Politically, the Academy Awards evening touched all the expected bases: Susan Sarandon's righteous gaze, Michael Moore's bluster and finger-pointing, the word "peace" intoned repeatedly and tremulously. But who would have thought that Hollywood would make such a bold stand for sexism?
Poor Halle Berry. Last year, when she became the first black woman to collect the best actress statuette, she really imagined herself as an hourglass-figured Rosa Parks. Her emotions raw and utterly telegenic, she spoke of kicking down the door of discrimination and praised a litany of black actresses before her who hadn't gotten any respect (or Oscars). One couldn't help but be moved.
This year, Berry was back to being meat.
First, host Steve Martin joked about being able to stay away from her only because of a restraining order, then he paid tribute to her achievement last year as a breakthrough -- "for incredibly hot women."
And then came the part of the show when the actress ascended the stage to hand out the best actor Oscar. This is the moment when the previous year's winner gets to announce this year's winner of the opposite sex, sort of like Miss America bestowing her crown on Mr. America. It affords the star a brief reprise of glory and an opportunity to be dignified, gracious and certified as Hollywood royalty.