A few of the guys here at Busby's East admitted to having fallen asleep during previous Oscar telecasts. They prefer sports, after all, and really just watched the kudofest when somebody else in the house turned it on and they were too lazy to leave the room.
Tonight, it's a different story. They're not only watching, but they seem to be enjoying it. They're connecting with it. The reasons are running the range -- they saw more of the movies nominated than they usually do, they're digging first-time host Hugh Jackman, who's likable in a charming and manly way, and they think it's flowing a lot better than usual. Less stiff and uptight. Looser.
"There's more interaction with the audience, and Hugh Jackman is really keeping it all moving along," said Rob, a non-industryite who came to the viewing party with his filmmaker girlfriend. "It really does feel different than in the past."
We won't know until the ratings come in whether more people decided to give it a go this year -- the Oscars suffered a record-low rating last year of 32 million viewers, and this whole revamp is happening to try to woo the lapsed viewers, the indifferent and the haters. Maybe those who did tune in like what they're seeing? We do, though it sure is still a butt-numbingly long event.