•Tom Hanks is thankfully succinct as he introduces the Best Director nominees. Ang Lee wins. Wowza.
•Jack Nicholson is old. Jack Nicholson is great. He intros the Best Picture nominees. He rules the world.
•Best Picture is "Crash"! Holy hell, a real "oh my God" moment at the Academy Awards. The audience is about to bust loose in some sort of mass Three 6 Mafia moment.
•But then they play the producers of "Crash" off the stage -- in mid-speech -- and into a commercial. This is what happens when you have eight billion montages in a three-hour telecast. Rat bastards.
Things we want to forget about this year's Academy Awards:
•Ben Stiller in his green unitard.
•Charlize Theron's dress.
•Kathleen "Bird" York performing "In the Deep" from "Crash." Slo-mo dancers and a burning car. WTFF? Yes, FF. It was that freaking weird.
•"Crash" screenplay winner Bobby Moresco getting dinged from speaking. Director Paul Haggis said his piece, but before Moresco could talked, the orchestra played them off the stage. Bastards. Guess this is what writing is worth.
•Jon Stewart as host. He was OK, which isn't OK. More "meh" than anything else. Neither Stewart nor Dave Letterman are Johnny Carson.
•"Brokeback Mountain" wins best adapted screenplay. See? Something for everyone.
•Uma Thurman's hair is, um, something. JBF was our first thought, but we're weird that way. "Crash" wins for best screenplay. Best Director is all up in the air. Except for Clooney, of course. No way he can win.
•Philip Seymour Hoffman's win is the ultimate reason to now see "Capote."
•It's 2 past the top of the hour, so there's no way the show will end on time.
•It is a relief that the "gay Oscars," as the social conservatives called it, are not living up to the right-wing hype. A little bit of something for everyone, from "Narnia" and that damned penguin movie to Three 6 Mafia and Robert Altman. "Crash" wins for editing. Even Mel Gibson popped up in the open, making another one of his dead-language epics.
•John Travolta's face cannot get any wider, can it?
•"Memoirs of a Geisha" bombed at the box office but has done very well tonight -- three Oscars (we think). Meet the next hot DVD reissue to take your money.
•Time for Best Actress. We're pulling for Reese Witherspoon because we never thought the "Legally Blonde" chick could ever win an Oscar.
•Witherspoon isn't crying, she's just got that tremor in her pipsqueak voice. Good actress.
•Richard Pryor gets the coda on the We Salute Our Dead montage. And the biggest applause, we might add. It would suck to be one of the post-prod peeps who wins only a smattering of claps in the obit reel. Then again, they're dead, with no idea that Pat Morita's passing in 2005 overshadowed their own contributions to cinema.
•He said it in a flippant way, but Jon Stewart was on to something when he noted that Three 6 Mafia were the most-excited guys in the joint. Hey, even Dolly Parton was jazzed when the rappers won, and they seemed genuinely blown away by the win. Perhaps the only person more surprised was the guy with the dump button, waiting for acceptance-speech profanity that never came.
•Clooney's back on stage, his Oscar safely tucked down someone's dress, to introduce the We Salute Our Dead montage. What an upper.
•Three 6 Mafia captures our thoughts with precision. It is hard out here for a pimp. And now Oscar will forever have the word "pimp" in its history.
•The Academy finally gives Robert Altman an Oscar -- an honorary one, of course, because he doesn't kiss ass. "The Player" and "Short Cuts" are personal favorites. He thanks his doctor by name. The industry's best actors are hanging onto his words. There is no music bed. This is a fine moment.
•We want to see "Capote." Really, we do. It's just that we're voice bigots. Not proud of that admission, but we're not certain that we can stand two hours-plus of that voice, the one we remember from that strange man in the guest chair on Johnny Carson's show. But it's Truman Capote, for God's sake, the writer who described Holcomb, Kan., this way:
Like the waters of the river, like the motorists on the highway, and like the yellow trains streaking down the Santa Fe tracks, drama, in the shape of exceptional happenings, had never stopped there.
•As the evening wears on, Jon Stewart becomes the Incredible Shrinking Host. Though his "salute to montages" crack -- after an especially pointless montage of clips -- is a good one.
•We learn something new every day. In this case, we learn Itzhak Perlman is alive and well, 'cause there he is, playing selections from the nominees for best original score. Yes, we're musical barbarians.
•Salma Hayek. Mmm. Must be the hair.
•Keanu Reeves is not aging well. Than God he's still vapid.
•We're rooting for "Good Night, and Good Luck," and not just because it's a film about a great journalist. We think about that movie a lot -- the all-indoors shots, the cadence of Joe McCarthy's insanity, the parallels to the all-or-nothing knife fight that passes for today's politics -- and need it on DVD.
•Samuel L. Jackson can be a serious presenter all he wants, but he'll always be Jules to us:
There's a passage I got memorized, seems appropriate for this situation: Ezekiel 25:17. "The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men. Blessed is he who, in the name of charity and good will, shepherds the weak through the valley of darkness, for he is truly his brother's keeper and the finder of lost children. And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who attempt to poison and destroy my brothers. And you will know my name is the Lord when I lay my vengeance upon you."
•What in hell is Charlize Theron wearing? Looks like some sort of left shoulder pad. Damned Penguin guys win an Oscar, bring props to the stage. They're lucky to draw the same air as Theron. Music gets louder over French guys talking, narrator intros Jennifer Lopez. Nice shoulders on that woman.
•Time for another nominated song. After seeing Dolly Parton's tiny waist and gigantic shelf-like breasts during her number, we're blind to all else.
•ABC's open relied on film icons. Too many present-tense touchstones
•Fab opening film with past hosts.
•Jon Stewart killed -- kinda. Uneven monologue, but better than expected. His shrugging mugging doesn't work well in a big freaking hall.
•The music bed beneath every acceptance speech is past annoying and into ridiculous. Works on radio, doesn't work with the Oscars.
•Morgan Freeman flubs his intro into Best Supporting Actress. He sounds so high.
•Rachel Weisz says something above "brimming over," and while she's not talking about her breasts, she ought to be. She grabs Freeman's hand as they exit the stage. Lucky bastard.
•Nice spoof commercials on the Best Actress nominees. As Stewart notes: "Shameful."