Sunday February 27, 2011
Live-Blogging the Oscars
1:50 PM, PST: Patricia and I were going to be hosting an Oscar party tonight but poor Patricia came down with the crud and we thought better to keep it mellow and not infect anyone. So instead of a party it'll be just P and me and a cat named Jellybean (a rejected Lobo B-side, I believe).
But their loss is your gain. Or their gain is your loss. I.e., I'll be liveblogging the Oscars.
In the meantime my votes: Who I'd choose if I could ch-ch-choose. (That's a “Simpsons” reference, not a “King's Speech” reference.) This is want-to-win, not think-will-win. Off the top of my head. Or heart:
- Picture: “True Grit”
- Director: Darren Aronofsky, “Black Swan”
- Actor: Jesse Eisenberg, “The Social Network”
- Actress: Natalie Portman, “Black Swan”
- Supporting Actor: John Hawkes, “Winter's Bone”
- Supporting Actress: Melissa Leo, “The Fighter”
- Original Screenplay: Christopher Nolan, “Inception”
- Adapted Screenplay: Aaron Sorkin, “The Social Network”
- Animated Feature Film: “Toy Story 3”
- Art Direction: “Inception”
- Cinematography: “True Grit”
- Costume Design: “Alice in Wonderland”
- Documentary: “Restrepo”!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
- Film Editing: Andrew Weisblum, “Black Swan”
- Foreign Language Film: N/A. I've only seen “Biutiful” and was disappointed.
- Makeup: N/A. Haven't seen anyof these.
- Original Score: Hans Zimmer, “Inception”
- Original Song: Randy Newman, “We Belong Together”
- Sound Editing/Mixing: What do I know about these categories? Less than I know about the others.
- Visual Effects: “Inception”
A lot of these choices are razor-thin. “True Grit” barely over “The Social Network.” Eisenberg barely over Bridges. Aronofsky and Portman because they get you in the head of the character. It's Dostoevsky-type stuff.
The main one I want to win apparently has no shot: “Restrepo.” Maybe someday people will know.
See you in a bit.
3:30 PM: Some Oscar linkage before the broadcast:
- John Lopez of Vanity Fair with a funny piece: “The Complete Procrastinators' Guide to Oscar voting.” Best Foriegn Language film made me laugh the hardest. In my head. It wasn't LOL.
- The great baseball writer Roger Angell talks about the Oscars. Big surprise, he does it well.
- If you're still filling out your ballot, Richard Brody of The New Yorker can help.
- Nathaniel Rogers over at Film Experience is already live-blogging the red carpet.
Talk of the town.
4:20 PM: Question: How come Nathaniel hasn't mentioned Mila Kunis' outfit yet? She's definitely living up to her Black Swan character in that thing. She's even handling Ryan Seacrest well. On the red carpet he asks, “How did you ge that role?” Doesn't it sound like he's asking: “How did YOU get that role?” I barely see the dude but every time it's nails-on-a-chalkboard.
I'm trying to make up for the lack of females here by being catty during the red carpet for Patricia:
“Where did Cate Blanchett get that dress? From Rachel on 'Glee'?”
I know. Needs work.
From Patricia: “What's up with all these strapless gowns? I'm not a fan of strapless gowns. For the last five years there's been nothing but strapless gowns.”
Patricia on Jennifer Lawrence: “She looks gorgeous. And that is a beatiful dress. And it has straps on it!”
4:55 PM: Does Sandra Bullock look like she's had some recent work done? She looks tight and unhappy. P not a fan of the red dress, either. Strapless.
E! broadcasters: “Let's talk about Celine Deon.” Patricia: “Why?”
And there's Jeff Bridges. He'd be back anyway to present best actress but finds himself nominated again. Is that like picking up a spare after a strike? Do you get more points in the final tally this way?
Hey, how many other Oscar livebloggers give you bowling metaphors during the red carpet?
5:05 PM: WTF? I thought the show started at 5:00 not 5:30. Oh, man. See you in a half hour.
