Monday, February 28, 2005

Minute-by-minute at the 2005 Oscars Ceremony

5:30 -- The ceremony begins with a montage of great film moments narrated by Dustin Hoffman. My favorite clip -- and what will almost certainly be one of my favorite moments of the night: a clip from Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure is included, with Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter saying, "Whoa!" That is genius.

5:33 -- They show the inside of the hall, and there are giant TV screens plastered all over the ceiling, so that the action on the central movie screen can appear to burst forth and soar over the audience. Nice touch.

5:34 -- Chris Rock emerges, and the audience is very slow to get on its feet and give him an ovation. They stand in bits and pieces until the ovation is total, while Rock says, "Thank you! Thank you!" And the way he says it is part, "Let's get on with this," and part, "I won't stop saying 'thank you' until all your asses are out your seats, motherfuckers." He then of course says, "Sit your asses down."

5:34 -- He scores instantly with, "Welcome to the 77th and last Academy Awards," and I can already tell this is going to be a brilliant hosting job.

5:35 -- Rock contrasts the Oscars with other awards ceremonies. "You go to the Source Awards, there's singin', dancin', and shootin'." Cut instantly to P. Diddy in the audience, with a half-hearted, almost sheepish smile: "Who, me?"

5:36 -- He gets off a zinger at Nicole Kidman's expense (re: her phony reaction to losing the Oscar to Halle Berry). She doesn't appear to be present. I hope to hell Rock isn't limiting himself only to targets outside the theater. (He mentioned Morgan Freeman a second ago, but in a less pointed way than he named Kidman.)

5:36 -- He nails Cuba Gooding a moment later ("I saw Boat Trip the other day, and I immediately sent Cuba Gooding a check for eighty dollars"). He ain't there, either.

5:37 -- Tobey Maguire is next on the dissed in absentia list ("Clint Eastwood is a star. Tobey Maguire is just a boy in tights"). Jude Law immediately follows. Come on, Rock, rip on some people right in front of you. Please!

5:38 -- Rock pulls the ultimate deflation on his act by turning it on himself. Regarding making movies before you can secure a star: "If you want Denzel, and all you can get is me -- wait!" Some good jokes so far, but relatively toothless (relative for his usual act, that is; for the Oscars, it's scathing).

5:39 -- A Michael Moore fat joke? Dude, that is beneath you.

5:40 -- First great bit of the evening is about Dubya, and how he had the nerve to reapply for a job while there was a movie in every theater that showed how much he sucked at that job. Regarding Bush's deficit: "Now, just imagine you worked at The Gap. You closing out your register, and it's 70 trillion dollars short. The average person would get in trouble for something like that, right? Not Bush!" He fucking kills on this bit.

5:41 -- "I saw Passion of the Christ. Not that funny, really."

5:43 -- He finally takes a shot at someone in attendance: presenter Halle Berry, who "will next be seen in the eagerly awaited Catwoman 2."

5:44 -- Jesus, they're really going through with it. All the nominees for Art Direction are already on stage, revealed by a curtain drawing back, before the award is presented. This is so incredibly tactless it boggles my mind.

5:45 -- The Aviator wins, making me an early 1-for-1 on my predictions.

5:47 -- Yo-yo dieter Renee Zellweger presents Best Supporting Actor. She's on the emaciated end of the scale again, by the way.

5:49 -- Morgan Freeman wins! (Making me 2-for-2.) He gets a huge ovation, which is wonderful. Guess they went the "lifetime achievement" way after all. Not that he didn't deserve it, far from it, but this was a damn tough category, and I think his previous nominations (and losses) helped seal the deal.

5:51 -- Freeman could give a seminar on simple, gracious, dignified awards-accepting. He's such a class act. Strangely, as he leaves the stage and we go to commercial, the orchestra strikes up the Star Trek: The Next Generation theme song. Nice segue...?

5:55 -- Robin Williams does a bit on which cartoon characters might be gay, and punctuates each one with, "Hello!" Robin, on behalf of America, may I say: "Goodbye!"

5:58 -- The Incredibles wins Best Animated Film. I'm 3-for-3. They appear to be not so quick on playing people off in the middle of their speeches this year, which is nice, and long overdue. For some of these people, it's the one big moment in their lives. Give them thirty extra frickin' seconds, would you?

6:00 -- Oh, Christ, they're going through with this, too! Cate Blanchett is out in the audience to give out the award for Best Makeup. See my previous comment. Let them take the stage to get their frickin' awards, would you?! P.S. Cate Blanchett is hot.

