This was supposed to be the year the Oscars dumbed themselves down, to appeal to the masses. There were 10 nominees for best picture, specifically so that crowd-pleasing films such as The Blind Side, Up, and District 9could make the cut. Neil Patrick Harris wasn't the host, but he still randomly opened the show, with an over-the-top (and strangely unmemorable) song and glittery tuxedo. The list of presenters seemed to be packed with male eye candy: Ryan Reynolds, Bradley Cooper, Zac Efron, Taylor Lautner (presenting a montage of horror movies—huh?), and John Travolta (wearing jeans?!). One of the show's executive producers, Adam Shankman, is a reality-show judge on So You Think You Can Dance, which meant we got a never-ending, Debbie Allen-esque interpretive-dance sequence. There was even an overindulgent tribute to John Hughes, Shankman's friend, with a frightened Molly Ringwald and pale Macaulay Culkin, who looked like he'd been sprung from an underground bunker. If either of them wanted a reality show on VH1, it would be theirs by the end of the business day.
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