8:14: We are informed that nobody will ever forget the name of Viola Davis for her performance in Doubt. I would suggest that just maybe this is optimistic and that in three months’ time Viola Davis will be a hard-to-answer trivia question.
8:15: Some schmuck kisses Miley Cyrus’ ass. How much self-worth does one lose by kissing up to Miley Cyrus, for god’s sake? If that were my job, I would cry myself to sleep at night. Every night. Forever.
8:16: Apparently a bunch of designers had a contest to see who could dress Miley Cyrus. There is an entire kissing-Miley-Cyrus’-ass industry now. Are they affected by the economic downturn at all? This is what I wonder about.
8:17: Because people asked: Slumdog Millionaire, Danny Boyle, Mickey Rourke, Kate Winslet, Heath Ledger and Penelope Cruz. (EDIT: Slumdog and Wall-E for adapted and original screenplay, Wall-E for animated and Waltz With Bashir for foreign film.)
8:19: The accountants guarding the winning envelopes with their very lives walk down the red carpet. This is the MOST IMPORTANT THING THEY WILL EVER DO YOU GUYS. The voiceover people blather about their choice of tuxedo, because – I don’t know. “They make it work,” apparently, which now means “they look awkward and nerdy.”
8:21: They are using special computer technology to show the history of Penelope Cruz’ Oscar dresses. Somewhere, a space shuttle is not flying because of this, you realize.
8:23: Miley Cyrus’ schmuck confirms that he is gay by explaining how he loves to see Marisa Tomei with her clothes on. (Marisa Tomei, incidentally, looks early-to-mid-twenties tonight. Damn, is that woman aging well.)
8:25: Apparently they redesigned the Kodak Theatre so it doesn’t look like a boring high school auditorium with a lot of money. The musical director explains how he’s going to do tons of Oscar-worthy themes with a big brass band motif. This can only end in tragedy.
8:31: Hugh Jackman’s monologue. Mock-bitter joke about Australia (which I think really got way too much flack – sure it’s too long, but it’s ambitious and more fun than a lot of critics gave it credit for).
8:32: And now he’s singing. Much like Billy Crystal, minus about ten thousand pounds of ham and all the horrible Bruce Valensch jokes, plus actual musical talent. I’m not gonna bitch about this – no, wait, now he’s spelling “M-I-L-K.” Oh, Hugh.
8:33: Back into the plus columns with a nice dance with “the Craigslist dancers,” a good bit about The Dark Knight and a funny setup about Benjamin Button.
8:35: My adoration for Anne Hathaway continues unabated. Why is she in shit like Bride Wars? She’s fucking funny, people, the first genuinely talented comedic actress to come along in a very long time. Give her a funny script and she’s gonna deliver.
8:37: “The Reader! I haven’t seen The Reader!” Okay, Hugh Jackman can now host this show forever, or at least alternating years with Jon Stewart or maybe Steve Martin if Steve Martin promises to stop making Pink Panther movies.
8:39: “Mickey Rourke! You look great!” Hugh Jackman is as good a liar as he is a singer and dancer!
8:40: They have trouble opening the curtain of the theatre for the Best Supporting Actress acceptance montage, which amuses me tremendously.
8:42: As is traditional, the first award is a Best Supporting award, and I think it’s almost always Actress, isn’t it? They get Tilda Swinton (who is apparently wearing a shopping bag), Eva Marie Saint, Goldie Hawn, Angelica Huston and Whoopi “Oscar’s Greatest Mistake” Goldberg to present the award in as long a manner as humanly possible, because we have been informed that only elitists and nogoodniks want to see the more technical awards get even a slightly reasonable amount of time.
8:45: Whoopi Goldberg makes a joke about Amy Adams being a nun! Because before her career went to hell, she had a hit movie about being a nun, you see.
8:46: If they present every fucking acting award like this, with five actors giving the five nominees massive motherfucking blowjobs, I may vomit.
8:47: Penelope Cruz wins, thus disproving the “leaked Oscar list” that was making the rounds earlier in the week with the very first award. She thanks Woody Allen for writing great female characters, which is code for “thank you for not trying to fuck me, you disgusting old pervert.”
8:52: Steve Martin and Tina Fey present the screenplay awards. Good jokes, with a dig at Scientology (thank you, Steve Martin, for absolutely refusing to treat it seriously – an honorary “V for Vendetta” Guy Fawkes mask is yours!). You will note the lack of blowjobs for the writers.
8:56: Original screenplay: Dustin Lance Black for Milk. I was rooting for Wall-E, but the Milk script is quite good, so this is a perfectly acceptable choice of award. Dustin Lance Black pretty bluntly slams the Mormon church in his speech and pretty movingly uses his whole speech to slam homophobia right in the nuts, as is appropriate.
