If I were in charge, I’d get Hugh Jackman to sign a contract right now for the next few years. The Oscars are better I think for a little familiarity, and I miss the days of the tried-and-true host who’s both a funny man, a classy man, and a music man – and Hugh won on all counts I think. On the other hand, here’s to changing things up – like the prettiest set design ever, the return of the big musical numbers, and the five previous winners honoring personally each nominee in the acting categories. One of my favorite parts of the Oscars: Watching them react to each other, and those categories were stuffed full of moving.
Here are some nominees for my favorite moments: First up, the musical numbers. I told you I think even life should “periodically burst into song, and dance about the stage,” so I was all for the very cool opening number, the heart-stopping “Musical is Back” routine, and the performances of the three nominated songs. (What happened to five? For a year in which the musical is back, there was a shocking lack of big movie songs apparently). I even liked it when Hugh cracked up during the unique song about not yet having seen The Reader. And, while I’m signing contracts, I think Beyonce should be considered the official Oscar singer. Remember the year she sang three of the five songs, and they were all in such a unique style? She’s just really, really good. Plain and simple.
Next I wrote down, “Heath’s family.” It was a very gracious acceptance speech from the people who surely knew Heath Ledger the best. But what moved me most were the tears in the audience. I wondered which of them had been his dear friends, which of them cried simply because of a young life lost too soon, and which of them – perhaps – were parents too and empathized with the painfully beautiful thought of accepting such a high honor for a child who shouldn’t have, but did, go before you. I like it when people seem to notice us out there on our couches with popcorn soaking in every minute. I like it when they say, “I used to give this speech with a shampoo bottle,” (a la Kate Winslet last night), or when they remind us that, “Anything’s possible”.
Last night my favorite moment like that was when the director for Slumdog Millionaire complimented the beautiful set design, saying, “I don’t know what it looks like at home, but here it’s bloody wonderful.” I believe you, Mr. Boyle, yes I do. And it’s so nice of you to tell me that like you’re the friend of a friend who lucked out enough to know somebody who knows somebody who got you into the show and then took a picture of it on your blackberry and texted it my way. I now feel even more like I was there.
I mentioned the musical numbers, right? [This post used to link to a You Tube video of The Musical is Back, but the video no longer appears there.] But then, after all this, came my favorite part of all. I know for sure it was my favorite, because I found the clip HERE [link no longer available], and I’ve watched it over and over today. It was Kate Winslet’s father whistling to her across that huge room of somebodys. Her reaction was like end-of-the-movie, thank-God-they-found-each-other, dreams-come-true sublime.
Of course, the soundtrack to this year’s Oscars was apparently Jai Ho from Slumdog Millionaire – a movie I am SO GLAD I saw before Oscar night. And what a great movie to win so many Oscars. It’s about rising above, finding your destiny, fighting for love – all the good stuff. Where I watched the show, we wore bright yellow scarves in honor of the movie and that happy theme. Jai Ho means, “May the victory be yours.” I am loving that.