Who knows? If not for the new "Thank-You Cam," Sunday night's nearly four-hour Oscar telecast might have run six hours.
The new backstage Internet alternative to the long-held practice of Oscar winners reading long and boring lists of people to thank, and then finding themselves out of time to say anything meaningful, proved a success in its first outing. ...
Producer Laura Ziskin came up with the idea: Winners could blather on as long as they wanted, but not on-air. Instead, they could do so backstage in front of the Thank-You Cam, and their words would be relayed onto the Internet through the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' Web site. The videos will remain posted until next year's Oscar show.
Almost every winner took advantage of the offer, including Chicago's Jennifer Hudson, who still fretted she was about to be cut off.
"Y'all are going to start playing music on me," said the Oscar winner for supporting actress.
"No, we're not," Thank-You Cam host Allyson Waterman assured her.
Best actor winner Forest Whitaker used his time in front of the Thank-You Cam to thank the voice coach who helped him mimic Idi Amin's Ugandan accent in "The Last King of Scotland."
Producer Graham King and director Martin Scorsese of "The Departed" jogged each other's memories, making sure they left out none of the people in their film's ensemble cast.
Foreign-language film winner Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, who was cut off by the orchestra as he tried to thank his wife during the telecast, devoted his entire minute on the Thank-You Cam to her.
Helen Mirren, best actress for "The Queen," also gave earnest tribute to her spouse. Then she offered up a backhanded comment to her attorney.
"To my lawyer for making a good deal," Mirren said. "Well, not so good, but never mind."