The Oscars were mediocre, to say the least, and USA Today TV critic Robert Bianco chalks the "padded bore" up to the writers strike. With the standoff settled just 2 weeks before the big night, the staff putting clever lines in Jon Stewart's mouth was on a tight schedule. The result: Stewart became "an amusing but underemployed bystander," and the broadcast relied heavily on collages of old clips.
Stewart's intro was a routine display of inside jokes: He touched on the strike and Hollywood's Democratic sympathies. And his shot at the show's plethora of clips only served to underscore the emptiness of Hollywood's biggest night, which focused on "a crop of nominees who, to put it nicely, failed to stir much popular interest."