So what, it ate up 10 minutes of valuable real estate, caught Shirley MacLaine off guard (she didn't know Anne Hathaway could sing!) and launched an Oscar telecast that was kind of like the Tonys?
The opening bit of the "81st Annual Academy Awards" rocked, and so did Hugh Jackman. Vulture proclaimed, "Hugh Jackman Saves the Oscars!" based on this campy musical number, where the first-time host said what everyone was thinking about Biggest Snubee "The Dark Knight" -- what's so unsophisticated about a $1 billion boxoffice haul? -- and admitted he hadn't seen "The Reader." Neither had most of the people watching at home and quite likely a fair amount in the Kodak Theater.
Turned out that was just the first slag on the Holocaust drama, with a later skit from Seth Rogen and James Franco, in full-on "Pineapple Express" stoner mode, laughing uncontrollably as they watched an intense patently-unfunny clip of Kate Winslet and her young co-star David Kross. See it here.
Quick question: Wonder what Fox had to do to get that "Wolverine" plug at the end of Jackman's song? Talk about choice real estate.
So "The Dark Knight" didn't make it into the final five after all, never mind that critical and popular support. Let's just call the comic-inspired mega-hit "The Biggest Snubee."
Here are the best picture contenders in a race that, two weeks away from the Oscars, seems to be a foregone conclusion ("Slumdog") unless there's a come-from-behind possibility ("The Reader" anyone?)
"The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," with Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett; the politically timely "Milk;" rags-to-riches fairy tale, "Slumdog Millionaire," Holocaust best-seller-based drama "The Reader," and Watergate-era biopic "Frost/Nixon."
Could "Button" and "Slumdog" split the vote, allowing another film to take the prize? Doesn't seem likely. After having clung to "Button" for months as what we thought would be the Academy voters' top vhoice, our money's now on "Slumdog." Momentum can't be ignored.
Watch this blog for updates, ephemera and all manner of postulating.
Mmmmm, chocolate Oscar. Not every star will walk away from the 81st annual Academy Awards with a trophy, but if they hit the high-profile Governor's Ball they can have pastry chef Sherry Yard's gold-dusted candy version. Also on the menu from celeb chef Wolfgang Puck is tuna tartare in sesame miso cones, chopped Chino Farms vegetable salad with ginger soy vinaigrette, Maine lobster and caviar. Serve it up! (Getty Images)