5:30: Welcome to the E! Red Carpet, b-rollers! We have three hours of this, then a three and a half hour Oscar show. Oh my holy God, what have I gotten myself into. Well, let’s dig in, shall we? Seacrest, IN.
5:31: Ryan Seacrest breaks the news that Bradley Cooper and Zoe Saldana may appear tonight for the first time as a couple. Neither of them is nominated for anything, but thank God we have this information.
5:33: Giuliana is wearing a dress that is a little Bjork’s swan-ish for my taste, but she still looks lovely. And I am hungry just looking at her.
5:34: It’s not possible that the guy sharing Kelly Osbourne’s red carpet position is Armie Hammer’s slightly less-handsome and probably gay twin, is it?
5:35: Giuliana is on a platform interviewing the eleven year old who played George Clooney’s other daughter in The Descendents. So, for the record: No, no one has arrived at the Oscar red carpet yet. Carry on with your normal lives, people. I’ll keep you posted.
5:37: Ross Matthews is strategically posted next to a pool somewhere, so he ought to get the really good interviews. Ah, his job tonight is to monitor social media, which can also be done by ourselves on a home computer or smartphone. The fine folks at E! really question the intelligence of their home audience.
5:39: At the first commercial break, we get an ad for the 3D re-release of Titanic. Lots of folks who remember me breathlessly seeing it four times (and sobbing copiously) in the winter of ’97-98 have asked me if I’ll be seeing it again this year. Uh, no. I was 15 then. I now know it’s not that great. But thank you for asking.
5:41: As I informed my roommate that the other girl from The Descendents was being interviewed, she said, “What was her character’s name? Scout? Scooter?” It was Scottie, but I would’ve liked that movie 28% more if her name had been Scooter.
5:42: Kermit and Miss Piggy are there! And Ryan admits that he is as tall as the Muppets. I KNEW IT!
5:44: Penelope Ann Miller is a smart cookie; she shows up at 5:40 and gets five solid minutes of interview time with Seacrest. I look forward to Jean Dujardin getting nudged aside for Brangelina after twelve seconds at 8:15.
5:45: Brian Grazer is giving us a tour of the Oscar backstage. I wish I had more interesting information for you than “really big film reels onstage,” but this is significantly less interesting than it ought to be.
5:47: Armie Hammer’s little brother is apparently an Oscar expert named Ben. I would like to know more, please. Could we maybe get a graphic with his name and credentials? Thanks so much.
5:49: A John Carter commercial! Yes, I will mention every single one, because I heart Tim Riggins. I actually tried to convince a friend to see the movie with me by saying, “I cannot stress enough how little shirt he’s wearing.”
5:52: We’re back from break as Joan Rivers promotes tomorrow’s fashion recap. You know, I personally couldn’t give a flying f-stop what Joan Rivers thought of my style, but maybe that’s just me.
5:54: Most of the cast of The Artist has arrived! Missi Pyle, Penelope Ann Miller and Berenice Bejo are all walking the red carpet. Are they still on French time or something? This is shockingly early.
5:55: My roommate just saw Kelly Osbourne onscreen and said, “She purposefully dyed her hair gray?!?!” Yes. Yes she did. And she is passing judgment on the style of others. CONSIDER.
5:57: Another commercial break! Because no one else is there and we have nothing else to do. You know, by the time this evening really gets rolling, my caffeine/sugar will be completely wearing off and I’ll be curled up in the fetal position. And THEN awesome stuff will be happening. They should do this whole thing backwards, for our sake.
6:00: Milla Jovovich looks lovely! Her dress is blingy, but somehow not too much; I am impressed. I’m sure that in person, it’s jaw-droppingly stunning. She promotes the next Resident Evil movie, and which one are we on now – 6? 7? Ryan asks for plot hints, but hasn’t it been the same plot for a while now?
6:01: Our Oscar expert Ben thinks that Octavia Spencer will win Best Supporting Actress. Way to go out on a limb, faux-Armie. He wraps up his analysis by telling us that we can text our choices as long as we’re in the “United States…of America.” Not the United States of Canada. Just so we’re clear.
6:02: Holy Lord, another commercial break? We’ve only been back for two minutes! Does Seacrest have a small bladder or something?
6:06: We return to Wolfgang Puck holding a tray of chocolate Oscars and small dishes. Wolfgang tells us that they have a “grazing menu” of delicacies for the Governor’s Ball, but if I had been starving myself for a week to fit into a gown, I’m pretty sure I’d want the largest burger in the world.
