PTR Senior Staff Writer
A little more show. A little less biz.
These were Hugh Jackman's words when speaking to Barbara Walters on her traditional Academy Awards® after-show special - which was filmed BEFORE the actual Oscar® telecast.
And boy, did he have the right approach (as did the show's new producers).
Finally, an Oscar® telecast worth watching!
(And none too soon - especially given last year's Oscar ceremony was the least watched ... like, ever in history. The show needed to do SOMETHING different this year - and it did.)
All Hail Wolverine: Hugh Jackman has got to be one of the coolest dudes on the planet. Decent guy. Family man. Funny. Not an ego maniac. Uber-talented (as in, can sing, dance AND act). And, he is so fantastically at ease in front of a crowd that it was just a joy to watch him handle the telecast with such aplomb. And to all those skeptics who were like, "Hugh Jackman? Can he host?" ... stick it in your pipe and smoke it. He. Rocked. It.
Everybody Wins: The revamped presentation of the actor awards whereby a selected group of previous winners stand on stage and salute each nominee's individual performance was FANTASTIC. It resonated so much more than the show-a-clip-read-a-name approach, and it allowed each nominee to truly be recognized (because it IS an honor to be nominated).
And the Award for Best Acceptance Speech Goes To ... Penelope Cruz. Her story of being a young girl and staying up late to watch the show in her very small corner of the world where she grew up ... awww. Talking about the show being a world unifying event to celebrate art ... double awww. Thank you, Penelope, for reminding us what it should really be about.
And the Award for Worst Acceptance Speech Goes To ... Sean Penn. Look, I know he's a great actor. I'm not disputing that fact. But the baggage that comes with acknowledging him means we - the regular schmo viewers - have to put up with his whole I'm-an-artist-I'm-above-all-this-crap attitude and/or a politically driven acceptance speech. He even admits he's ... uh, a difficult pill to swallow. So, hey, here's an idea, Sean: spare us. (Or go start a band with Joaquin Phoenix.)
Speaking of Joaquin Phoenix ...: Ben Stiller's spoof while presenting with Natalie Portman - GENIUS.
Two Words: Kate Wins YAY!! I've loved Kate Winslet since Sense and Sensibility. She's just a ballsy, no-nonsense, shoot-from-the-hip, dedicated actress who could give a rip about that which everyone else in Hollyweird obsesses about. She was way overdue on earning herself a statue, and her acceptance speech was a very close second to Penelope's. Go Kate!
Still Enchanting: Amy Adams. Friggin' adorable. I really wanted her to win for supporting actress, but her time will come. Bummer she isn't on a television show right now because she'd be an automatic PTR Fave - 'cause we're all about the decent, charming, genuine, honest and decent folks in Hollyweird. Keep on keepin' on, Amy.
Sal in Mega Mo: E!'s Sal Masekela is too cool for school. I am normally used to listening to him host the X Games over on ESPN, but he was so perfect interviewing everybody at the Governor's Ball that he actually made the REGULAR entertainment journalists look like goobs. Who knew the sports guys could schmooze the A-listers, eh?
It's A Slumdog World: Just as Penelope Cruz reminded us what the show is supposed to be about, the Slumdog Millionaire folks reminded us what it's like when the little guy wins. They were the little film that could. How cool was it to see so many of the young kids of the cast flown in for the event - some of whom who had never been on a plane. This is the side of Hollywood that is still worth loving: dreams can come true to those who are still willing to have - and follow - them. And when people are so genuinely shocked and honored when they win, you can’t help but cheer.
Fashion Report: You know I don't do the fashion thing, folks.
Brangelina Report: Puh-leze. Like I care.
You can get a rundown on all the winners and proceedings over at Oscars.org and Oscars.com.