... but they got the wrong channel: Gospel singers, interpretive dance troupes, a sound effects choir ... after being glued to the tube for nearly four hours (three hours, 51 minutes and 48 seconds, to be precise) it felt more like we'd just watched a PBS pledge drive, not the 79th annual Oscar ceremony.
"What a wonderful night, such diversity in the room, in a year when there's been so many negative things said about people's race, religion and sexual orientation. ... And I want to put this out there: If there weren't blacks, Jews and gays, there would be no Oscars. Or anyone named Oscar, when you think about that." -- First-time Oscar host Ellen DeGeneres
Oops, he did it, too: Anybody know if the newly shorn Jack Nicholson made a pit stop at Esther's Hair Cutting Studio in Tarzana?
Second tier: Didja notice that all the winners during the show's first hour came to the stage from the second tier of Kodak Theatre seats? That's where they put the nominees who aren't, well, who aren't Leonardo DiCaprio. If the academy doesn't even deem these nominees worthy of good seats, why do they think we wanna spend a whole hour watching them collect statues?
Oh, it's still good for a giggle: "Ladies and gentleman, Academy Award-winning screenwriter Ben Affleck ... "
"Somebody else did." -- Best actor nominee (and now eight-time loser) Peter O'Toole on why he didn't win with his first nomination, for 1962's "Lawrence of Arabia"
Don't call it a comeback: "The one-time only reunion of the cast of 'Dreamgirls,'" Oscar announcer Don LaFontaine announced. Reunion? Dude, the movie's still in theaters ... they've never actually gone away.
Get breaking news alerts delivered to your mobile phone. Text BREAKING to 52669. You will receive up to 30 msgs/mo. Msg&data rates may apply. Text HELP for help. Text STOP to cancel.
Do call it an upset: Alan Arkin as best supporting actor for "Little Miss Sunshine." Sorry, Eddie. And sorry Alan ... your pint-sized Oscar-nominated costar, Abigail Breslin, looked bored and squirmy in her seat during your acceptance speech.
"Visual effects: They enable us to see aliens, experience other universes, move in slow motion or watch spiders climbing high above the city landscape ... for me, just a typical weeknight in the mid '90s." --The very rehabbed Robert Downey Jr., presenting the Oscar for best achievement in visual effects.
She's a serious actress: Just as she did when she accepted her Golden Globe from him in January, best supporting actress winner Jennifer Hudson seemed not even to notice that George Clooney -- two-time Sexiest Man Alive George Clooney -- was the actor presenting her with her statue. You can bet that if Brad Pitt, the only other two-time Sexiest Man Alive, shows up to hand us our employee-of-the-month plaque, we're at least copping a really long hug.
The real best actors: The Kodak Theatre celebs, who thoughtfully nodded along as if they totally understood everything honorary Oscar winner Ennio Morricone was saying as he delivered his acceptance speech in Italian. First, we do not believe that whole crowd speaks Italian. Second, Clint Eastwood is a four-time Oscar winner ... is the Oscar telecast budget so tight that he also had to moonlight as Morricone's interpreter?
"I was just backstage with Jack Nicholson and vice president Gore, drinking ... I don't think he's running for president." -- George Clooney
Class act: "And a special thank you to the members of the academy for this extraordinary honor. I promise to spend the rest of my life trying to live up to it," former Paramount studio honcho Sherry Lansing said in her short, but truly sweet acceptance speech for the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award.
Someone's angling for that hosting gig: Jerry Seinfeld turned his duties presenting the best documentary Oscar into a stand-up routine about movie theater etiquette. "I'm not picking nothin' up. I'm the one that threw it down. How many different jobs do I have to do here? There is an agreed upon deal between us and the movie theater people. It is understood by every single person in this room. The deal is, you rip us off on overpriced, oversized crap that we shouldn't be eating to begin with. In exchange for that, when I'm done with something, I open my hand. I'm not sticking my hand down into a dark hole, and trying to pry out three Goobers that have been soda-welded there since "The Shawshank Redemption," which is not a nominee this evening, but these five, incredibly depressing movies, are." Hey, if Ellen's busy next year, someone call Jerry.
"I just want to say that it's much better to give than to receive." -- Oscar nominee George Lucas to his pals, and Oscar winners, Francis Ford Coppola and Steven Spielberg. "No it's not." -- Coppola and Spielberg
Moonlighting Ellen: When she wasn't vacuuming, passing a screenplay to Martin Scorsese or pestering Steven Spielberg to take a photo of her with Clint Eastwood for her MySpace page, DeGeneres was busy inventing the "Oscar Bjorn," her adaptation of the ubiquitous Baby Bjorn carrier, to let Oscar winners tote their statues and leave their hands free for all those Governor's Ball libations. We love a host who can multitask.
Finally!: When seven-time best director nominee Martin Scorsese won his first Oscar, for "The Departed," it was only fitting that it was presented by fellow Oscar winners Steven Spielberg, Francis Ford Coppola and Oscar nominee George Lucas. And who was waiting in the wings to give him a congratulatory hug? His pal, and "The Departed" star, Jack Nicholson, on deck to present the best picture award. Which also went to "The Departed."
"Could you double-check the envelope?" -- Martin Scorsese, accepting his best director Oscar, and a standing ovation from the audience.
He's the king of the world (or at least, Hollywood): Formerly nerdy veep Al Gore made good, as his "An Inconvenient Truth" nabbed the best documentary Oscar. "It's not a political issue, it's a moral issue," Gore told the environmentally conscious celeb crowd re: global warming. "We have everything we need to get started with the possible exception of the will to act. That's a renewable resource. Let's renew it."
Pilobolus! We were a little irritated that the Oscar folk were getting all culture-y on us with Pilobolus, the aforementioned interpretive dance troupe, until they shape-shifted into the logo from one of the year's most memorable films. You had us at "Snakes on a Plane," Pilobolus. You had us at "Snakes on a Plane."
"I have a lot in common with our next presenter. She's married to Chris Martin from Coldplay, I have all his albums. Her first child is named Apple, I like them. She has an Oscar, I saw her get it." -- DeGeneres, introducing presenter Gwyneth Paltrow