Monday, February 23, 2009

Running Through the Oscars

After the rather epic and popular Oscar podcast (where we did correctly predict numerous winners), the actual show deserved something special. So taking a page from one of my writing idols, I plopped down infront of the tv with a fresh from the oven pizza, a bottle of Diet Sierra Mist and my mighty wit for a running diary of last night's 81st Academy Award celebration.

Join me below the jump as the adventure continues.

8:01pm - Why watch the Oscar preshow? I mean I know the full name of just one fashion designer... and only because her dad was a Beatle. But in my case, I'm mostly to trying to separate which of the nominees are okay with not winning and just here to have a good time (Viola Davis) and which will drop a Sour Patch Kids face if they lose (I'm looking in your direction, Kate Winslet). Also to hear their wacky real accents. In the case of Winslet, between "Revolutionary Road," "The Reader," "Little Children" and "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind," I almost forgot how British she was. The answer is... very British.

8:10pm - Well the cast and crew for "Slumdog Millionaire" decide to test the structural integrity of ABC's little interview podium. I'm getting good vibes from them all coming together both because I'm a big believer in Karma and they remind me of the 1980 U.S. hockey team squeezing up there together.... good times.

8:15pm - Believe it or not America, I cannot remember ever seeing Miley Cyrus before in my life. Although, according to Wikipedia she was in "Big Fish," but still she's one of those massively popular stars that never really comes close to my attention. Discounting Tim Burton's greatest film ever, I can say I only knew her for .8 seconds before I disliked her. That's a time to rival the record of such legends as Tom Green, Carrot Top and Miley's dear old dad... proud company indeed.

8:24pm - Now here's three people I'm glad to see. Seth Rogen, Leslie Mann and Judd Apatow join the ranks of Jack Black and Jim Carrey as People Invited to Oscars to Boost Ratings That They'd Never, Under Any Circumstance Nominate For an Award. And can we please just task one camera to discretely watch the bar all night? I'm just praying an enraged Kate Winslet gets completely sloshed if Meryl Streep pulls off a deserved upset.

8:30pm - And here we go!

8:30:03pm - Hey, where's Jack Nicholson?

8:30:10pm - I'm not kidding, is he dead? Are the Lakers in town tonight? Status update people!

8:36pm - I have to say that I kind of admire Hugh Jackman's opening number. Even with the painfully awkward Surprise participation of Anne Hathaway, it's just as unfunny as Billy Crystal's openings for a fraction of the price and he did just as good job telling the story of "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" without stealing three hours of my life. One last note on the intro, it's probably not the best sign for Frank Langella's chances that Hathaway does a better Nixon impersonation.

8:39pm - Right now I'm scouring the internet looking for news of Nicholson's death earlier today and fully prepared for him to push Paul Newman out of the last spot of the In Memoriam feature later in the show. I mean the Lakers are in Minnesota, so this makes no sense at all to me.

8:41pm - Ouch... Jackman kicks it to the first award rather awkwardly, leading to the first Are We Supposed to Clap? Oh Shit We Are! moment of the evening. Do we really need more pomp and circumstance over the acting awards? What's up with these clips of past acceptance speeches for Best Supporting Actress?

8:43pm - Five presenters for a single award? I'm prepped for a Monday morning finish to this show already.

8:45pm - So these five presenters are just going to wax philosophical about the glory of the nominees? Has the world gone mad trying to be original? Where's the clip? That's my favorite part of the bloody show! Unforgivable.

8:47pm - Nearly ten minutes to get through the listing of the nominees and on top of that they give it to Penelope Cruz for a damn Woody Allen movie? I think the Lord might not be on my side tonight... watch out "The Dark Knight" and "Slumdog Millionaire."

8:49pm - If that was a Visual Effects artist, we'd be in the "play them off stage" portion of the speech, but god forbid we not let Penelope Cruz make my ears bleed a little more. Please stop with the fainting joke people... you've all had more than a month to come to grips with your 20% statistical chance of victory... freaking prepare yourself.

8:55pm - FYI - reading a script aloud almost never seems as impressive as you think it would for most people. That being said, a nice win for "Milk," one of my top five films of 2008. Meanwhile, my brother actually asked me if a script about a person that really lived can be an original screenplay... wow.

8:58pm - After all the bull over an acting award, isn't it rather degrading how they throw the screenplay award back-to-back... Wait! What am I saying, this is a chance to get through two awards in less than 25 minutes... go Tina Fey and Steve Martin, go!

9:01pm - I'm thrilled for Slumdog winning Adapted Screenplay, but kind of sad we just missed getting three done in the first half hour.

