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Review: Oscars telecast

February 22, 2009 | 11:04 pm

Jack300 Somewhere in New York, a huge weight has been lifted from David Letterman's shoulders. As Sunday night's Academy Awards began, Hugh Jackman's opening number (pardon me, but did he sing the words "pubic hair"? At the Oscars?) has surely obliterated all memory of the Uma-Oprah thing. Not to mention taking years off the lives of the poor folks preparing to launch publicity for "X-Men Origins: Wolverine." They can only hope those teenage boys were too miffed that "Iron Man" wasn't nominated to watch.

Interpreting all the best picture nominees in a way that seemed way more Broadway than Hollywood, Jackman wound up on Frank Langella's lap, which was just as weird as it sounds. Yes, Anne Hathaway acquitted herself quite well, but dancers in Sprocket-like body suits? We knew that with Jackman involved, metallic lamé was a real possibility, but to make fun of the Nazi-war-crimes/pedophilia-themed "The Reader"? A choice indeed.

There were a few things to like about the new and "shaken up" 81st Academy Awards. Lowering the stage did make us feel closer to the glittering main-floor audience, having favorites such as Will Smith and Sarah Jessica Parker deliver lively explanations about sound editing and costume design was refreshing, and the James Franco-Seth Rogen "tribute" to the comedies of 2008 was hilarious. The inclusion of snippets from the actual nominated screenplays was also cool.

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(Photo courtesy Getty Images)