Congratulations to Slumdog Millionaire and all the other Academy Award winners. I also want to congratulate the producers of last night's show. Finally the awards program took into account the viewer experience, and created a show that was entertaining and moved along quickly.How many times have you heard people complain about the show being way too long and way too boring? Every year for as far back as I can remember this has been the biggest morning-after complaint, after chiding the fact that Raging Bull and Shawshank Redemption should've gotten Best Picture. Finally someone figured out that the show should not be just about Hollywood celebrating how great it is with long, drawn-out speeches, self-absorbed executives strutting across the stage, irrelevant montages, bad comedians interjecting after every moment, etc. The audience members and the viewers at home deserve a good experience.
This year I think they got it right. The host, Hugh Jackman, did a great opening, then was only sporadically seen throughout the night. They had less presenters, which meant less time to walk across the stage, and the musical numbers were medleys -- short, sweet, yet having a good impact. There was no silly backstage camera or narrator to explain who each person was, and they spent a lot of effort on personalization.
For each actor/actress category, former winners made a personalized speech to each nominee. This was very thoughtful, to personally recognize each nominee for their great performances. This year especially, there were so many good performances that it was nice that each was recognized individually. It was a great one-to-one moment. Besides Marion Cotillard stumbling through and not making much sense, it brought the "industry" down to a personal level.
I don't know if it's because of the recession, but with this new economy companies of all sorts are really starting to focus on doing what's best for customers. I think the Oscars was an example of how even Hollywood took some time to figure out what its viewers wanted, and delivered a great experience that will build loyal fans of both the movies themselves and the industry at large. At least until the Screen Actors Guild goes on strike again...