OK, kids. So, last night was the Oscars, and I got on my polar bear pajama pants, opened up a bag of chips and my laptop and "live blogged" the ceremony. If you missed, or if you are not inclined to watch TV and read your PC (I'm a John Hodgman fan) at the same time, here's how it went:
One of the first things I was wanting for the masses tonight: A chance to see Marion Cotillard as Marion Cotillard. Stunning, eh? And Marion, sorry Ryan Seacrest felt the need to mock your accent. Associated Press photo by Kevork Djansezian -- BTW, he's KD from here on out; I'm only spelling that name once.
This could go a couple of ways: Under two weeks ago, on The Daily Show, Jon Stewart was joking about not having a lot of time to prep for one of the biggest gigs of his life, this 80th edition of the Academy Awards.
So, will the abbreviated prep lead to a looser, more spontaneous and -- Please, God, our eyelids beg you -- shorter show. Or will it seem more thrown together and directionless. One thing we can all be thankful for: Billy Bush ain't hosting this one. Some of you may have missed this, but he hosted the Golden Globes "announcements" and managed to insult Cate Blanchett on the first award. Now, we're not saying Jon won't insult anyone -- or may at least rib them in good nature. We'd be disappointed if he didn't.
But at least tonight, we got ourselves a real awards show. (Mutters, "It's about time.)
7:59 -- Is Johnny Depp wearing his bow tie under his collar? (AP photo by Chris Pizzello.)
8:04 -- Regis Philbin opened his George Clooney chat with a nice line, "Years ago everybody in this town wanted to be Cary Grant, now they want to be George Clooney." Typical Clooney reply: "That's because he's dead, and no one wants to be dead." Apparently Regis missed the story that George didn't go to the Oscars until he was nominated, two years ago. (Photo of George and Sarah Larson by Amy Sancetta/AP)
8:15 -- I think when Cameron Diaz shows up people just want to talk to her. She is a lot of fun to talk to. But props to Regis for getting some insight into Daniel Day-Lewis and how he stays in character all the time from Cameron, who was in Gangs of New York with DD-L. (Photo by Amy Sancetta/AP.)
8:19 -- This kid from Ohio won a ticket to the Oscars and showed up in a stripey polo shirt?!
8:25 -- Is Regis bent on freaking out everyone in the Enchanted number? He's just done the whole, "The world is watching you," number with Amy Adams and the chorus.
8:31 -- That opening looked tres video game.
8:45 -- Jon Stewart played the monologue pretty straight. No film of him in bed with George Clooney.
He opened addressing the writer's strike and saying, "welcome to the make up sex." He then mocked Vanity Fair's cancellation of its annual post-Oscars bash, "to show respect for the writers," by saying, "another way they could show respect for the writers. Maybe invite them to the Vanity Fair Oscars Party . . . they won't mingle, don't worry."
Then Stewart (AP photo by Mark J. Terrill) got to the meat of the show, this year's slate of, "Oscar nominated psychopathic killer movies. Does this town need a hug? All I can say is, 'Thank God for teen pregnancy.'"
He then risked the wrath of Javier Bardem's No Country for Old Men psychopathic killer, saying he combined, "Hannibal Lechter's murderessness (don't think that's actually a word, Jon) with Dorothy Hammil's wedge cut."
Joking about Diablo Cody being a stripper turned writer, he said: "Hope you're enjoying the pay cut." (By the way, my stripper name, according to Jon's formula, would be Chocolate Patton -- though no one wants to see that. The formula is Pet's name-plus-street you grew up on.)
Of course, politics slipped in, as Stewart addressed the box-office bombs dropped about the Iraq War: "If we stay the course and keep these movies in the theaters, I'm confident we can turn this thing around . . . the audience cannot be emboldened."
Hey, we got that Stewart-Clooney moment in the previous Oscars montage.
8:54 -- I loved Ratatouille, but I do so want to see Persepolis.
8:57 -- Wow. I kinda like that makeup award for La Vie en Rose, though for a makeup artist, the woman does seem to be having an eyelash issue. But when you look at Marion Cotillard, you see what an amazing job they did turning her into Edith Piaf. It also means people really watched the French import, so maybe my upset prediction has a chance.
