There are always pleasures, and sometimes joys, to be found at the annual Academy Awards ceremony. But every year, it takes record time to get to them. Even the kind of Oscar fanatics who plan parties around their favorite Hollywood event went to bed Sunday night ... late Sunday night ... wondering if all the glitz and hot air is worth four-and-a-half hours of our lives. The answer, of course, is no.
But without the Oscars, there would be no morning-after water-cooler debates over the telecast's most memorable and cringe-inducing moments. So we take the trade-off.
In the realm of the unforgettable, of course, we were given the legendary Sidney Poitier, receiving a life achievement award with an eloquence and grace bordering on nobility.
And then, as a capper no one would have bought in a sci-fi flick, the first and last black leading actor to win an Oscar almost 40 years ago sat back and watched history's first black leading actress scoop up a golden boy, directly followed to the podium by history's second black leading actor.
There was power, too, in best actress Halle Berry's acceptance speech. At least in the first 15 seconds of it. When the winner of anything is allowed to ramble on to the point where they are tearfully thanking their attorneys, it is time to have them hauled off by security guards.
Perhaps the biggest surprise of the evening was the unannounced appearance of eternal and extremely vocal Academy Awards-hater Woody Allen, who was given a standing ovation by the very crowd he disdains ... and who followed this reception with a disdain-enforcing crack about having pawned the Oscars they'd forced upon him over the years.
It was interesting, too, that the 64-year-old Allen who married and fathered a child with his ex-girlfriend's teenage daughter was blessed with a standing ovation, but Arthur Hiller, the recipient of this year's Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award, was not.
Only at the Oscars.