5:53 PM: Odd opening, no? It's nice to see the lines of “Winter's Bone” side by side with the lines of such blockbusters as “Toy Story 3” and “Inception”; but Anne Hathaway (AH) and James Franco (JF) going through the year's best picture nominees seemed much ado about not much. (Though I loved her wink at Colin Firth's Duke of York.) And what's with the “Back to the Future” homage? Because AH and JF are the future of movies? I'm confused.
Having the moms and grandmoms stand up was cute. But then they begin with “Gone with the Wind”? “Let's celebrate the best of this year ... by looking back 72 years.”
First award: Art Direction. Patricia wanted “Inception.” Instead: “Alice in Wonderland.”
Second award: Cinematography. I wanted “True Grit.” Instead: “Inception.” Wally Pfister: “Thank you... for all the respect you've shown to all the cinematographers.” Except, of course, Roger Deakins.
6:00 PM: OK, I'm fine with Kirk Douglas. But one should never milk it when one is holding the winning envelope. Just say the name. And one should get offstage when the winner (here: Melissa Leo) gets on it. Though.... Holy crap! She just swore on international television. Fun! She gives one of the oddest acceptance speeches but looks great.
Is anything going right here? Justin T. and Mila K. have nothing going on. Weak back-and-forth. iPhone apps jokes. Blech.
The best line so far is from the winner of the short animated film. “Our picture is about a creature no one pays attention to, so this award is wonderfully ironic.”
Animated feature? Pixar. “Toy Story 3.” I wonder if Vegas would even accept money on that bet.
6:22 PM: AH with a story about the first Academy Awards, which leads to an intro of ... Josh Brolin and Javier Bardem? I am SOOOOO confused.
Adapted Screenplay: Should be Sorkin. And it's Sorkin. Hugs for and from Aranofsky and Eisenberg. Let's see how articulate he is. Hey, shout-out to Paddy Chayefsky! Cool. “I wrote this movie but Darren Aronofsky made this movie.” Classy. “This movie is going to be a source of pride for me for the rest of my life.” Classy again.
Now original screenplay. Getting the writers out of the way early, apparently.
And it's David Seidler for “King's Speech.” Christopher Hitchens is throwing a fit somewhere but screw him. I'm happy for this guy ... who can't find the mic. “The writer's speech, this is terrifying. [pause] My father always said to me I would be a late bloomer.” Great line. Dude has something of Norman Mailer about him, doesn't he? He's been through battles.
6:50 PM: BTW, family and friends: P is already back in the bedroom, coughing and achey. Poor thing. Just me out here alone in the living room. Well, “alone.” I've got a beer.
Another odd bit: AH singing a short, angry song about Hugh Jackman and JF showing up in drag. Plus a Charlie Sheen joke. Is it me or does this feel like the worst Oscar show ever?
Foreign language film. Hey, Denmark in the house!
Best supporting actor. Why Reese Witherspoon as presenter? Who won supporting actress last year? (Psst: Monique.) This category is stacked. First time I've applauded tonight: for John Hawkes. But I'm glad with Christian Bale winning—if only so the world can hear his British accent. “Bloody hell.” “Mate.” Overall, a weak acceptance speech for him. He blew it all at the Golden Globes.
Apologies. Ducked out. Had to get P advil and water and search for a thermometer. Has anyone seen it? She said she left it on the bedside table.
So I've come back to a tribute to... sound? Music? The sound of music? Yes. Best original score. I've heard Desplat will win for “TKS.” But “TSN” was quite good, too. As was “I.” And it goes to “TSN.”
Now it's sound, mixing, for .. “Inception.” Hey, nice looking sound engineer! Lora Hirschberg. Waving to the back row.
Now sound editing. Also “Inception.” That happens often, doesn't it? The sound awards going hand in hand? How often? Anyone know?
7:30 PM: Best line of the night so far: Catie Blanchett's “Gross” for the “Wolfman” clip. And she didn't even have to watch the entire movie. As expected, it wins best makeup. Expertise in the service of mediocrity.
Costume design? I've heard “Alice.” And it's ... “Alice.”
I like Jake G's message about seeing short films throughout the year because it might help you with your Oscar ballot.
