7:49: Welcome to the 2016 Oscars live blog, everyone! It’s an annual tradition on par with other things that I only do once a year due to abject laziness, such as cleaning my apartment.
Perusing last year’s post — which is available to re-read directly below this one because I only blog once a year — I am pleased to report that my risotto wound scar has healed; my exercise ball has been used like 6 times since I last blogged; I have continued my self-imposed ban on red carpet shows featuring Giuliana Rancic (sweet freedom); and I still hate Birdman.
Seguing to this year’s award nominees: I have seen and loved Spotlight, Room and The Martian; I have seen and been awed by Mad Max: Fury Road (more admiration than love, but lots of the former); I have not seen but expect to like Brooklyn, The Big Short and Bridge of Spies; and I cannot remember a film I have had less desire to see than The Revenant. I don’t care if it wins Best Picture, and I don’t care what raw liver thing Leonardo DiCaprio ate.
Anywho, back at 8:30 for more thoughts. Join me, won’t you?
8:30: We open with a wide-ranging montage of the year in movies, not just the nominees. Presumably this is so we could get some non-white actors featured in the montage, yes? (Too soon to mention #OscarsSoWhite?)
8:33: “Man, I counted at least 15 black people in that montage!” Chris Rock says what we’ve all been thinking. Literally.
8:34: The first line to get real applause is, “This is the 88th Oscars…” GUYS. That’s not the punchline. Pay attention.
8:36: It’s kinda great that Chris Rock is reminding people that the Oscars, um…don’t matter a ton in the grand scheme of things.
8:37: This crowd has NO idea how to react to this monologue. That alone is deeply entertaining.
8:39: Kevin Hart is getting a lot more facetime than one would expect at the Oscars.
8:42: “We want opportunity.” Yup.
8:46: And we’re onto the first award, for Best Original Screenplay, which goes to…Spotlight. If this presages a Spotlight upset of The Revenant, then I will be delighted beyond measure.
8:48: It’s the premiere of the Oscar scroll thingie that is supposed to encourage the winners to avoid reading a list of names, so of course the winners immediately start naming their children and agents.
8:49: There are trivia pop-ups appearing over the Oscar presenters, and I dearly wish Russell Crowe’s said, “Russell Crowe once threw a phone and was flat for 80% of the film adaptation of Les Miserables.”
8:51: It’s hard to say which would’ve been harder to adapt into a visual art form: Two people stuck in a room, one guy stuck on a planet or several guys talking about mortgages. This is a pretty competitive category, is what I’m saying. The Big Short wins.
8:58: Chris Rock is now discussing #OscarsSoWhite in the true language of the Oscars: a comedic montage.
8:59: I would watch the hell out of Tracy Morgan’s The Danish Girl.
9:01: Boy, that Stacey Dash joke worked about as well as the plan to scroll the winners’ thank you lists.
9:03: My roommate’s reaction to Sam Smith singing the Spectre theme: “Yeah, he’s no Adele.” Truth.
9:06: How is The Martian not a frontrunner again? The degree of difficulty on that movie was so damn high. Higher than “guy fights with bear in the woods,” right? Fine, I’m bitter.
9:09: On to Best Supporting Actress. I predict a Kate Winslet upset. Wouldn’t it be amazing if Kate and Leo won Oscars on the same night? This is brought to you by my 15 year-old self sobbing like a maniac because she’ll never let go.
9:12: Alicia Vikander is named an Oscar recipient and kisses her boyfriend Michael Fassbender, redefining the phrase “winner.”
9:19: The costume design intro is a great place to tell you that I tonight am sporting the Star Wars pajamas that I received for my birthday. #AskHerMore
9:21: The Mad Max: Fury Road costume designer wins an Oscar wearing a bedazzled leather jacket, Harry Potter’s Gryffindor scarf and some black slacks.
9:22: Steve Carell and Tina Fey introduce the production design award and are more hilarious in 45 seconds than all of Date Night. They need to take another whack at collaborating.
9:23: Mad Max wins production design as well — presumably for the guy playing a guitar spewing fire. That was an achievement all its own.
9:26: The Revenant’s hair and makeup nominee clip is Leonardo DiCaprio lighting his neck on fire. WHY AM I SUPPOSED TO SEE THIS MOVIE. Mad Max wins (again).
9:28: My reaction to Jennifer Garner, stunning in her strapless gown: “She must kill the arm portion of barre class.” (Related: I took barre class this morning and have just enough energy to lift my fingers and type.)
