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Ask the experts

First off, if you want links to everything, check out the IMDB Oscars page. Second off, Defamer claims they’ll be liveblogging as well. Chances are the snark quality will be somewhat higher over there.

All you need to know about IMDB readers is that 26% of them thought Shrek 2 was the best animated movie of the year. It’s a sad world we live in.

And the show begins! The usual little montage. A few nods to non-Hollywood movies, and a nice theme of past and present looking not all that different. You can hear traditionalists screaming when Shrek does a scene with the Little Tramp.

Chris Rock is not yet being funny. I was promised funny. I saw the joke about how the only acting you see at the Oscars is people pretending they’re not disappointed a mile away. On the other hand, “Clint Eastwood is a star, but Tobey Maguire is just a kid in tights,” that’s good. “If you want Russell Crowe and all you can get is Colin Ferrell… wait!” And now he’s giving Michael Moore props. And now my TV is going blank. I’m not kidding; that looked like he got tape delayed. Whoops, he’s back. Still talking up Moore, too.

Oh, hey, clearly he knew Moore wasn’t going to be here so he offered to make Moore’s speech for him, except it’s pretty damned funny. I can hear the right-wing bloggers firing up their software right now. Hopefully they’ll hold off till he’s done with sending Mel Gibson warm fuzzies, although I gotta admit that Moore got more fuzzies than Gibson.

First award: Art Direction, which goes to The Aviator. I cannot in good conscience object to this.

Chris Rock is running this more or less as a roast, at least at this point.

This year, the “important award given early” goes to Best Supporting Actor. The Sideways clip is making me like that movie even more. Unsurprisingly, Morgan Freeman wins it and I’m 1 for 1. They even mention Shawshank Redemption in the voiceover. Freeman just blanket thanks everyone involved with Million Dollar Baby and is as classy as you’d expect him to be. My pal Jamie wants to make a serial killer movie in which Freeman plays the old cop who’s about to retire, and turns out to be the serial killer in the end. See also Street Smart.

Robin Williams had a song parodying the whole “Spongebob is gay” tempest, but they wouldn’t let him deliver it, so instead he’s just being funny. His Brandon doing Elmer Fudd is superb. Wait, am I supposed to do fashion reports? He’s wearing some sort of suit thingie. He’s also here to present Best Animated Feature, which goes to The Incredibles. Steve Jobs accepts on behalf of Pixar and announces the Movie Mini — 50 minutes of movie for just $5, or $3 for a matinee showing. I’m 2 for 2.

Cate Blanchett presents Best Makeup to Valli O’Reilly and Bill Corso for Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events. Bill Corso takes the opportunity of his acceptance speech to explain that the movie corrupts young minds, and expresses regret to all the people involved that they made such a good movie. I like the idea of Passion winning, just because it’d open the door for all the other gore movies — regardless of the quality of the movie, Passion’s makeup work was gore makeup — but I was doomed to disappointment.

I could care less about Beyonce Knowles singing an Oscar-nominated song. I just checked the nominees and I hate all of them, even the ones I’ve never heard, just on general principles. I’ve hated this category ever since 2000 when Aimee Mann didn’t win for “Save Me.” Bastards.

Chris Rock returns and steals David Letterman’s street interview bit. This is seriously funny. Then Scarlett Johansson reassures the techies that we haven’t forgotten about them and presents a bunch of awards nobody else will tell you about. Neither will I.

Pierce Brosnan comes out to the Bond theme to present Best Costume Design. With Edna Mode! Rock! The Oscar goes to Sandy Powell for The Aviator, which is either gearing up to be a juggernaut or getting consolation prizes. They’ve got some cool thing going where they put all the nominees for the minor awards in the same place to speed things up; this seems like it’s going pretty quickly this year.

Tim Robbins presents for Best Supporting Actress. These performances were all so very good; it makes me happy, watching these clips. Damn, Closer was a good movie. Cate Blanchett wins the Oscar and zips through her acceptance speech. At the end she hopes her son will marry Martin Scorsese’s daughter. Ah, they both have new kids. Well, that’s sweet. Also, I am 3 for 3, but I think that’s all the gimmies done with. My prediction record may go downhill from here.

Following commercials, a long tribute to Johnny Carson, including a bunch of great Oscar clips. It’s a really good piece. Sniffle.

Leonardo di Caprio gets to present Best Documentary Feature. It goes to Born Into Brothels, which pleases me as much as I can be pleased about a category featuring no movies I’ve actually seen. I have an irrational dislike for Super Size Me, see. “A little gold man, just what we always wanted!” Good acceptance speech.

