The AP tracks reasons why the 80th telecast might have been dull as soup – predictable winners, the writers strike, the rain — but decide in the end that:
Stewart, back for a second turn as host, was vastly improved from his 2006 appearance. He proved equal to the challenge posed by Oscarcast’s quick turnaround. His crash-deadline material worked. And even when it didn’t, he was genial, relaxed, and seemed utterly at home. His manner suggested that, before the show even started, the hard part was over: settling the strike.
“You’re here! You’re actually here,” he greeted the glitterati in the Kodak Theatre, as if to his living room. “The town was torn apart by a bitter writers strike, but I’m happy to say that the fight is over. So, tonight, welcome to the makeup sex.”
Makeup sex it wasn’t. But it was a pretty good show overall, with the only irritation being playing off the “lesser” winners. I say, they get one (maybe two, maybe three, sometimes four) shots to stand up there. Let them have their moment. But I know, they have to contend with the eternal complain of the “long, boring speeches.”