9:02 -- OK, Regis was trying to kill two Enchanted numbers. It is fun how well veteran Disney song writers Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz were able to lampoon Disney songs. (Amy Adams, above, sings Happy Working Song. AP/MJT)
9:07 -- Go ahead, Jon, mock my polar bear pajama pants! (If you didn't watch, Stewart said that during commercials, the stars look into our living rooms and mock what we're wearing..)
9:09 -- "It a lot of fun to do the impossible," the Golden Compass visual effects guy said. Yeah, like your box office
bomb, uh, disappointment beating out some of this year's titanic movies (Transformers and Pirates of the Caribbean) at the Oscars.
9:16 -- I have to stop and share this personal moment from the supporting actor montage. On Oscar night 1997, my daughter, first child, had just been born, I walked into my wife's recovery room at the hospital after holding my little girl for the first time, and Cuba Gooding Jr. was giving his, "I love you! I love everybody," speech after winning best supporting actor for Jerry Maguire. And you know what? I felt better than him.
9:22 -- Thanks to Jon for the translation of Javier Bardem's best supporting actor speech: "I believe he told his mother where the library was." That makes up for mocking my pants. No, it doesn't.
9:39 -- Watching the best supporting actress clips was a reminder of what a strong field that was. No wonder the major trophies got spread around between four of these ladies: Blanchett getting the Globe, Ruby Dee getting a SAG and Amy Ryan being a critics darling. Tilda Swinton (AP photo, left) had won the British honor, but the Oscar is a bit of a surprise, though not an undeserved honor. I can't forget the way she collapsed when Clooney's Michael Clayton dropped the bomb on her in MC. And what a fun woman, bringing up Batman & Robin to Clooney at the Oscars. She said he put on the "suit with the nipples," every day, adding, "On the set, off the set, hanging upside down at lunch. You rock man." That award rocked.
BTW, this is an award I wanted her to be nominated a few years ago for playing the White Witch in The Chronicles of Narnia.
9:48 -- Joel and Ethan Coen's Oscar for adapted screenplay pretty much solidifies No Country as a fait accompli for best pic.
9:50 -- This is the 80th annual Academy Awards, so it seems a bit of a shame that such a milestone comes at the tail end of a crippling writers strike that has destroyed several lesser award shows so far this year. Oscar is showing both benefits and repercussions from the strike.
The pace and the order of the ceremony is a bit off. It's hard to figure out where it's going and what's coming next.
But the show is moving, chewing up a lot of these technical awards early. Maybe we'll even be done by midnight. Nah, that'd like hoping Tilda Swinton will win best supporting actress.
While we can rib Oscar for its recent love affair with montages, the best supporting actor and actress montages along with the Oscar show montage at the beginning were great reminders of why we love this show, and trudge through so many of these self indulgent, boring stretches.
10:08 -- You gotta love the presence of mind of the Bourne Ultimatum sound guy who picked up on Seth Rogen and Jonah Hill's (photo, right, by Mark J. Terrill/AP) Dame Judi and Halle Berry act asking, "Do I get to kiss Halle Berry now." Adrian Brody, eat your heart out.
10:13 -- Got my upset! Marion (pre-show photo by Chris Pizzello). And she seemed genuinely surprised by the honor. Out of many clips that get shown before acting awards though, that collapsing scene from La Vie en Rose next to the actress in person were highly illustrative of why she really deserved this honor. It was highly accomplished acting for this 32-year-old actress, and hopefully it launches her to greater things (and also gets you to see La Vie en Rose, which is now on video, Unbox and all of that good stuff).
10:21 -- Oscar can go so wrong in how it presents best original songs sometimes, and often it does best when it just lets the musicians get up and present their work, like that performance of Falling Slowly by Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova. A little orchestral flourish, but not a lot more , and it's beautiful.
10:28 -- Best editing is often an award married to best picture, so interesting that it went to Christopher Rouse for The Bourne Ultimatum, which is not a best pic nominee but, at three Oscars, is having a very good night.
