Oscars Weekend Ticket Stub Recap -- Well, it's been a crazy few days in the land of the movie fan...but before I get to the big finale, allow me to back up through all the fun had by my household leading up to it...

* On Friday, I spotted a car with two bumper stickers that seemed to prophesize a liberal Hollywood, blue state Best Picture win for everybody's favorite cowboy love story: "Wackos For Peace" and "Save A Horse, Ride A Cowboy!" Yeeeeeeeeeha!

* Saturday afternoon, Nat and I drove up to Salem for an entirely witch-free evening at the Hawthorne Hotel. We checked out the teapots, penguin, and model Taj Mahal made of plastic wrap at the trendy Peabody Essex Museum, and then enjoyed a delicious dinner at the hotel restaurant named....Nathaniel's, where Nat did not get to eat for free but did enjoy the towering portrait of his namesake on the wall over the piano player. Coincidentally, there were two weddings going on in the hotel, one of which took place not 10 feet from our table. I thought the guests were assembling for the reception, but then the bride and her dad were standing next to us, waiting to be cued to go through the door! It was small and relatively informal, obviously, but still exciting, and we toasted the couple as they scooted out to take photos a few minutes later. Mazel tov! We watched 'The Italian Job' on cable and then had an overpriced room service breakfast before heading home.

* Our annual Oscars party was replete with costumed fun, including a whole slew of cowboys and cowgirls:

Yippee-ki-yi-yaaaaaayyyyyyy....Anyway, we were all vaguely disappointed that Jon Stewart wasn't his usual rascally self as Oscars host -- he seemed way too intimidated and deferential, although still dryly sarcastic, and the skits were hilarious. He seemed to warm up as the night went along, so maybe there's hope for another try next year. I couldn't believe how quickly the show went along, and by the time 'Crash' scooped up that final statue and Paul Haggis' wife exposed her breast to the camera while hugging him (and why no firestorm of 'wardrobe malfunction' proportions this time -- aired after 11pm? accidental? non-black?) we were like, "Uh, wait, it's over already?" I'll rent 'Crash' to check out the fuss, but I have a feeling it's going to be just like what I imagined when I decided not to see it over the summer, an overbudget after-school special. But I don't think 'Brokeback's loss had much to do with hidden Hollywood homophobia -- hey, for all we know it lost by only a vote or two. Hollywood loves navel-gazing way more than high-minded social commentary, and 'Crash' is an L.A. story. Just like when 'Shakespeare in Love' won over 'Saving Private Ryan,' the industry insider vote wins every time. Ah well, it's always more fun to grouse about being robbed anyway...Until 2007, see you at the movies...

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