And speaking of great performances, Whoopi Goldberg took her fourth turn as host of the Oscar show, and she was funnier than ever. Whoopi never shied away from controversy or making fun of Hollywood and its inhabitants. In one biting line, she said the security was tighter than the faces in the audience. She reveled in ripping Crowe for his temper. She twitted Sharon Stone for her husband's unfortunate encounter with a Komoto dragon, and she took more than one deep stab at the recent Liza Minnelli nuptials.
Despite the black cloud of gossip that loomed over A Beautiful Mind, politics fell by the wayside as the movie came out victorious in several major categories: Best Picture, Best Director for Ron Howard, Best Supporting Actress for Jennifer Connelly, and Best Adapted Screenplay for Akiva Goldsman.
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring also picked up four awards, out of 13 nominations. As expected, most of those achievements were for makeup, costumes and technical wizardry.
The one big surprise came in the form of a very mild-mannered Englishman named Jim Broadbent. He won the Best Supporting Actor award for his role in Iris. Many believe he was able to take the prize because of the equally brilliant yet completely different role he played in Moulin Rouge.
So What Was Gwyneth Thinking?
And as for the fashion — indeed, it is usually the cornerstone of the Oscar buzz. There's always somebody who forgot to wear undergarments or purposely didn't wear undergarments in order to shock and dismay those who get the clear view. There's always an albatross, a sore thumb, a hideous creature. This year, everyone was decked out. Perhaps there were some odd choices, but overall the women looked glamorous and well-appointed.
In a turn of the screw, Gwyneth Paltrow decided to show skin with a sheer-topped dress. It was very revealing, except for the apparatus she was using to keep from showing her, well, her reaction to the temperature. It was either tape or Band-Aids that helped, but I couldn't be sure which.
And then, out came J. Lo, dressed like Sandra Dee. Jennifer Lopez chose a pale pink gown that covered all that is meant to be covered. Her hair was on the puffy side (no pun intended) and for a moment, it seemed as though Miss America had graced the stage circa the 1960s.
Gowns were the trend overall, mostly black, some navy blue. There was a mixed group of colorful ladies: Kate Winslet in red, Cameron Diaz in a pink print, Jada Pinkett Smith in bright yellow and Faith Hill in every color in the rainbow. Her dress reminded me more of a wall at the pediatrician's office than an evening gown, but she looked good just the same.
The men tuxed up. Will Smith and Russell Crowe did morning coats. Denzel and Sir Ian McKellen ventured into the dark blue look. Ryan Phillipe was in Gucci; other men chose Armani, the classic tux maker. No atrocities to speak of here.
And so, save for the grueling two hours between the Best Supporting Actress Oscar and the next category you care about, the evening went off without a hitch. When it was over, all seemed satisfied with the results. Of course, as always, the most satisfying part was that it was actually over.
Heidi Oringer is director of entertainment programming at ABCNEWS Radio.