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02/25/2008 11:08 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

The 2008 Oscars: A Review/Autopsy

This was Hollywood's biggest night -- when we paid tribute to this year's excellence in motion picture Oscar campaigns. The two leading contenders for Best Picture were one with a baffling ending and one that puts half the audience into a coma. Those marketing boys know how to spin a yarn.

I'm sure for most viewers, these are what they thought were the five nominees for Best Picture: Something Something Country, Something Something Blood, Michael Jordan, that thing with whatshername, and one of those Knocked Up movies.

Was there a single winner the first hour from America? This was the United Nations general assembly with production numbers. Every speech was like Borat but not funny.

We ended the writers strike for THIS? Jesus! The best thing I can say about this Oscarcast is that there were no shadow puppets this year.

Had we not settled this is what the show would have been, and tell me you wouldn't have preferred it.

"Please welcome your host, ABC foreign correspondent, Joohee Cho!"

The "In Memoriam" tribute would be stretched so long that by the end someone new would have to be added.

"Singing the nominated song from Enchanted, here is ABC sideline reporter Bonnie Bernstein!"

"The theme this year: Stunt doubles. Those brave men and women who look like your favorite stars and tonight will get to BE them."

"The no-good son of a bitch nominees for best Original Screenplay are..."

At least that show might have had some surprises. All the locks won. Something Something Country swept the big awards. The only surprises were Marion Cotillard beating Julie Christie (and by the way, doesn't Edith Piaf clean up well? Wow!) and La Vie en Rose edging out Norbit for Best Makeup. Eddie Murphy was robbed AGAIN!

The flood watch was canceled prior to the show. We didn't get to see Anne Hathaway in her Jimmy Choo golashes.

But those inane red carpet shows went off as planned. My favorite was the local one for KABC in Los Angeles hosted by entertainment boot lickers, George Pennachio and Richard Roeper. When they're not gushing like school girls they're asking the most idiotic questions. George to Heidi Klum: "It's great to be at an event like this. How did YOU get invited?" To Amy Ryan he asked, "If you win will you be thanking the Teamsters?"

Richard Roeper to Tom Wilkinson about his role in Michael Clayton: "You had those big operatic scenes and were able to play way over-the-top." Surprisingly, Wilkinson took offense at that. George asked Sara Lawson if she beaded her dress herself? And serving as a fashion expert was Channel 7 Eyewitness News anchor, Michelle Tuzee. Just last week after reporting a bus plunge she complained that new Cypriot leader Demetris Christofias was a "nightmare in blue."

"Who are you wearing?" used to refer to dress designers. Now it means tattoo artists.

No Joan & Melissa Rivers this year. The red carpet equivalent of Mom & Norman Bates have run out of networks. Joan is doing a one-woman show in LA and for the first time ever on Oscar night is performing to more than 200 people.

The Hollywood cause this year: the campaign to close Guantanamo. Celebrities wore orange ribbons to show their tremendous concern for this issue. Ask them what last year's cause was. Most will say, "Uh...red ribbons?"

Red was definitely the color of the night. Every other gown was red. It was like being at the Nebraska Cornhuskers homecoming dance.

Jon Stewart was funny but you need someone bigger, more larger-than-life to host such a grand event. Seriously, Joohee Cho would have kicked ass!

Usually they start out with an actor category or two. Not this year. We were 40 minutes into the show before anything happened. Kinda like sitting through Something Something Blood.

Since Cate Blanchett played Bob Dylan, shouldn't she be nominated for Best Supporting Actor?

Even pregnant and showing, Jessica Alba still was the hottest woman in the room.

My daughter Annie has a good rule. No movie over three hours should be eligible for Best Editing.

It would have been interesting if Roderick Jaynes had won for editing Something Something Country. Roderick Jaynes is just a pseudonym. The Coen Brothers actually edited their own movie.

Katherine Heigl was a knockout!! Marilyn Monroe at her most radiant and lucid.

I'm so excited. For the first time ever, a movie I co-wrote, Volunteers was included in an Oscarcast. There was a two second clip of it in the "periscope and binoculars" montage. Between that and picketing, I really feel like I'm part of the industry now.

