Sunday, February 24, 2008
Celebrate Oscar Night: There's a party going on right here ...
Live-blogging the Academy Awards …
11:50: Over already? Wow. That actually went by pretty quickly for this blogger. Thanks to all of you who stopped by! And feel free to keep the comments coming tonight! I’ll be sure to follow-up with thoughts tomorrow. But for now this blogger (who has his alarm set for 5:03 am) needs to head to the after-party known as bedtime.
A wonderful night for celebrating a terrific year at the movies! Thanks everybody.
11:45: No Country For Old Men wins Best Picture, and I’m a happy camper. I’ve seen this film three times and it becomes more extraordinary each time. I believe it will go down as a genuine American classic. You know, I rooted for Gladiator the year it won (a down year) and for American Beauty before that (though my heart was and is still very much with Magnolia). But this is the first time since The English Patient that I wholeheartedly feel like the actual best picture of the year won the honor of Best Picture.
How are the rest of you feeling? Leave some thoughts in the comments section!
11:44: In a comment that will make even more sense next week (trust me), “This is it…!”
11:43: The Coens take Best Director, and I hope this is a sign of what comes next. Joel tells us that he and his brother have been making movies since they were kids. Would it be possible for Ethan to film his acceptance speech and post it on YouTube? Might be more expressive. Great filmmakers, awkward fellas.
11:40: I’m still pissed that Martin Scorsese’s Academy Award had to come for the crummy and over-praised The Departed.
11:35: Daniel Day-Lewis, who I believe has been wearing the exact same tux all awards season, kneels for the queen after getting the Oscar win for Best Actor that we all knew was coming. What a gracious man, and what a forceful performance! I have no objections to this win, but I have a hint of sadness for Tommy Lee Jones, who finally played restrained in the all too unwatched In The Valley Of Elah, and for Viggo Mortensen, who in Eastern Promises is just as bold as Day-Lewis without even approaching camp.
In his acceptance speech, Day-Lewis called his wife “enchantingly optimistic and open-minded.” Well, she’d have to be to wear that dress, wouldn’t she? See 8:13.
11:30: Is there anyone who doesn’t like Helen Mirren? And I said it last year and I’ll say it this year: she’s still bringing it!
11:25: Diablo Cody didn’t win Best Original Screenplay! Jane of the Jungle won! Wait, no. That’s Cody. Or whatever her real name is (honestly: does her husband really call her “Diablo”?). Hey, I’m a fan of Juno. It’s an original. But let’s hope it stays that way. Diablo: Is this a hint at your potential or the extent of it? Time will tell, home-skillet.
11:24: You’re down to a few more seconds until a former stripper is an Oscar-winning writer...
11:18: “Let’s move away from the dark side and back to the light,” says the Oscar-winning director of Taxi To The Dark Side, your Best Documentary winner. I loved No End In Sight and it’s a shame it goes home a loser. But, if you haven’t read it yet, I argued this week that a Taxi win could have a more significant effect on our present and future. Let’s hope so. See this movie, folks.
11:09: Atonement wins Best Score, and it could have gone no other way. Props to Dario Marianelli who had the balls to say, “I’m going to come up with a romantic score and add the sound of a typewriter to it ..." And he made it work. Brilliant!
11:05: We just paid our respects to all the movie artists who have left us this past year. Here at “The Cooler” we must give extra respect to Bud Ekins, who performed the famous motorcycle jump of Virgil Hilts in The Great Escape. Movie magic!
11:00: There Will Be Blood takes the Cinematography prize. It’s hard to top a burning derrick. A deserved win, and I'm happy to see this film get some love. Still, I have tremendous respect for the daring and transportive approach of The Diving Bell & The Butterfly. And this makes Edward Copeland calling The Assassination Of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford “the best Terrence Malick film that Malick didn’t make” all the more appropriate, because – like a Malick movie – it didn’t win.
10:59: Wow! Best Cinematography! Tough field. Can we go for a five-way tie?
10:58: Stewart brings Irglova back on stage to give the acceptance speech the orchestra didn’t give her a chance to deliver. That’s class. That’s what you want from a host! Well done!