Kirsten Dunst and Orlando Bloom present Best Editing. Ms. Dunst is very platinum blonde and while I’ve sworn a vow not to get all “who’s hot who’s not,” she’s enough to make me slip. (My crush is long-standing; leave me alone.) The Oscar goes to Thelma Schoonmaker for The Aviator, which is looking like — I can’t resist — it has wings. She’s been working with Scorsese for a very long time. At the moment, she has two more Oscars than he does.

Mike Meyers comes on and introduces the Shrek 2 Oscar nominated song. I forgive him only because he says he likes the part where “Shrek farts in the mud.” I’m easily pleased. Adam Duritz of Counting Crows has done something terrible to his hair; hopefully this will serve as a warning to future generations.

Adam Sandler is announced as presenting with Catherine Zeta-Jones, but she doesn’t show up so Chris Rock comes out and the pair of them do a promo piece for the Longest Yard remake. It’s funny even though it’s designed to get us all thinking about how funny they are together. After the promo, Sandler presents Best Screenplay (Adapted), which goes to Sideways! I am 4 for 4 and feeling good about myself.

Jake Gyllenhall is presenting Best Visual Effects with Ziyi Zhang — an odd couple if I’ve ever seen one. The Oscar goes to John Dykstra and crew for Spider-man 2, which is just awesome. John’s really glad there wasn’t a fourth episode of Lord of the Rings. Heh.

Al Pacino presents an honorary Oscar to Sidney Lumet. That’s what I call a well-deserved honor. The guy’s a total craftsman and he’s made some really superb movies. During the montage, it looks disturbingly like Vin Diesel did a Lumet movie, which proves to be accurate. What do you know? Lumet remembers what he was going to say when he was nominated for Best Director for his first movie, 12 Angry Men, heh. Probably his best movie, too — that’s gotta feel odd at times.

Emily Rossum introduces the song from Phantom of the Opera and Beyonce sings it again. Goodie for her. Goodie for all of them. Hate.

Introducing Jeremy Irons as a comedy superstar is pretty funny. It’s good to always have a venerated British actor on tap, even if they aren’t really the best actor in the world. He’s presenting Best Short Film to Wasp by Andrea Arnold; this is another one where they stick all the nominees together and present from the audience, which I think is meant to speed things up. I like the acceptance speeches from the minor awards, because nobody expects them to be polished. This belief is proved when Andrea Arnold says that winning an Oscar is the “dog’s bollocks.”

Laura Linney presents Best Short Animated Film to Ryan — this one I wanna see, actually; it’s about a Canadian animator who descending into alcoholism in the 70s. Very serious subject; supposed to be very grim. I like seeing this kind of animation win.

Kate Winslet presents Best Cinematography to Robert Richardson for The Aviator. The acceptance speech is about his mother, who’s in the hospital — quiet and moving. That’s six Oscars for The Aviator, and I think I see where this is going. Alan Alda didn’t win, though!

The next presenter pair is Selma Hayek and Penelope Cruz. They’re presenting Best Sound, which goes to Ray, beating out The Aviator. The Scorsese Express has derailed? Nah, I cynically believe that it’s just that nobody knows what this award is about and Ray was about a musician. They also get to present Best Sound Editing. That doesn’t help clear up the difference between the awards, does it? In any case, it goes to The Incredibles, and one of the winners explains grouchily that it is so an artistic award. The audience is pleased to hear it.

Finally, Selma Hayek, who has been out there for a long time, introduces a song from The Motorcycle Diaries. During this speech, she blithely works in a favorable mention of Che, which is met by awkward silence from the audience.

Antonio Banderas will be singing this song. Carlos Santana will be playing guitar. Most of the music is coming from a tape, which is a big fat shame, but I’m still feeling like this redeems the Best Song category a bit. This is the first Spanish-language song nominated for an Oscar. I’ll get all bitter again when it loses.

Late-breaking news: Robert Richardson’s kids apparently go to school with my nephew. Or did; he’s graduated and moved on and I guess they have too. Neat.

Best Documentary Short is presented by Natalie Portman, who applauds the nominees. This comes across as kind of stilted somehow. The Oscar goes to Mighty Times, and Robert Huston namechecks the Southern Poverty Law Center. That sound is a bunch more right-wing bloggers getting upset, but then Chris Rock makes a John Kerry joke. Mixed messages! Agony!

John Travolta has been reduced to giving out Best Score Oscars. Howard Shore isn’t nominated, so I don’t care too much — I see Shore as a sort of Oscar stand-in since Cronenberg won’t ever win. Tonight, it’s Finding Neverland. Passion of the Christ has now been shut out in all categories in which it was nominated, by the by.

Scorsese makes his first trip to the stage to give the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award to Roger Mayer. I don’t read anything into him presenting this; he’s a great film historian and Mayer is apparently winning partially for his work in film preservation. Also partially for his work on behalf of retired actors.

