Surprisingly, I can't argue with many of the award choices. It must be the first time ever.
Okay, "The Departed" isn't "Raging Bull," but it sure is entertaining. You're probably hearing a lot of cinemaphiles claim that it doesn't compare to the Hong Kong thriller, "Infernal Affairs," that it's loosely based on, but I can't imagine anybody saying that who had seen "The Departed" first. Scorsese is one of the very few of the cocaine casualties of 1975-1985 to come all the way back. Coppola has never really recovered and Cimino ("The Deer Hunter") hasn't made a movie in a decade. But in his sixties, Scorsese, after the relative failure of "Gangs of New York" regrouped and made "The Aviator" and "Departed." And well deserved Oscars for William Monahan's richly detailed screenplay (he's written a comic novel that sounds interesting, if overdone) and to Scorsese's great editrix Thelma Schoonmaker (her third).
How about the anti-Communist "The Lives of Others" winning Best Foreign Film?
Jennifer Hudson's Best Supporting Actress award points out the impact of "American Idol" on the entertainment industry. Clearly, before the TV show came along the music industry wasn't doing a good job of identifying female singing talent.
Speaking of energetic old guys, Oscars, and drugs, what was the point of making Alan Arkin's grandpa in "Little Miss Sunshine" a heroin addict? Doesn't heroit make you nod off, not radiate a ferret-like intensity? This just seemed to be another example of the film's random quirkiness, so I can't be too enthusiastic about it winning Best Adapted screenplay, even though I liked the film's message. ("The Lives of Others" wasn't nominated for Original Screenplay, but it would have been a better choice.)
Still, Arkin is a marvel. If you get a chance to see the trilogy movie "Eros," skip Wong Kar-wai's and Antonioni's segments and watch Soderbergh's (highly non-erotic) section for the amazing comic chemistry between Arkin and Robert Downey Jr. as a 1955 psychiatrist and his patient, Madison Avenue man in a gray flannel suit advertising executive, who between them invent the snooze button for an alarm clock Downey is promoting.
Another bad award: Best Score to "Babel" -- maybe the music wouldn't be so irritating if everything else about the movie wasn't so annoying, but by the end of the film I was intensely sick of the music. Well, "Babel" didn't win anything else, so let's count our blessings.