2.27.2011

The Live Oscars 2011 Blog (That No One Will Read)!!

Ha! As if this blog gets enough traffic to warrant a live-updated entry. I thought it'd be fun, though, seeing as so many quips typically run through my mind each Academy Awards and hopefully this year will be no exception (last year's readable here). My predictions for some of the bigger awards can be read here, and I'm still fairly confident in my picks. Melissa Leo has been looking good for Supporting Actress in spite of my on-a-limb guess of her co-star Amy Adams and "The King's Speech" could pull a "Hurt Locker" on "The Social Network", but it's unlike Oscar to surprise two years in a row. The only category I'm 100% on is Best Actress. It's unfathomable for anyone but Natalie Portman to take it (of course, now that I've said that...). Live updates will begin shortly.

8:37 - That was an expert portrait of Alec Baldwin! Ha, "Tron", Matt Damon... a passable opening indeed. Hathaway's nailing it as any Hathaway fan might have predicted. Franco's thinking more about teaching a class about himself.

8:40 - Do Hathaway and Franco really appeal to younger audiences anymore? More than Baldwin and Martin, anyway. Also, I think I've discovered the next-best thing to Anne Hathaway getting naked - Anne Hathaway talking about getting naked.

8:42 - An oddly little amount of time dedicated to the opening. Is it better to simply concede to Hugh Jackman's 2009 greatness? "The Reader. I have not seen The Reader."

8:44 - "Alice in Wonderland" being nominated for Art Direction was blasphemous enough. For being so colorful it's one of the ugliest 2010 films I've seen. Maybe that should be blamed on the awful (and, naturally, nominated) special effects instead.

8:50 - Man are they blasting through these first couple. I, for one, have honestly never minded the traditionally sprawling Oscar ceremony. Cinematography winner Pfister's breath was refreshing even from a viewer's standpoint. "My master, Christopher Nolan." Haha, fitting. So... isn't Supporting Actor usually first? I was thinking Mo'nique hadn't made it to present. Is the re-ordering an experiment to achieve higher ratings? Whatever the case, Tom Hanks really is solidifying his reputation as the no-nonsense presenter.

8:53 - Ah, good ol' Kirk. And hey, there's Francis Ford Coppola. Ah, what a warm smile this unexpected segment is putting on me face place. I guess Mo'Nique didn't make it after all. Unless they're changing that tradition up, too.

8:55 - Did Bonham-Carter just roll her eyes and say, "I look like crap"? Ooh, a great clip to show for Leo - that was one of my favorite scenes from "The Fighter". And I'll be damned - I haven't seen "True Grit" yet but that clip played much better than the same scene in the 1969 film. Haha, Douglas is the greatest. This is already the 2011 moment to top.

9:01 - Wow, did the blood just drain out of Melissa Leo's face or what? I'm absolutely okay with my prediction having been incorrect here. I was being a little crazy with the Amy Adams guess and Adams' look of solidarity as Leo took the stage - and her emotional enthusiasm in that cut-away just now - suggests she is more than happy for Leo. A few moments of this acceptance are reminding me of Sally Field's notorious "You like me" speech. If they're breezing through the proceedings as much as they can to make more room for great presentations/acceptances like that, that sounds good.

9:02 - "I'm Banksy." That was funny... in theory.

9:03 - I don't know what's going on but Mila Kunis is winning as always, flubbing and breaking and all.

9:05 - Okay, we're over half an hour in... where the hell is our new Jack-Nicholson-at-the-Oscars George Clooney? Has he already passed that torch to Robert Downey Jr.?

9:08 - The worst part of the "Toy Story" sequels: the premise was wrung dry with the original film. Your proof: Buzz Lightyear. The writers didn't seem to know what to do with him in parts 2 or 3 and opted to simply regurgitate his story before demoting him to the level of Mr. Potato Head. That said, the climax/aftermath of this now-Oscar-winning entry is pretty good.

9:12 - I just realized that each year there's a single category I completely invest in with hopes that my favorite will win. Last year it was Supporting Actor for Christoph Waltz. In 2008 it was Best Song for "Falling Slowly" from "Once" (just typing those titles makes me well up). This year... um... well... yeah, I got nothing. Maybe Original Screenplay for "Another Year". We'll find that one out in just a minute or two. Well, okay, maybe Supporting Actor for Bale.

9:16 - Perhaps I shouldn't have said Best Actress was the only category I was 100% on. Sorkin was a lock for Adapted Screenplay. Firth is more than likely a lock for Best Actor, too. Oh and I see they are planning to "play people off" still, but Sorkin's not having it!

