Hello, everyone! It’s that time again when I annually live blog the Oscars. My one annual post! I have this blogging thing on lockdown.
I decided this year that skipping the E! red carpet pre-shows was good for my soul, so I’ll be back at 8:30 to live-blog the show. Join me, won’t you?
8:10: A few thoughts before the show begins: I have seen 5 of the 8 Best Picture nominees, and I would rank them, from best to notsomuch: Boyhood, Selma, The Imitation Game, The Theory of Everything, Birdman. (Haven’t yet seen: Whiplash, American Sniper or The Grand Budapest Hotel.) It seems like Birdman has the momentum and may take the top prize, but I thought it was a technical marvel that was very far up its own birdass. (Pardon my language.) Even though I agree with its main thesis that Hollywood should maybe start making films that aren’t just about white guys in capes.
Also, I’ve caught up on the outfits by watching the ABC pre-show for about half an hour, and I feel like an infinitely happier person for it. E!’s red carpet coverage runs for like 4 hours, and here are a few things I managed to do in the precious time I regained: Watch 2 old episodes of Grey’s Anatomy on Netflix, cook a mushroom risotto, slice open my finger chopping onions for risotto, swear, bandage finger, eat risotto, go shopping for an exercise ball, inflate exercise ball, collapse because manually inflating an exercise ball is harder than any workouts I intend to do on the exercise ball, start a live blog, write some pre-emptive thoughts. Number of times I regretted not watching Giuliana Rancic force a celebrity to stick her hand in a shoebox with a camera for a mani-close-up: Zero. Life’s too short.
ANYWAY. Back in 20 minutes for some Oscar goodness. Let’s do this!
8:30: “We honor Hollywood’s best and whitest…sorry, brightest.” Great opening line…because it’s true.
8:31: We segue into an opening song less than 25 seconds into the show. Hey, did you know Neil Patrick Harris was kind of a song and dance man?
8:34: This is the best performance of Jack Black’s career, for the record.
8:35: This whole opening montage is kind of like if Les Miserables were a tribute to Hollywood. OF COURSE I love it. Why do you ask?
8:36: Hey, remember when Seth MacFarlane’s opening song was about actresses showing their boobs? That was a great moment in the history of Hollywood. And feminism.
8:39: Lupita Nyongo looks stunning wearing a dress made almost entirely of pearls. Imagine how much that costs and/or weighs.
8:40: I’m rooting for JK Simmons to win Best Supporting Actor, not because I’ve seen Whiplash — I haven’t — but he routinely killed it as the psychiatrist on Law & Order. And I’ve seen all of those.
8:41: JK Simmons wins! One award in, no surprises yet.
8:43: JK Simmons says to call your parents, not text them. My parents cell phones are probably off anyway, so I’ll try the landline. Brb.
8:44: NPH sings the Farmer’s theme song and now I’ll have it in my head all night. Thanks, NPH.
8:45: This bit on the Oscar security briefcase of NPH’s predictions has gone on far way longer than it needed to. He should’ve sung it.
8:46: Liam Neeson is on to present. While I’m enjoying his badass phase, I wouldn’t mind if he went back to a drama or two before filming Taken 17. (What the hell’s left to take, by the way?)
8:48: A Harvey Weinstein joke! Drink!
8:49: Fifty Shades of Grey is such a cultural phenomenon that the ingenue lead, Dakota Johnson, gets to present at the Oscars. I long for the days when it was just a deeply terrible novel.
8:50: Whoever did the show production design did a spectacular job. Adam Levine is now singing his nominated song in front of what looks like a wall of suspended candles. This is either magnificent stagecraft or a monumental fire hazard.
8:56: I just called my mom in the first break and said, “JK Simmons said to call you.”
8:57: Speaking of Mom, she discovered Chris Pine this year from that cologne commercial they ran eighty times over Christmas and asked me, “Who is THAT?!” Welcome to the party, Mom. Speaking of Chris Pine, he’s presenting the Best Costume Design Oscar to the woman who created the costumes for the Grand Budapest Hotel. And apparently she’s won several Oscars, so she’s quite good at the costuming thing.
8:59: This woman looks and speaks exactly as I would expect a Wes Anderson collaborator to.
9:00: Reese Witherspoon is wearing white in that tricky between Labor Day/Memorial Day time period. Let’s go to the judges to see if this is a faux pas or not. And by judges, once again, I mean my mom.
9:01: Grand Budapest Hotel also takes hair and makeup. Sign of things to come, or just hoovering up all the quirky little awards for the quirky little film? Probably the latter.
