Minute-by-minute at the 2006 Oscars Pre-Show
3:00 -- Roger Ebert and George Pennacchio begin the local ABC affiliate's pre-pre-show program, and I open my first beer. I'll only be checking in on this first hour of coverage intermittently, to preserve my sanity for as long as possible.
3:02 -- Richard Roeper is with Marc Brown in the balcony, where there's no danger he'll accidentally interact with the talent. Maybe one day he'll get to sit at the grown-ups table.
3:07 -- Seriously, what the hell possible reason could there be for Lisa Rinna to be at the Oscars? Other than the fact that she always ices up her nipples before going out into public, that is. That's good TV.
3:08 -- They have a segment with Muppets Statler and Waldorf! They're looking for Charlize Theron. Man, whoever are doing the voices are hardly even trying. That's sad.
3:10 -- Wow, Rachel Weisz is hotter tonight than I usually give her credit for. Maybe it's the accent. Probably the accent.
3:14 -- Gary fuckin' Busey is there?? What the? I mean, first of all, what possible reason could there be for him to attend the Oscars at all, unless we've suddenly gone back in time 27 years. But more importantly, I'm amazed he has the balls to show his face in public following this career decision.
3:17 -- Roger Ebert's pretend girlfriend, Amy Adams, is here. She looks old around the eyes. Pennacchio goes straight to the money question, probing her on the lucrative offers that must be pouring in for her. Dick. She responds very classily, "Well, I'm not going to talk about things such as that right now. Not tonight." That alone makes me want to rent Junebug.
3:20 -- Pennacchio asks Diana Ossana, co-writer of Brokeback Mountain, "How much money has it made nationally now?" What a crass jackass.
3:24 -- Dolly Parton, still looking pretty darn hot, sportin' some mega-cleavage. You know, there was a time I actually thought those things were real. Sweet, naive youth.
3:25 -- My night has just been made. LEE frickin' MAJORS is here. I don't care is he has even less reason to be here than Gary Busey. It's COL. STEVE AUSTIN, yo. Try to keep him out, and he'll just doo-doo-doo-doo-doo and jump right over the damn wall.
3:26 -- Pennacchio refers to Terrence Howard as "a guy who made $12,000 on a film, and is now getting offers of $2 and $3 million [his emphasis, directly into the camera] for a movie". There is no end to this dipstick's sleazy monetary fixation.
3:31 -- Dolly Parton stops by to talk to Ebert. She's such a sweetheart. "You gonna sing that song tonight?" Ebert asks. "Well, yes Ah am!" she says, and it's so enthusiastic and charming. If you don't love Dolly Parton, you may be dead inside. "I thought that I might could do a good song for it," she adds.
3:35 -- George Clooney: "You know this Ang Lee guy? I don't like him. And I think he's a Communist."
3:40 -- Is it just me, or does Keira Knightley look a lot like Natalie Portman? But, like, with hair.
3:47 -- BODY BLOW!! Ebert introduces "Grant Heslov, one of the producers of Crash," and goes on to mention the extremes in criticism "your film" has received. Heslov says, "Well, it's Good Night, and Good Luck. that I'm a producer of." OUCH!! Sit down, Ebert, sit down! You're so fired.
3:51 -- Pennacchio introduces Steve Carrell: "He's become one of the biggest stars in the world right now." Carrell reacts as though Pennacchio were a complete idiot. Which is the correct reaction.
3:55 -- Will Smith and Will Ferrell are talking to Ebert at the same time. Smith praises Ferrell's commitment to his characters. Ebert jokes that Ferrell should say something nice about Smith now. Ferrell: "I love The Fresh Prince, and, uh, I used to write fan letters to you, but you would never write back." Smith, awesomely playing along: "I was like, 'Who's this crazy -- who's this 37-year-old kid writing me these letters?'"
3:57 -- Paul Giamatti, looking very scruffy, is the last star to stop by... for this pre-pre-show show. Up next: the official pre-show!
Boy, I checked in a little more than "intermittently" in the pre-pre-show, didn't I? I'll need to really skip ahead a bit for the next hour, because I'm already lagging behind a bit on the TiVo, and I want to be caught up to live TV by the time of the actual show.
4:00 -- It's Billy Bush! NOOOOOOOO!!! Actually, I shouldn't be so disrespectful of our future 46th President (I'm calling it now).
4:02 -- Bush macks on Keira Knightley. She says she was afraid of messing up in Pride & Prejudice. "Such self-loathing from a beautiful girl!" Bush says. Smooth.
4:13 -- Heath Ledger and Michelle Williams are an item? I did not know that. I'm in danger of losing my Pop Culture Commentator license.
4:15 -- Bush to Will Smith, on Jada Pinkett-Smith: "Well, if there was a category for most beautiful..." Smith cuts him off: "Hey, careful, that's my wife!" Funny bit, except... the way Bush genuinely leered at Jada while he was speaking kind of creeped me out. He's gross.
4:19 -- Chris Connelly: "The awesome and unbelievable Salma Hayek -- grab your rosaries, boys!" What the HELL does that mean??
4:30 -- I haven't seen Crash or Hustle & Flow yet, but when Terrence Howard speaks, it makes me think that I should. Man, he's got some weird, powerful charisma about him.
4:34 -- Reese Witherspoon continues to be deliriously gorgeous, and Ryan Phillippe continues not to deserve her.
4:40 -- Felicity Huffman looks lovely, but she also looks like a deer in the headlights. Where's William H. Macy to back her up? And Chris Connelly makes her cry by showing her pre-taped well wishes from her Desperate Housewives co-stars. Big meanie!
4:44 -- Bush drags the following responses out of David Strathairn: "No," "No," and, "In a word: no." Nice interview. Then they talk about the kind of tobacco Strathairn smoked in Good Night, and Good Luck. Riveting.
4:50 -- I get caught up on live TV, with plenty of time to spare! In the middle of a commercial, no less. Buy Miller Genuine Draft!
4:52 -- Bush talks to Sid Ganis, President of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences. He asks him about what's in store for tonight. "It's gonna be, uh... a great show, Billy. A great show." Another awesome interview. Even Billy looks underwhelmed by that one.
4:54 -- I'm pretty sick of Jamie Foxx, but when asked what we don't know about him yet, he says, "I can't bowl. I gotta get my bowling thing going right now." And that's pretty sweet.
4:56 -- And that'll do it! Here comes the real deal. Don't let me down, Jon Stewart!
2006 Oscars Ceremony.