But it's the “best live-action short” guy with the Sideshow Bob haircut, Luke Matheny, who steals the show. He wins for “God of Love” and says the following with genuine enthusiasm and meaning:
I should've gotten a haircut. [crowd laughs] Hey, everybody. Thanks to the Academy for this amazing honor, I need to salute my fellow nominees ... I invite the world to check out these films, they can be found on iTunes, you're gonna love 'em ... Finally [I'd like to thank] my mother, who did craft services for the film [crowd laughs], my dad, the state of Delaware, and last but not least, my brilliant composer and love of my life: Sasha Gordon, you're my dream come true.
Now documentary feature. Will we get to see Banksy? Will we hear about the global financial meltdown? We'll hear about the global financial meltdown. “Inside Job” wins.
Now a standing ovation for Billy Crystal. Is that a sign of how badly things are going tonight? Come back, Billy! Come back!
Visual effects. “Inception”? “Inception.”
Film editing. This is a big one. Could be a sign of best picture. And it's ... hey! “The Social Network”! Fingers crossed, babies.
Here's our tally thus far: “inception”: 4; “The Social Network”: 3; “The Fighter”: 2; “The King's Speech”: 1
7:50 PM: Original song. Who cares? I care! Randy Newman wins! Plus his speech is great. He and Luke Matheny in a competition for best accepatance speech thus far.
Final four. Could “The Social Network” pull it out? The tension is ... ehh. I guess it'd be nice but I'm not losing sleep.
But why bring out Hilary Swank simply to introduce Katherine Bigelow? Why waste the time? Hollywood, I dunna understand thee.
Best director: C'mon, Fincher! Fincher Fincher Fincher. And it's ... Tom Hooblah! As expected. So odd. BAFTA gave the award to the American, Fincher, for “The Social Network,” and we give it to the Brit, Hooper, for “The King's Speech.” Grass is greener, I guess. Except they're right this time. Our grass is greener.
Jeff Bridges suddenly seems so at home on the Oscar stage, doesn't he? He fills it.
My god, Natalie Portman looks loverly. And they chose a great clip for her. And they chose her.
Now Sandra Bullock with best actor. Do we like these personal intros? I guess we do. Sandra is particularly good with Jeff Bridges and Colin Firth. And it's Colin Firth. “I have a feelng my career has just peaked.” Classic Brit line. And then the threat of the dance moves. Post-speech commentary. Me: “Very British.” Patricia (back from the dead): “Sooooo cute.
So now it's all pretty much a foregone, in'it? The only hope was Fincher, with director, but Hooper got director, so ”TKS“ will get picture, too. As it does. Just after a great intro by Steven Spielberg, reminding everyone, particularly the ”losers,“ of the good company they keep:
In a moment, one of the 10 movies will join a list that includes ”On the Waterfront,“ ”Midnight Cowboy,“ ”The Godfather“ and ”The Deer Hunter.“ The other nine will join a list that includes ”The Grapes of Wrath,“ ”Citizen Kane,“ ”The Graduate“ and ”Raging Bull.“ Either way, congratulations, you're in very good company.
So (with apologies to Alvy Singer) here's my awards for the awards show:
- Best dressed (female): Mila Kunis
- Best dressed (female again: because who cares about best-dressed males?): Natalie Portman
- Best woman who stunned me with her beauty all over again: Halle Berry
- Best acceptance speech: Firth, Sorkin, and Newman were all good, but I give it to the kid: Luke Matheny
- Best intro: Steven Spielberg
- Biggest surprise: Probably Melissa Leo's f-bomb. There weren't many surprises tonight. Or laughs.
The show was an odd mix of youthful hosts, giving it a go but not being particularly funny, and constant looks back to ”Gone with the Wind“ and ”sound“ and ”Bob Hope“ for no reason I could fathom. Rather than focusing on this year, it kept darting back 70, 80 years, to apparently remind everyone of the glorious history of the movies. Yet when it had a chance to honor that glorious history of movies now, with Coppola and Godard, it did so off-stage. Almost every move was wrong: from the Hugh Jackass song, to the ”mashup" of faux musicals, to the iPhone app. What a waste. Bring back the comedians. Give us new producers. Something.
On the plus side, we found the thermometer.