9:02: Channing Tatum is on to introduce the film students who will present this evening’s trophies. I absolutely love this new Oscar tradition. I’d much rather recognize the next generation of filmmakers than another random model.
9:09: Chiwetel Ejiofor on to present with Nicole Kidman. He should’ve won Best Actor last year, so his presence onstage is a year too late. Just saying.
9:10: The Best Foreign Film prize goes to Ida, which I’ve been meaning to watch on Netflix. (That’s a recurring theme for me.) The sweet Polish director talks through his playoff music and gets a rousing ovation. It’s pretty entertaining.
9:17: The gloriously elegant Marion Cotillard is on to present…the song “Everything is Awesome” from the Lego Movie.
9:18: Oprah was just given a Lego Oscar and is FREAKING. OUT. Now SHE knows the pure joy of receiving unexpected gifts, too! YOU get a Lego Oscar!
9:19: I don’t know who decided to include the Lonely Island guys in the “Everything is Awesome” performance, but that was a pretty great decision.
9:24: Jason Bateman and Kerry Washington are on to present the best short film awards. “The Phone Call” wins for best live action and the camera can’t find the directors in the crowd, which gives you a sense of how important they deem these awards.
9:26: The director is excited because now he gets a free donut from his local bakery. Who wants to get together to make a really good short film and win an Oscar? Just real quick? I mean, if I’d known free donuts were involved…
9:28: Best Documentary Short goes to “Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1” marking the second straight winning film about a crisis hotline.
9:30: “Takes a lot of balls to wear a dress like that!” NPH’s best joke tonight is completely off the cuff.
9:31: The recap of the Governor’s Award is introduced by Viola Davis, who I’d kind of like to be when I grow up. Especially if I can wear that necklace. Hot damn.
9:34: NPH’s “out in the audience” bits are funny, but not quite at Ellen’s selfie-level yet. Keep trying, Neil.
9:35: Tim McGraw is singing Glen Campbell’s song “I’m Not Going to Miss You,” the last song Campbell wrote as he began declining due to Alzheimer’s. It’s as devastatingly sad as you’d expect, so I’m thinking they should have programmed the joyous “Everything is Awesome” performance AFTER this one. We could use a little perk up, is what I’m saying.
9:42: This Birdman spoof (with NPH coming onstage in his underwear while Miles Teller plays the drums) is well played.
9:44: The Creative Arts Oscars recap! Bathroom break time.
9:45: I love Chris Evans even more now that I know he’s a Patriots fan. OF COURSE Captain America roots for the Patriots. (Did you hear they won the Super Bowl? Just FYI.) He’s on to present the sound awards with Sienna Miller. The sound mix award goes to Whiplash.
9:47: The Whiplash director gets a shoutout, and as the camera cuts to him, I recall that he is younger than me (and looks like a teenager). So there’s my yearly “I’m such an underachiever” Oscar moment. It’s a fun tradition.
9:49: American Sniper wins sound editing to go with its “worst fake baby” Razzie.
9:50: Jared Leto is on to present Best Supporting Actress. He’s sporting a baby blue tux with white shoes — it’s very 80s prom meets Boca Raton. And yet, on Jared Leto it works. By the way, we all know Patricia Arquette is winning this, correct?
9:52: How do you NOT show Patricia Arquette’s “I just thought there’d be more!” scene from Boyhood as her Oscar clip? Don’t overthink this, editors.
9:54: Patricia Arquette wins and gets a standing ovation. She’s definitely the only person who says “ecological sanitation” onstage.
9:55: She just spoke about wage equality and equal rights for women and now Patricia Arquette is officially my hero. MY DAMN HERO.
9:56: You know a speech was good when Meryl Streep stands up and hollers like she’s at a revival.
9:57: Is there a place I can buy a Patricia Arquette poster? Asking for a friend.
10:00: The next nominated song is from “Beyond the Lights,” which I keep hearing is way better than it ever got credit for being. I’ll try to catch it on Netflix. I’ll finally get through my queue in 2084.
10:02: Rita Ora — who is singing this song — is rocking this year’s trend, which is apparently black and white colorblock.
10:03: Chloe Grace Moretz really wants you to know that her dress has pockets. Her hands appear glued into them. She and another very young actor are presenting the Visual Effects Oscar, which goes to Interstellar.
10:05: Kevin Hart is on to present with Anna Kendrick. (He is, as they joke in announcing their category — Animated Short — almost exactly as tall as an Oscar. That is a tiny, tiny man.)