10:50: Once wins for Best Original Song! Justice! Want to be enchanted? Look into Marketa Irglova’s eyes during this movie. Meanwhile, if you’ve been living under a rock and don’t know this, Irglova and Hansard are a real-life couple...though the story about how he’s known her since she was 2 and he, um, wasn’t, is a little bit creepy. In fact, let’s crawl under the rock together and forget all about it, shall we?
10:49: New rule: If we have to suffer through performances of each song during the Academy Awards ceremony, then only one song per movie can be nominated. I’m done with Enchanted!
10:35: Robert Boyle picks up the honorary Oscar. Anybody who designed sets for Hitchcock is fine by me. In Cold Blood (I know; not Hitch) and North By Northwest: now I understand art direction and production design!
And this is one of the neat things about the Academy Awards: I go into tonight having never heard of Robert Boyle, and I leave feeling touched by the Academy’s recognition of his career. Cool!
10:30: What is Nicole Kidman doing with a chandelier hanging around her neck?
10:29: Bourne Ultimatum picks up its third win of the night, this time for Best Editing. A great pick here. I’m not a fan of the Paul Greengrass unsteadycam, but those fight scenes are amazing achievements in editing (and stunt choreography).
10:20: “Falling Slowly” from Once! Simply beautiful. Beautifully simple. Is it possible to watch Once and not fall in love?
10:13: Marion Cotillard wins Best Actress. And this isn’t her first award for this film, but I’m still calling this an upset. To beat the legendary Julie Christie and the hot thing of the moment Ellen Page is truly something. I haven’t seen La Vie En Rose (dammit), but I love Cotillard in Big Fish (a movie that reduces me to tears every damn time I see it). Good for her. And what a charmingly sweet acceptance speech!
Props, by the way, to Christie: I finally saw Away From Her and she’s nothing short of tremendous in a tricky role.
10:05: Appropriately enough, this Jonah Hill-Seth Rogan routine about who is more like Halle Barry feels almost as if it’s written by the supposedly brilliant Judd Apatow: mildly funny at first, then sweetly familiar, then tedious and interminable.
9:55: “That’s how you know…” is the refrain in the second song from Enchanted to be performed tonight. I love Amy Adams, and so I nearly went to this kid-targeted flick. Can’t say these songs are making me feel any remorse for missing it.
9:47: No Country For Old Men gets its second win of the night, this time in the category of Best Adapted Screenplay. Little Coen (Ethan) can’t come up with anything better than “Thank you.” Think Cormac McCarthy can scribble out an acceptance speech to adapt before Best Director comes up?
9:39: Tilda Swinton looks legitimately surprised to win Best Supporting Actress. Maybe that’s why she’s wearing a satin graduation robe with a sleeve missing.
9:18: Javier Bardem wins Best Supporting Actor. Deservedly so. His Anton Chigurh is the most memorable monster since Hannibal Lecter. And if you haven’t seen The Sea Inside, put it in your Netflix queue right now. An amazing actor.
By the way: Remember that nanosecond when folks thought the “friendo” line was too quirky? Bardem has a certain milkshake to thank for that line evaporating from the over-scrutiny forum.
9:14: Best Supporting Actor montage includes "The Cuba Gooding Jr Moment." He got a standing ovation for that acceptance speech. And now he’s selling Hanes underwear. Draw your own conclusions.
9:11: Sweeney Todd wins for Best Art Direction. I’ve got to admit, I don’t quite understand the criteria of this category, but Sweeney Todd sure sounds like a deserving winner. Tim Burton’s films are always feasts for the eyes with tremendous ambiance.
9:08: The Golden Compass wins for Best Visual Effects. Amazingly four white guys we’ve never heard of before and will never hear from again each manage to speak before getting played off stage. Well done, fellas!
8:57: They’ve been calling Katherine Heigl the beautiful woman next door for months now, and I’ve never gotten it. Women who look like that didn’t even live in my neighborhood. But the trembling voice thing as she read the nominees for Best Makeup was endearing and very non-polished Hollywood. I still don’t buy her and Seth Rogan in Knocked Up, though. Not for a second.
8:54: Ratatouille wins the Oscar for Best Animated Film. Very deserving. It’s the best animated film since The Lion King. A masterpiece!
8:47: George Clooney, who always looks delicious, even to me, introduces the night’s first montage. It’s supposed to be a collection of 80 years of special Academy Award moments. Instead they mostly feel like outtakes. Bummer.
