I was glad to see Crash win the Oscar for Best Picture. I gave it 5 plus stars, one of the few movies I have ever rated above the top of my zero to five scale. With the exception of Roger Ebert, who thought Crash would and should win, apparently the critical consensus was that Brokeback Mountain was the best picture of the year. Many of the newspapers talked about the "upset" win of Crash. I won't rehash the arguments I made in an earlier report on Brokeback. Time will tell whether it is an "issue" movie that will fade when the issue fades, or a timeless story. But I take issue with the critics (many of whom, Ebert excepted, apparently just read each other's reviews and then repackage the conventional wisdom as their own insights) who say that Crash was just a liberal guilt trip about race relations. The appeal of Crash, to me, was in showing in a way that no movie that I have ever seen, the good and the bad in all of us. None of the characters in Crash were completely sympathetic, nor were any without redeeming qualities. I think Crash is a great work of art that will be shown long after Brokeback Mountain has been forgotten.
I like Jon Stewart on The Daily Show. Our cable package does not include The Comedy Channel, but I look at clips occasionally on the internet. I thought he was out of his element as host of the Oscars. His schtick is political news, and there was apparently an attempt to make sure that he was not too overtly political as host of the Oscars. Other than a line about the audience finally getting to vote for a winner, an oblique reference to the commonly-held belief that most Hollywood artists are Democrats, there were no political jokes. It was like putting Don Rickles up there and telling him he can't insult anyone; it just didn't work.
I was not impressed with the length of time devoted to snippets of old films. The show was too long by half, and the film segments added nothing of interest. I thought the best presentation and the best laughs were by Lily Tomlin and Merl Streep, although I could have been prejudiced because they are two of my favorite actresses.
I don't think I ever before have watched the Oscars from beginning to end. I did Sunday night because we hosted an Oscar-watching party with a few friends. The party was a bust with everyone heading out by 9:30. I think next year we'll skip both the party and watching the Oscars. I could have read 100 pages in a good book during the time I wasted watching the Oscars and found out the results the next morning anyway. (Not to say that my friends weren't good company, I just think we would have had a more enjoyable evening without our faces glued to the television screen.)