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Dear Academy,

Despite my initial misgivings, I had a really good time last night.  I don’t know if you’ve grown or I have, or if we both just had the right amount of mood-enhancing substances flowing through our systems at the time (you: booze, me: Oreos), but this year’s show definitely worked for me.

Not that the outing was perfect, mind you.  You’re still self-important and you could definitely benefit from a few extra rehearsals.  Your sound mixers dropped the ball on both Adele’s “Skyfall” and the Les Mis medley performances.  And you’re not helping anyone by bringing Jack Nicholson on stage for anything anymore.  I have loved his work in the past, but he’s over; I think it would best for us all – especially him – to admit it and move on.  Yet overall, I think this year you genuinely tried to become more self-aware, and that makes a world of difference to me.

Specifically, I want to thank you for:

1. Nominating movies that, for the most part, paying audiences had a chance to see.  I was able to catch six of the nine Best Picture candidates within ten miles of my home – definitely a contributing factor to my investment in the show.

2. Awarding my top pick in almost every category.  I can’t say for sure whether we’re on the same wavelength or you’re just buttering me up.  Either way, I’ll take it.

3.  Employing film students as stage ushers instead of aspiring actresses / models / spawn of Hollywood.

4.  Seth McFarlane’s (and William Shatner’s) opening bit.  It had a little bit of everything: geek culture, good-hearted mockery of film mainstays and taboos, audience participation… I went into the evening dreading what Seth McFarlane would do, but I was very pleasantly surprised (not that I don’t want to see what the Fey / Poehler team can bring, or have Billy Crystal host every year forever).

5.  The Jaws theme for overtime speeches.  I’m still laughing.  I may start using that for my kids when they are on the verge of time out.

My suggestions for future telecasts:

1.  Start airing the post-win interviews, maybe after the show in a press conference format kind of like they do for football games.  Apparently, we get some of the best quotes from there.

2.  Make yourself more relevant and relatable by zeroing in on the humanitarian award.  What did the recipient do and why is it valuable?  I know you’re all worried about time constraints, but I’d rather skip montages in favor of community involvement any day.

3.  Always let Hugh Jackman do something.  Anything: sing, dance, present, arm wrestle…I don’t care, just get him up there.  He’s beautiful, and obviously having so much fun, it’s hard not to enjoy the ride right along with him.

So.  Thanks again for a really fun time.  I’m by no means ready to get in bed with you, but the chances look good a follow-up date next year.

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