TV Critic Gives Oscar Night Two Takes

Let's try two takes for Sunday's 79th annual Oscar-cast. Take 1: Blah, blah, blah. Not the passing parade of acceptance speeches but the show itself. It was so blah that even victorious Al Gore seemed almost dynamic. Take 2: The Oscars finally gave America what it hadn't had in way too long -- a dignified if de-magnetized respite from Anna Nicole Smith and Britney Spears. Hooray for this side of Hollywood. It's about time. It's easy to see both sides, although ABC's three hour, 51-minute ceremony (23 minutes longer than last year's) definitely had a power outage when it came to memorable moments. Yeah, it was nice to see director Martin Scorsese at last get a statue near show's end. But it's a pretty tame affair when tongues are left to wag about best supporting actor Alan Arkin's decision to put his Oscar on the floor before fixedly reading his acceptance speech from a piece of folded paper.

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