Just a quick note about the Oscars, as it is really late, and my original post fell-through due to an image-management issue...
We have held an Oscar party every year since returning to Edmonton, with the possible exception of 2002 when Glory was born (within a month of the Oscars). Even when we had first moved into the house (again, within the month of the ceremony), a handful of diehards called to tell us that they were enroute with wine, so an ad hoc party was called immediately
Bruce won with 11 correct predictions, and everyone had a great time. A lot of people bowed out due to roads or weather, but we had enough for critical mass (certainly more than when we moved in). The pot luck went well, with our sweet and sour pork providing the mass, and a lot of other thing (like Pete's prosciutto and goat cheese wrapped asparagus and Ellen's spaghettini with sun dried tomatoes and peppers and feta!), and it was a good crop of movies this year even if none of us saw all the ones we wanted too.
I really regret not seeing The Social Network in theatres, and I wish it had won Best Picture. Don't get me wrong, The King's Speech is a great flick, but my big objection is that it's an easy film to make: it's an uplifting, feel good period film about someone overcoming adversity in spite of complicating family factors. The Social Network is a movie about two lawsuits over a website that has absolutely no right being as engrossing as it is, but there you go. Aaron Sorkin's screenplay was the one Oscar I would have been choked about had it gone to someone else, as he effortlessly rolls between three storylines and doesn't really villainize anyone.
I was very glad to see Inception get a few awards, although I would have liked to see Hans Zimmer take home a statue for the immense score. The Social Network's score by Trent "Nine Inch Nails" Reznor was a good second choice for me though. Aaron Sorkin's acceptance speech was one of the night's best, although Randy Newman's was really good as well.
Natalie Portman was the only nominee I saw in the Best Actress category, and Black Swan was the best film about a descent into madness since Ken Russell's Gothic, so I was glad to see her win. I was disappointed that her director Darren Aronofsky didn't get more props (to make a movie with that many mirrors and steadicam shots and not give away a shot of the cameraman?!?), and I still think The Social Network's David Fincher deserved the trophy more than King's Speech's Tom Hooper, although I loved his acceptance speech.
We have a macabre game we play during the annual "In Memoriam" roll where they list all the Hollywood types who passed away since last year's ceremony, wherein you have to take a shot for every person who you recognize, but were unaware had passed on. I ended up taking eight this year, the most of the four of us who participated. I am pretty sure I had been aware that Dennis Hopper had died, but had completely forgotten (which still counts), but had no clue about Lena Horne (and a couple others).