Sunday, February 22, 2009
81st Academy Awards Live Blog
The 81st Academy Awards Live Blog is over. Enjoy the transcript and feel free to leave your thoughts about the night in the comments section. Thanks to all of you who stopped by.
(All times Eastern)
11:57: It starred Hugh Jackman and it felt a hell of a lot shorter than Australia, so that’s a positive. The 81st Academy Awards are history. Thanks all for stopping by! Here’s to the movies!
11:53: Jai Ho, everybody. (Should I know what that means?) Slumdog Millionaire wins Best Picture. Between Freida Pinto and the closing dance number, it’s a joy to experience. And I hope those kids who left such an indelible mark on this picture will be rewarded financially. Meanwhile, I hope we’ll be rewarded for (mostly) suffering through 2008 with a more 2007-esque year in film ahead. We’ll see.
11:52: And Best Picture goes to …
11:46: Sean Penn wins Best Actor. OK. I was ready for that. And if I didn't feel like Rourke had his lightning-in-a-bottle opportunity here, I’d feel better about this. Given all that Penn did to help Milk get made in the first place, he’s especially deserving. And if Milk isn’t going to win Best Picture, at least it wins something. (Plus it was an excuse to see Robin Wright Penn. And that’s always a good thing.)
11:40: Google? Really? Adrien Brody might as well have started his introduction: “I had no fucking clue who Richard Jenkins was until 10 minutes ago when they told me that I’d be introducing him.”
11:38: Best Actor is up. Please be Mickey. Please be Mickey. Please be Mickey.
11:35: Right actress, wrong film. Kate Winslet wins Best Actress. Hers is a tremendous career already, with her better days ahead, I’m sure. As you’d expect, her acceptance speech is confident yet humble, and as sincere as these things get. Class.
11:30: Seriously, Philip Seymour Hoffman looks like he crept in to rob the joint and sat down behind Meryl Streep. Note to producers: never seat him on the aisle.
11:29: Goodness. These women are all going to be crying before a winner is announced.
11:26: Best Actress time. Wow. All of a sudden things are picking up. The buzz is that this is Winslet’s year. Which reminds me: Did you catch the story earlier this week when Winslet said she’s going to stop doing nude scenes in movies? The story I read supplemented that announcement with the note that Winslet has been nude in 10 films. How the hell did they know that? Is that a statistic on the back of her trading card? If so, what’s on the front of her trading card? And can I have one?
11:24: Danny Boyle wins Best Director and does an impression of Tigger. I’m down with that. Boyle’s a solid filmmaker who has made a handful of films better than this one. Slumdog Millionaire isn’t going to be a movie that people cherish for years, but it sure is cherished now. And that’s OK. It says a lot about these times, when we’re all looking for hope. Says a lot about this year in film, too, which was far from extraordinary.
11:20: Reece Witherspoon looks radiant, if you don’t look at her dress, which seems inspired by that witch in Sleeping Beauty.
11:15: Nothing against Queen Latifah, but I don’t want to watch her walking the stage during the tribute to those who died in the past year. What a terrible presentation. I have a widescreen TV. If I didn’t, I would have struggled to tell who was being remembered given that picture-in-picture approach. Pleased, however, to see critic Manny Farber recognized. Charlton Heston and Paul Newman lost in the same year. Sad, and somehow fitting. And did I blink when they showed Heath Ledger?
11:09: Departures wins for Japan. If you had that in your office pool, you just got one that no one else did.
11:05: Time for Best Foreign Film. I’ve seen The Class and Waltz With Bashir of this year’s nominees. The Class is one of those films I’m pleased to have seen and yet have no desire to see again. Ever. The Class makes us feel like we’re spending a year in a high school classroom, which is to say that it’s often painful. I can’t count the number of times I wanted to yell at the kids to calm down and shut the fuck up. I don’t know how teachers do it. Hats off to you!
11:02: Danny Boyle has his hands on his face again, which means Slumdog just won. Again. They’re almost out of nominees, aren’t they? I mean: Congratulations for winning Best Original Song!
10:58: Peter Gabriel goes on strike for his part in the medley of Best Original Song nominees. This is the third year in a row that at least two nominees in this category have come from the same film, Slumdog in this case. Is it me, or is all this Slumdog love almost uncomfortable at this point, as if Americans just discovered India and think it’s really neat?
10:54: Bow-wow-wow, yippy-yo, yippy-yay, bow-wow, yippy-yo, yippy-yay. Slumdoggy Dog wins again. This is boring.
10:50: Here comes Best Music (Score). In a perfect world, this is a two-way race between WALL-E and The Dark Knight. Alas, no nomination for The Dark Knight. I’m wearing my Sunday clothes here … let’s give it to WALL-E. (By the way: James Newton Howard’s score for Defiance is a blatant rip off of his other story-in-the-woods score for The Village, mixed with, um, allusions to John Williams score for Schindler’s List.)
