Wigler pointed out five names that were missed last night during the obligatory memorial montage last night. There were others too. Where, for instance, was Ricardo Montalban? The dude played freakin' Khan in "Star Trek II"!!! Bad form, Academy... for shame.
"No 'Thank You' Speech" Plan
A few weeks before last night's awards ceremony, the word emerged that the Academy had asked all nominees to prepare to acceptance speeches. One to be delivered on stage, focusing on what receiving an Oscar means to them. And one to be delivered backstage, to a special "thank you cam." As we saw last night, that did not happen. And I've gotta say... the best speeches were the ones that weren't excessive thank yous. Sorry Jeff Bridges; you deserve that Best Actor award, but your speech left a lot to be desired.