By definition Sunday nights are dull and depressing, whether you're packing your kid's lunch box, doing laundry so you don't have to go commando at the office (again) or eating Nutella straight from the jar to break the boredom of yet another Law & Order.
This past Sunday, though, there was something to cut through the monotony. Something I'd been looking forward to for quite some time: the Oscars.
My anticipation, it turned out, was unwarranted. Ironing socks would've been a more constructive and entertaining use of my time than watching the humorless and tedious telecast. It wasn't that I was psyched about the show's competitive content (I couldn't care less which films and actors win accolades from their peers); it was that I was anticipating some sort of spectacle. Adrien Brody kissing Halle Berry! Roberto Benigni leaping on top of his seat! Angelina Jolie, all gothed out, declaring her love for her brother! My excitement, you see, had everything to do with the gowns, acceptance speeches and "Best Song" performances, to say nothing of host Jon Stewart, who'd be my ideal man if only he weren't a midget.
On all these fronts, the Oscars failed us.
I'm not alone in this sentiment: This year's Academy Awards was the least watched of all time (only 32 million viewers tuned in; that's almost a quarter less than last year).
The dresses were safe (red with Tarzan necklines; where's Bj�rk when you need her, and why does Ren�e Zellweger insist on wearing the same strapless Carolina Herrera to every event?). The speeches were truncated in order to make time for cloyingly nostalgic montages of Oscars past. And the musical performances, for the most part, felt like Disney's Main Street parade rather than any sort of genuine concert, thanks to the three (three?) nominations for Enchanted, which I'll admit was sweet. But I'm sure glad it lost to Once. Even Stewart, with his dry wit, made me long for Billy Crystal's over-the-top broad comedy--with so vast a stage, intellectual deadpan just doesn't cut it.
Moreover, I've got to ask where the stars were. I know the Oscars were pulled together last minute due to the writers' strike, and that invitation to the ceremony has something to do with participation in a nominated film (though not everything, as evidenced by the presence of Jessica Alba and Miley Cyrus), but where oh where were the A-listers? Marion Cotillard is cute enough, and Ellen Page and I could totally eat nachos together. But when I watch the Oscars, I wanna see the flashiest that Tinseltown has to offer. Will Smith, Tom Cruise and their respective ladies were nowhere to be seen; Nicole Kidman, J. Lo and Angelina and Brad were otherwise engaged with babies and/or bumps; and Julia Roberts, Reese Witherspoon, Leo DiCaprio and Matt Damon all laid low.
At least Johnny Depp and George Clooney were present, accounted for and drooled over. Even so, by the time the Coen brothers accepted the fourth award for No Country for Old Men (didn't see it; looked bloody and boring), Oscars night felt like just another Sunday night. I yawned, flipped off the lights and went to bed, wishing I'd spent my evening setting fresh roach bait or scrubbing the inside of my oven instead.