6:08: I don’t want to just criticize Kelly Osbourne for her hair. I also dislike her dress, as well.
6:09: Just as Kelly says that black and one-shoulder are trends of the evening, Rose Byrne arrives in a sparkly black one-shouldered dress. Okay, fair enough.
6:10: The Bridesmaids cast appear to have arrived en masse: Melissa McCarthy and Ellie Kemper just showed up, as well. Sadly, they did not bring Wilson Phillips.
6:12: Ryan asks Ellie Kemper what color she would call her dress, then calls Berenice Bejo’s “light mint.” So now it’s clear why he doesn’t have his own platform to analyze the fashion choices.
6:13: I adored Berenice Bejo in The Artist, but I’m not loving her ensemble. Her hair’s a little severe and her dress a touch matronly. I feel badly saying that, because I am loathe to pass judgment, but…(stop laughing.)
6:18: Guys, we’re introduced to another E! expert on something. (Fashion or awards shows or entertainment or who the hell knows.) He’s giving us the rundown on how Billy Crystal came to be our host. I cannot possibly be introduced to another expert. Can we PLEASE just look at the dresses?
6:19: Ryan tells Melissa McCarthy, “I believe that you’re the only woman from Bridesmaids nominated tonight.” Seacrest has done his homework, clearly. But when Melissa corrects him (Annie Mumolo and Kristen Wiig are nominated for the script), he says, “I meant acting.” Ryan Seacrest will not be proven wrong, people.
6:21: Everyone is showing up en masse – George Clooney, Christopher Plummer, Jessica Chastain – and instead we get a close-up of Jane Seymour, who is there because why?
6:22: Ryan asks Shailene Woodley how old she is, then if she’s going to college. (It’s even more awkward than it sounds.) And she explains that she’s going to become an “herbalist,” so no on college. This interview’s going to need to be extended, because I’d like to know what an “herbalist” is, please.
6:23: I’m undecided on Jessica Chastain’s dress – which is black with intricate gold beading – but I think I like it. It also helps that she’s kind of a supermodel, as well.
6:27: Ben tells Ryan that his interview with Jessica Chastain was “well done.” It’s nice that we’re setting the self-congratulatory tone for this evening early.
6:29: Giuliana takes us out to commercial with, “Michelle Williams just arrived. What do you think of her dress? She’s with her best friend Busy Phillips. They’re very sweet together.” Giuliana might not have realized the camera was still on.
6:32: Ryan Seacrest is giving a dissertation on The Descendents. But can we let George Clooney talk now? He may have some interesting thoughts.
6:33: Ryan asks Clooney how he chooses his scripts, and I am stunned by the fact that Ryan asked an interesting, salient question. But then he follows it up with, “What are you afraid of?” Well, that was a fun interlude. Back to normal.
6:34: George Clooney would like to not get hit by a bus today. Right, like anyone took a bus to the Oscars.
6:35: Giuliana’s obsession with George Clooney has become a running joke amongst the 42 E! experts. I’m thinking that the reason that she’s on a platform is maybe because of a restraining order.
6:39: Hey, is anyone interested in coming to my apartment and making me mac and cheese? Serious question.
6:41: Viola Davis looks STUNNING. That green dress is gorgeous.
6:42: Poor Rooney Mara, who has to try to make Lisbeth Salander’s haircut look stylish.
6:43: Pharrell Williams is apparently the Oscar music consultant this year, with Hans Zimmer. Color me intrigued, as those aren’t two guys whose styles strike me as terribly similar.
6:45: Leslie Mann shares that her dress is so tight that she cannot use the bathroom. This may end with a “Maya Rudolph in Bridesmaids” moment.
6:46: We have spent the past 40 seconds watching P. Diddy (is that still what we’re calling him?) get the lint brushed from his tuxedo jacket. I can’t imagine that was the most interesting shot available, E!
6:47: Giuliana is trying to channel Stacy Keibler’s inner fashion thoughts right now. Her Clooney obsession has officially gone too far.
6:53:Busy Phillips looks bored as Michelle Williams gets interviewed by Seacrest. Someone get her some wine.
6:55: Rooney Mara complains that she’s chilly, which probably means that it’s 74 in Los Angeles. Also, a stiff breeze would blow her over, so this may be a variety of factors.
6:56: Only an hour and a half in, I learn that Ben’s last name is Lyons and not Hammer. To Google!