6:01 -- Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events wins, making me 3-for-4. It's so sad, the way these people have to just stand in the aisle and make their speeches. Very shoddy treatment, Academy, very shoddy.

6:02 -- Drew Barrymore (always an inspiration to those with speech impediments -- much like Alicia Silverstone) presents the first Best Song nominee, which is something in French from a film you've never heard of (unless you're French -- and probably not even then). It is sung -- in French -- by Beyonce, which makes perfect huh wha??

6:06 -- Okay, previous snotty comments aside, that was quite a beautiful song. And Beyonce? Smokin' hot.

6:10 -- As we come back from commercial, a man in tuxedo rushes madly on stage to hand Rock a mike, then rushes madly behind the curtain again. Now that's comedy.

6:11 -- A taped bit, in which Rock apparently wants to make black moviegoers look stupid. He goes to the Magic Johnson theaters, and asks the patrons what the best movie of last year was. "Alien vs. Predator," one answers. "Saw," says another. "Chronicles of Riddick," says a third. He asks them if they've seen the nominees for Best Picture, and none of them have, then he asks if they've seen White Chicks, and all of them have, and loved it. It's like Jay Leno's "Jaywalking" bits, only specifically targeting the black moviegoing audience. Rock's willingness to exploit them for cheap laughs, combined with the plethora of cheap laughs elicited from the live audience, makes me wince. I guess Rock achieved his objective: he made this white boy uncomfortable.

6:12 -- Suddenly, one of the patrons he's talking to is Albert Brooks, and the bit turns on a dime from questionable to genius. "Did you see Sideways?" "Yes." "Did you see Finding Neverland?" "Yes I did." "Did you see Million Dollar Baby?" "Oh yes." "Did you see White Chicks?" Straight into the camera: "Best movie of the year! They got robbed!!"

6:13 -- Scarlett Johansson comes out on a balcony to talk about the Scientific and Technical Blah Blah Blah Awards that aren't important enough to be given out tonight. In other breaking news: Scarlett Johansson is sexy as all git-out. (Except that damn hair!)

6:16 -- Pierce Brosnan is demeaned into co-presenting with a cartoon character. I don't care if it's Edna Mode, it's still fucking demeaning.

6:18 -- The Aviator wins Best Costume. I'm 3-for-5. I'm going to regret every pick against The Aviator tonight, aren't I?

6:22 -- Tim Robbins, presenting the same award he presented at the Golden Globes, makes sure to pronounce Closer correctly this time (you know, as in "one who is more close," rather than "one who closes things"). Well done, Timmy!

6:23 -- Blanchett wins, bringing me up to 4-for-6. Still hot!

6:25 -- A Sierra Mist commercial makes me strangely happy. It features Michael Ian Black, Jim Gaffigan, and from Mad TV past and present, Debra Wilson, Aries Spears, and Nicole Sullivan. I love Nicole Sullivan. These are better commercials than the Super Bowl so far!

6:26 -- A nice tribute to Johnny Carson hosting the Oscars, including his classic line, "I see a lot of new faces. Especially on the old faces."

6:30 -- Leonardo DiCaprio presents for Best Documentary Feature. The poor bastard nominees are all gathered on stage again.

6:31 -- Don't you ever tell me I don't know the Oscars! My reasoning on this category was dead perfect. I know exactly how the Academy thinks! Born into Brothels wins, making me 5-for-7. Don't you question my skills, bitches!

6:33 -- Film editing (presented by Kirsten Dunst and Orlando Bloom, who are equally pretty) goes to The Aviator, making me 6-for-8. I'm a god among men!!

6:35 -- Mike Myers presents Counting Crows singing the second Best Song nominee, "Accidentally in Love." And you know what? I love this song! That's right! Love it! I don't care what you say! It's very sweet. So there.

6:42 -- Presenters Adam Sandler and Catherine Zeta-Jones are announced, but only Sandler comes out, setting up a very funny bit in which Rock pretends to take Z-J's place. Rock slays with the line, "As a little girl growing up in Wales..."

6:44 -- Once again my Oscar reasoning is dead on, as Sideways wins for Best Adapted Screenplay. 7-for-9.

6:46 -- Jake Gyllenhaal and Ziyi Zhang co-present for Visual Effects, apparently for the sole purpose of making me have to look up the spelling on their names.

6:47 -- The nominees are packed on stage together like sardines. Ridiculous! Spider-Man 2 wins, making me 8-for-10.

6:50 -- Al Pacino presents the honorary Oscar to Sidney Lumet. You will forgive me if I fast forward through this part on the TiVo, to try to get a little caught up on the broadcast.

