I can't possibly scroll through all those threads at this time of night, so my overall take:
I'm not sure where I stand on Meryl Streep's win as a matter of cosmic Oscar justice, but I can say that, simply as a moment in this Oscar season, it rated close to a Halelujah. I was sitting there thinking, there had been surprises around the edges, pleasant (Dragon Tattoo editing) and un- (sob...cinematography), and The Artist had shown itself, like The KIng's Speech last year, to be not the full-on sweeper its most ardent fans imagined. But, in the top echelon, everything was going distressingly to form, and I was wondering if it was even necessary to watch the Oscars anymore, with the Oscar-industrial complex decreeing the consensus choice well ahead of time and apparently never being contradicted.
But then it was. Streep's win was the closest to a major surprise we've seen in several years, and it sent a jolt through our room. That she then got (and rated) such a thunderous ovation, and then delivered a wonderful speech, was icing on the cake. Her win made the evening.
Speeches in general, from the major winners were, I thought, way over par. Plummer's speech was quite glorious; Spencer not all that far behind. And who would have bet on her getting the evening's first standing ovation?
The night started with the disheartening Tree of Life cinematography loss, which eerily mirrored Lubezki's '06 loss: in each case, the winner was someone many of us would have happpily endorsed in a year where Lubezki wasn't doing something extraordinary. I think BJ pointed out some time ago that cinematography has been a uniquely disappointing category over the past decade or so; even years when something good wins, there's someone most of us think is just a bit better (as in Jesse James and There Will be Blood, or Man Who Wasn't There and Fellowship of the Ring). What's the last straightforward outstanfding choice they've made? I'd say The English Patient, but for those who don't like that film as I do, how far back do you go? Glory, maybe?
I know Billy Crystal gets alot of heat here, but I thought he mostly did a decent job (though I'll have to replay the tape to be sure).
The In Memoriam sequence seemed EASILY the most classily done I can remember.
Hugo's visual effects win means Tora Tora Tora's feat of beating a best picture nominee remains our last such case.
And The Help proves it's hard for a movie not really in the best picture discussion to win two acting Oscars.
More tomorrow, no doubt. Way past my bedtime.