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They wanted better ratings for the Oscars this year and they got 'em. The telecast was up 3 percent overall to 40.3 million viewers with an 11-percent jump in the highly sought after 18 to 49 demographic.

Prediction-wise, the surprise wins of ChristophWaltz as Best Supporting Actor for "Django Unchained" and Ang Lee as Best Director for "Life of Pi" spoiled my pre-Oscar picks list, but I certainly admire Waltz as an actor and"Life of Pi" is a master achievement that could easily have been Best Picture.

Going into the Awards Season, I had fully expected Steven Spielberg, "Lincoln", and Daniel Day-Lewis to walk home with the lion's share of awards, but, except for Daniel Day-Lewis, that didn't quite happen.

The best thing that did happen to "Argo" may very well have been that Ben Affleck suffered his infamous snub in the Best Director category. As if to make up for that, he seemed to win everything else and rode quite a wave into the Academy Awards.

I think the use of the "Jaws" theme to warn Oscarrecipientsthey were out of time was misguided. It may have seemed amusing in theory, but in reality it was ham-fisted and simply mean. However, the first time it happened, actor Richard Dreyfuss tweeted that he had always hoped music from a movie he was in would one day be used at the Oscars to shorten the winners' speeches and he was pleased to see his dream come true.

Opinions were definitely split about host Seth MacFarlane and there's no question that some of his jokes not only fell flat, but were quite simply in bad taste.

However, part of what made them seem particularly out of place is how reverently the movie business is usually treated at the Academy Awards, as if movie making ranks up there with saving humanity as one of the most notable pursuits on earth.

Although I, too, was at first put off by the "We Saw Your Boobs" routine, in another context it most likely would have been regarded as clever and pointed satire. If you think about it, what are all those high profile actresses doing taking their tops off in all those movies? Don't they want their kids to ever see their films?

by Jonathan Mumm jmumm@news10.net

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