10:44: The last time we saw Eddie Murphy at the Oscars he was not winning for Dreamgirls. Now he’s presenting the humanitarian award to Jerry Lewis, even though Lewis recently said in an Entertainment Weekly interview that he wished he hadn't allowed Murphy to remake The Nutty Professor, dissing Murphy’s fart jokes along the way. Ignoring for the moment that Lewis doesn't have the right to call someone else’s humor lowbrow, the Academy Awards have been pretty damn awkward for Murphy.
10:41: You know what’s worse than ABBA? These damn Best Buy commercials.
10:40: Since we just blazed through the technical awards, an observation: Put me in the camp that doesn’t understand the nomination of Brad Pitt for Best Actor. His character is a cipher to be acted upon, and what little emotion he displays is often the product of CGI. Yes, that’s what the role calls for. I don’t fault Pitt. But if we’re going to nominate digitally enhanced performances, let’s give a nomination to WALL-E. Or let’s go back and nominate Andy Serkis for his portrayal of Gollum. Just sayin’.
10:35: Silence Of The Slumdog Millionaire Of The Rings wins Best Film Editing. I'm detecting a pattern.
10:32: Slumdog Millionaire wins Best Sound Mixing. A breathless sound mixer “can’t believe it.” Right, because everybody knows the sound mixer from Wanted was the heavy favorite to win.
10:29: The Dark Knight wins Best Sound Editing. Happy to see TDK pick up another Oscar, fanboys across the country stop beating their imaginary girlfriends.
10:25: Benjamin Button takes Best Visual Effects. There would have been something fundamentally wrong if it didn’t, considering the film is nominated for Best Picture.
10:17: Man On Wire wins Best Documentary (Feature). Happy about that. In a down year in film, that was one of the most enthralling and suspenseful stories, even though there was no doubt how it would end. In acceptance, tightrope walker Phillippe Petit performs some magic and Oscar balancing. That guy loves an audience, that’s for sure. That he knows what to do with that audience is what counts.
10:12: And it’s Heath Ledger for Best Supporting Actor. Justice. A “special” performance, indeed. And a “special” performance by his family in accepting his award. Amazing strength.
10:07: It’s gotta be Heath Ledger. For so many reasons. Most of all, that he gave us a tremendous performance despite monumental expectations and made it unique.
10:06: Cuba Gooding Jr jokingly criticizes Robert Downey Jr’s “blackface” performance by noting that “brothers need the work.” Uh, yes, Hanes man. Some of them do.
10:05: Seriously. What were the odds that Philip Seymour Hoffman would be the first person to wear a do-rag to the Oscars? Reminds me of that joke on The Office: “If John Mellencamp ever wins an Oscar, I’m going to be rich!”
10:03: It’s Best Supporting Actor time. All across the country bitter fanboys of The Dark Knight have lighters in one hand and Molotov cocktails in the other. If Heath Ledger doesn’t win, this is gonna get ugly.
9:58: And now I’ve got ABBA stuck in my head. They’re shutting down Gitmo because of cruelty like this.
9:55: Hugh Jackman does a song-and-dance number. Beyonce does a lip-synch-and-dance number. Sasha didn’t get very Fierce there, did she? Disappointing.
9:43: I thought Mama Mia looked plenty terrifying from its trailer. Now in a Pineapple Express-themed montage I just caught a glimpse of Meryl Streep and Pierce Brosnan wearing sequins. I won’t be able to sleep tonight.
9:38: Someone tell Jessica Biel that the front left of her dress is untucked. What’s that? It’s supposed to be that way. Oh. That’s a shame.
9:34: Best Cinematography goes to Slumdog Millionaire. Get out of the way, folks.
9:31: I give it to Ben Stiller. He’s unafraid. I found the real Joaquin Phoenix meltdown to be tragic. But out of tragedy comes comedy. Then again, a “Hasidic meth lab”? First time that phrase has ever been used, I’d guess.
9:30: Props to the producers for showing the James Franco and Sean Penn liplock in that love montage. Even just a few years ago, all we would have seen was a knowing nod or a peck on the cheek. Progress, folks. Progress. One tiny step at a time.
9:25: Here’s Robert Pattinson of Twilight fame. That tremble you just felt was the reverberation of thousands of teenage girls having a simultaneous orgasm.
9:23: Benjamin Button for Best Makeup Applied By A Computer. What’s that? That’s not what this category is called? Oh. Well. In that case, The Dark Knight just got screwed.
9:20: Again, I didn’t see The Duchess, but it just had to win Best Costume, didn’t it? Ho-hum, let’s move on.
9:17: But it’s Benjamin Button for Best Art Direction. Hmm. If the scenes that got Benjamin Button the win are eligible for this category, WALL-E should be in this category, too.
9:15: I didn’t see The Duchess, but Changeling would be a good pick here for Best Art Direction. It sure looked the part. Sadly, that’s about all that it did.
9:09: Dammit. I didn’t see La Maison En Petits Cubes. I did see Presto!, so if it's better than that, it’s tremendous. Speaking of which: When you rent WALL-E, be sure to watch the other short, Burn-E. Wonderful fun.
