Jennifer Hudson saved the Oscars telecast.
That is not too bold a statement; it was in a really ruinous space there for a while. They gave out one award to the most predictable winner of all – even if you were rooting for her, it was a hell of a long time between it and the next piece of something interesting. Shirley Bassey was nice to see, but people didn’t hold their breath, didn’t get excited or call each other or tweet about it.
Then Jennifer Hudson comes out, takes a breath, and, just like that you feel like “Oh. Someone’s DRIVING. Someone’s in control of whether or not we have a good show. I can breathe now.”
And it’s not “effortless”, that’s not what makes it good, though God knows she doesn’t try hard – it’s knowing what has to be done. “These people need a glorious rendition of a song that’s mine. On it.” I’ve never felt the need to go back and watch Dreamgirls, but now I kind of hope it’s available on the plane home. I also feel like whatever issues the Oscar people had backstage in terms of actually getting a produceable show on the air, Jennifer Hudson could handle that for them. Just gently but directly tell the camera guys what was required, where to go, and why they need to actually find David O. Russell when he’s nominated instead of just showing Emmanuelle Riva in his seat.