10:07: Feast wins Best Animated Short, and I actually saw this film since I took my 7 year old nephew to Big Hero 6 and it was part of the pre-show. Aunt Betsy for the win.
10:08: Something is floating down from the ceiling. Feathers? Confetti? It’s very disarming. Probably moreso for the people sitting beneath it right now.
10:09: Zoe Saldana and The Rock on to present best animated feature. Speaking of my nephew, The Lego Movie’s omission from this category would’ve been a very good teachable moment for him about how the Oscars can be kinda BS.
10:11: Big Hero 6 wins, and it’s very deserving. As my friend Dwain said, that movie was like a Marvel comic movie but with the poignancy of a Pixar film. To translate: It was action packed and I sobbed at the end. Thank God for 3D glasses.
10:17: The Academy president on for her annual short speech that we all annually tune out. I love the support of freedom of expression and alternative points of view, but it’d be nice if the industry walked the talk. Just a fun reminder that no women or people of color are nominated for writing or directing a feature tonight.
10:20: Octavia Spencer is over this joke. She’s not alone.
10:21: Chris Pratt and Felicity Jones on to present for production design, which will almost definitely go to Grand Budapest Hotel.
10:22: And it does. The production designer was nominated last year for 12 Years a Slave, and wins for Grand Budapest Hotel. That’s quite a spectrum of production design.
10:23: Best Cinematography goes to Emmanuel Lubezki for Birdman. He won last year for Gravity, so he’s officially the Tom Hanks of the cinematography category.
10:30: Meryl Streep introduces the In Memoriam with a Joan Didion quote. There is just too much classy gravitas happening here right now. She should kind of win an Oscar just for this intro.
10:32: Again: The production design this year is just out of this world. The sketches in this In Memoriam are just gorgeous.
10:37: This may be an inappropriate comment during a song that’s a tribute to those who’ve died, but how did Jennifer Hudson NOT win American Idol? I have yet to hear her give a performance that isn’t completely flawless.
10:42: Benedict Cumberbatch is on to present Best Film Editing with Naomi Watts, and I’ve been spending too much time contemplating her dress to focus on Benedict Cumberbatch. Which is blasphemy. Anyway, the Oscar goes to the guy from Whiplash. If you have Boyhood in the Oscar pool, that’s kind of an uh-oh moment.
10:44: I’m sure the Whiplash editing is amazing, but imagine having 12 years of footage dumped on your desk and having to make a movie out of it. Boyhood probably should have won, I’m thinking.
10:46: In introducing the next three films, Terence Howard breaks down in tears talking about how great Whiplash is. Or he needed a moment to remember his lines. Whatever. But you have two more movies to introduce, dude, so settle down.
10:49: Jennifer Aniston and David Oyelowo (who should’ve been nominated, for the love of God) on to present Best Documentary Feature. Citizenfour wins in a surprise to no one, and Laura Poitras brings Glenn Greenwald onstage. This speech oughta be good…
10:51: NPH makes an Edward Snowden/treason joke that goes over poorly. I appreciate the guts, but I”m not sure that was the best call…
10:55: Don’t taunt me with multiple coffee commercials, Dunkin Donuts. It’s past my bedtime and we haven’t even gotten to the screenplay awards yet.
10:58: John Legend and Common performing their nominated song “Glory,” a lovely song that is by far the best of this year’s nominated songs.
10:59: Honest to God, I can’t get over this year’s stage design. Give THAT team an Oscar. Having the choir and Common perform underneath a recreated Edmund Pettis Bridge? Totally genius.
11:02: A highly deserved standing ovation for a marvelous performance. (Please go see Selma. Seriously.)
11:03: Idina Menzel and John Travolta co-present Best Song and joke about the “Adele Dazeem” mess-up last year. They are both tremendously good sports.
11:06: “Glory” wins Best Song, and we learn that Common and John Legend are stage names. (John Stephens and Lonnie Lynn are their real names, apparently! The more you know!)
11:07: If you saw Common’s Golden Globes speech, you knew we were in for an amazing speech about justice and freedom. And we got one. Very cool.
11:12: Scarlett Johansson joins Zoe Saldana in the “Wait a minute, didn’t you have a baby like a minute ago?” club. She’s introducing a tribute to the Sound of Music. This is probably a bad time to mention that I’ve always though Sound of Music was a little overrated. (It’s good, but it’s no West Side Story, just to mention another classic ’60s musical.)
