Solid show but nothing that special. Awards were well spread and roundly deserved
Another year comes round and we find ourselves facing down the barrel of a long night of clapping and awards. However with Sky yet again buying the rights and sticking it on a subscription only channel, all I had was a two hour highlights show which I suppose is not too bad as it is long enough to get it all in but not so long that there will be loads of dead time to content with. After some time "interviewing" the stars on the red carpet we get into the opening sequence that, despite being a bit obvious was quite funny. From here on in we got into the awards, which I will get back to in a bit.
As a host Stewart did an OK job but I didn't think his style of humour suited that type of event; at times he did seem to struggle and he lacked the presence of, say, Billy Crystal. His material wasn't always the strongest but I like him enough to forgive him. The structure of the ceremony went well although I didn't like the fact that Nick Park and others looked like they were stuck on the very back row. The Sky highlights show did a good job of editing the ceremony together so that it moved forward well, although I know they cut a lot of Jon Stewart.
The winners were mostly worthy enough. Clooney deserved something even if Syriana wasn't anywhere near as good as his work in Good Luck, and Good Night; his acceptance speech was great and he marked himself out as a real gent. Hoffman gave a nice speech and given that he dominated Capote he deserved it (although I did think Howard was better). Crash was a surprise but then I had no problem with it or Brokeback winning. Wallace & Gromit was always going to win and rightly so. Other than Crash in fact there were no massive surprises and no one film dominated, which was good although the lack of shocks meant that at times it was a bit dull. The songs were a bit overdone and stagy and "hard out here for a pimp" was a surprise win (at least I thought so). Witherspoon continued the fine tradition of actresses giving overly emotional and rambling speeches and I did nearly laugh out loud when she said she was just trying to matter and make work that meant something.
The Sky presentation is as average as usual. I didn't see how they coped with all the breaks but judging by how they did the pre-recorded bits in the highlights show I can only assume they did a bad job. The links were filmed outside an after-show party and the sound quality was poor as a result. Jamie Theakston was poor on the red carpet and he was bland in the links. However he looks like a pro compared to the personality void that was Amanda Byram. I know the role requires her to look pretty and not much else but I was surprised by how poor she was her red carpet chat with Clooney was just embarrassing and even the great charmer himself was showing signs of strain in talking to her.
Overall though a solid show with nothing much to really talk about. Bits were funny but I can't see Stewart coming back for a second shot on the strength of this. The awards were mostly deserved and, with no one film dominating the spread was good and the nominations provided interest in the "outsider" nominees. Not a great show but interesting enough but I hope to God that Sky do something worthwhile with it or let another channel have a go (I mean, don't they have Barry Norman under contract for goodness sake?).
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