6:57: Ryan is interviewing “Sean Coombs,” and I really wish he’d just pick a name and stay with it. This would make my live blog significantly easier.
6:58: Octavia Spencer’s dress looks like a blingy sunbeam. I love it.
6:59: How is Jason Segel not accompanied by Walter the Muppet on the red carpet? That’s so disappointing.
7:00: Octavia Spencer has not prepared a speech, because she doesn’t think she’ll win. Does she have amnesia? She’s won every award for the past two months. Good grief.
7:01: I’m switching over to ABC for the start of their red carpet coverage. I’ll try to switch it up for the next 90 minutes, but in the meantime, I’m curious how many experts ABC has brought to confuse me with.
7:02: We need a satellite cam to zoom in on the fashion expert, Louise Roe, who then tells us that she’ll be the first person that all of the stars talk to. Uh, Seacrest has been in position since 5:30. Is Louise aware of this?
7:03: And Jess Cagle is in the green room. Props to ABC for providing graphics so that I can correctly identify each expert.
7:03: OMG, TIM GUNN IS HERE! He is judging fashion with Nina Garcia, and I have officially forsaken Giuliana and Seacrest. Te amo, Tim.
7:04: I would like to officially throw my hat into the ring for #bestdressed. For you home viewers, I am wearing a Little Miss Sunshine t-shirt (that I got at a sneak preview screening years ago; seemed appropriate) and yoga pants that are at least a decade old. Vote b-roll!
7:05: Jonah Hill just looks thrilled to be at the Oscars. And frankly, he should be.
7:06: Maya Rudolph suggests that you bring snacks in your purse and wear good undergarments. If I ever go to the Oscars, I’m definitely following her advice.
7:07: Tim Gunn admits that he is wearing “shapewear” for men. I can guarantee that Seacrest is too, but won’t say it.
7:09: I honestly thought that this ad for Woolite was the trailer for the next Hostel movie. Who in God’s name approved that campaign?
7:11: Sascha Baron Cohen is officially walking the red carpet as The Dictator. I’m not gonna lie, that gag in the trailer when he shoots all of the other runners in a footrace absolutely slays me.
7:12: Robin Roberts mentions the Giants Super Bowl win to Rooney Mara. You know, the ONE place where I thought I wouldn’t have to hear about the Patriots heart-breaking Super Bowl loss was the Oscar red carpet. Thanks a heap, Robin.
7:13: I skip back to E! just in time to see Ryan and Giuliana trying to figure out what color Michelle Williams’ dress is. Click.
7:15: I know I’m biased, but Tim Gunn is ten times better at interviewing these celebrities than Ryan Seacrest is. He’s so effortlessly friendly, and Ryan is…not.
7:17: Sascha Baron Cohen’s Dictator just spilled “Kim Jong Il”‘s ashes onto Ryan Seacrest. If Ryan wasn’t in on this – and he looks genuinely stunned – then he’s about to have a production assistant murdered. Okay, now I’m dying to know what The Dictator has in store for Tim Gunn.
7:20: Prince Albert of Monaco is there; for a few moments, I didn’t recognize him and thought he was one of the Price Waterhouse accountants.
7:21: Asked to describe her dress, Emma Stone says, “It’s fuschia, and it’s got a bow!” That was maybe more literal than they meant, though it’s quite charming.
7:23: Nina Garcia is giving fashion critiques that are significantly more eloquent than Kelly Osbourne’s. Not to beat a dead horse, just saying. Maybe turn to ABC if you’re on the fence.
7:25: This will shock you, but Jennifer Lopez’s dress is really low cut. I know, I’ll give you a moment to collect yourself.
7:26: Ryan just turned around, and he’s either got a really amazing dry cleaner on call, or he had a spare jacket just in case.
7:30: Louise asks Christopher Plummer what being the oldest Oscar actor would mean to him, and he just laughs. I’m not sure he was planning on getting an “Oldest Oscar winner!” tattoo or anything.
7:32: Now we know what the E! show was missing: Interviews with moms. I could watch a slideshow of adolescent Melissa McCarthy and George Clooney pics for a solid hour. (Also, Clooney’s mom looks absolutely phenomenal. No question where he got those genes.)
7:35: I tune back into E! to hear Kelly Osbourne say, “…huge breasts, but it worked.” What the heck was the beginning of that sentence?
7:41: Sorry for the break; because none of you people agreed to come make me mac and cheese, I had to set it myself. Thanks a lot, b-rollers.