9:02pm - I'll bet a million dollars Jen Aniston doesn't make a Brangelina reference here... any takers? Will Jack Black??? Oscar Tension people, gotta love it.

9:05pm - Congrats, "WALL-E," please step forward and accept your We Know You Were One of the Five Best Pictures of the Year, But Ya Know What... Screw You Award, also referred to as Best Animated Feature.

9:16pm - In Art/Set Direction, we've got the first chance for the Academy to apologize to "The Dark Knight" or twist the knife in my back a little more. And... twist goes the knife, giving it to "CCBB." That's a solid 2.5 on the gut shot scale.

9:20pm - Golly, Costume Design goes to a period piece ("The Duchess")... I did not see that one coming.

9:22pm - Make-up now... (and man, when not taking time to anoint the feet of actors, the show really runs along briskly) goes to "CCBB" again over "TDK." This is like watching your favorite sibling getting wailed on by the special needs student two grades behind them.

9:31pm - As the presenters, Natalie Portman and a bad Ben Stiller Joke, come onto the stage I realize that I still have a massive crush on one of them... and it isn't the Night at the Museum guy. On another note, I am literally going to start doing shots of tequila if "CCBB" wins again.

9:35pm - Well, "Slumdog Millionaire" saves my liver, but it can't help but sting that my favorite film of the year is 0-3.

9:43pm - The Pineapple Express boys teach me that I should have watched "The Reader" while under the influence and I would have gotten the joke. Can we get someone on the creation of the Oscar Bong, stat please?

9:52pm - Hey, another musical number... that would have been great if any musical was being recognized this year. Instead this is the producers following the directive to get a pop star and teeny-boppers on stage regardless of reason or consequences. I mean, I own numerous musicals including "Yankee Doodle Dandy," but did we need the unnecessary padding of 10 minutes to the telecast? You could have solved that problem and then some by letting Julia Roberts within 30 feet of a microphone.

10:00pm - It's time for Best Supporting Actor, so get ready for ten minutes of pointless blathering by former winners. But seriously, this is the biggest award of the night for me. I'm not sure I can handle Heath Ledger losing here. I don't mean I'd kill myself... that would probably be in bad taste.

10:02pm - The five former winners just came out... I have time for a bathroom break and making a bag of popcorn right?

10:06pm - Mmmmm, popcorn. May Ledger's victory be as sweet as you are salty.

10:07pm - YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

10:08pm - Yes! Yes! Yes!

10:09pm - (Doing the Dance of Joy - Mumfar style) Let's take a moment to mention this... a comic book movie has won an Academy Award for acting... We Will Tear Down That Wall!

10:10pm - Hey can we stop cutting away from Ledger's family to watch famous people insincerely tearing up... I'm looking at you Brad Pitt.

10:15pm - "Man on Wire" the only nominee that I've seen wins Best Documentary... it's certainly worthy, with my Netflix It! stamp of approval. And while I will point out the Oscar is not a plaything... who doesn't like MAGIC?!

10:25pm - Back from a commercial starring Tom Cruise to his cooler, saner and better grossing rival, Will Smith for the Action Movie Awards, also known as the low end technicals. Right now I expect another "CCBB" screw job here in Visual Effects, hoping my pessimism can sway the tide.

10:27pm - Nope. (Rant on.) Did anybody actually watch that piece of shit? Can we please stop awarding the same aging effects that looked just as crappy 15 years ago? For the love of Christ how about some love for practical effects? (Rant off.)

10:29pm - Finally a category my favorite film doesn't share with "CCBB" (Sound Editing). And while "Slumdog" and "WALL-E" are both worthy, I'm still fist pumping the TDK victory.

10:30pm - Man, Willy is rolling tonight. Sound Mixing (which is different from editing in a manner I don't understand) goes to "Slumdog." At least we didn't lose to "CCBB" again... that's right. I've become so attached to "TDK" that I begun using the first person plural despite my utter lack of involvement. TDK is the new Red Sox.

10:34pm - The lesson as always is never let Will Smith off stage if you can avoid it... or need to blow throw five technical awards in under 15 minutes to spend 40 minutes combined on acting. Even I have to admit a victory in Editing for "Slumdog" over "TDK" is well deserved.

10:41pm - God bless you, Jerry Lewis. I love any achievement award recipient that doesn't take it as an excuse to ramble pointlessly for 15 minutes. Cheers!

10:49pm - Hey, it's another promo for ABC's "Castle." You can never have too much Nathan Fillion that doesn't involve "Desperate Housewives."

