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Readers respond to Oscar coverage

February 24, 2009

TV critic Mary McNamara and Big Picture columnist Patrick Goldstein panned Sunday's Oscars show, but many readers didn't agree -- and that's putting it lightly. A selection of responses from e-mails and blog comments:

Mary McNamara's snarky review of Hugh Jackman's hosting of the 81st Academy Awards show was way off. I attended an Oscar party with a diverse group of people from ages 14 to 60-plus, and everyone thought this was one of the best Academy Awards shows they'd seen. Jackman's opening number with the hilarious made-to-look-homemade sets ("Frost/Nixon" debate in lawn chairs -- bloody brilliant) and his middle number with the lovely Beyonce were especially well received.

I was moved, not chagrined, by the dialogue in which the past winners gave interpretations of what made each current nominee's performance special. What was hated by all at the party were the way too frequent commercial breaks.

Sometimes I think critics forget that the average viewer does not eat, sleep and breathe movies and television.

Adreana Langston

Long Beach


With critics like Mary McNamara and Patrick Goldstein offering not much more than carping, who needs them?

It was one of, if not the best, Academy Awards shows ever! It had style. It honored the history of Hollywood in a most entertaining fashion, blending the past with the present. It had more emotion in the first supporting actress awards than most Academy Awards shows have in the entire four hours of drivel, forcing us to endure long-winded thank-yous and comics pushing late-night jokes in lieu of entertainment. It had people with real talent (try Hugh Jackman) performing wonderfully, keeping the show alive and seemingly spontaneous. And miracle of miracles, even the commercials seemed brief.

What more do you want?

Sylvia Lewis

Thousand Oaks


Patrick, you are just wrong. Jackman was the best host in ages. He had talent, charisma and nice comic timing, and he's just want AMPAS needed.


Via Internet


When Danny Boyle offered kudos to the Oscar telecast during his acceptance speech, those of us in the living room went wild. What a classy thing to say. And how true.

Jan Percival

San Diego


Our entire family watched the Academy Awards show, and we all concurred that Mr. Jackman's two numbers were definite highlights.

To say they were "lackluster" sounds like a bit of sour grapes to me. I don't know what Mr. Jackman has ever done to either of you, but everyone I've spoken with raved about his amazing talent -- both in singing and dancing -- plus his charm at the microphone. He was marvelous, one of the best emcees (except for Billy Crystal, of course), and to write what you did was uncalled for, cruel and simply out of touch with most peoples' tastes.

What upset me during the show were the totally unnecessary comments by Jack Black and the ridiculous stunt by Ben Stiller. The Academy Awards have a special place in the hearts of moviegoers all over the world, and they are not the place to mock other winners, nor to laugh at foreign names.

Susan Osborn



The review of the Oscars by McNamara was correct about several things. With the exception of Queen Latifah and Beyonce's performances, the musical numbers were botched.

However, the presentation of the nominees by previous winners gave us a bird's-eye view of why the stars were nominated and gave recognition to all of them before the Oscar was awarded.

We all thought it was brilliant.

Maybe we are a bunch of rubes compared to Mary, but an audience poll might prove that people watching at home liked this presentation forum. Is it OK to critique a critic?

Barbara Siegman

Van Nuys


It was a treat to see Jackman partner with Anne Hathaway (who knew?) on what was so obviously a wacky number that didn't take the whole awards thing too seriously -- a tone underscored by Tina Fey's and Steve Martin's satiric turn and Ben Stiller's hilarious riff on Joaquin Phoenix.

Melonie Magruder

West Hollywood


Did you ever go to a movie and you left feeling great, loved the movie, and everybody else who saw it loved it too, only to discover the next day . . . how could you like it? It was a bad movie, because the critics said so.

That's the way I felt when I read Mary McNamara's review. I thought, well, she's the professional, maybe I didn't like it, and if the critics tell you enough times it wasn't any good, maybe you start believing it.

No, wait a minute, I did like it.

And furthermore, you really liked it too, Miss Mary. Yes, you did. And your favorite part was the production numbers.

Nora Barsuk



And on a different note . . .

Dear Mary,

Amen to your comments. I tuned in just to see Jackman and was stunned to see the most abominable show I've ever struggled to watch.

Sheilah Porter

Via Internet


Note to would-be Oscar directors: The memorial segment should focus on those who have left us. This is the last chance to honor those who have given us great cinema. It is not time to show off your zooming and panning skills with the images often a quarter of a screen or less. This year's presentation was a travesty.

Lee Aydelotte

Huntington Beach


Hats off to Patrick Goldstein. Boy, did the academy get it wrong.

What happened to the clips of the nominated actors, actresses and movies? Instead we got a very bad "Ode to a Grecian Urn" type of mutual admiration society with the past winners singing praises of the nominees.

I hope the academy pays attention to how bad this year's show was. I really didn't think anything could top Alan Carr-Rob Lowe dancing with Sleeping Beauty, but this one did.

Bob Murdy

Barnesville, Ga.

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