I haven’t had time to read any reviews of Sunday night’s Oscars telecast, but I’m hoping that somebody out there agrees with me that the best innovation among the many we saw was having five past winners come out onstage to pay tribute to all five of the current nominees in each acting category. Part of what made it cool was having such star power onstage at one time . . . as when Adrian Brody, Robert DeNiro, Michael Douglas, Anthony Hopkins and Ben Kingsley came out en masse to pay tribute to the five men nominated this year for Best Actor. But what I most liked about that was how each of the current nominees was given the kind of moment in the sun that they really, truly deserve. The first batch was the supporting actress nominees, and as previous winner Eva Marie Saint (for “On the Waterfront”) began speaking warmly and admiringly to nominee Viola Davis (for “Doubt”), it became clear that this was a night in which more than a passing nod would be given to the nominees- and that is as it should be if we truly believe that it is an honor just to be nominated. And even by the time we got to the later categories, we got the distinct impression that the current nominees did not really expect this kind of attention – so that when past Best Actress winner Shirley Maclaine (“Terms of Endearment”) gave her tribute to current nominee Anne Hathaway, the young actress could only beam and smile and shake her head in disbelief, as if she could scarcely believe the words she was hearing. I loved that.
This was my favorite part of the telecast, and although I’m sure there will be people who felt that this slowed down the proceedings too much, I am not one of them. I loved this and thought that it was only right to give this kind of time and loving attention to all five nominated actors or actresses in each category – and although much of its impact was because it was such a surprise, I really hope that they will retain this or try to do something comparable that sufficiently honors the nominees.
Now for a gripe. . . I’m starting to realize that the biggest value of the television sets suspended over the treadmills at Razor Sharp is that so much on TV these days drives me crazy – and the sheer frustration I feel when I see images from “The Bachelor” or “World’s Funniest Home Videos” flickering across the screen is all I need to pick up the pace and walk with newfound energy and determination. What got me going last night was seeing some show on “E!” in which a panel of five “judges” (I use the term loosely) was weighing in on the fashion winners and losers from Oscar night. I know that not everything on television needs to be the moral equivalent of a Cure for Cancer, but the sheer Irrelevancy of this boggles my mind. The only thing I care less about than what people wore at the Oscars is what a past winner of Project Runway thinks about what people wore at the Oscars. Oh well- I guess I should be grateful for anything that gets me up to 4.8 miles an hour on the treadmill.