I have only really watched the Oscars 'live' once - the timing for its broadcast in the UK doesn't really suit for going to work that same day (carpets and preliminaries till about 2am and the ceremony itself finishing up around 5-6am). That one experience of watching it 'live' was when myself and Helen were in New York and we sat up to watch it on TV (touchingly, appropriately, it was the year that Russell Crowe won for Gladiator: apologies once more to our next-door neighbours in the hotel for the instinctive whoops at whatever ungodly hour it was that 'Best Actor' got announced. Note: he should have won for The Insider).
For those who have only bothered with the highlights or newsclips, the Oscars coverage - especially as done in the USA - is a bewildering and meandering affair. The carpet arrivals take FOREVER, with dissection of every hair, diamond, strap and split for every woman who pauses (and some men). There are advert breaks VERY regularly (it always tickled me that every 'hour' of real-time on the series 24 was only 45 minutes in the UK due to the advert break-structure) and the 'patter' of the host can be frustratingly corny.
So it will be interesting to see what changes - if anything - this time around. Attempting to tap into a new generation (a little late and now mainstreamed I think), comedian Chris Rock has been selected to host 2005. One interesting point that may come from this: what will happen and be said regarding the black actors nominated this year, whether they win or not?