I did something on Sunday night that I haven't done since I was a co-ed in my dorm room at the University of Wisconsin, I popped some kettle corn and watched the Academy Awards from top to bottom.
For what it's worth, here are my top five ordinary observations of the 82nd Annual Academy Awards:
1. Seacrest vs Swimsuit: The biggest debate surrounding the almighty Oscars this year may have been the David vs Goliath battle between the Titanic techno talents of James Cameron and his IED-loving ex-wife Kathryn Bigelow, but for me the most striking showdown of the night was between red carpet wranglers Ryan Seacrest (for E! Entertainment Television) and Kathy Ireland, one of the three B-list stars ABC chose to have anchor their 30 minute pre-ceremony coverage. Seacrest is hands down the hardest working man under 5'8 in Hollywood. And say what you want about the little guy, but the dude charmed the pants off of Tom Ford and the Jake Gyllenhaal alike (god knows no one can blame him for wanting a taste of that bilateral action). By day he fills the shoes of Casey Kasem, hosting the nationally syndicated American Top 40, by night he handles Simon Cowell's scowls, takes the reins for the aging master of midnight Dick Clark or fills the live loafers of talk legend Larry King. Then there's the lovely Sports Illustrated cover model Kathy Ireland. Certainly no one can diminish the raw inspiration of a woman who looks better wet and naked than Flipper could have ever hoped to. But watching the wide-eyed former buxom beauty turned MILF interview Zac Efron (at 32, I'm still not sure who the fuck that kid is) was about as awkward as peeking in on the pope at bath time. I salute the 46-year-old for boldly branching out into the A-list academy but me thinks Kathleen Marie should stick to hocking affordable wares at Kmart and loving Jesus while wearing a yellow two-piece and leave the true star-gazing to Seacrest incorporated.
2. Boring Barbara: I made an executive decision to opt for pre-ceremony dress assessment rather than the standard Oscar night Barbara Walters special. I mean if you've seen one, you've seen em all. Same hairstyle, same speech impediment, same celebrity wah fest on a fancy couch somewhere in southern California. But I gotta hand it to the old broad, (she's 81 and that technically qualifies as old in anyone's book), she's an ace in the hole when it comes to marketing numero uno and she announced on Sunday she's hanging up her star stalking socks and living out her golden years devoting her time to her uber-popular daytime show The View. And while I find interviews with Sandra Bullock and Patrick Swayze (god bless his dirty dancing soul) pretty bloody boring, the lady knows how to coax a cry out of even the most stalwart of studly stars. Nobody tweaks a tear quite like Baba Wawa and for that, I will always salute the (Caucasian) queen of daytime.
3. Botox Don't Make You Brighter: As I embark on the ripe old age of 33, I can't help but notice the fine lines, or "flines" as I prefer to call them, that have begun to develop on my once fleshier forehead and between my true blue peepers. And while I may have, on occasion, manually tried to smooth my face in front of the mirror, and briefly flirted with the idea of forking over some dough for an anti-aging serum at my local Clinique counter, I've decided for now, I'm happy to carry the "flines" on whatever flight of fancy they've decided to take me on (not as keen on the cellulite that's chosen to hitch a ride on my hips, but that's a different story altogether). But I can't say the same for too many Hollywood hotties. And I couldn't help but wonder if the botox beauties toasting Oscar on Sunday night were aesthetically preferable to the women who have chosen to wage the wrinkle war sans artificial weaponry. I mean no one can dispute that Demi Moore is worth an indecent proposal, but the girl has become so orange and taut she's practically a kumquat. And Melanie Griffin looks like she couldn't wink or whistle even if all her nine lives depended on it. Meryl Streep on the other hand has publicly sworn off the knife and from my high-definition, 20-inch vantage point, looked capable, confident, and downright foxy in her winter-white suit. I mean the pressure must be enormous for women whose every curve and crevice are dissected via TV and Twitter, but there's got to be a point where the desire to avoid looking like an extraterrestrial trumps the fixation on fighting every flaw.
4. Sexagenarian Steve and Aging Alec: I have to admit Hugh Jackman was pretty impressive as last year's Academy Awards host. He sang, he danced, he filled out a pair of tuxedo pants with full Wolverine panache (lord knows I'd scratch behind his ears even if the moon was waning), but it was the comic stylings of Martin and Baldwin that made me choose to DVR the hottest night in polygamist drama since Joseph Smith hosted his first swingers party. And while the comedy duo had their high and low points, they looked and sounded pretty damn good for two dudes my parents' age. If they can send a text message in under an hour and grasp the concept of the World Wide Web without auditing a course on the space-time continuum, I may just petition them to adopt me. They were able to improvise enough around the notoriously bad Oscar script writing to produce some genuine laugh lines. And they're a hell of a lot more fuckable than Ben Stiller gone blue man. I did kinda dig that tail though.
5. Precious Imperfection: She's unlikely to be starring opposite Clooney or Cruise anytime soon, or wearing the Armani Prive that was too small for the mannequin, but Gabourey Sidibe has something those other leading ladies don't, a Bedford Stuy spirit and the balls to flaunt it all over a stage normally reserved for caviar bulimics and celluloid dreams. She wore a dark blue, diamond encrusted Marchesa, that I wouldn't be confident enough to wear in a size 8. But the girl rocked it and shimmied her full-figured ass in front of room full of self-obsessed perfection and 42 million viewers to boot. For three-and-a-half-hours, multiple cameras shot multiple angles of the young woman and never once did they catch her looking sheepish or lacking a smile. And while speed queen turned miss congeniality Sandy Bullock clutched a golden goody for pretending to play a chick in touch and in charge, Gabby Sidibe graciously applauded, while sitting in a seat reserved for a lady wearing her big girl panties, already pretty god damn familiar with the realities of the big bad world.