9:00: Adapted screenplay: Simon Beaufoy for Slumdog Millionare, and if you believe that this is when Oscar juggernauts begin – well, it’s not looking good for Benjamin Button, shucky-darn.
9:02: Jennifer Aniston and Jack Black remind everybody that Jennifer Aniston exists, which is very important for some reason. Black makes a vicious joke about Dreamworks’ continual asskicking by Pixar which accidentally makes the audience go “oooh.”
9:04: An animated montage sequence. Why did we need to be reminded that Space Chimps came out last year? Anybody? Can anybody explain that one? Was this some vitally fucking important point we had all forgotten? God knows I tried to forget about Space Chimps.
9:07: Wall-E wins Best Animated Picture, which surprises absolutely nobody.
9:08: Jack Black doing comedic banter with Jennifer Aniston is like Roger Federer playing tennis with Stephen Hawking.
9:09: And Best Short Animated Film: La Maison en Petit Cubes. No, I haven’t seen it either. Japanese winner guy, acutely aware of his very poor English, ends with “Domi arigato, Mr. Roboto,” which just goes to show that Styx have contributed something to society after all.
9:12: You know, only the Canadian viewers will get this, but they just aired a commercial for the new Petro-Canada Olympics glasses, and don’t those new glasses suck? The Calgary glasses were nice because there were so many different types of glass, so you could pick and choose. These new ones, there’s only one type of glass and it’s a pretty lame glass. My point here is that I want nicer commorative glasses from my petrochemical industry giants, please.
9:14: The set and design awards! Apparently this whole night is going to be thematic for the non-major awards. Maybe they mentioned it earlier, who knows.
9:17: Art direction: Benjamin Button. Anybody hoping for some Dark Knight technical awards – not here, this almost always goes to period dramas. The two art director people give a boring speech and are not cut off. That’s about as much as I can hope for.
9:20: Costume design goes to The Duchess, because it’s a romantic period drama with lots of ruffles in it and people assume that lots of ruffles means tougher costuming, which is so not the case but whatever. Costume design winner thanks everybody except his family. Maybe he lives alone. On a hill. With a dog. A dead dog, which he doesn’t feel the need to thank.
9:23: Benjamin Button wins Best Makeup, and two technical wins gives it a bit more oomph. Maybe it’s still in the running! (Meh.) The makeup winner does the “read everyone to thank from a card” thing before the demon time-counters scream at him and call him names.
9:25: The dork from Twilight and the dead girl from Veronica Mars introduce a recap of the romantic movies of 2008. Boy, I sure am glad that these BLATANT FUCKING COMMERCIALS are taking up telecast time! God knows we can’t do without the montage sequences, but can’t they at least be vaguely historical montage sequences? Is that too much to ask? Christ.
9:28: Included in the “romantic moments” montage: Bruce and Betty’s reunion in The Incredible Hulk and actual footage from such notable films like High School Musical 3 and Marley and Me. I will find the person who did this and cut them to death with a rusty spoon. No, really. A rusty spoon.
9:31: Natalie Portman and Ben Stiller introduce the cinematography awards. Ben Stiller does a Joaquim Phoenix impersonation. OH BEN STILLER YOU ARE SO TOPICAL!
9:35: Slumdog wins Best Cinematography, and I have no comment, mostly because my professional chef roommate just handled me a professional chef quality Manwich. (The difference between your standard Manwich and the professional-level Manwich is meat quality, re-spicing, and the braised cabbage mixed in.)
9:38: Jessica Biel was apparently this year’s “official pretty girl” for the Scientific and Technical Awards, which are held off-site so that the nerds don’t get within smell-range of the beautiful people. Hooray for the nerds! And now they will not be mentioned for the rest of the evening.
9:43: James Franco and Seth Rogen do a bit as their characters in Pineapple Express, minus any actual pot jokes. What is the fucking point of something like this?
9:45: Hey, how long do you think before they decide that categories like Best Live-Action Short Film would be better served by airing on the web, so they have more time to tell us about the upcoming highlights at Blockbuster? I give them five years, tops.
9:53: Hugh Jackman and Beyonce do a musical tribute to… uh… musicals, I guess… which doesn’t really make sense, to be honest, but what the hell.
9:54: You know, I finally figured out what I like about Hugh Jackman’s hosting style – it’s a return to old-school gladhanding happy-talk, just like Bob Hope used to do back in the day. We’ve come so far into the era of irony that traditional smarm is cutting-edge now.