11:16: It’s easy to forget in her maelstrom of weirdness that Lady Gaga is actually a tremendously talented singer and performer. But I didn’t know she was THIS talented — she’s really nailing this Sound of Music performance.
11:19: That was so damn good, you guys. And now Julie Andrews is coming on and she and Lady Gaga hug and WHY AM I GETTING TEARY I DON’T EVEN LIKE THE SOUND OF MUSIC THAT MUCH.
11:21: Julie Andrews looks phenomenal, and is classy enough to pronounce The Grand Budapest Hotel the correct way (Buda-pesht).
11:23: Alexandre Desplat wins Best Original Score for The Grand Budapest Hotel, his first Oscar. Which is INSANE because he scores pretty much every prestige movie in Hollywood.
11:24 Desplat’s Budapest score — which has played several times tonight — is so frenetic that you kind of expect the winners to break into a dead sprint up to the podium. Which would be entertaining.
11:29: We’re running way behind here — the show should be wrapping up, and we still have two screenplay awards, best director, the acting prizes and best picture. Guys. I have to go to bed soon. Get it together please.
11:30: Hearing my prayer, Eddie Murphy enters and sprints through his Best Original Screenplay intro. The Oscar goes to Birdman and its four writers, and their collection of hairstyles is really kind of the winner here.
11:32: Michael Keaton could maybe chew gum a little less ostentatiously. It’s a formal evening, sir.
11:33: Oprah uses her trademarked Oprah voice to announce that Best Adapted Screenplay goes to Graham Moore for The Imitation Game. He looks like he can’t decide which is more exciting: winning an Oscar or meeting Oprah.
11:41: You get a female psychopath character in ONE film and it gets jokingly called “Bitches Be Tripping.” Let’s call Patricia Arquette back onstage to talk more about the state of women in the film industry, just for a quick sec.
11:42: Best Director goes to Alejandro G. Inarritu for Birdman, so it’s officially not Boyhood’s night. Guys, Boyhood was filmed over 12 years. It was a once in a lifetime achievement. I’M JUST SAYING.
11:43: Inarritu is giving a rambling speech that I would’ve enjoyed about 30% more two hours ago. The guy in charge of the playoff music apparently said, “Screw it, we’re already way over” and decided to just let him go. But anytime now, guys.
11:47: Cate Blanchett on to present Best Actor, and does anyone doubt at this point that it’s going to be Michael Keaton? It’s a Birdman kinda night, God help us.
11:50: I covet Benedict Cumberbatch’s wife’s earrings. Also, her husband.
11:51: Just kidding, the Oscar goes to Eddie Redmayne. This is the one award I kinda wanted Birdman to win, but of course it’s going to win all the awards it shouldn’t. Including Best Picture. NOT THAT I’M BITTER.
11:53: Eddie Redmayne is hopping around like a puppy. He’s adorable.
11:54: I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that Cate Blanchett preceded her “And the Oscar goes to…” with “Okey dokey, smokey.” Your move, McConaughey.
11:55: McConaughey’s countermove is a mountain man beard and metallic gray jacket. Well played.
11:56: Julianne Moore wins the Oscar for Still Alice and gets a standing ovation for being Julianne Moore. I guess I forgive her for her fake Boston accent in 30 Rock now.
12:00: Apparently we’re not killing the Neil Patrick Harris prediction suitcase joke even though we’re a half hour over. Get this over with, NPH.
12:01: So the joke is that Neil Patrick Harris is into magic.
12:03: Sean Penn does not look amused that he’s been waiting this long. He’s on to present the Best Picture.
12:04: And the Oscar goes to…Birdman, which Sean Penn prefaces with “Who gave this son of a bitch his green card?” We’re all kinda thinking that.
12:05: Well, at least Michael Keaton got onstage at some point.
12:06: The lesson, kids, as always: Make a pretentious movie about actors and Hollywood, and you’re already halfway to an Oscar.
12:07: So I would’ve voted for Boyhood or Selma — as you can tell — but you know what? At least Birdman was kinda weird and original. Give it credit for that, when so much coming out of Hollywood just…isn’t.
And so a relatively underwhelming Oscar telecast — albeit a stunning one, visually — ends way too late. Congrats to Neil Patrick Harris for making it through, although I think we can all agree that the Tony Awards are his wheelhouse more than the Oscars. And kudos to the nominees who managed to work social justice, equal rights for women, immigration and gay rights into their speeches, and make the evening feel way more important than it has any right to be. Onto next year’s Oscar telecast/annual blog post!