Watching the Oscars offline: the best

mozza-oscar-statuette.jpgSunday afternoon at Pizzeria Mozza: Oscar statuettes on the bar and early red carpet arrivals on multiple TVs. Photo: LA Observed

Tonight's Oscars show lasted more than 3½ hours, which is too long — once 8:30 came around the commercial breaks felt very unwelcome. But for the first time in several years, I watched the entire Academy Awards without consulting Twitter, live blogs or any pointless online sources of commentary or news. I deleted unread all 10,000 (I exaggerate) emails from The Wrap (the most promiscuous offender.) I was liberated from the snark, the competition to one-up with witty quips, the struggling reviews from people whose opinions about entertainment we wouldn't value on any other day, and the whole culture of excessive media and film analysis and critiques. I just enjoyed the show and watched the news being made. It was great!

Before I closed my computer, I noticed that the entire first two or three screens of the LA Times website were devoted to Oscars stories and photos — no real world news. Not a single headline about Los Angeles, California, the U.S. or world affairs, business, the arts, sports — anything but the Oscars. And this was a half-hour before the Oscars themselves had given out a single award. Talk about abandoning your core audience and your strength to chase non-local eyeballs around the web. Just to compare I checked the New York Times website. The NYT had a big substantial package of Oscars links and photos to click on too — but also offered its customers more than a dozen headlines on other subjects and news. You know, like a news website should.

On the show itself, Neil Patrick Harris worked fine for me as a toned-down host. He was comfortable, savvy and funny enough at times without being the center of attention. The winners that matter most: "Birdman" for best picture, Alejandro Iñárritu for director and screenplay, Julianne Moore and Eddie Redmayne for leading actors and Patricia Arquette and J.K. Simmons as supporting actors. (Wow, talk about two actors who have paid their dues and finally reached the Oscars stage.) "CitizenFour" won for best feature documentary, and as she did last night at the Film Independent Spirit awards, filmmaker Laura Poitras brought reporter Glenn Greenwald to the stage with her and let him speak.

All winners.

Local note: Kristina Reed won the animated short Oscar with Patrick Osborne for Feast. Reed is the wife of former Los Angeles blogger and ex-LA Timesman Mack Reed.

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