9:06: Andrew Stanton wins for WALL-E! The live blog can continue! I heard Stanton on NPR’s “Fresh Air” earlier this year. He said something I still haven’t forgotten. He called animators “shy actors.” Damn straight. Little WALL-E turns in one of the best performances of the year.
9:04: Looks like we’re coming up on Best Animated Feature Film. There isn’t a bigger slam-dunk in the pool this year than WALL-E, right? And deservedly so. It’s my best film (overall) of 2008. If it doesn’t win, I’m turning off the TV. (That’ll make for an interesting live blog, won’t it?)
9:01: Simon Beaufoy wins Best Adapted Screenplay. Let the Slumdog Millionaire party begin, I guess. It’s a sweet movie, but not sweet enough to dominate tonight. Let’s hope this doesn’t get all Lord Of The Rings.
9:00: Now Best Adapted Screenplay is up. I don’t like any of these screenplays.
8:58: Dustin Lance Black wins Best Original Screenplay for Milk. If this means it might upset for Best Picture tonight, I’ll be thrilled. That’s my favorite picture of the nominees this year.
8:55: I love Steve Martin. And after all the Sarah Palin stuff, I’m glad to see Tina Fey get some Oscar-night love. Best Original Screenplay time. I’d be really fookin’ happy to see In Bruges get some love here.
8:50: Penelope Cruz wins Best Supporting Actress. A well-deserved win. Although she’s even better in Elegy. Fitting start, because Kate Winslet will likely win Best Actress tonight for The Reader even though she was far superior in Revolutionary Road. Touching acceptance speech by Cruz. Grace, dignity and a peek at the real woman inside. This is why we watch.
8:47: I’m pulling for Tomei here. No truth to the rumor, by the way, that Tomei has gone online to bet millions on herself in the “Nominated Actress to Be Photographed at the Oscars with Her Nipple Uncovered” category.
8:46: Goldie Hawn? Bring back Whoopi!
8:45: Fucking Whoopi. Please go away.
8:44: You know the usual awkwardness when there are two presenters? Well, now we have the awkwardness of five presenters. Not an improvement.
8:43: Here comes the award for Best Supporting Actress. Marisa Tomei begins to weep when she sees that Jack Palance won’t be announcing tonight’s winner.
8:38: It’s official. Hugh Jackman can host these awards anytime. Terrific opener. More show, less biz. The way it should be.
8:36: Anne Hathaway, everybody. Have I mentioned loving her? Brilliant!
8:34: Thank you!
8:33: Can Hugh Jackman get a spotlight, please?
8:32: I dig the jazzy rendition of Lawrence of Arabia. And I’m happy to see Hugh Jackman tonight … because he isn’t Whoopi Goldberg.
8:30: Here we go!
8:23: Thank you, Jack Black, for not playing along with the hyperbolic, overly effusive, inane interview process. About time a celeb made one of these morons work.
8:20: The difference between men and women. Penelope Cruz remembered a dress she saw eight years ago. I can’t remember what I wore yesterday.
8:17: Here’s how you can detect Hollywood class: Miley Cyrus, in a movie not yet released, says she hopes to be at the Oscars next year for that role. Anne Hathaway, an established A-lister at this point, says she “never expected to be here.” Advantage to Anne. My love deepens.
8:15: I hope that Miley Cyrus interview we just saw was taped. Otherwise she’s been on the red carpet for two hours.
8:13: Zac Efron, born in 1987, refers to Dev Patel, born in 1990, as “kid.” Ugh.
8:06: Brangelina blows off an interview with Tim Gunn as if they don’t know who he is. Which is probably about right. Gotta say, I’m really disappointed to see just Pitt and Jolie here tonight. I was sure the Academy Awards producers would have instructed them to bring all kids and perform “Edelweiss” or something.
8:05: There’s Frank Langella. I’m glad to see a veteran receiving some props, but his Nixon is an impression of Nixon impressions. Go on YouTube and find video of the real president. You’ll see what I mean.
8:03: Tim Gunn conducts an “interview” with Amy Adams in which he essentially talks about her in her presence. Not a promising start. Ryan Seacrest was about this intelligent over on E!
8:01: By the way, West Coast peeps: Good luck watching Barbara Walters’ interview with Mickey Rourke without getting choked up. I really want that guy to win tonight. I think it’s going to be Sean Penn, and he’s deserving, but this should be the year of Mickey.
8:00: Welcome to the live blog of the 81st Academy Awards. Allison’s Red Carpet Live Blog is still going strong, so open up another browser window and multitask, people.
Before we get going, some “exciting” news from the E! broadcast. Apparently during tonight’s Academy Awards, winners will be announced by previous Oscar winners, rather than the person (often a previous Oscar winner) who introduced the nominees in the first place. In other words, it now takes more stars to screw in a light bulb. Somehow his subtle change was still a little too complicated for the “talent” from E! to figure out. Said one of the dumb beauties: “So now there will be a big star on stage to tell us who won.” Wait, you mean as opposed to before, when there was a big star on stage to tell us who won? Yeesh. Hopefully ABC’s crew will be better, but I doubt it.