By now you probably know that Kate Winslet, Sean Penn, Penelope Cruz, Heath Ledger and the unstoppable “Slumdog Millionaire” were the big winners at the 2009 Oscars. That’s not too much of a surprise. (Well maybe Sean was a surprise. Who didn’t think Mickey Rourke would sneak in for the win?)
But what was completely, totally, unbelievably unexpected was the sheer joyfulness of the telecast itself. It was actually — dare I say it? — entertaining.
With the revamped, half-moon stage that allowed presenters to get superclose to the audience, combined with the close proximity of all the nominees to said stage, the whole affair felt downright intimate. And really, it must be said that Hugh Jackman was brilliant. He’s an actor, singer and dancer that until tonight I’d only seen act. But what a show he put on! It’s no surprise that after his monologue and opening montage, the audience leapt to their feet with enthusiastic applause and wide grins.
In years past, the Oscars have been a program to sit through. The ratings have steadily fallen. But I have a feeling that after news of this year’s show gets around, Hugh will be back as host next year and ratings will improve.