1) with nod = with greetings?

2) rushed = ?


Stewart opens Oscars with nod to writers

Hollywood's biggest night opened with host Jon Stewart joking about the writers' strike that ended last week. Stewart, host of the 80th Academy Awards for the second time, and his writing staff have been rushed more than usual this year because of the recently concluded writers strike.
More like "an acknowledgement" than "greetings."

rushed = hurried. They had to hurry to get the writing done because the writers weren't allowed to work on the Oscars until after the strike was over.
Thank you.