The Oscars

 Comedian Ben Stiller, portraying Joaquin Phoenix, left, and actress Natalie Portman make the award presentation for achievement in cinematography during the 81st Academy Awards Sunday, Feb. 22, 2009, in the Hollywood section of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)I didn’t catch all of the Oscars. What I did catch, though, were some of the most-talked-about moments, such as Ben Stiller’s weird and funny Joaquin Phoenix impression (left), the Ledger family accepting Heath’s posthumous award for him and the strange, vaguely off-putting musical number with Hugh Jackman and Beyonce Knowles.

Anyone who knows me knows I have opinions about everything, so here are my opinions on the snippets of the Oscar show that I saw.

Stiller’s impression of Phoenix was dead-on and hilarious.

That said, he shouldn’t have wandered around behind Natalie Portman. It was distracting and kind of weird in a way that even Phoenix on Letterman wasn’t. (Which is saying something.)

The Ledgers were wonderful. His mom and sister didn’t sashay down the aisle like overdone underfed starlets, Oscar host Hugh Jackman performs with Beyonce during the 81st Academy Awards Sunday, Feb. 22, 2009, in the Hollywood section of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill) but like normal people forced into lovely but slightly uncomfortable dresses. When the women and Ledger’s dad accepted the Oscar, they didn’t wax sentimental or trite, but just spoke with genuine feeling. They and Ledger’s dad accepted the award for Heath’s child, and not for themselves, and maybe that just made it all the better.

The musical numbers: I missed the first one but was lucky enough (?) to catch the one in the middle (shown at right in an AP photo).

I didn’t like it.

And after half a day of occasionally thinking about it, I’m still not sure why. Beyonce can sing. Jackman can sing. They can both dance, too, and do it really well. They made a cute pair, even if it was a distinctly odd idea to put them together in the first place.

Yet inexplicably, I did not like it. I think it was the mish-mash of all the different songs from musicals over decades and decades and the whole "The musical is back" thing.

Newsflash: The musical has been back since Chicago (2002) and Moulin Rouge (2001). The fact that the Academy is apparently 7-8 years behind the times doesn’t really surprise me, but it does irritate me in some way I can’t quite define.

Phillip Seymour Hoffman, nominated for an Oscar for best actor in a supporting role for his work in "Doubt," arrives with his girlfriend Mimi O'Donnell arrives for the 81st Academy Awards Sunday, Feb. 22, 2009, in the Hollywood section of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Matt Sayles)Also, I didn’t like the way the song medley was arranged. The good songs only had a line or two.

The songs I’d never heard of (and no, I’m not a cultural noob) seemed to go on and on, with a "Maria!" randomly sprinkled in for no apparent reason whatsoever.

Sorry, Baz, you lost me on that arrangement.

Also, what the heck was up with Philip Seymour Hoffman’s stupid hat?

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