Now that I've had a chance to read a lot more of the post-Oscar coverage, a few additional thoughts:
* As tvtattle.com cleverly noted, reviews of the show were all over the map: "Best Oscars in years," "worst ever," etc. Everyone has a right to his or her opinion, but it's hard to escape the sense that journalists feel extra pressure these days to issue bold, sweeping proclamations in order to get attention. Saying something is "a little better than most, not as good as some," or vice versa, might be accurate, but that isn't the kind of headline that's going to generate a Drudge link.
* A producer I know (who will remain anonymous) made what I thought was a pretty interesting point: "I thought the real unspoken loser last night were people like Jon Stewart. I thought last night (which was terrific) was all of show business taking back their big night from the likes of a cable comedian and his snarky, New York writing staff. And God bless Danny Boyle for essentially saying as much on-air. And given the debacle of last year's Emmys, this couldn't have come at a better time."
While I don't completely agree with that appraisal (I thought Stewart was fine, and far from the problem), it does make one assertion that might very well be true: That the Oscars should unabashedly celebrate movies and be hosted by a movie star. Writer-producer Ken Levine echoed this point in an item on the Huffington Post.
Tapping comics like Stewart or Chris Rock has been emblematic of the "Let's appeal to a younger audience" imperative, whereas this approach basically said, "Here we are — big, glossy and unapologetic. Take it or leave it."