Sunday, February 25, 2007

Minute-by-minute at the 2007 Oscars Ceremony

2007 Oscars Pre-Show.

5:30 -- We open on a black screen (as I open my 4th beer) with a white title: "The Nominees." We go to pre-taped interviews with the stars. The awesome beginning: interviewer to O'Toole -- "You were nominated for Lawrence of Arabia.... Now, why didn't you win for that?" O'Toole -- "Somebody else did."

5:31 -- Eastwood, uncaringly: "We're nominated for Picture, Director... things like that."

5:31 -- Someone I don't know says, "I've been nominated 19 times, and I have yet to win." OUCH! I wonder what category that guy's in.

5:32 -- Someone else I don't know, possibly the screenwriter for The Queen: "Any sexual thought about the Queen is a treasonable thought. Let's be quite clear about that. Off with your head!"

5:33 -- Randy Newman: "Music isn't cheating. Except sometimes."

5:33 -- Eddie Murphy stares blankly, humorlessly into the camera. The audience eats it up. Interviewer: "You're funny doing that!" Murphy: "Really?"

5:34 -- The audience inexplicably begins applauding wildly when Adriana Barraza appears. I have to assume something is happening onstage in the theater to make them react like that. Has Ellen come out? (You know what I mean.)

5:35 -- We cut live to the theater, and all the nominees are made to stand at once. It's a nice acknowledgement for the lesser crafts, though I feel sorry for Peter O'Toole for having to support his weight for so long on his spindly little stick legs.

5:35 -- I love that the nominees use this time to meet and greet one another. Will Smith kisses Kate Winslet; Martin Scorsese kisses Helen Mirren. I'd like to see all four of them work on a project together! That would be interesting.

5:36 -- Ellen DeGeneres hits the stage. Surprisingly, she's not in a dress. Portia De Rossi, her looooover, is prominently featured in the audience. Ellen notes that the preceding filmed segment was by Errol Morris. Cool. "Tonight, we're celebrating the nominees. As opposed to all the other years, when we pretty much just celebrated the winners."

5:37 -- "I think most people dream of winning an Academy Award. I had a dream of actually hosting the Academy Awards. And, so let that be a lesson to you kids out there: aim lower."

5:38 -- "This has gotta be your favorite part of the night.... You don't really know who's gonna win. Unless you're British, and then you know you've got a pretty good shot."

5:40 -- Ellen throws out the billion number. It's a lie! Then: "Let's be honest: it's not that we don't have time for long speeches, it's that we don't have time for boring speeches." Then: "Tell them that you lived in your car. They love that."

5:40 -- Why is Michael Chiklis here? Holy crap, is that Jack Nicholson?! He's shaved his head!

5:41 -- "Abigail Breslin... how old are you? Eight? Ten? Nine? She's a four-year-old girl.... She's just happy to be here. And that's how it is, really, for your first nomination. But then after you've been nominated a few times, you just want to win, really. Am I right, Peter O'Toole? ...Eighth nomination tonight, is that right? You know what they say: third time's a charm."

5:41 -- "Jennifer Hudson was on American Idol, America didn't vote for her, and yet she's here with an Oscar nomination. That's amazing. That's incredible. And then, Al Gore is here, America did vote for him...." The audience goes nuts over this. Look for Al Gore to declare he's running sometime in the next week.

5:42 -- Ellen lists the diverse people who have been nominated: "Djimon Hounsou, Adriana Barraza, Rinko Kikuchi, Steve Carell...." Carell sells it by giving a mystified double-take. He rules.

5:43 -- "If there weren't blacks, Jews, or gays, there would be no Oscars.... Or anyone named Oscar, if you think about that."

5:44 -- A Gospel choir comes out and files into the audience to back up Ellen's "celebrating the nominees" bit. Ellen: "I would not want to follow that. Our first two presenters are...."

5:45 -- They're Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig, by the way. They present Art Direction. It goes to Pan's Labyrinth, which gets me started on a perfect record for my picks this year. A perfect record of all wrong. (I picked Dreamgirls.)

5:48 -- Maggie Gyllenhaal recaps the Scientific and Technical Awards portion of the Oscars, aka "the Oscars not important enough to make the TV show."

