John, apparently Hollywood also is afraid it’s losing viewers. My wife tells me that earlier in the show someone made a distinct plea to viewers to watch their movies at the Multiplexes or Multisexes or whatever they’re called these days instead of on DVD at home, where the popcorn is cheaper and less soggy. So far as I can tell the Academy split the difference, conferring the best-supporting actor awards to “cause” roles while saving the main acting prizes for two genuinely likable and appealing actors. For Reese Witherspoon to win over a major portrait of tranvestiture, in what for her was really a very slight role that allowed her to do little more than sing like an angel and go through a charming paces the rest of the way, is a huge Hollywood copout. So too is its choosing some nonsense named Crash — does the 1996 movie of the same name (in which a couple get their kicks watching cars collide) get to share in this best movie prize? — over the greatest male bonding film of the 21st century is an ultimate instance of chickening out. It won’t do that Ang Lee was given a consolation prize for best director. The Academy pulled the same trick in 1998 when it gave Steven Spielberg the best director award without naming his Saving Private Ryan best picture.
And of course it also lacked the courage of its own convictions in failing to name Paradise Now best foreign film. Suicide bombers will have to wait for their real moment in the Hollywood sun.
But say what you will about the Oscar show. It ended at 11:30 p.m. eastern time, the earliest closing in living memory — though probably too late to save Hollywood from itself.