First things first, I was 15 for 24 on my predictions, having not expected the Mad Max sweep of the crafts categories, the genuine surprises in the Visual Effects and Supporting Actor races, and the very pleasant surprise of the "it's anyone's game" Best Picture race. So, here they are, my picks for the night's best and worst moments:
Worst: Writing's On the Wall winning Best Original Song. Seriously? Seriously? What a shitty choice. The only way this makes sense to me is if all the other nominees tied for first and that somehow disqualified them all from winning.
Best: Jenny Beavan winning for Best Costume Design having shown up like it's casual Friday. The show was, like, a million hours long so good for her for choosing comfort.
Worst: The conceit behind the ordering of categories, unfolding them in the order that the elements of a movie come together, except not really. They tried this a few years ago, as I recall. It was as dumb this time as it was last time.
Best: Tina Fey and Steve Carell. Best presenting team, hands down.
Worst: Jared Leto and Margot Robbie. Worst presenting team, hands down.
Best: The black history month tribute to Jack Black. There were a lot of jokes about the #OscarsSoWhite controversy throughout the night, but this one was the best.
Worst: Whatever that was with Stacey Dash.
Best: The presentation for the Best Sound Editing nominees. Sound Editing is arguably the least understood Oscar category, as it's difficult for lay people (and even people in the industry, if interviews with supposed Oscar voters are to be believed) to understand the difference between Sound Editing and Sound Mixing, and this year's presentation did a fine job of demonstrating just what is being rewarded.
Worst: Mad Max not winning Best Visual Effects. Yes, it's difficult to feel bad for a film that walked away with that many awards during the course of the night, but the film's loss in this category is a real head scratcher.
Best: Louis C.K.'s presentation for Best Documentary Short.
Worst, Now and Forever: Playing winners off before they've finished speaking. It's not even that I don't agree that speeches should be shorter or that the show is too long. It's the unfair way that the practice of playing people off is deployed. If DiCaprio isn't going to get played off even though the show has gone over time by half an hour, then don't play off the "lesser" winners who aren't celebrities. It should apply to everyone, or it should apply to no one.
So, that's it. Another year down, on to the next one.