Despite all of the talk about this being the international year at the Oscars, it was the studio picture (by far the highest grossing movie of the bunch) that was the really big winner at the Academy Awards. It certainly was Marty's night in Hollywood. I watched "The Departed" again last night and its quite a well done film. Yet, I still can't get past that extremely over the top last shot with the rat...

As for the Oscar show itself, producer Laura Ziskin got off to a great start, launching the program with a commissioned Errol Morris short and saluting all of the nominees, but by the time the clip segment directed by Michael Mann rolled, my patience had worn thin. AMPAS did a great job of showcasing the technique of moviemaking throughout the night, but over did it by trying to pack way too much into the show. It lasted nearly 4 hours!

Strikingly, the climate crisis was the issue of the night with hardly a reference to the war in Iraq. Jerry Seinfeld was quite funny, presenting the best doc Oscar...was that his audition to host next year's show? Ellen was a decent host, even when some of her jokes went over quietly. Her line of the night was probably, "If there weren't blacks, jews, or gays, there would be no Oscars...Or anyone named Oscar."

And as for the winners, I ended up with an OK showing on my personal Oscar pool, getting 18 out of 24 correct (I really should have had at least 20 this year). I underestimated the Academy's fondness for both "The Departed" and "Pan's Labyrinth" and overestimated its marginal interest in "Dreamgirls."