5:50 -- Voiceover superstars Don LaFontaine and Gina Tuttle are the announcers for the Oscars this year. That makes more sense than when they made actual actors Peter Coyote and Glenn Close do it.

5:53 -- Will Ferrell! He's got a ridiculous huge hairdo. He sings a song about "a comedian at the Oscars": "A comedian at the Oscars is the saddest, bitterest alcoholic clown." Jack Black joins him onstage: "What did you think when you took off your pants/And you ran around that racetrack and you did that silly dance? What did you think?" Ferrell: "I thought they'd loooove me."

5:54 -- Black: "We may not win tonight, but we shall win the ultimate fight. And I'm not speaking in a metaphor, I mean literally, I am going to fight the nominees.... Hey, Leo! You think you can date supermodels and win awards? I'm gonna elbow you in the larynx!" Ferrell: "Ryan Gosling: you're all hip and now. Well, I'm going to break your hip -- right now." Ferrell, later: "Mark Wahlberg! Where are you?!? I won't mess with you. You're actually kind of badass. Once again, I hope we're cool. You are very talented."

5:55 -- John C. Reilly stands up from the audience and joins in. He sings about meshing drama with comedy. Singing: "I chose to be in both Boogie and Talledega Nights."

5:56 -- Ferrell: "I'm gonna lose forty pounds to play Ralph Nader." Black: "I'm gonna do that gay coal-mining film with James Spader!"

5:56 -- All three: "So Anthony Hopkins you can laugh, but someday soon you'll see/Helen Mirren and an Oscar will be coming home with me!" Now THAT is how an Oscar musical number should be done. SO INCREDIBLE.

5:57 -- They stick around and present Best Makeup. It's Pan's Labyrinth. I'm 1-for-2.

5:59 -- Ellen does a bit backstage with a stagehand. It's exactly as unfunny as when she did a similar thing at the Emmys. I hope this isn't a running bit.

6:00 -- Abigail Breslin and Jaden Smith present Animated Short. They are both scarily composed, and read their hokey banter better than most adults. Well done. The Danish Poet wins. Whatever, dude. I'm 1-for-3.

6:03 -- Breslin and Smith return to present Best Live Action Short. It's West Bank Story. Dammit! Getting a good overall record in Oscar predictions requires a good record in these short categories. I'm hurting already.

6:05 -- Clip for Best Picture nominee Letters From Iwo Jima. I'd like to see that.

6:11 -- Ellen introduces the Hollywood Film Corral Sound Effects Choir. They do just as their name suggests -- make sound effects (wind blowing, tires screeching, etc.) to film clips running behind them. Kind of neat.

6:13 -- Steve Carell and Greg Kinnear present for Sound Editing. Carell: "Sound Editing is very much like sex. It's usually done alone, late at night, surrounded by electronic gadgets." Kinnear: "And, let's face it, if you really want to do it right, it's always best when you pay top dollar for a true professional."

6:15 -- Letters From Iwo Jima wins. I'm already a miserable 1-for-5. This guy, by the way, gives the most boring fucking speech I've ever heard. And I'm about a half hour behind real time already. Time to get another beer! That should help me type faster.

6:17 -- James McAvoy and Jessica Biel present Sound Mixing to Dreamgirls. About time I got another one right! 2-for-6. And I'm back on the right track. Let's fast forward this crap.

6:20 -- Rachel Weisz comes out to present. Last year's Best Supporting Actress -- let's hope this means she's finally going to give an acting award; the previous year's winners usually present the current year's winners in the same category for the opposite gender. And she is indeed presenting Best Supporting Actor. Whee! It goes to... Alan Arkin! The easiest upset pick of the night, and yet I neglected to pick it (I went with the safe pick of Murphy). Dang it! 2-for-7. And good for you, Roger. I should've listened to you.

6:29 -- Clip for Best Picture nominee The Departed. Just seeing this clip makes me remember it even more fondly than I already do. Man, I hope this wins.

6:30 -- James Taylor and Randy Newman perform the nominated song from Cars. It's every bit as electrifying as you'd expect. Meaning I take a short nap.

