First of all, let me say that I think Hugh Jackman did a great job of moving things along without making it seem like he was rushing. And the show ended early enough for the strange "movie previews" at the end, so they must have done fairly well with time.
I thought the opening number was good, and I think Anne Hathaway (whom Hugh literally carried up on stage) did great. The big production number in the middle, though, seemed to go way too many directions and really fall flat. I wasn't sure what had gone wrong until Hugh saluted Baz Luhrmann and thanked him for staging it. (Luhrmann has a tendency to do the same thing in some of his movies--throwing in a few too many "extras" and muddying the waters. Don't get me wrong, I've loved most of his movies, but they do get a little off-track at times.)
I also thought that having 5 former winners in each of the acting categories present the current winner was really amazing. It was great seeing all of the women, especially, and watching them all congratulate the newcomer.
In the same way, I kind of liked the montages of the year's movies along the way. I think that the "comedy" one (which had the two stoners laughing at everything) was off the mark, but the others were nice enough and not too off-the-mark.
Of course, it's been a week, so the winners have all kind of faded into the background. Well... To some degree. I have two favorite moments from the broadcast which still resonate: 1) Watching the guy who won for WALL-E thank his high school drama teacher for making him play Barnaby in "Hello, Dolly!" (that's where the song which is the heart of WALL-E came from, in case you missed it); and 2) Hearing Kate Winslet's dad whistle when she said that he should do that so she knew where he and her mother were. Each of those was pretty amazing.
I have to admit that I kind of glazed over during some of the more standard acceptance speeches--including the preachy ones. But I was truly caught off-guard by the speech given by Milk's screenwriter Dustin Lance Black. If you weren't paying attention, he spoke out about gay rights and the right to gay marriage, but he also spoke about love and acceptance. I'd love to post a link to a YouTube video clip of the speech, but the only one I found was pulled by the Oscars folks (after all, the broadcast is legally theirs). If you want to know what he said, you can click here and go to Broadway World, where they have it transcribed.
So... yeah... there were pretty people in great clothing. There were some good speeches and some fun moments. And there were a few strange moments which probably should have been cut (like what was up with Ben Stiller?), but it was--overall-- a decent broadcast.
I can only hope that this year's crop of movies will be as good.