Evanier: Morning After
Mark Evanier has a good reflection on the Oscar telecast: "The reviews might make you think there were two separate Oscar telecasts last night. Some folks, like Tom Shales, saw the one 'hosted with a smug humorlessness by comic Jon Stewart, a sad and pale shadow of great hosts gone by.' Others, like Roger Ebert, saw the one where...well, here. I'll quote him in a separate paragraph since he's the one I think is closer to right...
After all of the speculation about the selection of Stewart as a host, his performance deserves perhaps the highest tribute: He was as relaxed, amusing and at home as Johnny Carson. The assignment is his again in future years, and in one night he positioned himself as the likely heir of a major late-night network talk slot.
The above variance of opinion may represent more than the fact that Ebert has always been a far more perceptive critic than Shales. It may reflect the fact that Ebert was actually at the ceremony, seeing how Stewart went over with the live audience, whereas Shales was far, far away, pouting as he so often does that what was on his TV set failed to please Tom Shales. (Shales also thought that Lily Tomlin and Meryl Streep must have taken 'weeks' to master the banter they performed to introduce Robert Altman. These are two of the best actresses alive and I'll bet it took well under a half-hour.)"
I read Shales this morning and was astonished at the negativity. I thought Stewart did a very fine job. He started off pretty weak but throughout the show really hit his stride.
I also liked the fact that the statues went to a variety of winning films. There were so many great pictures on the ballot this year. Clooney's acceptance speech was one of the highlights--funny, but meaningful.
Here's hoping Hollywood continues to challenge the rest of the country.