Ratatouille deserved not just Best Animated Picture but Best Picture as well. You didn't have to say you liked the movie just because critics did. You could actually like the movie yourself.

Diablo Cody came as Cleopatra: biker chick. I was happy she won for Best Original Screenplay. I liked the message Hollywood was sending: "No more Nancy Meyers comedies!"

How could the Academy nominate Lars and the Real Girl for writing and shun I Know Who Killed Me?

Tilda Swinton looked like Conan O'Brien. I was glad she won too. Maybe now she can afford two sleeves.

Al Gore and Cher have more Oscars than Johnny Depp.

How do I describe Cameron Diaz's dress? It's like if you tried to gift-wrap a vacuum cleaner.

Owen Wilson looked good and is apparently over that pesky suicide deal. They should have had him intro the "In Memoriam" tribute. By the way, they forgot Brad Renfro.

Oh no! Jerry Seinfeld pimping that Goddamn bee movie AGAIN?! Make it stop!! At least in the "hilarious" montage they didn't show My Girl where the lead character dies from a bee sting.

Daniel Day-Lewis finally won his Oscar for Gangs of New York. When he someday shuttles his mortal coil I'm sure the cause of death will be: choked on some scenery.

If you want to vote for the
11-year-old girl from the August Rush song - 1-866-IDOLS 04.

I guess Nicole Kidman couldn't decide which necklace to wear so she wore them all. She looked like a Christmas tree with tinsel put on by a drunk.

My guess is the three songs from Enchanted canceled each other out. For Kristen Chenowith's number there were dancers and acrobats flying everywhere, a bridge, flowers, props, costumes. But for the star of the film, Amy Adams -- a bare set and a dress she couldn't move in. Nice.

I was thrilled however when Best Song went to Glen Hansard and Marketa Inglova for Once. And the highlight of the night was letting Marketa come back and deliver her acceptance speech after the music had pushed her off. Watch. Cuba Gooding Jr. is going to want to come back now. There's 50 more people he needs to thank.

The speeches I like are those rare few with genuine emotion. Marion Cotillard's and surprisingly, Diablo Cody's. She did not have to be censored even once.

I also was moved by 98-year-old, Robert Boyle, who received an honorary Oscar for working on hundreds of great, classic movies and Dragnet.

Penelope Cruz was smashing as usual but I'm not sure about furry black gown. She looked like Barney Rubble 's prom date.

Every year it's the same thing. The five nominees for Best Foreign Language Film and Best Documentary are four war movies and one about dance.

The winner of Best Documentary was from Austria and noted that many great film directors like Billy Wilder had to flee that country because of the Nazis and as luck would have it, his movie is about the Nazis. What is he talking about? Every Austrian movie is about the Nazis! Along with every book, every article, every children's song.

How'd you like to be in Paul Thomas Anderson's limo after the show? The director of Something Something Blood is probably going postal. "They don't understand my brilliance! My genius! I try to elevate the movie-going rabble! Give them art! Give them beauty! Take them to worlds the ingrates have no business seeing. And do they appreciate me? Do they at least acknowledge that I have been touched by the hand of God? No! They humiliate me in front of billions of people. They give away my award -- MY award -- to two hicks! Oooh, some trailer trash person finds a suitcase of money. That's real original. And bad guys are after him. Who's ever seen that before? Meanwhile, I make a masterpiece. Look at these ads the studio took out. What more proof do you want than that?! Oh, the hell with it. Just take me to the Vanity Fair party! I can drink myself to death there... What? Canceled?! Why? Writer's Strike? What the hell?!"

Remember when Al Pacino and Clint Eastwood and Julia Roberts and Meryl Streep and Robert DeNiro used to be at the Oscars? Now it's Miley Cyrus, Dwayne "the Rock" Johnson, Heidi Klum (how DID she get invited?), Jonah Hill, and Seth Rogen.

It's just not the same. It's just not as good. And it's still just as long.

But we watch. Every year we watch. I guess we just can't resist a good
Oscar campaign.

You can read more from Ken at kenlevine.blogspot.com