Annette Bening introduces Yo Yo Ma, who plays Bach during the requiem for those who died in 2004. Reagan is first; that’s good. The applause for Russ Meyer is uncertain. Brando gets to deliver a line in his clip. It’s moving. This is, in a morbid way, generally my favorite part of the Oscars.

Sean Combs introducing the song from Polar Express may beat the requiem this year, though. That’s just surreal. Beyonce gets to sing again. Sigh.

This is immediately followed by the deadpan Prince, who will present the actual Best Song Oscar. Holy crap, “Al Otro Lado Del Rio” won! I can’t hate this category any more. That’s a surprising turn of events. Even more surprising: Jorge Drexler sings his entire acceptance speech, in Spanish. That’s like Benigni’s acceptance speech, but cool.

Sean Penn comes up to explain that Jude Law is one of our finest actors, and that for every talented actor there are five actresses who are even better. I think that was a scripted joke, but it was seriously mis-delivered. Anyway, the Best Actress Oscar goes to Hilary Swank, making me 5 for 5 in predictions. The voiceover interviews that Hilary Swank is the first person to win an Oscar for playing a boxer. She is also the first person to go over her allotted speech time tonight. Tacky.

Chris Rock has not, by the by, deviated from the roast format. He’s very bland. He introduces Gwyneth Paltrow, who comes across rather poorly when she explains that she didn’t have enough time to learn how to introduce each foreign language film in its own language. Best Foreign Language Film goes to The Sea Inside. This is kind of politicized in that it’s a much stronger statement about the right to die than, um, a certain other movie which I’m declining to spoil for some reason. Interesting choice.

Samuel Jackson presents Best Screenplay (Original). It goes to Charlie Kaufman, Michel Gondry, and Pierre Bismuth for Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Awesome choice and the right choice, plus I’m also six for six on predictions. Charlie Kaufman is hyperaware of the countdown clock on his speech; at the end he politely explains that he doesn’t want to take his time, he just wants to get off-stage. He’s been deserving an Oscar for a while. I’m glad he got one.

To absolutely nobody’s surprise, Jamie Foxx wins Best Actor. That had so little tension I’m not even sure who was presenting. I’m almost embarrassed to be seven for seven. Nice acceptance speech, though.

You can guess whether or not I’m happy seeing Julia Roberts. Why does she get to present Best Director? Same reason she gets to be in good movies, I suppose. The Academy — foils my perfect night and gives the Oscar to Clint Eastwood! Scorsese is never going to win one. I’m surprised.

Dustin Hoffman and Barbara Streisand advertise Meet the Fockers — she even calls him Bernie — under the guise of presenting the Best Picture Oscar. It goes to Million Dollar Baby, which is not a surprise after the last Oscar. Hey, Barbra presented Eastwood with his Best Director Oscar for Unforgiven. There’s some trivia for you.

In the end I went seven for nine on predictions, which is not bad. The show went only 12 minutes over budget, which is very impressive. And that’s a wrap here, cause I’m tired.

9 Comments

  1. Joyce Jun'r Joyce Jun'r

    Um…and is there a reason you’re not at Bill’s house in the South End watching this? Huh? HUH?!

  2. 1. I’m running a fever.

    2. My underwear does not count as high fashion.

  3. Beyonce MANGLED that song. That was horrible, horrible, horrible.

    I think the Johnny Carson montage was the reason they asked Rock to host – they knew that whoever was hosting would look like an absolute ass next to that, and they wanted it to be someone they wouldn’t be asking back for a few years. Carson was so sincere and soft-spoken. Are there not people like that anymore?

  4. Steve Martin was good. You know who would be great? Jon Stewart.

  5. Oops. I see that Beyonce got to perform two songs – I was out of the room for the second. The song I can state with authority that she mangled was the (nominally) French one.

    Yeah, Steve Martin was good, but he still didn’t make it seem easy the way Carson did. You’re probably right about Stewart, though.

  6. anonymous anonymous

    Cute acceptance from Kaufman. Pretty much what you’d expect from him

  7. anonymous anonymous

    “Adam Duritz of Counting Crows has done something terrible to his hair; hopefully this will serve as a warning to future generations.”

    Lisa had my favorite line of the evening, re: Duritz’ hair: “Sideshow Bob is singing the song from Shrek!”

  8. Rob Rob

    That was me that posted that.

  9. Kevin Kevin

    Carson was not a good host!! Why are people hating on Chris Rock?? He did an excellent job…I guess people are just use to the same old boring stuff every year!! That is the first time I have ever watch the whole Oscar Awards Show and it’s all because of Chris Rock!!

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