9:21 - Haha, Bardem's having a good time. "The King's Speech". I have not seen "The King's Speech". At least "Inception" and "The Kids Are All Right" didn't win. Because being negative is healthy, right? A good acceptance speech for a film (that I think is more or less) about giving good speeches (and no, I wouldn't have put that together had Seidler not mentioned it), but get over Melissa Leo's endearing "f-bomb" already (see, there's that negativity again! And more parentheses!).

9:26 - I have a feeling Hathaway and Franco are going to have some poor reviews to overcome... but lackluster writing should probably be to blame. Okay, let's try to be more positive here... hey, Russell Brand and Helen Mirren! Tough to be negative with those two on screen.

9:28 - Should I be embarrassed I'm unfamiliar with the existence of three out of the five Foreign Language Film nominees? I feel I stay abreast of world cinema to a fair enough extent that I should at least know of the Oscar nominees... but I've only seen "Dogtooth" and then heard of "Biutiful". I mean, where, at the very least, is Palm d'Or winner "Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives"? Oh well, I suppose I didn't do a very good job keeping up in 2010.

9:34 - Great to see nods for both Hawkes and Bale, the latter of whom has been deserving again and again, possibly never moreso than now. Witherspoon presenting proves, I guess, that they're going a different route with acting category presenters. And the winner is... Bale! Damn good for him! A very nice acceptance speech for which I will, with an obvious bias, excuse the third recall of the "f-bomb".

9:42 - Hey, it's those two Australians from that awful Baz Luhrman movie about Australia. What was that one called again? Anyway, they're apparently here to teach us what a movie is. Charlie Chaplin clips and John Williams music. Lesson... learned?

9:45 - Finally, some "Inception" clips with action. Seemed like they were struggling to make that one fit in with the other Best Picture nominees since they just kept showing that one scene. You know, that one. I still think it's weird it was nominated. Did a mob of "Dark Knight" fans in Joker makeup threaten the AMPAS?

9:47 - Fresh off some "Inception" hating, I'll gladly applaud its technical wins - the sound design is indeed deserving. Good on it.

9:49 - "The Mighty" Christopher Nolan (he should credit himself as such henceforth) is getting more love in these acceptance speeches than [fill in the blank].

9:51 - Okay, I got it. James Franco was in "Spider-Man 2" with Alfred Molina who was in both "Boogie Nights" and "Magnolia" with John C. Reilly who was in "The River Wild" with Kevin Bacon. Man, for as much as I love playing 6 Degrees of Kevin Bacon, I always wind up resorting to "The River Wild".

9:53 - Wait, what the hell did I just do? I didn't mention either Matthew McConaughey or Scarlett Johansson, which was the whole point of Franco's punchline-free joke. If people were actually following this I'd be more embarrassed than with my admission of 2010 non-English language film ignorance.

9:55 - Look, it's Marisa Tomei. Hey, remember like 20 years ago when... wait, lost my train of thought when I recalled the strip club scenes from "The Wrestler".

9:57 - So "The Wolfman" wins for Best Makeup while entirely CGI-looking transformation shots play. Right then.

9:59 - "The Tempest" was released? Considering its trailer and Taymor's recent output, it's probably better I missed it.

10:03 - Halfway(?) through the show and I feel compelled to apologize to anyone reading this (several years from now after stumbling upon it via unfortunate happenstance) for how dry it's been. The arid nature of my comments reflects the show, I'd say. I'm scapegoating, I know... but man, this is a bland program this year. As I type this, here's Kevin Spacey singing "Top Hat" to try and prove me wrong (not doing too bad a job at that). Oh, and here's Randy Newman singing a "Toy Story" song. This is either the 1990s or I accidentally changed the channel to a "Mad TV" re-run. So yeah, the '90s.

10:12 - Last year's handling of the ten Best Picture nominees was vastly superior to this playing-questionably-selected-clips-before-commercial-breaks thing. I wasn't too thrilled about many of the nominees last year (nor am I this year for that matter) but the individual segments dedicated to each respective film embodied what the Oscars are all about (secondary to selling movies, anyway). I don't know what's going on this year, but there is absolutely nothing to get wrapped up in here. Kirk Douglas stole the show early on and apparently ran away to hide it in a dark corner. The shocking part of all this: Kirk Douglas running!

10:13 - "Strangers No More" used Papyrus font so you know it's not winning.

10:14 - Oh. I mean. Duh, of course it was going to win.

10:16 - There's a joke somewhere between the show's boringness and the barring of Banksy's "antics".

10:17 - Oh hey, "God of Love". That was my pick to win simply based on the Oscar-grabbing title.

