The 76th Annual Academy Awards are over and as Oscar winner Renée Zellweger might say as her character Ruby Thewes in "Cold Mountain," "Wahoo!"
The show itself was long (no surprise there) and early on, it tended to head down that trail many award shows seem to follow … the boring one. Many of the winners in the major categories were predicted to win early in the season, so there was little excitement on that front.
The political speeches were also kept to a minimum for fear bad verbal behavior would haunt the lucky Oscar grippers for years to come. The director of the Best Documentary, "The Fog of War," let rip a tirade, but folks expected that. … After all, it was a documentary.
In essence, though, it was like watching a pre-determined awards show for reformed performers.
I will say the return of Billy Crystal after a four-year absence was fun. Without fail, he came through from the get-go with the opening montage where he appeared in clips of the five Best Picture nominees. He made several witty comments throughout the evening, but seemed to be not as funny overall as in years past.
So, what we have to do is cling to the memories of the fashion and the red carpet to keep us peppy at the water cooler when discussing this year's Oscars.
The Passion of the Fashion
The women were glamorous, very glamorous, and they were wearing more bling-bling than a group of hip-hoppers at a diamond jewelry flea market. Even Zellweger, who rarely wears accoutrements, if ever, sported over 100 carats of diamonds in total, borrowed from Cartier. The only thing, as in years past, she wasn't wearing: any earrings. As my mother always said, "Your outfit is incomplete without ear wear." (You don't want to know what I used to say back!)
Unfortunately, there wasn't anything missing from the dresses, as in fabric. The women were well-covered. (Thank you Miss Jackson!) Instead of plunging necklines and overzealous cleavage, the ladies tended to go for elegance. Colors were more muted as with Charlize Theron, Patricia Clarkson, Naomi Watts and Julia Roberts.
Those that decided to go with color carried it well. Best Supporting Actress nominee Shohreh Aghdashloo looked radiant in scarlet red as did Catherine Zeta-Jones, flanked by her papa, er, I mean husband, Michael Douglas. A few ladies decided to wear white, which was more last year's color. Diane Lane was one of them, and although she was a year late and a dress short, she looked lovely.
Not so lovely was Sandra Bullock, who looked as though she hopped off the top of a wedding cake to make it to the show. The dress was gathered in two sections at the bottom and those sections trimmed in feathers. Yuck!
Penn Better Late (and With Mom) Than Never
A few other ladies sported fashion faux pas, not to the severity of Bjork's swan dress, but faux pas nonetheless. Uma Thurman was one of them in a white sheer, tiered dress with layered sleeves and a crazy vest that was tied around the front. She looked as though she should've been part of "The Lord of the Rings" cast as their very own Princess Bride.
The men stayed formal with tuxes all the way. Even Johnny Depp and Benicio Del Toro looked handsome and well groomed. (A rarity.) It was back to bowties for most of the gents — Clint Eastwood, Tom Hanks and Sean Penn included — while some actors continued to wear long ties. Ben Kingsley sported one in blue and so did Bill Murray. (Diane Keaton's was polka-dotted … oh wait, she's a woman. Oops!)
One look seemed to be prevalent this year among the fellas and that was the morning jacket. Ken Watanabe wore one, so did Robin Williams.
Adrien Brody won the "Yo G" award for the men as he's the only one that sported massive jewels. He had on a multi-carat diamond watch on one wrist and an all-diamond bracelet on the other.
The Red Carpet was the only place that we got to see the celebs really let their hair down before they buttoned up for the ceremony. Sally Kirkland started out the evening by being the first semi-celeb to arrive. Unfortunately, she's past her prime and didn't garner much attention.
Keisha Castle Hughes, the 13-year-old nominated for Best Actress, followed as the first big (little?) celebrity to hit the carpet or interview plank, as we like to call it in the biz. It certainly wasn't long after that before the stars started streaming in, one after the other.
They laughed, posed, smiled, rambled on about the honor, the excitement and, of course, what they were wearing … right down to their undies. Diane Keaton, who looked like Charlie Chaplin in her Ralph Lauren garb, said she was thrilled to be so overdressed because it was rather chilly out.
Jack Black and Will Farrell yukked it up with their ladies. Farrell's wife is very pregnant so Black decided he'd stick out his gut and pretend he was as well. Robin Williams and his buddy Bobcat Goldthwait walked arm-in-arm, saying they just consummated their relationship after returning from San Francisco where they were wed. Zellweger increased the anticipation by being the last to arrive on the carpet and she was virtually attacked by the media for pictures and words of wisdom.
And just as the arrivals seemed to be over … he appeared … the man that would be winner. Sean Penn with wife, Robin Wright Penn, and his mother swept into the Kodak Theatre. He marched right for the entrance and was gone as quickly as he'd come.
And not quite as quickly, so went the 76th Annual Academy Awards.
Heidi Oringer is director of entertainment programming at ABCNEWS Radio.