8:45: We’re at the first commercial break. To anyone following at home, let’s get that comments section going. If you could pick just one category tonight to ensure its winner, what would you pick? Which category matters the most to you tonight?
8:43: Elizabeth: The Golden Age takes Best Costume in the first award of the night. Well of course is does! I mean, were there even actors in that movie?
8:39: Stewart quips that usually when a woman or a black man are president that an asteroid is headed for the Statue of Liberty. Black-president remark is followed by a cut to Spike Lee and Wesley Snipes. It’s like a Republican National Convention.
8:36: This could go down as the line of the night. Stewart on Norbit, nominated for Best Makeup. “Too often, the Academy ignores movies that aren’t good.”
8:34: Stewart on the dark themes found in several of tonight's nominated films: “Does this town need a hug? ... All I can say is thank God for teen pregnancy!”
8:32: Got our first obligatory Jack Nicholson shot of the night. Remember last year’s Academy Awards, when Jack was bald and we thought he’d lost his last marble and had truly gone insane, but it turned out he’d shaved his head for a role in The Bucket List, which was universally panned? I’d say advantage insanity, wouldn’t you?
8:30: Jon Stewart is back as our host tonight, and that makes me happy. His efforts to bring Daily Show shtick to the ceremony two years ago didn’t go all that well, but his taped introduction that concluded with him waking up in bed with Halle Barry and George Clooney was hilarious, and he’s a genuinely funny guy without an overbearing personality.
That’s what I want out of a host: someone who can open funny, give us at least one good adlib and generally keep the show moving along without annoying the piss out of me. Selecting my ideal hosts from the past 10 years, I’d go with Steve Martin No. 1, Billy Crystal No. 2, Jon Stewart No. 3 and Anyone Who Isn’t Whoopi Goldberg No. 4.
Which brings us to this… Anyone have any memorable host adlibs from recent Oscar ceremonies? I’ve got to go with the time Sean Connery wore that pirate-esque/Seinfeld-esque puffy shirt under his coat and Martin quipped that while some were wearing Armani, Connery was wearing “Red Lobster.”
8:27: Regis let’s us know that Javier Bardem goes by “Xavier.” Thankfully this boo-boo caps off the red carpet program. Time for the real deal!
8:23: Hillary Swank looks wonderful. Somewhere Chad Lowe is sobbing.
8:22: More stupid red carpet questions for a Best Actress nominee. To Ellen Page: ‘Your birthday was a few days ago, did you celebrate?’ Well, no. I figured I’d celebrate my birthday a week after it. You know, like everybody.
8:20: We’re at commercial, so it’s my chance to tell the West Coast peeps that they can pass on Barbara Walters’ interview with Ellen Page. Here’s what we learn: we don’t know anything about her. Thanks, Babs!
8:16: Regis Philbin asks Cameron Diaz about Daniel Day-Lewis’ habit of staying in character throughout a movie shoot. To illustrate what that looks like, Diaz stays in character as someone who doesn’t know what she’s talking about.
8:13: Can someone explain to me why Daniel Day-Lewis’ wife is wearing a hood ornament on her chest?
8:08: We go to commercial with a shot of uber stars Marlee Matlin and Steve Guttenberg, who will compete on the upcoming season of Dancing With The Stars. Hmm...is that an ABC show or something?
8:04: This just in: Edith Piaf, subject of La Vie En Rose, died in 1963, and Marion Cotillard played her anyway! Wow! Let’s just hand her the Oscar right now.
8:00: So, let’s see: I’ve been to two movies today and I’ve suffered through the Barbara Walters interviews. But I spy a red carpet, and I’m high on double-chocolate milano cookies (with a fresh bag nearby). So I guess that means it’s go-time!
I dragged my feet on starting a blog until I could drag them no more. And then once I started blogging (albeit just a few weeks ago) I wondered why I’d dragged at all.
Which brings me to this: against my better judgment, tonight "The Cooler" will be live-blogging the Academy Awards (that means running commentary, blog neophytes; it doesn’t mean I’m at the Kodak Theatre). It’ll be punchy, it’ll be sloppy and it could be a one-time experiment for this writer. But it’ll give us something to do during those commercial breaks.
So get your favorite red-carpet attire from the dry cleaner or throw on your favorite pajamas. Either way, I’ll see you tonight!