10:50pm - The Oscar band finally gets to stretch their legs with the Score nominees.

10:53pm - Hey, it's Steven Spielberg! Fanboy powers activate!

10:56pm - I generally like the performances of the Best Song nominees both for admiration and mocking purposes. And while I'm fine with the three nominees, don't think I'm not still bitter as hell that Bruce Springsteen isn't on stage with an acoustic guitar right now with Patti, Steven and Clarence doing backup.

11:01pm - Another win for "Slumdog." If I was Danny Boyle, I wouldn't go to the bathroom for a while.

11:10pm - Maybe I'm morbid. Maybe I'm sentimental. But every year I am absolutely locked in for the duration of the In Memoriam bit. My personal favorites that I'll miss include Roy Scheider, Ricardo Moltalban, Stan Winston, Charlton Heston (mostly for comedic purposes), Sydney Pollack and of course, Fast Eddie himself, Paul Newman. You will be missed every time I watch "The Color of Money" or "Road to Perdition" or especially "Cool Hand Luke."

11:15pm - One last note on the In Memoriam, I vastly prefer the clips compared to a singer onstage... stop trying to change thing for the sake of changing things Oscar producers.

11:18pm - Holy crap, there's going to be a new Academy president?! I nominate Barak Obama, so finally sports movies, comedies and superhero flicks can have their day without partisan politics getting in the way. Say it with me... Yes We Can!

11:19pm - Man, David Fincher looks massively older than I imagined him. "Fight Club" was a long time ago.

11:20pm - It's a Slumdog World and we're just living in it. I loved Danny Boyle's explanation for the Tigger bounce. Mumbai is looking like this year's New Zealand. Thanks, India!

11:24pm - As past Best Actress winners over-react and cry, I need to weigh in that Hilary Swank is not hot.

11:26pm - What's up with the standing ovation for the five Best Actress presenters? Man, I would be royally pissed if I was a Supporting Actor presenter. I'd probably just shoot myself if I presented anything else. Could we possibly keep the five presenter thing, but they each have to put $10K into a pool for the presenter that introduces the eventual winner? That would make this infinitely more watchable. I really hope Meryl Streep doesn't get screwed over for the illiterate Nazi. Both because it's deserved and Kate Winslet looks like she'll go Carrie on us if she loses.

11:28pm - D'oh! I guess you can't beat insanely boring illiterate Nazis that seduce the little kid from Narnia. Man, Meryl Streep totally gets screwed here. People talk about her having 15 nominations, but please remember she hasn't won since 1982. That's like four times she's deserved to win since then, but hasn't. It's frustrating that they throw her nominations and then basically forget about one of the best actresses ever.

11:34pm - Wow, Winstlet's dad can really whistle. Which I feel is a good time to mention that I can neither whistle nor snap my fingers. And the lack of each haunts me to this day. Also, we're past the three hour mark.

11:35pm - I love a lot about the Best Actor presentation. Nothing beats kicking up the theme to "The Magnificent Seven," just about my favorite piece of movie music in history and clip featuring John Wayne, Marlon Brando and Daniel Day Lewis... good times. They bring out a mostly All-Star line-up of presenters with DeNiro, Kingsley, Michael Douglas and Anthony Hopkins and... hey! Who let Adrien Brody past security???

11:38pm - Ladies and gentlemen, Funny DeNiro is in the house tonight! Although, I think Sean Penn would have preferred if he left out the "I am Sam" reference.

11:43pm - Dang nab it... no win for my man Mickey Rourke. And while Penn pulls out the "I never expected this" lie (I mean you were one of five nominees! You should have had a clue!), he at least is the type of ass that admits he's an ass... so we have that in common.

11:49pm - The last time I remember Spielberg presenting was the glorious year of "The Return of the King," so lots of good vibes going into the Best Picture award. I really think it'll come down to "Slumdog" or "Milk" and both are among my top five for the year. Also, I'm going to come down slightly in favor of inter-mixing the clips with other Oscar winning Best Pictures.

11:50pm - .... Because it reminds us what a blatant Oscar-baiting, Holocaust-usurping piece of crap manipulation that "The Reader" really was.

11:52 - I'm doing to Jai-Ho dance for Slumdog's win... and sure enough they pull one out of the We're All Coming on Together playbook first popularized (for me) by the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XXXVI... I love it. It's just an incredibly classy move to share the love.

11:56pm - Well, we're out of here before midnight, but it's a shame we couldn't have cut it to three hours by skipping the self-indulgent approach to the acting categories. Mmmm, movie teasers....

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