I don't think the Oscar show was run live here in Beijing, and anyway I've been out interviewing people all day. (About Chinese coal mines and so on. Bracing!)

I had a personal though divided rooting interest in one category, Best documentary. There, one film that I hear is outstanding -- Taxi to the Dark Side, by Alex Gibney, son of the esteemed late writer Frank Gibney and brother of my friend and Atlantic colleague James Gibney (which I haven't seen because it has not yet shown up in the local pirate video stores) -- was up against another film that I know is outstanding. This is No End in Sight, by my friend Charles Ferguson. I had talked with Ferguson while he was developing this film and had a little cameo interview appearance in the final version.

Maybe they could share the prize?

Alex Gibney's film won, and sincere congratulations both to him and to Charles Ferguson for illuminating the consequences of America's perverse approach to "security" these last six years.

The odd part is, the clip that was shown at the Oscars to introduce No End was apparently of me talking, from my cameo interview. Via instant-feedback on Blackberry, I got a quick pulse on which of my friends and family were watching the Oscars (as I would have been, if in range) - and which were not. And, yes, in the "not" category I'm talking about you, Dad! Time to get back in touch with mass culture!

My ambition for next year: the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award.