The 2010 Oscars had a handicap before the show's broadcast even began, and it had nothing to do with a Cablevision blackout that was eventually lifted. The real rub lay within the actual awards and nominees, as all four acting categories required little to no discussion as to who might have a golden night and go home with some shiny hardware. So how do you salvage an awards show in which the majority of the nominations that viewers care about aren't even worth a debate? The 2010 Oscars did their best, and at times, it worked well. Others, not so much, which led the show to a sluggish, incongruous anticlimax.

The 2010 Oscars had a handicap before the show's broadcast even began, and it had nothing to do with a Cablevision blackout that was eventually lifted. The real rub lay within the actual awards and nominees, as all four acting categories required little to no discussion as to who might have a golden night and go home with some shiny hardware. So how do you salvage an awards show in which the majority of the nominations that viewers care about aren't even worth a debate? The 2010 Oscars did their best, and at times, it worked well. Others, not so much, which led the show to a sluggish, incongruous anticlimax.

What's your take? This year's Oscars show was:
Great4748 (18.0%)
OK14780 (56.2%)
Bad6777 (25.8%)
The night started off with a promising surprise, as Neil Patrick Harris -- who dazzled as the host of the last Emmys -- proved his awards show prowess yet again with a ditty about Hollywood duos (and a sparkly tux to boot). Harris and his showman panache make him a hosting favorite for years to come, as he seamlessly continues to marry funny with flair.

Hosts Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin continued the good times when they started off the night with a message: Nobody is safe from ridicule. Their pointed and often hilarious monologue jokes -- skewering everyone from Meryl Streep to Zac Efron -- brought a bit of edgy, insulting-yet-funny roast environment to the awards that have been sorely lacking. It was far more MTV than ABC, and if you ask us, it worked.

And then, as always, it happened ...

A recurring theme each year of the Oscars (and almost all awards shows) is the crippling loss of steam following the opening numbers and introductory awards. Going from Vegas-style showtunes to best score within minutes is like throwing on the emergency brake halfway through an exciting chase scene, yet the awards gods never seem to realize this. There's an easy solution to this conundrum, and we're laying it out on the line: Show fewer awards.

Fewer awards during the broadcast equals more opportunity for allure, razzle-dazzle and a fulfilling show, but for some reason, nobody on the production crew wants to make that call and put in the extra writing work. Sure, everyone should get their due and be honored, but this is showbiz, people, and when all of Hollywood is crammed into a room, someone should fire off that memo. So, sorry best documentary and best make-up, but the Oscars would be better off with your awards being doled out beforehand.

As for the presentation of the awards themselves, while a bit tedious, the longer vignettes featuring each nominee brought back a focus to why the Oscars actually exist: To honor the actors and films. The intensity of the performances is the reason everyone gets dressed up, so seeing them showcased in such detail was a nice touch. Still, when the majority of the big awards are no-brainers, something's gotta give when it comes to the show format to keep people interested. The Academy shouldn't be faulted for the fact that the Big Four were locks, it's just that they surely could have done something to spice up the remainder of the show.

By far the night's most touching and memorable moment, the tribute to late director John Hughes was as flawless and heartfelt as one of his signature teary-eyed scenes, conveying the hilarity, relevance and soul that Hughes' films consistently delivered. The intimacy he brought to his movies made Hughes and his art so endearing that it was almost impossible to not tear up when the shot panned to his family in the crowd. His legend will forever be a part of Hollywood, and the Oscars did him justice.



Riding high on the Hughes tribute, things then went on a strange and random downhill path thanks to a tribute to horror movies that included clips from 'Twilight,' 'Beetlejuice' and other movies that really aren't horror films. A scary scene here or a random creature there does not a horror movie make, Oscar. Minutes later after a James Taylor-crooned 'In Memoriam,' an interpretive dance crew popped and locked their way through ... something meant to represent each movie? Note to future awards shows: Interpretive dance numbers toward the latter portion of your show is never a good idea. How can such logically meaningless skits exist when integral things like live Best Song performances were omitted?

Speeches throughout the night were fairly standard (Mo'Nique's and Jeff Bridges' stand out as tops), as were the presentations. And yes, Christoph Waltz, Mo'Nique, Jeff Bridges and Sandra Bullock won -- just like everyone thought they would, and as they should have. And kudos to Kathryn Bigelow and 'The Hurt Locker' for their history-making night. If only they (and we) didn't have to sit through such a long, drawn-out show to accept their awards at the end.