7:42: Colin Firth! I’ve missed him this year. His wife’s dress is weirdly ill-fitting at the top, but a lovely shade of red.
7:43: And now: Rico Rodriguez of Modern Family goes to see all of the Oscar movies in one day. Thank God Shame wasn’t nominated, or this would’ve been a really uncomfortable montage. (PS: Did you know that Modern Family was on ABC? I know, I’m shocked too!)
7:45: Jean Dujardin is supposedly known as the French Jim Carrey, and every red carpet interview kind of reinforces why. He cannot be contained.
7:46: What’s up with the trend of two-tiered skirts (like, one short skirt over the larger, full-length skirt)? Both Tina Fey and Michelle Williams are wearing dresses like this, and all I can think about is how large my hips would look in a dress like that. (I know, not so much a problem for them, but you see what I mean, yeah?)
7:51: Did you know that JLo grew up in the Bronx? I know, it’s a surprise. That Fiat commercial was so vague.
7:53: I love how ABC feels the need to use a satellite cam to take us from host to host. Guys, it’s a carpet, not a continent. No need to “travel by map.”
7:54: I am thrilled to report that Zack Galifianakis has turned into Ron Swanson. I think he rode to the Oscars on Lil Sebastian.
7:55: Penelope Cruz looks incredible, as Tim Gunn is thrilled to tell her. In fact, if Tim tells you anything other than that you are an icon of red carpets past, present and future, consider your look a “miss.”
7:58: ABC teases the season premiere of The Bachelorette with “My Heart Will Go On” playing in the background. Was that really necessary?
8:00: We’re officially at t-minus 30 minutes until the Oscars begin! Or t-minus four hours until I get to go to bed, if you want to consider this a glass-half-empty situation.
8:05: You guys, I take a five minute break to finish my mac and cheese and SO MUCH HAPPENS. Gwyneth Paltrow is wearing a cape, and Bradley Cooper has a mustache (and is told that the world wants a Hangover 3; we don’t). I’ll never leave you again, I promise.
8:07: How much ad time did Dior buy? I’ve now seen Charlize Theron and Natalie Portman lustily whisper “Dior” about eight times now.
8:09: I’ve spent the last four minutes shoveling mac and cheese like I was carbo-loading for a marathon. The food coma should hit somewhere around Best Supporting Actor, I think.
8:10: Robin Roberts asks George Clooney if he “had to choose: acting, writing, directing?” Thankfully, he doesn’t have to choose. He’s George Clooney.
8:11: My roommate says that Stacy Keibler’s name reminds her of cookies. Which is funny, since she looks like she’s never eaten one.
8:12: Brad Pitt is about five more months away from his Legends of the Fall hairstyle. Hold out, Brad! No haircuts until then!
8:13: My hair (and most people’s) looks thin in the exact same places as Sandra Bullock’s. I just mention that because I adore that she’s a real person, and not a polished Hollywood cyborg. (It’s severely pulled back, which is how you can notice; it’s not like she’s balding.)
8:15: For the second time, Nina Garcia compares Rooney Mara to Audrey Hepburn. Put the big guns away, Nina.
8:16: On the slow-mo pan up Angelina Jolie’s outfit, the first thing I see are her arms, which cause me to yell aloud, “Oh my God, EAT A SANDWICH!”
8:17: This Muppet commercial for Google Plus is genius. (I still probably won’t check my Google Plus account, though.)
8:18: The John Carter ad again! Noteworthy: Every time the commercial airs, when John Carter hops aboard a motorcycle-y thing and growls, “Get on,” my roommate has yelled, “OKAY!” Every. Time.
8:21: Folks, Tom Hanks has a goatee that is snow white. Please tell me that’s dyed for a movie role, Tom. Who else is feeling elderly right now?
8:23: Louise and Brian Grazer have a truly awkward exchange: “Where’s my tequila?” “Well, come on back to my office!” Um.
8:24: Brian Grazer confirms that Billy Crystal is doing an opening medley. I mean, we knew. But still: CONFIRMED.
8:25: Taking this moment of “let’s see the Oscar satellite truck” to take a last-minute bathroom break, and refill my water and coffee cups. Brb.
8:27: This Mirror Mirror ad reminds me: Jessica Chastain and Julia Roberts need to play relatives in something. Either “sisters with a large age gap between them” or “former teen mom/daughter.” I’m undecided.
8:29: Well, that sped by! Ish. Over to the Oscars live blog, folks! Join me, won’t you?