As always, such an anticlimax. But, the consensus in my tiny Oscar watchfest was “they were not that terrible”. Given that these are the Oscars, this is like getting an A-.

First, the dresses. Undisputed best look of the night, Rooney Mara. Best dressed, she was the only one who looked like a bona fide movie star. Second place goes to a brave and elegant Gwyneth Paltrow for pulling off a spectacular white dress. The rest was a parade of high-end schmattes, as far as I’m concerned. Put them all together in a rack and you’d think you were at a formal gown sale at Bolton’s. It’s a bad day for glamour when Penelope Cruz looks matronly. Where is Tilda Swinton when we need her?

I like Billy Crystal, but the shtick is not getting old, it’s getting prehistoric. “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close: that’s how my relatives are watching this show”. Me and the alte cackers who comprise the Academy are suckers for borscht belt humor. The rest of the world, probably not so much.

Am I crazy, or were there not enough stars? (Never enough stars). At least they had the decency not to bother with the Taylor Lautners and Ryan Reynoldses of the world. But I sorely missed me some Fassbender, some Mortensen, some Gosling, some Swinton, some Theron, some hormone blasting eye candy.  Alas.

I am still at a loss trying to understand what the hell was that commercial for Cirque Du Soleil in the middle of the proceedings. Although we are progressing as far as stopping audience abuse with musical numbers, apparently the producers cannot bear to part with random cheesiness altogether.  Who are we getting next year, Siegfried and Roy?

Obit time was long and corny, and is it me or they always use that song? There were some bad omissions: Raul Ruiz, Pedro Armendáriz Jr, Michael Gough, Michael Sarrazin, Arthur Laurents, Harry Morgan, Nicol Williamson. Instead, there was some marketing research guy in there.

Apropos of which, I thought the focus group bit by the fabulous Best in Show troupe was very funny. Focus groups are exactly like that. This was documentary in its realism. But if Hollywood thinks focus groups are so satanically moronic, as they are, why do they keep using them? Self-serving crap.

Was I moved by stars talking about how they love movies? No, because they didn’t say anything specific. And who cares what Adam Sandler’s influences are?  Anybody who opens a montage with a scene from Forrest Gumpdeserves a special circle of hell designed exclusively for them, with that scene looped at nauseam for infinity.

Emma Stone was charming. Ben Stiller should be disinvited posthaste (what was that skin color?), and as far as I’m concerned Will Ferrell and Zack G. can do no wrong. And last year’s winners talking personally to the acting nominees is borderline offensive. It’s like rabbis giving eulogies at funerals of dead people they never met. Horrifying. The rest is a blur.

Now, as far as the prizes: I was flummoxed by the techie love shown to Hugo, and thought it was mostly consolation prizes to Scorsese, until I read in Deadline Hollywood Daily that Hugo, which cost over $200 million to make, (and for some incomprehensible reason this obscenity is being rewarded) employed almost every tech guy in town and they all voted for it. Which explains. Because although it uses 3D and HD and ADHD, I found the look of the movie garish and applied with a heavy hand, sort of like a Parisian strumpet with a bad case of rouge. Which brings me to the one upset of the night that made me scream in horror. I was not rooting for cinematographer Emannuel Lubezki because he’s a Mexican Jewish homie, but because his work in The Tree of Life is truly awesome and ravishing. Plus, he has been nominated 5 times and never won. I really thought he had it in the bag. It went to Robert Richardson’s ugly, if super complex, work in Hugo. Aargh.

I had problems with many of the nominations to begin with. I would have gladly exchanged Kevin Spacey in Margin Call and Viggo Mortensen as Freud for Christopher Plummer and Nick Nolte. I would have loved to see Ryan Gosling for Ides of March or Michael Fassbender for Shame instead of Dujardin or Clooney. I would have loved to see Kristin Wiig or Charlize Theron instead of Glenn Close (who looked like the leprechaun in the Lucky Charms cereal box) or Viola Davis (yes, I’ve said it. I’m tired of her virtuoso weeping).

And except for The Artist and The Tree of Life, I don’t think any of the other 10 movies deserved a best of the year award. Do Moneyball and War Horse (which I haven’t seen) deserve to be there, but not Bridesmaids? With bad choices to begin with, it’s hard to get worked up about this.

The only awards I really cared about were that justice be made for A Separation, and for Meryl Streep, who everybody loves to hate because they cannot conceive she is as impossibly magnificent as she is. That was the one standing ovation that had actual merit in the entire show. She is the Grande Dame of American Acting if not of All Acting Ever, so back off, haters. She also does fake humility to a t.

As we have complained before, for the Oscars to have some sort of suspense, the ceremony needs to happen at the beginning of awards season and not at the end, when the outcome is almost uniformly a foregone conclusion. Let the voters not be swayed by the Golden Globes and the BAFTAs and the Golden Chickens. Let them do their homework. This would make them more exciting.

And BTW, next year, fix the sound problems. Geez.