‘Miley Cyrus looks like Tinkerbell!”

‘Like, I don’t get Jessica Biel’s dress.”

‘Why can’t Hugh Jackman just forget to put his shirt on?”

These were just a few of the phrases my friends and I exchanged as we watched the 81st Annual Academy Awards unfold on Sunday night. As usual, I saw an embarrassingly small amount of the nominated films this year, but was still able to enjoy an energetic and, at times, awkward ceremony.

I thought host Hugh Jackman’s opening number was fantastic, and I’m not just saying that because I think he’s beyond gorgeous.

The theme was recession, so the set for the opening number was ingeniously crafted to resemble an adorable 5-year-old’s creation, which nevertheless got the point across.

Even though we’re Hollywood, we can pretend to be as poor as real people. Jackman portrayed everyone from Mickey Rourke to Dev Patel in the performance, which included an impromptu dance with the ‘Craigslist” dancers, a duet with Anne Hathaway for the ‘Frost/Nixon” theme (Hathaway played Nixon), an electronica style dance for ‘The Reader,” in which Jackman exclaimed, ‘I haven’t seen “The Reader!'” and concluded with Jackman standing on top of the corner post of a boxing ring flanked by life-sized Oscars and belting out, ‘I am a slumdog, I am a wrestler… I’m Wolverine!”

Being a half-week after the Oscars, I’m sure you’re all aware of the winners by now: ‘Slumdog Millionaire” Best Picture, Sean Penn Best Actor, Kate Winslet Best Actress, Heath Ledger Best Supporting Actor, Penlope Cruz Best Supporting Actress and ‘Slumdog” for Best Directing, blah, blah, blah, whatever.

So instead of giving you a boring run-down of each category, I decided to come up with some categories of my own.

The ‘Biggest Tearjerker Moment” was a no-brainer. No one could beat the Jerry Lewis montage coupled with what sounded like an acoustic Green Day set from about 10 years ago and a speech in honor of him winning the honorary Jean Hersholt award.
The ‘Scariest Starlet” award was also a no-brainer since a very bronze and heavy make-up’d Sophia Loren decided to show up in a ruffled, yellow frock.

I also gave her the ‘Most Overdone Cleavage” award because, I mean, it’s Sophia, although Goldie Hawn earned a very well-received runner-up position.

The ‘Nominee You Just Want to Slap” award went to Angelina Jolie for obvious reasons, while the ‘Dakota Fanning Could’ve Acted it Better” award went to Robert Downey Jr. for his portrayal of Kirk Lazarus in ‘Tropic Thunder.” I guess I just didn’t buy it.

The ‘Cutest Red Carpet Kiddies” award went to all the kids from ‘Slumdog” duh. Especially that adorable little girl in the blue princess dress whose name escapes me.
The ‘Seriously, Get Off the Stage, OMG Stop Talking Now” award went to ‘Ben Button’s” Greg Cannom for his lengthy acceptance speech for best make-up. He just mentioned way too many names of people I don’t really care about.

The ‘Host’s Best Moment” was pretty much everything, as Hugh Jackman really can’t do anything wrong aside from wearing too much clothing. Hearing him sing the phrase, ‘I would swim a human sea of excrement” to Kate Winslet was quite entertaining as well.

The ‘Wow, I Didn’t Expect Her To Be That Funny” award went to Natalie Portman for telling Ben Stiller, sporting an ‘I’m Joaquin Phoenix and I’m going to act really antisocial and high on David Letterman” beard, that he looked like he worked at a Hasidic meth lab.

All jokes aside though, my favorite speech of the night was by Penlope Cruz. I always enjoy when celebrities refer to how many obstacles they had to overcome in reaching their dream.

‘I grew up in a place called Alcobendas, where this was not a very realistic dream,” Cruz said. ‘And I always, on the night of the Academy Awards, I stay up to watch the show, and I always felt that this was, this ceremony was a moment of unity for the world because art, in any form, is and has been and will always be our universal language.”

A close second was Dustin Lance Black who, in winning for best original screenplay for ‘Milk,” recalled being young and Mormon before moving to L.A. and learning the story of Harvey Milk.

But seriously, what was up with the ‘In Memoriam” montage? The weird camera angles that obscured certain names, coupled with the cameramen not being able to decide whether to concentrate on a very alive and singing Queen Latifah or the montage itself, was a little awkward .

All in all, the show was great and held my attention throughout all three-and-a-half hours of it.

Most importantly, it really made me want to see all the nominated films I didn’t already. So, hopefully by the 2010 Oscars, I’ll be up to date with this year’s films.

Kraus is a member of the class of 2009.



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