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Oscars Continue, 10 p.m. to the Best Picture Winner

By RD Heldenfels Published: March 5, 2006

I so hope Jon Stewart wasn't kidding about running out of film clips.

I like Lily and Meryl making affectionate fun of Robert Altman's directing style. It's better than his acceptance speech, although the old fox manages to get in plugs for his latest play and movie. Of course, I also love a lot of Altman's movies. (Memo: See if ''Brewster McCloud'' is on Netflix.) I also know that Altman's career has included stretches in television -- the wonderful ''Tanner '88, a nifty ''Caine Mutiny Court-Martial'' -- but you don't get to hear about that on the movie industry's night.

But we did get more film clips!

And yes, they have held ''Pimp'' for late in the East-Coast evening.

Ludacris introduces the song. At least he's in ''Hustle & Flow.'' And what was that, 3 seconds before we got an audio drop? Toned-done lyrics. But THIS is a real Oscar song performance, thanks to the cheeseball Vegasy choreography and costumes. OK, now go rent the movie and see how it should be done.

IT WINS THE OSCAR!!!!! And the acceptance speech comes not only with a bleep but a really boisterous expression of joy from the accepters. Now you really have to see the movie. Stewart nails it, saying that's how you accept an Oscar.

Oh, no, not another attack-ad parody. Time to see if ... yup, Cavs won.

Best things about the Oscars at this point: It's moving along, so we may finish at a reasonable hour. And that ''Hard Out Here for a Pimp'' win has energized Stewart; good line about Martin Scorsese.

Philip Seymour Hoffman, shielding his eyes with the award announcement. It's almost as if his character in ''Magnolia'' won the Oscar. (And Hoffman's been owed one since that movie, and before.) Extra points for citing Van Morrison.

John Travolta had a little trouble with the word ''memoirs.''

Reese Witherspoon. (I hate those voice-overs offering tidbits about the winners.) Oh, she's such a sweetie. The camera's on her husband -- AND she remembers to thank him! Nice line: ''I'm just trying to matter.''

Adapted screenplay. Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana, ''Brokeback.'' McMurtry is one of my writing gods, so I am glad to see him win, well, anything, even a movie that recalls ''Lonesome Dove'' -- and pales next to it. But it's good to hear him remind the people watching television to read, too.

''Crash'' for original screenplay. Paul Haggis gets an Oscar. Could this please, please lead to the release of ''EZ Streets'' on DVD -- and maybe a revival of it?

This ceremony is now longer than it was last year, but still within reasonable Oscar limits. (The record is apparently 4 hours and 16 minutes.)

Ang Lee wins. Not a bad acceptance speech, but not one for the ages.

Nicholson has his fun. And ends up out of sync with the nominee clips for it.

Oh, gosh, ''Crash'' wins best picture. The people are almost as excited as the guys who won best song. It's an amazing movie, by the way -- and, I have to say it, better than ''Brokeback.''

And now that Paul Haggis has won another Oscar, the ''EZ Streets'' DVD is mandatory.

The loud music is cutting off the best-picture acceptance. THE BEST PICTURE ACCEPTANCE. For pete's sakem, it's the biggest award of the night, and this telecast is not setting a record for length unless the acceptance goes another hour. And they sure had time for some more commercials.

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