6:33 -- Melissa Etheridge sings her song from An Inconvenient Truth. The nap continues.

6:35 -- Leo DiCaprio and Al Gore come out together, and announce that the Oscars have gone "green" this year. DiCaprio presses Gore: "Are you positive that all this hard work hasn't inspired you to make any other kind of major, major announcement to the world tonight?" Gore pulls a speech out of his pocket: "I'm going to take this opportunity right here and now to formally announce--" And the orchestra strikes up the music to play him off. Funny.

6:42 -- Ellen: "Well, because the show is green, the Academy wanted me to recycle some jokes from earlier in my career. So here we go: 'What about that Gilligan's Island, huh?'"

6:42 -- Cameron Diaz. Still hating her. She's presenting Best Animated Feature. Characters from the nominated films are shown in the audience. I always hate that crap. And HOLY FUCKING HELL, it goes to Happy Feet. I haven't even seen it, but judging from the number of voices Robin Williams performs in it, it is clearly the least worthy winner of this award in Oscar history. That is some horseshit right there. Also, I drop even farther in my picks, to 2-for-8. Dag!

6:45 -- Ben Affleck, Academy Award-winning screenwriter, is a surprising breath of legitimacy following Happy Feet's win. Then, he introduces a clip about writers in the movies, compiled by offensively awful hackmeister Nancy Meyers, and it's all back to shit again. (Well, hell, she's still better than Nora Ephron.)

6:49 -- The disturbingly shaved-headed Jack Nicholson mimes like he's writing something after the montage is over. He's scaring me.

6:49 -- Tom Hanks and Helen Mirren present Best Adapted Screenplay. It's a delight to hear Mirren say the title, Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan.

6:52 -- The Departed wins. Hooplah! I'm 3-for-9. Hopefully this is opening up a run of successful picks for me.

6:55 -- Backstage, Chris Connelly is babbling about some nonsense. Suddenly, Hanks, Mirren, and the Departed screenwriter cross his path. Connelly concludes, "More fun to come, right?" and passes the mike to Hanks. Hanks gamely enthuses, "You bet, Chris, more fun!!"

6:59 -- Ellen comes out wearing an Oscar baby Bjorn. That's not a bad idea, actually. Dig how I hotlink that site, right in the middle of my liveblogging. The fucking AV Club doesn't have any hotlinks, do they? I thought not!! (I hope not, anyway.)

7:00 -- Emily Blunt and Anne Hathaway of Devil Wears Prada come out holding hands, and make me think dirty thoughts. Thank you, Oscars! They do a bit where they're still kowtowing to Meryl Streep, who's in the audience. Streep plays along and gives them a steely glare. Nice.

7:03 -- Marie Antionette wins, and I am officially a full hour behind live TV. At least this is a win for me. 4-for-10.

7:05 -- WAAUUGH!! Tom Cruise is onstage! Are the Scientologists finally launching their preemptive military strike??? No, he's presenting the Jean Hersholt award to Sherry Lansing. Whew! We're safe for another year.

7:10 -- Fast forward, fast forward. Man, that was some boring crap. Ellen goes out to the crowd to interact with Clint Eastwood. He gives her a bunch of shit, and it's pretty sweet. At long last, she gets Steven Spielberg to take a picture of her and Eastwood "for [her] MySpace page." She then makes him retake the picture, which is even funnier.

7:11 -- Gwyneth Paltrow presents Best Cinematography. It's Pan's Labyrinth. Frick! I am getting my ass kicked in my picks. 4-for-11, I think.

7:20 -- Naomi Watts and Robert Downey Jr. present Best Visual Effects. Downey pokes fun at himself: "Visual effects: they enable us to see aliens, experience other universes, move in slow motion, or watch spiders climbing high above the city landscape. For me, just a typical weeknight in the mid '90s." Well played. The Oscar goes to Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest. I'm 5-for-12. The lead speaker for the winners gets off a good first line: "You know, the naysayers said four blind kids from the Bronx couldn't make any visual effects, but here we are."

7:23 -- Catherine Deneuve and Ken Watanabe acknowledge the 50th anniversary of the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar. By a striking coincidence, I have just opened my 50th beer. Not really. It's only my 7th. But seriously, that's still pretty frightening, isn't it?