9:58: Baz Luhrmann is apparently
to blame responsible for creating that musical number. Easiest paycheque in history. Next year they can call me for a “history of hit singles from soundtracks” musical montage! I’ll take four words from “Miss Misery,” six from “Into the West,” eleven from “Hold Me Thrill Me Kiss Me Kill Me”…
10:01: And now it’s time for blowjob montage #2, because it’s clearly time for Best Supporting Actor. Your fellatioteers this time around are Christopher Walken, Cuba Gooding Jr. (presumably they found him on a street corner begging for change somewhere), Alan Arkin, Kevin Kline, and Joel Grey in the designated “Older Person Who Won A Long Time Ago Who Works Cheap” slot.
10:05: I hope Christopher Walken gets to do the Heath Ledger tribute and just says “He’s dead. So he should win. Fuck you.”
10:06: And of course Ledger wins, because come on, this was a fucking lock. Heath’s family accepts the award for him. The audience gives them a standing ovation because Heath Ledger is dead. In a moment of tasteful montage, the directors decide to cut away to famous people reacting to their speech rather than stay on the speech itself. Hey, did you want to know how Adrien Brody would react to this sad moment? Were you curious to see if Brangelina would show emotion? WELL NOW YOU KNOW!
10:11: I actually don’t have a problem with the documentary roundup of 2008, because come on – they’re documentaries. Celebrating what people don’t watch (but should) is inherently more valuable a use of time than reminding us that Stepbrothers got made last year. I remembered Stepbrothers. I was fine without it.
10:13: And Bill Maher is presenting the documentary awards, because… I dunno, Bill Maher “keeps it real?” Then he plugs Religulous multiple times. Which sucks shit, by the way.
10:15: Man On Wire wins best doc, which is no shock because it was so universally adored. Including by me. It’s awesome. If you haven’t seen it yet, you should. The doc-makers thank their families, and the last guy hams it up by disappearing a coin from his hand.
10:17: Smile, Pinky wins best doc short. See comment at 9:45. Repeat.
10:19: Trailer for Angels and Demons. Flapjacks has a theory that Tom Hanks spent fifteen years making mostly excellent movies so that he could viciously surprise everybody by starring in Dan Brown adaptations, making him the most sadistic person in the universe.
10:21: Hey, did you know there were action movies in 2008? I know! (And this makes the third montage The Incredible Hulk has appeared in tonight. Truly, the Hulk is all things to all people.)
10:25: Will Smith! Because he loves action movies! Because he gets a lot of money to be in them! And because Seven Pounds sucked! It’s time for the computer-and-sound-effects awards, folks!
10:26: Benjamin Button wins best CGI over Iron Man and Dark Knight, because – I dunno, probably because it’s more “respectable.”
10:29: Sound editing goes to The Dark Knight even though Slumdog is nominated in the same category. Do not ask me to explain the Academy, people. I can’t do it.
10:30: Sound mixing goes to Slumdog. Now I really can’t explain it. Trends? There are no trends! Not this year!
10:32: The guy accepting for Slumdog is giving exactly the type of speech I like from a technical nobody. “This is not just an award, you are making me a part of history.” That’s what I call thanking.
10:34: Editing goes to Slumdog as well. (I got nothing. It happens.)
10:41: Jerry Lewis gets the Humanitarian Award this year, because of his work with muscular dystrophy. It’s a good cause and he’s done a lot of work for it. But Christ, he is such an asshole. So let us all remember that assholes can do good things. (Also, he looks like he’s gotten a lot of work done just for the occasion.)
10:46: Trailer for that movie where Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds are in a romantic comedy except it’s not romantic or funny.
10:50: Time for the music awards. It is an orchestral Whitman’s Sampler of the Best Score nominees! Which actually serves to remind me how much I liked the score for Milk, oddly enough. (It’s not exactly a movie where you think, “oh, hey, that’s a movie with an awesome score!”)
10:53: Zac Efron and Alicia Keys are presenting the awards, because one of them sings badly in movies and the other… does not.
10:54: A.R. Rahman wins Best Score for Slumdog Millionaire, which makes sense because it was a movie with a fantastic score and soundtrack (although it sounded really lame coming out of a Western-style orchestra with one lousy sitar). He thanks his dead mother, and what can you say about that other than you would do the same?
10:55: WHAT THE FUCK THEY ARE NOT EVEN DOING THE WHOLE SONGS FOR “BEST SONG”? There are only three nominees for this award now! But NO, we can be informed of all the wonderful ways that The Incredible Hulk can touch us, because that’s far more important than giving us full performances for the songs. This is total bullshit.
10:58: John Legend covering Peter Gabriel is like someone who is not very good covering somebody who is.