7:04 -- Emmy Rossum presents Beyonce to sing the third Best Song nominee, from Phantom of the Opera. Which Minnie Driver sings in the film. I'm sure Beyonce is a much better singer than Driver, but still. Burn!!

7:09 -- Rock introduces "Comedy superstar Jeremy Irons," which gives me the first big laugh in a while. And how shocking it is to say that -- there's more than one big laugh in the entire ceremony! Unprecedented! Irons, sadly, is out in the audience, as Blanchett (still hot!) was, which sucks for the nominees for Best Live Action Short.

7:09 -- As Irons is delivering his spiel, a very loud BANG! occurs offscreen. Irons shows that the gift for cool, calm, witty ad-libbing at the Oscars is not restricted to David Niven when he says, "I hope they missed."

7:10 -- Best Live Action Short goes to Wasp. Whatever. I'm still 8-for-11. I do admire winner Andrea Arnold for saying "this is the dog's bollocks." Saucy monkey!

7:11 -- Laura Linney presents Best Animated Short. She is also stuck out in the audience, but guess what? No, guess. Go on, guess! She's still hot. You could've guessed that!

7:13 -- Ryan wins. Double whatever. I'm 8-for-12. The short categories screwed me!

7:15 -- Kate Winslet gives the Cinematography award to The Aviator. 9-for-13! Is Aviator going to be one of those films that wins all the side awards but loses the big one, or does this indicate (as with Return of the King last year) that it's a mortal lock for Best Picture and Director? I'm so far behind on this telecast, all of you probably know by now. I'm still on the edge of my seat! (Because I'm drunk, and I'm sliding off.)

7:20 -- Rock introduces the accountants who tabulate the Oscar votes, but instead of the weedy little white guys you'd expect, out come two gigantic, red bow-tie wearing Nation of Islam brothers. Awesome.

7:20 -- "You won't be able to take your eyes off these next four presenters: Penelope Cruz and Salma Hayek!" Get it? Get it??? I don't.

7:21 -- Oh! He's talking about their gigantic breasts! Ha! HA HA HA HA HA!!! No, wait. Lame. What is he, Benny Hill?

7:23 -- Ray wins for Sound Mixing. My Oscar theories let me down there. Huh. 10-for-14.

7:25 -- I reversed it. I should've picked The Incredibles for the Sound Editing category, not Sound Mixing. I didn't. 11-for-15*. Frick!

7:27 -- The Best Song nominee from The Motorcycle Diaries is performed by Carlos Santana and... Antonio Banderas?? Weird. He ain't that great. Should've used Beyonce again.

7:35 -- Natalie Portman flitters out on gossamer butterfly wings to present Best Documentary Short. The award goes to Mighty Times: The Children's March. After taking a couple of blows, my Oscar logic has been restored to legitimacy. I am triumphant! Actually, I'm only batting .750. But it's better than you, dammit!

7:38 -- Rock puts this whole monkeying around with how the Oscars are presented in its place: "Next you're gonna give out Oscars in the parking lot... be like a Oscar drive-thru lane. Get your Oscar and a McFlurry and keep it movin'!" Rock RULES.

7:39 -- Travolta presents Original Score. Part of his speech is, "Whether someone is walking down a New York street with attitude..." He pauses, waiting for the audience to acknowledge his iconic movie moment from Saturday Night Fever. They don't. BURN!!!

7:40 -- Someone with a difficult name to spell wins for Finding Neverland. John Williams will have him rubbed out within 48 hours, I'm confident. 12-for-17, dammit.

7:43 -- Martin Scorsese presents the Hersholt Humanitarian Award to Roger Mayer. Fast forward, fast forward....

7:48 -- Yo-Yo Ma performs during the Obituary Page portion of the evening. Applaud for the most popular!

7:51 -- Ronald Reagan, Peter Ustinov, Elmer Bernstein, Jerry Orbach, Janet Leigh, Christopher Reeve, Ossie Davis, Rodney Dangerfield (who gets a "Whoo!"), and Tony Randall are among the early leaders. But then, of course, there's Marlon Brando. Brando wins! Brando wins!!

7:52 -- All of you definitely know who won the major awards by now. I'm still playing catch-up. That's a little frustrating. I hope I'm done before I have to go to work tomorrow.

7:55 -- Rock introduces "Sean Combs." As opposed to P. Diddy. He comes out and nods somewhat menacingly at the audience for a while, like, "If you do not applaud for me, I will have your ass shot." A waft of dry ice smoke curls behind him as he introduces the fifth Best Song nominee -- from Polar Express? Whaa?? It's sung by Josh Groban and -- say it with me -- Beyonce.

