Monday, March 8, 2010

Lame Oscar show makes me happy for baseball

It's a good thing we have spring training baseball. If we were relying on last night's Oscar telecast for entertainment, we would have been seriously disappointed.

A surprise appearance by Neil Patrick Harris in a musical opening held promise, but the night quickly went downhill from there. Co-hosts Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin had a few funny lines, namely a faux stare down with George Clooney, always game for a good joke. But mostly all they had were a bunch of lame jokes directed at the nominees themselves, including at co-star Meryl Streep for having the most Oscar nominations and losses. Surprisingly, they took no shots at Washington or Albany, which has supplied plenty of material of late. I think Martin did better when he hosted the Oscars solo a few years ago, memorably making fun of the Hollywood establishment's Democratic leanings and Tom Cruise's financial planning ("Every week, he takes a million dollars and puts it away, like it's not even there," Martin said.)

The lack of upsets was the other disappointment. I was very happy for Jeff Bridges, who got a long overdue Oscar for his fantastic acting and musical performance in Crazy Heart, and Sandra Bullock, a favorite comedic actress of mine who surprised me in the tender, if exaggerated the Blind Side. But there were no shockers this time around, which always spices up the telecast and the next-day chatter. No Alan Arkin over Eddie Murphy. No Julia Ormond over Lauren Bacall, who was saluted for her honorary Oscar last night. The Hurt Locker won over the money-machine Avatar, the right choice as Hurt made a greater impact with its depiction of the constant danger surrounding our troops despite Avatar's stunning visuals and planet-friendly message. But Up in the Air was better than both those movies with pitch-perfect performances from Clooney, Vera Farmiga and Anna Kendrick and plentiful humor mixed in with the sadness of real people telling stories about how losing their jobs upended their worlds.

But now that the Oscars are over, back to important baseball stuff. Nick Johnson is supposed to play today. Can he get back on the field? That's the big question for New York Yankees fans.

Thanks to David Shankbone via Wikipedia for the photos.

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