9:35: I have adored Michael B. Jordan since his Friday Night Lights days when he told Coach Taylor he changed his life and now I’m crying.
9:36: Best Cinematography goes to The Revenant‘s Emmanuel Lubezki, who has won his third straight Oscar. He was apparently in a box with the other cinematography nominees, in what was either a requested show of solidarity or a spectacularly awkward seating arrangement.
9:39: And Best Editing goes to Mad Max: Fury Road. I cannot imagine having to edit that movie, which felt like riding through a wind tunnel.
9:47: Chadwick Boseman and Chris Evans are played onstage to present the sound awards to the orchestral strains of “Staying Alive,” and yet they do not strike the iconic Travolta pose. C’mon, guys. That was right in front of you. Look alive.
9:50: I did not expect “Sound Editing” to be the category in which a winner waxed philosophical about the art and history of storytelling. Anyway, Mad Max wins sound editing and mixing. One of the sound editors is dressed like a modern-day Captain Jack Sparrow. I’m glad we’re all here for this moment in time.
9:54: This Andy Serkis-is-awesome montage feels like an apology for all of the performances for which he hasn’t been nominated.
9:55: I can’t believe it took nearly 90 minutes for our first Donald Trump joke.
9:56: Ex Machina wins the visual effects award, the first tech prize that has not gone to Mad Max.
9:59: R2D2, C3PO and BB8 take the stage and get the biggest cheer of the night. We are all my 8 year old nephew at heart.
10:05: Chris Rock is selling Girl Scout cookies at the Oscars. This is pretty dangerous considering all of these people have been on a juice cleanse for the last 8 days.
10:07: The Minions are on to present the Animated Short Film award. Bear Story wins and the filmmakers wave to Matt Damon en route to the stage, who gamely congratulates them before grabbing a box of Thin Mints. I adore Matt Damon.
10:10: Toy Story is 20 years old, and I saw it on a school field trip in 8th grade because computer animation was so new and amazing. I feel really young right now. Inside Out wins Best Animated Feature. (Because Bing Bong.)
10:12: Amy Poehler is at the Oscars and you’re just showing her now?!
10:13: Kevin Hart is on to present a song from Fifty Shades of Grey from The Weeknd. Okay, a couple things here: Fifty Shades of Grey is an Oscar nominee. This is not a joke or a drill. Nope, there’s an acrobat swinging from straps and both the orchestra and the dancers are wearing black lacy S&M costumes. This is a thing that we will all have to live with.
10:22: I don’t hate Kate Winslet’s supershiny dress, but I can’t decide if I like it. However, I adore her wearing glasses onstage so she can read the teleprompter.
10:24: The camera just cut from Mark Ruffalo to the real guy he played in Spotlight. This will shock you, but the real people are not as good looking as the movie stars who play them.
10:25: Patricia Arquette is on to introduce Best Supporting Actor, which she does in a dead monotone.
10:29: Am I supposed to understand what Tom Hardy’s saying in The Revenant? His enunciation is worse than Stallone’s.
10:31: Mark Rylance wins for Bridge of Spies in an upset over Rocky. Which is ironic, let’s face it.
10:37: Louis CK on to present the Best Documentary Short category. “You cannot make a dime on this,” he says with complete accuracy as all the rich people laugh uproariously. The Oscar goes to A Girl In The River: The Price of Forgiveness.
10:41: Amy wins the Best Documentary Feature, and the orchestra plays a jaunty version of “Rehab” to accompany them to the stage. A little dissonant considering the movie is a heartbreaking look at addiction, fame and creativity gone awry, but yes, the song is catchy.
10:50: Whoopi Goldberg trips over the word “outstanding” in her intro and ends up pronouncing it “outstahnd-ying,” which is how I shall now pronounce it always.
10:52: Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs is spending her segment promoting the Academy’s new diversity push, in case you’re curious about the evening’s theme. Seriously, though, the Academy membership is, apparently, very heavy on the white man demo. This is not a fool’s errand.
10:59: Dave Grohl plays a lovely, delicate “Blackbird” cover over a lovely, delicate In Memoriam segment. I’m just going to take a moment to weep about Alan Rickman again, brb.
11:03: Jacob Tremblay and Abraham Attah are onstage to adorably present Best Live Action Short to Stutterer.
11:06: Speaking of Jacob Tremblay, he posted this picture of him and his parents in the limo en route to the Oscars. The kid’s got a pretty bright future, genetically.