8:00 -- Prince comes out to present the Best Song Oscar, to what sounds like a riff from "Carry on My Wayward Son." Now that's odd.

8:01 -- Motorcycle Diaries wins. Kind of cool, first Spanish-language song ever nominated. But it continues screwing up my picks. I'm 13-for-18**.

8:02 -- Sean Penn comes out to present Best Actress. "Forgive my compromised sense of humor," he says, and actually goes on to defend Jude Law from Chris Rock's jokes of, like, two and a half hours ago. Compromised? Try non-existent. Douchebag.

8:05 -- Hilary Swank! FUCK YEAH!! This was the award I had the highest hopes for this evening. This is just incredible. (14-for-19, by the way.) I hope Chad Lowe doesn't cry like a little girl again. And I hope she doesn't make a big deal out of thanking him, after forgetting him last time. But I know she will.

8:06 -- She does.

8:09 -- Another Sierra Mist commercial, with Debra, Michael Ian, and Nicole. Did I mention I love Nicole Sullivan? I do.

8:14 -- Gwyneth Paltrow presents Best Foreign Language Film to The Sea Inside. Apparently, it's the only one the Academy has heard of, too. I'm 15-for-20. I'm back to .750 again!

8:17 -- My Oscar logic holds solid once again, as Charlie Kaufman wins for Eternal Sunshine. Kaufman refers to the countdown for speeches as he says, "Thanks to the Academy... 29 seconds, 27 seconds... that's really intimidating." 16-for-21.

8:22 -- Charlize Theron comes out to present Best Actor. She's all ruffley! (And hot.)

8:25 -- Jamie Foxx! 17-for-22. Please don't do that thing where you try to get the audience to do the Ray Charles call-and-answer "Oooh!"

8:26 -- He does. Seriously, he is always making an acceptance speech! You know, bless him for all his awards, so richly deserved -- but thank god this is the last one.

8:28 -- All my bitching aside, he gives one of the most heartfelt, touching Oscar speeches ever. To his dead grandmother: "I can't wait to go to sleep tonight, 'cause we've got a lot to talk about!" That will become a legendary line in Academy Awards history. Beautiful, just beautiful.

8:32 -- Julia Roberts comes out to present Best Director. Damn, she's got the boobs now to play Erin Brockovich without falsies! I guess that's what twins do for you.

8:33 -- Holy crap, Eastwood wins!! Un-freakin-believable. He gets an instant standing ovation. Criminy, Scorsese could turn lead into gold and he wouldn't get an award. Poor, poor bastard. Well, that drops me to 17-for-23, but still, yay Clint! (And sorry, Marty.) Wow, even after all the previous awards for The Aviator, this throws Best Picture back up in the air. I could've sworn the Oscars would be split between Director and Picture. Now (since I picked Baby to win, and since I love it so much) I hope they aren't.

8:36 -- Legends Dustin Hoffman and Barbra Streisand come out to present Best Picture, but how sad is it that they can be announced as "the Fokkers"? What a messed up business this is.

8:38 -- MILLION DOLLAR BABY!! INCREDIBLE!! This is so, so awesome. It's very, very rarely that the film I thought was the best of the year wins the Oscar -- in fact, the last time this happened (without doing research) might've been 1993, when Unforgiven won. Damnation, Clint is the best! I'm so thrilled by this. And that puts me at 18-for-24, 75% for the night. Not bad.

8:40 -- Chris Rock calls it to a close with "Good night Brooklyn! Yo! A-huh-huh." He likes laughing at his own material a little too much. But all in all, it was a great hosting job: very, very funny, with a few well-planned, controversial bits, but nothing so racy or charged to send the viewing audience into conniptions. If he hosted again, I wouldn't be adverse. Although I think Mike Myers and Conan O'Brien need a shot at it sometime soon, too. Anyone, anyone, as long as Whoopi Goldberg never, never, never, never, NEVER does it again. NEVER. Never.

*EDIT: I'm surprised nobody caught me on this, but I credited myself with a correct guess on Sound Editing when I shouldn't have. So that drops me to 17-for-24 for the night. Which is still pretty good, I think. And hey, I got 7 out of the top 8 categories (Picture, Director, Acting, Writing), which ain't bad at all!

**EDIT AGAIN: Crap! I did it again on Best Song! Well, that goes to show you the hazards of drinking and liveblogging. 16-for-24. I'm down from 3/4 right to 2/3. Bummer. I should stop proofreading before I find out I missed every category! Dumbass.

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