7:29 -- Clive Owen and Cate Blanchett present Best Foreign Language Film to The Lives of Others (Germany). This has to be considered a HUGE upset over Pan's Labyrinth, especially considering the three awards it's already won tonight. Wow. I'm 5-for-13. Ouchie.

7:33 -- George Clooney comes out to present Best Supporting Actress. "I was just backstage with Jack Nicholson and Vice President Gore, drinking. I don't think he's running for President. My apologies."

7:35 -- It goes to Jennifer Hudson. Finally, a favorite comes through! She's got a career ahead of her, if her histrionic acceptance speech is any indication. Halle Berry and Sally Field should be jealous. "I definitely have to thank God again." God says, "Fuck you, I picked Abigail Breslin in the office pool." I'm 6-for-14.

7:41 -- Clip for Best Picture nominee Babel. Still don't want to see it.

7:42 -- Eva Green and Gael Garcia Bernal present Documentary Short. Green is so freaking hot.

7:43 -- The Blood of Yingzhou District, about a Chinese AIDS orphan, wins. I almost picked it due to my typical reasoning that the Oscars love documentaries about horrible things. I don't know why I picked otherwise. This should've been the obvious choice. I'm 6-for-15. [EDIT: Here's where I began screwing up my record. I originally said 7-for-15. Picks are adjusted from here on out.]

7:44 -- Hey, it's Jerry Seinfeld! He's presenting Best Documentary Feature. As well as two minutes of his new act. He introduces the "five incredibly depressing" nominees.

7:48 -- An Inconvenient Truth!! Very, very cool, and not just because that's one for my picks. [7-for-16. Adjusted per above EDIT.] Al Gore once again gives a speech that makes me wish he were running for President, even though I still don't think he will.

7:49 -- Clint Eastwood comes out onstage to the strains of the theme to The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. Gee, I wonder if this is the Ennio Morricone tribute. Eastwood's casual, not-caring attitude begins to seem more like a don't-know-what's-going-on attitude. It's not an insult to rehearse, Clint.

7:55 -- Celine Dion performs the "world premiere" of "I Knew I Loved You," from Once Upon a Time in America. How can she be performing a "world premiere" from a movie over 20 years old? This makes no sense.

7:59 -- Morricone gives his acceptance speech in Italian. Eastwood says he will translate. I suspect a Daily Show-style "translation," where Eastwood just makes up whatever he wants to say. I have no way of proving whether this actually happens or not. At least Eastwood doesn't use a funny voice.

8:06 -- Hugh Jackman (who has a huge ackman, I've heard) and Penelope Cruz (who's been hit in the face with a 2x4, I've heard) present Best Original Score. It goes to Babel. Crap. Another loss. 7-for-17. I'm doing awful this year!

8:09 -- Ellen: "Every time I come out here, Jack Nicholson is smiling and laughing, and it made me feel so good. And then a little while ago I saw him back there in the corner by himself, smiling and laughing... and shaving.... He has a good time. I like it."

8:10 -- Ellen presents the President of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences. Even with Ellen's challenge to him to bring it in under 60 seconds, it's still lame.

8:11 -- Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst enter to the theme from the '60s Spider-Man cartoon. Good thing they're not being typecast by those movies or anything.

8:14 -- They present Best Original Screenplay to Little Miss Sunshine. Hey, I got both Screenplay awards. Good thing, I haven't gotten much else. I'm 8-for-18.

8:16 -- Connelly, backstage: "Pan's Labyrinth, by the way, already has two Oscars." No, it doesn't. It's got three, by my count: Art Direction (5:45), Makeup (5:57), and Cinematography (7:11). Either I'm drunker than I thought I was, or I should have Connelly's job. Hell, it can be both!

8:20 -- Jennifer Lopez presents the three Best Song nominees for Dreamgirls. Fast forward!

8:27 -- Ellen: "I would not want to follow that! Please welcome...."

8:27 -- It's Queen Latifah and John Travolta presenting Best Original Song. I'm opening my eighth beer. Please take that into consideration if you spot any typos. [EDITED to fix typo in Queen Latifah's name. Seriously.]