10:30 -- One thing that struck me about that best picture list: There's been a bunch of talk about tonight's group of best picture nominees being reflective of our downer times with war, a faltering economy, domestic violence, etc. The idea seemed to be we favor downer films in depressed times. That made me think back to the late 1970s and what was winning back then. And what struck me was, that 1976 was the year Rocky upset a bunch of darker films for best picture. And the next year was Annie Hall, which was a comedy, despite a bittersweet twist. But then we did get The Deer Hunter and Kramer vs. Kramer, which were more reflective of sour, serious times. So, what will tonight's best picture say about us, in 2008, 20 or 30 years from now?
10:51 -- Best original song: Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova! (AP photo by Mark J. Terrill.) I know Jamie G is doing a happy dance. This best song, along with last year, is sort of a memo to future big screen musical endeavors. Last year, Dreamgirls filled up the best song category and the award went to Melissa Ethridge's tune from An Inconvenient Truth -- a documentary! This year, it's the sweet song from a $100,000 indie flick taking out a Disney film, Enchanted, that flooded the category. The loveliness of this honor was illustrated by Irglova's second-chance thank you speech, talking about how she and Hansard, and most artists like them, struggle most of the time. The song, and the award, she said illustrated that, "Hope, at the end of the day, connects us all, no matter how different we are."
11:13 -- For a moment, I was afraid, lo, sure the broadcast from Baghdad would be one of those, "We show you some soldiers and then get out quick," things. But having them announce the nominees for best documentary short subject and present the award to Cynthia Wade and Vanessa Roth for Freeheld was very cool. Granted, it would have been (Jon Stewart's falsetto) awk-ward to have the soldiers announce the documentary nominees, since most of them were critical of the war or the Bush administration, including the winner, Taxi to the Dark Side.
11:22 -- Only four awards left. Can we beat midnight?
11:27 -- Juno told you that your teenage daughter could get pregnant and things would be alright. Juno writer Diablo Cody (Photo by MJT/AP) winning an Oscar for best original screenplay would seem to say, your daughter can become a stripper and everything will be alright. The source of both stories seemed to be summed up in her acceptance speech: "I want to thank my family for loving me just the way I am."
11:38 -- Oh, well, so much for any showdown between Kentucky's A-listers, Depp and Clooney. As predicted and earned, it was Daniel Day-Lewis on stage thanking the Academy for, "Whacking me with the handsomest bludgeon in town." Kinda keeping with the There Will be Blood theme, eh? But it is striking how much rage could emerge from such a lovely man.
12:01 a.m. -- OK, I have to confess, back when I was grooving on Raising Arizona and Barton Fink, I never thought that watching Joel and Ethan Coen (AP photo by Chris Carlson, above) win a whole buncha Oscars would ring so kind of empty. It was kind of funny when they said, accepting the Oscar for best adapted screenplay, that they pick their pieces carefully because they've only adapted Homer and Cormac McCarthy. And the little bit about making a Super 8 movie about Henry Kissinger was cute. But I dunno, they seemed blase which enhanced my feeling of blase. Maybe I just really wanted to hear Julian Schnabel give an Oscar acceptance speech.
12:15 -- Done before midnight. I don't remember that happening too many Oscar nights. That was probably reflective of the events leading up to last night: The writers strike just ended 11 days ago. So the show was really devoid of a lot of scripted stuff that helps drag us past, well, now. Jon Stewart just opened with a glorified Daily Show monologue, and away we went.
So that was good. Not so good was watching a show that celebrated great memories of the previous 79 Oscars ceremonies and realizing no new ones were made last night. I'll take Tilda Swinton and Diablo Cody's speeches, and Marketa Irglova's coda as my big memories of tonight. But really, in two or three years, I may have trouble remembering this year's Academy Awards.
But . . . if this does become the year that started wrapping up before midnight, that might be worth remembering.
For the record, I went 5-1 on my Oscar predictions, and I'm happy to miss one, if it meant Tilda Swinton gets an Oscar.