10:18 - I was wondering when James Franco would mention coll-- uh, what the hell? "Deathly Hallows" auto-tune? Worst Oscar montage ever? And again, I typically like the show's sprawling nature so I typically have no problems with the montages but-- oh boy, and here I was thinking we weren't going to have to look at any "Twilight". At least it wasn't being called a horror series this time. Then, after my actually finding "Eclipse" passable, "The Twilight Saga" has got a big leg up on "Harry Potter" in my eyes.

10:20 - I'll finish Oprah's thought: "Black people hardly ever win or are nominated or are in attendance or beat Peter O'Toole in his 8th nomination." Oh wait.

10:24 - You know what's really missing? Well, Banksy for one [insert obligatory tear-shed for not only "Exit through the Gift Shop" not winning but also my safer prediction of "Restrepo" following suit]... but where are the cut-aways? Half the fun of the Oscars is watching the celebrities in attendance laugh at themselves! Well, here's a shocker: one of the "Inside Job" directors is making a political statement!

10:27 - Now that's impressive - they got Admiral Ackbar to introdu-- oh, that's Billy Crystal. And he's funny! It's a trap!! But really, respect for Crystal. He's reminding us what a good Oscar broadcast is like.

10:32 - I think cracks on Robert Downey Jr.'s rocky past just finally got old.

10:34 - Thank goodness "Inception" took that. Only it and "Iron Man 2" were deserving of nominations - the other three Visual Effects nominees looked dreadful.

10:38 - And actually, "Inception" not being nominated for Best Editing is just strange. Too bad for "Black Swan" - it was my pick in this category. The more clips I see from it compared to the other films up "for your consideration" make me want to like it more than I do (which is already a comparatively considerable amount).

10:41 - It's like Franco knows the jokes he's sleepwalking through are awful. If it wasn't funny when Mike Myers and Dana Carvey did it in their reprise of Wayne and Garth, it won't be funny when droned in a penguin suit.

10:44 - What's that Gwyneth? A four-letter word? Melissa Leo knows all about those! Oh! Bam! Anyway, that "127 Hours" song was really nice when black Bono wasn't singing.

10:55 - At this point I think the producers are just trying to put us to sleep so we don't-- ohh, this is the memorandum segment. Forgiven. Aw, Grant McCune and the "Titanic" lady kicked the bucket. Hi Sally. Ouch, totally forgot Leslie Nielsen passed. Hm, I've never seen a Claude Chabrol film. Robert Culp... I will try do you proud if I ever manage to adapt "The Greatest American Hero" with Bruce Campbell in your role (wishful, but y'know)! I'm recognizing more of these people than I usually do (not naming all of them here, mind you). Hey, didn't √Čric Rohmer die in 2010? Well, it was January so he was probably in last year's montage.

11:03 - Director this many categories before Picture? Looks like Hooper is taking this one, then... and, yep. So now the pins and needles are really gonna be pricking - will this be a year of split Director/Picture winners or will "The King's Speech" take the big one after all? Nah, "The Social Network" has got it. Right?

11:09 - The Governor's Ball montage made that event look far more rewarding to sit through than what we're currently being subjected to.

11:12 - I keep thinking, "How awesome would it be for Bridges to give an award to himself?" before remembering he's presenting for Actress. Hey, Nicole Kidman looks fantastic... and yet I can't take my eyes off of Andrew Garfield sitting right behind her. That young man's deserved heyday is imminent!

11:16 - If they are doing one thing damn well this year it's selecting clips for the acting categories, even if Michelle Williams' clip only reminded me how heinous Ryan Gosling's snub is.

11:17 - Portman indeed! Bridges did just as great a job announcing her as I sillily crossed my fingers he'd do.

11:23 - Hey Jesse Eisenberg - want to play the William Katt role in my "Greatest American Hero" adaptation?

11:27 - If Firth is correct and his career has just peaked, it's been a nice slow build-up. He's been excellent for years and I'm sure he'll continue to be for years to come. The "King's Speech" clip shown to exemplify his performance instilled me with the most motivation I've yet felt to finally break down and watch the film.

11:35 - Well at least they're keeping up the tradition of giving away the endings to most of the Best Picture nominees. Uh...

11:37 - "The King's Speech" wins. My reaction: "Huh." Quickly followed by forgetting.

11:41 - Well, that was dead on arrival. I'm glad I did this live blog, otherwise I'd have been asleep ages ago. How did we go from last year's extravagance to this year's lethargy? It's really not about being entertained. I don't have to feel like I'm on a rollercoaster of stuffy television glitz. It's about honoring and sharing what we love about the spectacle of bigger-budget filmmaking and this year it just felt like hardly anyone cared. Kirk Douglas and Melissa Leo's presentation/acceptance set the bar early on and all to follow seemed to simply stroll forth and pass out in the sand.

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