8:29 -- Melissa fucking Etheridge wins for Inconvenient Truth! What the CRAP. So many upsets tonight! (8-for-19.) So weird. Melissa thanks "my incredible wife, Tammy, and our four children." Four? Dang, she should get a vasectomy.

8:34 -- Best Picture clip for Little Miss Sunshine. I really want to see this.

8:35 -- Will Smith. He introduces Michael Mann's clip show of America, via film clips. What an odd, vague thing to honor -- "America." That said, I'm very happy it includes a snippet of the West Side Story song, "America": "Life is all right in America/If you're a white in America."

8:40 -- Kate Winslet presents Best Film Editing. The Departed. Did I pick that? No, I picked Babel. Mother of pearl! I'm 8-for-20. This is one of my worst years ever! At least there are only four awards left.

8:44 -- Continuing tonight's theme of "Year of the Lesbian," Jodie Foster enters. Then she somberly presents the "Who Croaked This Year?" montage, and I feel bad for making that last joke. But only a little.

8:45 -- All right, folks, time to applaud for your favorite dead entertainer. Glenn Ford and Bruno Kirby both get early mild smatterings of applause, which makes me sad. A President's ex-wife (Jane Wyatt) gets more praise than those other actual superlative actors, which makes me even sadder. [EDIT: As Alan points out in the comments, I was thinking of Jane Wyman. Which makes me all the sadder.] And then we have Don Knotts, who takes the early lead! Red Buttons comes close, as does Joe Barbera, bless him. Maureen Stapleton gets up there, but James Doohan puts her to shame. Peter Boyle gets a rousing round of applause, as do Jack Palance, Mako, and Jack Warden. Hey, Basil Poledouris died? Damn! He scored Robocop, one of my favorites. There's always one that's a surprise. That one stings, and I'm not kidding. And, at the end -- it's Robert Altman! Robert Altman is the favorite dead entertainer of the year!! Congratulations, you win five seconds of clapping. And silence as the show goes to commercial.

8:51 -- Ellen: "Well, that's our show!" Then, fake-listening to earpiece: "My bad, my bad. Don't take that tone with me." She intros Philip Seymour Hoffman, to present Best Actress. And it is of course Helen Mirren. I've had some weak picks tonight, but I literally would've bet a million dollars on this category if I could've. I'm 9-for-21, and I've suddenly realized that my TiVo may not have enough padding to record this entire awards ceremony (even though I've already added a half hour to the advertised running time). I might get screwed on this.

8:57 -- Chris Connelly babbles some more. I still have Best Actor, Best Director, and Best Picture to go, and I only have three minutes left on the program. Hold on while I try to see if I can do some monkeying around with it.

9:11 -- It turns out I can't. I rejoin the Oscarcast just after Scorsese wins his Oscar for Best Director. I hit my pick (10-for-22), but I missed his speech. God DAMN it! How did I screw this up? I added a half hour to the program, and I'm still a half hour short? That can't be right! And yet it is. Frick. I don't even know who won Best Actor yet.

9:14 -- Jack Nicholson and Diane Keaton give Best Picture to The Departed!! AWESOME!! Scorsese doesn't accept it (even though he was a producer), but he already got his long-overdue award. I can't believe I missed that moment! DAMMIT!! Oh, also, I guess Forrest Whitaker won for Best Actor. Missed that, too. What a fuck-up on my part.

9:17 -- The show is called to a close, and as best I can tell, I'm 12-for-24. I missed an award! [EDIT: No, I didn't, if my drunken double check is accurate (I originally said 12-for-23). Which, frankly, it might not be. We'll find out tomorrow.] Thanks for following along here (assuming you have). And let me know your thoughts on the show in the comments. Crazy upsets? Stupid dance routines? Vent about it to your heart's desire.

EDIT, THE MORNING AFTER: Wow. I seem to have set several personal records last night, including "most beers consumed," "most errors made," and "least comedy generated." Lesson learned: drunker does not necessarily equal funnier. I'm sure I'll be fixing little bits and pieces of the above for the rest of the day, but for now, I'll simply say thank you to those few brave souls who followed along with this mess. Also: ow, my head.

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