Lights, Cameras, Oscar Live Blog

So even the writer's strike couldn't stop the show from going on, and while I think it would have been amusing to see this bloated love-in taken down, now that it is here I might as well as snipe from the sidelines. I couldn't bring myself to watch the red carpet though, but for a full rundown of all the fakery, check out The Ampersand and Inside the Box. On with the show...

8:30 - Just a big ol' montage — every film needs a montage.

8:33 - Jon Stewart acknowledges the writer's strike right off the top — nice to see, I suppose you can't ignore the elephant in the room. He's looking way more comfortable than last time.

8:35 - "Thank goodnees for teen sex!" Truer words were never spoken.

8:36 - The first Jack Nicholson reaction shot. They will return to it again and again and...

8:38 - Going after Dennis Hopper? Seems a little odd and easy, but ok. Oh, but he did teach everyone how to find their own porn name, thanks to Juno screenwriter Diablo Cody, which is also a fine porn name. Mine is Sasha St. George.

8:39 - Iraq humour is not going down so well, but jokes at Republicans? Bullseye.

8:40 - The camera guys keep panning to black members of the audience each time Stewart mentions Barack Obama. It's already predictable.

8:42 - Aren't they supposed to start with a big award? Costume design is the first up, which leads me to believe we are in for a long night. First Oscar goes to Elizabeth: The Golden Age and I am batting zero on the Oscar pool. Nice short speech though. Did they have the Babs clip ready if somebody went short?

8:47 - George Clooney comes up to joke about how long the show is and then presents a clip that will help it drag on. It's 80 years of Oscars as the show tries to get a piece of what every online site, paper and magazine has been running for the past few weeks. Can't blame 'em for trying to get a piece of the action I suppose. On the up side there was a great shot of Jack with what looked like hair plugs. God Hollywood loves themselves.

8:51 - Steve Carrell gets a Get Smart intro. They are really going to push that film. Hmm, they really needed the writers to put together that "spontaneous" dialogue?

8:54 - Ratatouille wins for Animated Film and I'm on the board. Where is the Simpson Movie in this category? Nowhere, that's where. Let that be a lesson for anyone who waits a full decade after they were at the top of their game. And the winner is the first to be played off the stage.

8:57 - La Vie en Rose wins for Best Makeup. Another win for me, another play off the stage.

8:59 - While I don't find people reading lists of names all that enticing, I'd pick that over performances of the Best Original Song. Play long clips of the Best Picture nominees, linger on Jack smirking at the camera — anything but these songs which have so little to do with the films.

9:07 - Visual Effects? Really saving up the for the biggies aren't they? And the Rock as a presenter? Is that some sort of comment about wrestling?

9:08 - The Golden Compass wins and my Oscar picks drop to 50/50. So in a battle between polar bears and giant transforming robots, the bears win. Who knew?

9:10 - We are whipping through the tech categories — take that newspapers with early deadlines. Sweeny Todd wins for Art Direction and I'm back on the plus side, for anyone who is keeping track. Much love for Johnny Depp — and who can blame them? He is the coolest man on earth.

9:13 - Jon says Cate Blanchett is unstoppable. She's a double nominee for Elizabeth and I'm Not There, but that's the sort of thing that tends to split your vote. We'll see soon enough.

9:15 - Cuba Gooding's repeat speech is longer than the first winner of the night. Whatever happened to that guy?

9:18 - Woo hoo, Javier Bardem wins for No Country for Old Men! The first for a No Country sweep? Bardem was so incredibly creepy, it's well deserved. Other than "thanking" the Coen's for his bob haircut, he spends the rest of his time thanking his mom in Spanish — what a sweet guy. C'mon Academy, give these folks some more time.

9:23 - Stewart continues his riff on the writer's strike with "faux" Oscar montages — tributes to periscopes and binoculars and bad dreams. Beats out these Best Song sections.

9:26 - You know what I miss? Interpretive dancing. That was at least terrible enough to be enjoyable. These are just good bathroom breaks. Ha, Stewart just rolled his eyes!

9:28 - Look Owen Wilson is at the Oscars and isn't in the dead people montage!
Too soon?

9:30 - Le Mozart Des Pickpockets wins for Live Action Short Film and I'm back to 50% in the pool. Arrgh!

9:32 - Seinfeld does the bee thing and it is good. I wonder how many times he's been asked to host? Peter and the Wolf wins and I am being killed in my picks. Good thing I'm not at any fabulous party or anything.

9:37 - An hour in and only the second major award of the night. Tilda Swinton wins and swears she is going to give her Oscar to her agent. We'll see if that happens. And she appears to dedicate it to George Clooney's Batman nipples as well.

9:44 - Jessica Alba is a hot mommy-to-be. She hosted the Scientific and Technical Awards which makes you wonder, if they have a show like that, how did TWO sound editing awards make it to the big show?

9: 46 - Only the second Jack mugging of the evening. What's going on?

9:47 - More Jack. There we go. And what a terrible intro for an award about writing - a stilted reading of famous lines. The Coen's win Best Adapted Screenplay for No Country and they have an equally awkward acceptance speech. Their talent is behind the camera, not in front of it. Sadly, it means Sarah Polley loses, but I'm sure this is a case where it was an honour just to be nominated.

9:50 - An explanation about how the voting process works. Yet another bit that has been covered in features in the weeks proceeding, ad nauseum. At least even Stewart knows how lame it is: "That's amazing."

10:02 - Knocked Up's Jonah Hill and Seth Rogen bicker over which one of them is Halle Berry (you had to be there). I can only give thanks that neither of them wore a dress.