11:00: And now it is a fucking live mashup of “Jai Ho” and “Down To Earth” (which, incidentally, are two of the best songs to be nominated for this award in years). I am vaguely ill.
11:01: “Jai Ho” wins, because come on – the moment you saw that Bollywood dance number you knew it was gonna win this.
11:05: Liam Neeson and Oldest Latika From Slumdog present Best Foreign Film, because they are foreigns. Departures wins, and wouldn’t you know it it’s the only one in the category I haven’t seen yet? What the hell can I say? “A classic musician in a mortuary – that’s so Japanese!” Nah.
11:10: Queen Latifah (hey, remember when she was a rapper?) introduces the In Memorial reel. And then she sings, because what the In Memorial reel really needed was some glitzing up. Jesus H. Christ. On top of that, the whole thing is set on smaller screens with panning camera angles, because that makes death more exciting or something, I’m not sure. Cyd Charisse’ entire tribute gets lost in a long-distance shot. I want the fucking heads of the show directors now, because they are fucking up absolutely everything I like about the Oscars.
11:16: Biggest applause rounds: Michael Crichton, Harold Pinter, Roy Scheider, Isaac Hayes, Stan Winston, Sydney Pollack and (by far) Paul Newman.
11:18: The Academy president declines to make a speech. Good.
11:19: Reese Witherspoon is giving away the Best Director award? Wait, it goes before the Best Actor and Actress awards now? You know, the reason it usually goes second last is because it almost always telegraphs the Best Picture winner, guys…
11:20: And Danny Boyle wins it for Slumdog Millionaire, and I have absolutely zero complaints for a bit here because Danny Boyle is one of my favorite directors of all time (yes, I even liked The Beach), and he even apologizes to the guy he left out of the credits by accident, which is class because every second spent apologizing is a second he could have spent thanking Important People For His Career but instead he glossed over most of them. Boyle is awesome sauce.
11:25: Best Actress time. This time around the Circle of Five is comprised of Sophia Loren, Shirley MacLaine, Halle Berry (who was sitting next to Cuba Gooding Jr.), Nicole Kidman and Marion “I won this last year and you already forgot about me didn’t you” Cotillard. Blah blah blah we love you ladies blah blah blah. Hey, program director: it’s called “show, don’t tell.” It applies to television like this just as it applies to any other story, real or fictional, you might want to fucking tell.
11:29: Melissa Leo is luminous, yo.
11:30: Sophia Loren looks disdainful to even have to say the words “Meryl Streep.” Which is kind of awesome in its way. Sophia Loren does not give a shit, everybody, and she wants you to be sure you know she doesn’t give a shit.
11:32: And Kate Winslet FINALLY GETS HER FUCKING STATUE. And because she is Kate Winslet of course she has to hug all the other ladies and kiss them on the cheek. Standing ovation, entirely demanded. Then she asks her dad to whistle so she can see where her parents are and he does and that’s fantastic. And then she thanks everybody in the whole world, or it seems like it anyway. And then she says Meryl Streep is awesome and that’s great too.
11:36: Best Actor reception montage, which of course means that the new cast of “Voltron” must assemble: Robert De Niro (Hunk), Ben Kingsley (Pidge), Anthony Hopkins (Sven), Adrien Brody (Keith) and Michael Douglas (Lance).
11:39: Robert De Niro tries to rattle off a list of Sean Penn’s various characters, but can’t quite do it, so he substitutes “Dead Man Walking” in the middle as if that was the name of the character. Which was funnier than his for-real joke.
11:43: Sean Penn picks up his second statue for Milk. “You Commie, homo-loving sonsaguns.” Heh. Then he admits that he can get on people’s nerves (heh), thanks the people he really cares about and doesn’t bother with the studios at all. And he winds up by telling everybody who voted for Prop 8 “fuck you” (in so many words), and specifically gives Mickey Rourke props. Good speech.
11:47: Steven “The King Of All Hollywood” Spielberg introduces a montage that is part a tribute to the Best Picture nominees and part using old quotes from previous Best Picture winners to comment on said pictures. It’s a little overdone, but pretty clever. (Unintentional comedy moment: using the famous William Wallace speech from Braveheart in the Milk montage. Methinks Mel Gibson would object if he thought he could get away with objecting.)
11:52: And Slumdog ends the night with the big win. And that’s perfectly all right, since it was a very good movie – not as good as some might have argued, perhaps, but good, and certainly not an embarrassment to win this thing. And that, for tonight, after a largely dreadful Oscar telecast (seriously, the worst in years, with a parsimonious attitude towards running time that’s become downright embarrassing), is enough. Good night, Weehauken!