Comic one-two punch from Oscar hosts

2010-03-08 08:59

Alec Baldwin, the first duo to share the Oscar stage as co-hosts in the

television age, traded punch lines and barbs in this morning’s show as they gently

roasted this year’s nominees.

Working the room like a pair of Hollywood insider insult comics,

Martin and Baldwin singled out many of the assembled Oscar contenders for some

light, deflationary ribbing, starting with each other.

After they were lowered to the stage from the rafters of the Kodak

Theatre on a glittering, circular contraption adorned with showgirls, Baldwin

introduced his partner as "one of the most enduring entertainers of all time,

Mr. Steve Martin.’’

Martin reciprocated by presenting his co-host: ’’And this

is Alec Baldwin.’’

Much of the evening’s humor continued in that vein, politely

irreverent, at times silly and often self-deprecating on an institutional scale.

After one commercial break, Baldwin welcomed television viewers

back to what he called "the biggest night in Hollywood - since last night.’’

In their shared opening monologue, Martin motioned in the audience

to Sandra Bullock, a favorite to win the Oscar as best actress for The Blind

Side.

"Who doesn’t love Sandra Bullock,’’ Martin asked rhetorically, to

which Baldwin answered archly, "Well tonight, we may find out.’’

The pairing of Martin and Baldwin, seen by some as an odd-couple

choice to emcee the film industry’s highest honors, was not so unusual given

their screen chemistry in the recent film comedy ``It’s Complicated,’’ about a

middle-aged love triangle.

Martin hosted the Oscars twice before, in 2001 and 2003. Baldwin,

the Emmy-winning star of the hit sitcom 30 Rock, was once nominated for an

Academy Award, for The Cooler, but failed to win.

Martin and Baldwin’s grand entrance followed a formal introduction

of each of the 10 best actor and best actress nominees, who assembled on stage

at the top of the show, followed by a song-and-dance number, "No One Wants to

Do It Alone,’’ performed by TV and stage actor Neil Patrick Harris.

This morning’s show was not the first Oscar broadcast with more than a

single host. In 1987, the event was emceed by the trio of Chevy Chase, Goldie

Hawn and Paul Hogan. Larger hosting teams presided for several years during the

1970s.

But the televised Oscars were last hosted by just two individuals

for several shows in the 1950s, when one emcee presided from Hollywood and

another from a separate theater in New York.


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