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THE OSCARS: Too many Janet jokes, too little to buzz about

March 1, 2004

BY JULIE HINDS
FREE PRESS STAFF WRITER

Anything interesting happen last night at the Oscars? Here's a blow-by-blow account:

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  • 7:21 p.m.: The first big political statement of the night and it's auto-related. Jack Black tells Joan Rivers on the E! channel that if you didn't arrive in a hybrid car "you're kind of a jerk."

    8:05 p.m.: ABC preshow host Billy Bush gets things off to a lame start by joking "Watt's up?" to Naomi Watts.

    8:28 p.m.: Would security please remove Bush from the theater? He's roaming the aisles bothering the stars. And his Uma-Oprah joke falls flatter than it did when David Letterman made it the first time.

    8:38 p.m.: Billy Crystal works in a "Passion of the Christ" reference and it's a tame one: "For the first time, we're being simulcast in Aramaic."

    8:53 p.m.: Tim Robbins accepts for best supporting actor wearing a peace lapel pin. But he doesn't give an antiwar speech. Instead, he urges victims of abuse (like his "Mystic River" character) to seek help. Classy move.

    9:02 p.m.: Robin Williams pulls open his suit and grabs his chest in a Janet Jackson reference. The five-second delay is not activated.

    9:21 p.m.: During Renee Zellweger's speech, she recites a laundry list of thanks, but there's no shout-out to beau Jack White. Detroit sighs in disappointment.

    9:55 p.m.: "God, this sunburst nipple brooch is killing me." That's what Billy Crystal says Julie Andrews is thinking. Enough with the Janet jokes already.

    10:07 p.m.: Which was wilder, Jim Carrey's bald head or Blake Edwards crashing his wheelchair into the set?

    10:15 p.m.: Nearly two hours into it and this is the least exciting Oscars in years. Anyone else hoping Michael Moore rushes the stage?

    10:27 p.m.: Finally, some real news: Julia Roberts has gone blond.

    10:45 p.m.: A big slam at Bush, and not Billy. Documentary filmmaker Errol Morris, winning for the Vietnam-themed "Fog of War," says, "I feel we're going down a rabbit hole once again."

    10:50 p.m.: The tribute to dead actors, otherwise known as the contest to see who gets the most applause. Don't clap until it's over, people!

    11:15 p.m.: Funniest moment yet: Jack Black and Will Ferrell sing lyrics to the music the orchestra plays to hurry winners off: "No need to thank your parakeet, you're boring; Look at Catherine Zeta-Jones, she's snoring."

    11:48 p.m.: Notorious smoocher Adrien Brody squirts breath freshener before kissing the best actress winner.

    11:50 p.m.: Thanking her mom, Charlize Theron says, "And I'm not going to cry." Of course, she does.

    12:03 a.m.: Sean Penn wins. No surprise.

    12:07 a.m.: "Lord of the Rings" wins. Zzzz.

    Contact JULIE HINDS at 313-222-6427 or hinds@freepress.com.


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