danfrank wrote: and I liked that they didn't waste time introducing each best picture separately.
Given all else that happened, it's not surprising that few have noted this. Magilla will confirm for me that the way it was done Sunday -- a clip from each film just prior to the best picture presentation -- is the way it was done in the 50s/60s. I don't recall exactly when they started staggering them throughout the show, but I never thought it was as effective, and, especially in this era of up-to-10, it consumes an inordinate amount of time mid-show (as well as setting up ludicrous moments like Sacha Baron Cohen making a mockery of Room). I hope next year's producers keep the change intact.
I've been thinking about Sonic's remark the other night, that we should stop calling the awards predictable at least until after they've been given out. The past two years have been viewed as hopelessly routine going in, but have yielded startling upsets. The real problem is the hive mind of the bloggers -- they seem to value being in-the-know/savviness above actually covering the event, and they set in motion a "we all know who's going to win" narrative that dulls the season. In fact, their predictions often are correct, but even when they're not (as with Moonlight Sunday, or Stallone a year ago), they're unanimous in their predictions.
I have a longstanding practice of compiling predictions from friends and critics/pundits for whom I have some respect. Among that group of roughly 45 (some of whom don't predict all categories), there was close-to-consensus on all but a few categories this year -- best actor (the only major one with divided opinions), costume design, sound editing, and make-up (though some of us were nervous about original screenplay, my group went Manchester 39-5). It happens that the majority mis-called every one of those competitive categories -- Denzel was slightly ahead of Casey, La La Land and Jackie utterly dominated costumes (winner Fantastic Beasts got only 2 votes), Hacksaw Ridge got 27 votes in sound editing (Arrival actually ran third, behind La La, with only 7 votes), and Star Trek got more than twice as many predictions as Suicide Squad.
And then there were the ones that were viewed as non-competitive by my group, but went on to be upsets -- Moonlight of course (only 2 people predicted it, though those two predicted so many other long shots it seemed more contrarianism than foresight), and Hacksaw in sound mixing and editing (6 and 2 votes, respectively).
Of course, there were also categories everyone agreed on that turned out correct: the other three actors, cinematography and production design, visual effects, documentary, animated feature. Clearly we're going to have some such instances every year; that's been true in all the ears I've followed the Oscars (no one doubted "The Way We Were" was going to win best song). My problem is, the way things are set up now, everything's a gimme, and, while it's fun to enjoy the moment the consensus is shattered, I miss the sense of general doubt leading up to the event.