11:08: Sofia Vergara is presenting the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar in her trademark thick accent, so that’s super subtle. It goes to Son of Saul.
11:09: Vice President Biden comes onstage to the Indiana Jones theme like the badass he is. He’s introducing “my friend” Lady Gaga, performing her song “Til It Happens To You.”
11:14: This song is from the documentary The Hunting Ground, a devastating film about sexual assault on college campuses. To be honest, it’s a fine but unspectacular song — but when several sexual assault survivors come onstage with hands joined, it becomes one of the moments of the night.
11:19: We have about 6 awards left to present in 10 minutes. Methinks we’re going over…
11:22: Ennio Morricone wins Best Score for The Hateful Eight. It’s pretty cool to see a legend of cinema win an Oscar in 2016 — apparently I’m not alone in that assessment, as Pharell wraps the bewildered composer up in a bear hug.
11:24: The Oscars know better than to play off Morricone, but considering this speech needs Italian-to-English translation, we’re going to be here until Tuesday.
11:26: They didn’t even perform two of the Original Song nominees? That’s pretty cold.
11:27: Sam Smith wins “Best Original Song” for the very meh new James Bond song. The camera cannot stop cutting to Lady Gaga, who is very gamely looking happy for Sam Smith and will hopefully trash the green room later.
11:28: Oh God. I cannot deal with a Sascha Baron Cohen bit at 11:29pm.
11:30: Yeah, Room deserved a better intro than that. Also, it’s criminal that Jacob Tremblay wasn’t a Supporting Actor nominee, and I don’t just say that because I want to adopt him.
11:35: JJ Abrams on to present the Directing Award to the Star Wars theme, and somewhere George Lucas is quietly seething.
11:37: The Best Director Oscar goes to Alejandro G. Inarritu. It’s his second straight Oscar for directing, which is admittedly impressive. Now if he could just make a movie I like, that’d be super cool.
11:39: Inarritu refuses to be played off. Dude, wrap it up and go get a celebratory drink.
11:43: I know I’m beating the dead horse that went over a cliff in The Revenant, but George Miller really should’ve won that directing Oscar. Mad Max was like no other movie I’ve ever seen, which is an insane achievement. But he didn’t complain about being really cold, so…
11:44: Eddie Redmayne on to present Best Actress. This is going to be Brie Larson, yes?
11:48: The guy responsible for the scroll apparently fell asleep for Brie Larson’s speech, so she thanks everyone alive, including the film festivals that first programmed Room. It’s less obnoxious than it sounds.
11:51: Julianne Moore comes on to present the Best Actor Oscar. To Leonardo DiCaprio, let’s be honest. Oh, how I wish this was going to Matt Damon.
11:55: Leonardo DiCaprio wins and gets a standing ovation. Look folks, I also think Leo is a fabulous actor, but he’s not even 40. This is not a Susan Lucci, deprived-and-overdue kinda moment. Settle down.
11:57: I continue to hold fast to my belief that Leonardo DiCaprio is turning into Jack Nicholson.
11:58: Morgan Freeman is on to present Best Picture. It’s a sign of how long this show has gone on for that I’d rather he just skip ahead and not monologue about cinema.
12:00: And at the stroke of midnight, the Oscar goes to…Spotlight. Morgan Freeman looks pretty stunned.
12:01: The Spotlight producers have a pretty choreographed speech considering how much of a surprise this was.
12:02: I loved Spotlight, though I would’ve voted The Martian or Mad Max ahead of it. But I can’t complain about The Revenant not winning. (Look, I’m Irish. We hold grudges. BIRDMAN SHOULD NOT HAVE BEATEN BOYHOOD.)
12:04: So that’s a wrap! We see a montage of the show’s best moments, many of which happened days ago, right?
Credit to Chris Rock for tackling the #OscarsSoWhite controversy with some honesty and panache. And hopefully, Hollywood got the ultimate message: Create more opportunities. There need to be more films written and directed by women and people of color. (And, you know, maybe greenlight a few movies that aren’t about superheroes. Just a thought.)
The Oscars aren’t the beginning of the discussion; they’re the end. They need a more diverse landscape of work to honor.
But they can certainly try a hell of a lot harder next year.
As usual, both of us looked forward to your commentary (it was a lot better than watching the stupid show) and, also as usual, enjoyed it. Thanks for doing this. Great job, Betsy.
LOVED IT. You are so clever and witty.