Sad to say, Britney Spears in the scintillating new Pepsi commercial was by far the most exciting and unexpected part of the telecast of the 73rd annual Academy Awards last Sunday on ABC.

Maybe that is a bit of an exaggeration ? I did enjoy watching the forever-glowing Julia Roberts make her animated acceptance speech.

Let?s take it from the start.

After years of watching Billy Crystal and Whoopi Goldberg host, it was exciting that this year?s host was finally someone new ? Steve Martin. However, his performance was not a well-done comedy routine la Billy Crystal. Instead, it was a bunch of jokes that were basically trite cheap shots at various celebrities.

The awards show, which had its lowest rating ever, was not gripping and was even boring at times. Right off the bat, favorite Benicio Del Toro won the Best Supporting Actor, which was a sign of future predictable winners. The lot of films nominated this year were particularly commercial successes, leaving no opportunity for small budget or unrecognized but well-made films to be showcased.

On a positive note, Oscar winners were generally spread out well, as different films from the year 2000 received awards. It would have been tremendously disappointing if ?Gladiator,? which went into the show with 12 nominations, swept all of the accolades.

Russell Crowe won the Oscar for Best Actor for ?Gladiator,? even though he was probably more qualified last year for his brilliant performance in ?The Insider.? ?Gladiator? was completely undeserving of its Best Picture award. It is true that the movie is grandiose and an eyeful for the audience, but ?Traffic? and ?Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon? were more deserving.

The Asian production ?Crouching Tiger? did nab quite a few other Oscars ? ?Best Foreign Film,? ?Cinematography,? ?Original Score? and ?Art Direction? ? while ?Traffic? director Steven Soderbergh won for his work in the remarkable movie depicting the world of drug trafficking.

The only surprise was the recognition of Marcia Gay Harden in ?Pollock? for Best Supporting Actress.

The rest of the award show was typical Hollywood ? famous celebrities, big-budget movies and too much money spent for one party.

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