I liked liked Plummer's acceptance speech, Spencer's speech, the A SEPARATION win, the presence of a couple of Escovedos in the band, and that IN MEMORIAM mentioned Bingham Ray and George Kuchar. The rest was too predictable and shallow. When Meryl Streep getting an Oscar qualifies as an upset, you know your awards are too campaigned, bought, and paid for to mean anything.
You know what I wanna see at the Oscars? I want to see an A-list actor come out and say, "yes, though this is Hollywood's greatest night, there are a huge number of worthy and brilliant films every year that get no nominations. Though they won't come away with statues tonight, each one was someone's favorite film of last year, and we pause for a moment to honor them." And then you get a montage, compiled by an Oscar-winning filmmaker, a respected critic, and an expert editor, of clips from great non-nominated films. This year's montage could/would have included MYSTERIES OF LISBON, YOUNG ADULT, FAST FIVE, OF GODS AND MEN, THE TRIP, THE GUARD, 50/50, BELLFLOWER, AND EVERYTHING IS GOING FINE, WIN WIN, and a bunch of others. Michael Mann, J. Hoberman, and Walter Murch would rock this assignment, and the clips would generate more interesting conversation than THE ARTIST's multiple wins.
The Oscars feel less and less like a celebration of film every year, and more and more a capitalistic exercise in preserving the value of certain films. As my girlfriend observes, it's the only night that cinema is given the same exposure as football, and I really wish I felt like it meant something.