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Oscar Continues, 9 p.m. to 10 p.m.

By RD Heldenfels Published: March 5, 2006

Stewart's joke about the Oscar statue and democracy was a little funny. Or I had just saved up a sympathy chuckle.

Best supporting actress. Memo to self: Time to take the shrink wrap off that ''Constant Gardener'' DVD and finally watch it. Or get that old paperback of the novel off the shelf and finally read it.

Coming up; the second nominated song. Dare we hope for ''It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp''? Or will ABC hold that back for after 10 p.m. (still 7 p.m. on the West Coast).

Commercials. Cavs up 3 in the third.

I love Lauren Bacall's old movies. So sad to see her labor through this ''film noir'' segment. But in a show that usually runs long, I don't get the point of this segment, except to drive a lot of people to Netflix. And for a genre known for its pace and urgency, the piece feels slow.

I think the Stewart material is coming off as too writerly. I can see the attack-ads parody looking good on paper. Not so good onscreen.

Terrence Howard. Give him an Oscar. I don't care if he won one. Just give him one. Take that talkative makeup guy's. This is Terrence Howard, folks. He's a great actor. Look at his movies -- and look how dull he seems here. That's how great an actor he is.

''March of the Penguins'' wins. The guys are carrying penguin dolls. What is this, prop night? And it's amazing what a bum's rush the recipients get -- Jennifer Lopez is coming onstage as they're still heading off.

Not the ''pimp'' song yet. But a good one, from ''Crash.'' Kathleen York's a decent actress (''The West Wing'') but obviously a strong singer, too. Remember her as Naomi Judd in the ''Love Can Build a Bridge'' TV-movie?

A series of clips from issues movies makes sense this year, I suppose, And I welcome any excuse to see a clip from ''To Kill a Mockingbird.'' On the other hand, it brings us back to what George Clooney was talking about in his acceptance speech -- and reminds us how very long it has been since he made his remarks.

First good comment from Stewart in some time -- looking at the clips and saying ''and none of those issue was ever a problem again.'' But Stewart has me thinking of Tiger Woods at Doral today -- going to the last hole, knowing that he can bogey and still win the thing. Stewart does not have that luxury. He needs a whole bunch of birdies to turn around his performance.

Stewart's line is even better now that the Academy guy is being windily self-righteous about Hollywood, And it would have been great if Stewart had saved it until after this guy gave his speech. (And what was that whole go-to-the-theaters plea? Don't the studios make tons of money from the DVD's, too?)

Jake Gyllenhaal introduces a segment on epics. And takes ANOTHER shot at watching movies on DVD. Dude, there are movies I would never see if it weren't for DVD. And with a decent-sized set and the lights out -- the way we watched ''Walk the Line'' on Saturday night -- it's still a very involving experience. Moreover, I didn't have to ask anyone to be quiet, wonder if my shoes would come unstuck from the floor and remember to bring my debit card in case we wanted popcorn.

And on that rant, we end the second hour.

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