10:04 - Yay for Bourne Ultimatum, which picks up an Oscar for Sound Editing. The Bourne series needs more recognition for its reinvention of the action film. Too bad it is not on my Oscar ballot.

10:05 - And then they go right ahead and do so, which wins for Sound Mixing. Which, I believe, means Transformers has been shut out at the Oscars. I'm unbelievably relieved.

10:13 - Marion Cotillard wins for La Vie En Rose and seems truly thankful and stunned. You will see that clip played next year. And I am officially killed on the ballot this year. My apologies to anyone who read the previous post. This is also an upset for Julie Christie, the presumed favourite and he director Sarah Polley.

10:18 - Colin Farrell almost wipes out on stage, but then he doesn't. I'm kinda bored now, but seeing as they are playing another song it's time for snacks and beverages.

10:22 - Jack gets the stage and he's got another pair of sunglasses. He's smirking, but who knows why, he's Jack. Then in yet another montage, all the previous Best Pictures are shown, with both the picture and titles cut off. Bang up job there, Academy or CTV. One of you.

10: 27 - Unforgiven becomes Forgiven and Gladiator is Ladiator. Turns out that was more amusing than I expected.

10:29 - Bourne Ultimatum wins again, this time for Film Editing. I'll have to check the stats, but I think that makes it the big winner of the night, at least so far. "Someone just took the lead in their Oscar pool based on a guess," says Stewart. So true, and it's not me.

10:31 - Even pregnancy can't make Nicole Kidman glow. Damn, she's icy.

10:36 - The Honorary Oscar winner, Robert Boyle, is old enough to refer to Alfred Hitchcock as Hitch. That's cool.

10:42 - Time for the foreign film award — turns out that wasn't La Vie en Rose. Austria wins for The Counterfeiters. Never bet against a Holocaust film.

10:44 - Another song. I wonder if I still have pizza in the fridge? I do, score!

10:49 - John Travolta, who is looking more like Steven Segal, or a vampire, repeats all the Best Song nominees. If they cut this category (or at least the songs) that would be a half hour off the runtime. "Falling Slowly" wins — at least he had a fine speech.

10:57 - Stewart hands over his time to Marketa Irglova who was unceremoniously played off the stage before she could speak about her win for "Falling Slowly." A class act by both.

10:59 - Camon Diaz babbles away before presenting the cinematography award to There Will Be Blood. Yay, I got another one right!

11:01 - Dead person montage! My bet is Heath Ledger will end it. It must be odd for the family of people who get no applause. How uncomfortable. They really need to put some film names up with the pics - I don't know who most of these people are.

11:05 - Heath wins the pool and the audience goes silent.

11:09 - Amy Adams explains why film scores matter and it works! In fact it showed why the song category doesn't. Can you tell I don't like the songs. Atonement wins, and my ballot is picking up.

11:12 - Various soldiers, live from Baghdad, present the Documentary Short Film nominees. See, Hollywood supports the troops!

11:18 - Perhaps it was to balance out the win by Taxi To The Dark Side. The most political speech of the night. "Let's turn away from the dark side and into the light."

11:23 - Harrison Ford is back from the dead! Oh wait, he just looks like that. I'm so worried about the next Indiana Jones flick. If it turns out ok they should win an Oscar for best effects.

11:25 - Diablo Cody, the hottest writer in Hollywood, wins Best Original Screenplay for Juno. It's a great moment — she's an ex-stripper, this is her first screenplay (at least her first made into a movie) and it is for the feel good film of the night.

11:31 - We are now officially into overtime. Of course that was the easiest pick of the night.

11:34 - Daniel Day Lewis wins Best Actor for There Will Be Blood — one of the only sure picks of the night. He's so gracious.

11:36 - What have they done with Stewart? He hasn't had any screen time for ages and I didn't notice until now. This show really doesn't need a host and Stewart's talents are wasted here. He's watered down and benign, with out his sidekicks to bounce off. If they ask you again, say no.

11:43 - The Coen Brothers win Best Director for No Country For Old Men. These guys just love making movies. They'd best not go to far, they will have to make another of their short speeches in a few minutes.

11:46 - No Country For Old Men wins for Best Picture. We went to see it at the Toronto film festival this year and I'm glad we did as it was one of the only nominated films we got to see this year. It was a cold, cold film about the evil that men do, but virtuoso film making and well deserved.

11:49 - So I got 15/24 right, a pass, but not much of one. I nailed Picture, Director, Actor, Supporting Actor and Actress and the writing categories but fell apart on the more technical awards. It may have helped if I'd seen more films, but a 16-month-old makes that hard. Ah well.

So a generally unexciting show made more so by showing all the exciting moments of the past 80 years.


  1. Jon Stewart is mostly disappointing so far, no? Btw, what did you make of Francis Ford Coppola's Youth Without Youth? It hasn't gotten much play, but it's a more engaging film than many of those being given awards tonight. Here's an interesting discussion of the film.

  2. Great post!! I laughed out loud at your comment about the sides of the Best Picture winners being cut off... the whole time I'm grumbling thinking, "Stupid HDTV... apparently us peeps with the normal TVs have to miss out?" and that's when I noticed it was widescreen, so there was no reason it should have been cut off.

  3. I missed the boat on a lot of the categories, although I did guess right that the Golden Compass would win F/X (but then I prefer Zeppelins to giant robots...). Anyhow it was a good Oscars for me. No Country for Old Men wins picture, director, adapted screenplay and supporting actor!

  4. I glad to see someone else say the cut off names - I hadn't read anything about it and was beginning to think it was just me.

    I have to say I was pleased with the results of the night as well, especially with Bourne Ultimatum - which wouldn't get any Academy recognition other wise.