80th Annual Oscars Lacking in Emotion and Intrigue

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Unless you were too busy catching the newest episode of Rock of Love 2, you probably at least know who took home the Best Picture nod from last night's 80th Annual Academy Awards.

Nielsen Media Research says preliminary ratings for the 80th Annual Academy Awards telecast are 14 percent lower than the least-watched ceremony ever. Overnight ratings were also 21 percent lower than last year.

What did spark interest, however, was the second-time host, Jon Stewart, whose opening lines played off of the 13-week strike by the Writer's Guild of America, East and West. Ironically, Stewart's speech was notably shorter than last year's, due in large part to the aftermath of the long-winded strike. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for fair compensation and earned wages. At the same time, I would also imagine a fair amount of young journalists are waiting in line at a local Starbucks, chomping at the bit to take even half the salary of these supposed deprived writers. But I digress.

The point is, what the Oscars lacked in emotion they made up for in broad fan base. How else do you explain Miley Cyrus' peculiar appearance as presenter, or the three Best Song performances from the flick Enchanted, combined with that of lifetime achievement award winner Robert Boyle (whose speech, by the way, mirrored the length of a life's achievements...)?

Of perhaps more relevant interest to you physician readers is that of Michael Moore's SiCKO--about the dismal state of America's healthcare economy--which was nominated for Best Documentary Feature. Sadly for Moore, Taxi to the Dark Side took this prize. (Read "Moore" about the film in our Web Exclusive article, "Healthcare Reform: What Next?")

As Tom Shales of the Washington Post put it, the "bloated [80th Annual Academy Awards] and the effusive windbags making speeches that Americans endure annually, even as the number of other awards shows on television has grown exponentially." In lamenz terms, the Oscars were padded with the usual fanfare, but even three hours and 15 minutes was too long to hold the interest of all ages.

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