jon208-02-24The awards have been given out, the parties have all happened, and the show was only 3.5 hours long! The 80th Academy Awards came in with controversy with the recently resolved writers strike, and ended with everyone talking about the upsets, the fashion, the host, and of course, the winners. So how was it? What was the best moment? How did Jon Stewart do? Ladies and Gents, a LA.CityZine recap…

The Host: You have to hand it to Jon Stewart. With only 11 days to prepare a show that usually takes 7 months, Stewart and his team of writers managed to come up with pretty funny bits. While his opening monologue was hit or miss (make-up sex, anyone?), he seemed to gain momentum and get better as the show went on, firing off one liners that have endeared him to audiences. Stewart shined when he played off of others, as when he joked about John Travolta’s plane being parked on La Brea and when he stated how “arrogant” Glen Hansard (Winner for Best Original Song) was after Hansard gave one of the more humble speeches of the night.

Biggest Upset: Marion Cotillard for Best Actress. Before the awards, Julie Christie seemed to have this award locked, but when Forrest Whitaker read Cotillard’s name, a gasp was heard at the Kodak and in the homes of most who watched. Cotillard’s reaction was Oscar-classic and her speech was one of the better moments of the night (more on that later). Another big upset was “Falling Slowly” from Once for Best Original Song. Up against three Disney songs, no one thought this song would take it home. Other upsets included The Bourne Ultimatum over Transformers for the Sound Categories and The Golden Compass for Visual Effects. Hey, at least Norbit didn’t upset in the make-up category!

Best Moment: This one’s hard to choose.
You have Marion Cotillard’s amazing and exciting speech, the type that makes it into Oscar clips year after year after year. Her enthusiasm was so heartfelt and charming that you felt like crying with her. Her backstage Q and A period was also just as genuine, and if you haven’t seen it, try to find her talking about fireworks. The girl’s a class act.

But then you also have Jon Stewart in Oscar’s sweetest moment. After winning Best Original Song, Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova accepted their award humbly, but Irglova was cut off by the orchestra and then the show went to commercial break. After the break, Stewart brought Irglova back on stage to give her acceptance speech and we’re glad he did. Irglova’s speech talked about having hope, fighting on, and believing in one’s self and one’s dream. Way to go, Jon. (Having met Irglova at a Once screening, I can tell you that this experience was truly a Cinderella story and the Oscar is icing on what was already a beautiful cake. Read that story here.)

And then there’s Diablo Cody’s win for Best Original Screenplay. The woman earned it and her speech was both fun and tearful, just like her movie Juno. While some hated the dress she was wearing, it fit her personality and up on that Oscar stage it gave her a certain pizzazz…not that she needed it.

But don’t forget Tilda Swinton. Who knew she was so witty and playful? Certainly her performance in Michael Clayton would not have hinted at it. A deserved win in an unpredictable category, Swinton showed producers she can do comedy just as well.

The Show Overall: Surprisingly, this year’s show was not as dull as many feared it would be. The Writer’s Strike definitely put more scrutiny on the show this year with critics wondering if it would even go off successfully. Yes, the Oscars are always exciting to a certain degree, but if all the front runners win, and all the speeches are blasé, the excitement fades. This year, however, you had upsets, amazing speeches, and a host who made the best of a tight situation. Even front-runners Javier Bardem and Daniel Day-Lewis provided entertainment with their speeches, Day-Lewis being knighted by Helen Mirren, the former “Queen” and last year’s Best Actress winner. And lastly, the awards were spread out pretty evenly with all Best Picture nominees taking home at least one award. Have there been better years? Sure. But last night was pretty damn fun.

And for the record: If you went by our more analytical predictions, we went 4 out of 6. But if you went by “If LACityZine Ran the Oscars,” we went 5 out of 6. Lesson learned: Trust us!

Photo via IMDB