Thumb’s Up for Ebert on Oprah

Film critic’s “voice” heard for first time in four years

Last Updated: March 2, 2010 @ 1:56 PM

Oprah’s much-anticipated interview with Roger Ebert aired Tuesday. And for those who’ve read Esquire’s essential profile of Ebert – and those who haven’t – it was a mesmerizing 20 minutes, even with the expected Oprah clichés (tears, oversimplified video package, Oprah’s ill-timed exclamation: “Roger is cancer freeeeeeee!”).

Asked how he was doing, Ebert — using a laptop voice modulator — responded: "Terrific."

Some highlights from the segment:

>> Ebert got a standing ovation from the studio audience.
>> He recently met with television executives about a possible return to television.
>> Ebert said he hoped the last words he spoke with his own voice were “I love you,” but could’ve been “Good morning doc.”
>> Developers are using thousands of hours of Ebert talking on television to create a program that will recreate his voice from what he types.

And, as it was Oprah’s “Pre-Oscar Special,” Ebert gave his Academy Award predictions:

Best Picture: “The Hurt Locker”
Best Director: Kathryn Bigelow, “The Hurt Locker”
Best Actress: Sandra Bullock, “The Blind Side”
Best Actor: Jeff Bridges, “Crazy Heart”
Supporting Actress: Monique, “Precious”
Supporting Actor: Christopher Waltz, “Inglourious Basterds”

Ebert said he will be attending the Oscars on Sunday with his wife Chaz.

Here’s the teaser, via Harpo Productions: