Two HE Oscar Contest contenders, Matt Mullowney and Rob Eddy, chose 23 out of 24 winners correctly. One slightly odd thing — both entries came after Saturday’s midnight deadline but they did come in before the ceremony. Nine people tied with 22 correct picks, which is pretty good in itself. The worst entry came from Brandon St. Randy, who got only six picks correct. (He was a Wolf of Wall Street loyalist and it cost him.) Here’s the final tally via Google spreadsheet. The most-missed pick was Mr. Hublot for Best Animated Short (only 21% of entries picked it correctly). Best Live Action Short was the second most-missed pick (picked correctly by 40% of entrants). Among the Big Eight awards, Original Screenplay was the most-missed pick (55% of entries chose correctly). Mullowney and Eddy need to get in touch and tell me if they want the lunch (if they live in Los Angeles) or just the money.
8:56 pm: Will Smith presenting the Best Picture Oscar. This is it. 12 Years A Slave wins! Good God! All the people who wouldn’t watch it, all the people who frowned…there weren’t enough of them in the end. Amazing! I can’t believe it. A lot of people who didn’t see it must have voted for it anyway. I’m really astonished and very, very pleased. Wow! Good, excellent, wondrous thing. The sour-faced people were heard from, but they weren’t numerous enough. Steve McQueen hops up and down…yes! I owe Glenn Kenny $50 bucks. Did American Hustle win anything? Nope.
8:51 pm: Jennifer Lawrence presenting the Oscar for Best Actor, which will go to Matthew McConaughey. Pre-ordained. Kisses and hugs. McConaughey: “Thank, thank you, thank you to the Academy for this. First off, I wanna thank God.” What? God does not have a rooting interest in anything. “To my family, which is what I look forward to. My mother taught…demanded that we respect ourselves. And to my hero…that’s who I chase. I’m never going to be my hero. [What matters is] somebody I keep on chasing.” And then he says “aww right aww right, aww right.”
8:43 pm: Daniel Day Lewis presenting the Best Actress Oscar to Cate Blanchett. We only have to wait for him to say the name. (Worst clip: Judi Dench delivering that horrid, detestable line about forgiving the old-crone nun and not wanting to be like Steve Coogan.) Blanchett! The name is spoken! “It means a great deal.” “Thank you so much Woody for casting me.” Compliments to Amy Adams, Sandra Bullock, Judi Dench, Meryl Streep. And a plug for films about women which make money. “The world is round, people!” An elegant speech, very well delivered.
8:40 pm: Same Samsung commercial we saw earlier. Same McDonald’s commercial. Same car commercial.
8:36 pm: Angelina Jolie and Sidney Poitier presenting the best Director Oscar to Alfonso Cuaron. And after some uncertainty as to who will read the name, Ms. Jolie says “and the Oscar goes to Alfonso Cuaron.” Best line: Cuaron thanking “the wise guys of Warner Brothers” and then corrects himself by saying “the wise people of Warner Brothers!” Wise guys was better, Alfonso.
8:22 pm: Robert DeNiro and Penelope Cruz presenting the Best Adapted Screenplay. John Ridley‘s 12 years A Slave screenplay wins! Good thing! (Could this indicate…could this possibly mean…?) John is grappling with surging currents of emotion, and is holding it together. Hats off. And the Best Original Screenplay Oscar (I’m rooting for Her) goes to…Spike Jonze for Her! Very wise choice. Very happy for Spike. Highly deserving.
8:15 pm: Jessica Biel and Jamie Foxx presenting the nominees for Best Original Score. Wait, let me guess…Gravity‘s going to win, right? Jesus God. Gravity‘s Steven Price wins! What is this, six Oscars now? Does everybody realize what a Gravity pigfuck this show has been over the last two hours and 45 minutes? Gravity is going to win the Best Picture Oscar. How can it not? Oh, yeah…Frozen (i.e., “Let It Go”) wins the Best Song Oscar.
8:05 pm: I’m sorry but something is off about Goldie Hawn‘s face. Too many injections or the wrong implants…something. None of us mind “work” if it’s done well, but you’re supposed to resemble your younger self on some level. Hawn looks waxy.
7:53 pm: Glenn Close presenting the Death Reel. Will Alain Resnais be included? Who are all these people? Jim Kelly, Mickey Moore, Charles Campbell? Roger Ebert and Dutch Leonard are included. Phillip Seymour Hoffman is the last face in the montage. No Resnais. Are you telling me they couldn’t fit him in at the last minute? They had hours to do this. Lazy! Bette Midler comes out to sing “Wind Beneath My Wings.”
7:46 pm: Terrific– the Oscar are presenting a tribute to brawny, dynamic, athletic heroes. Mostly CG super-heroes. Superhero movies are megaplex diversions, for the most part, and have absolutely no place in a show ostensibly devoted to celebrating the most profound or highest-aspiring films. This is just pandering. Pandering to the popcorn-munching apes.
7:44 pm: Jennifer Garner and Benedict Cumberbatch handing out the Best Production Design Oscar. is Gravity nominated? Good God, it is. Please don’t give this to Gravity…please, I’m begging you. Thank you! The Great Gatsby takes the Oscar, the second Gatsby win of the night.
7:38 pm: Pink’s performance of “Somewhere Over The Rainbow” was nicely done, but why? I don’t get the reason for the Wizard of Oz tribute number other than…uhm, Craig and Neil wanted to do a Wizard of Oz tribute number.
7:30 pm: If Gravity wins the Best Editing Oscar, I fear the worst as far as the Best Picture Oscar is concerned. Good God, Gravity has won. Five Oscars so far. The Academy really loves this technically impressive thrill ride. Gravity, dammit, is going to win the Best Picture Oscar…eff me and double-eff the Academy. All those people who predicted 12 Years A Slave to win….well, I shouldn’t throw in the towel just yet, right? Hang in there.
7:28 pm: Emmanuel Lubezki‘s Oscar for Best Cinematography is about to be presented. And it is presented! What is that, four for Gravity now? Hooray for Bill Murray‘s shout-out to his Groundhog Day director, Harold Ramis.
7:22 pm: The three large pizzas have arrived! Pass ’em around…anybody got red pepper packets? Big Mamas and Papas Pizza gets the plug. The show is almost two hours old, and the four best moments so far have been (a) Lupita Nyong’o‘s big win, (b) the group selfie, (c) the pizza and (d) Jared Leto‘s win.
7:14 pm: Best news of the night so far — 12 Years A Slave‘s Lupita Nyong’o wins the Best Supporting Actress Oscar! Lupita is so eloquent, so well-spoken, so poised, such a class act. She thanks everyone who deserves thanks. “No matter where you’re from, your dreams are valid…thank you.”
7:07 pm: Chris Hemsworth and Charlize Theron presenting the Best Sound Mixing oscar, and Gravity wins it. Skip Lievsay, Niv Adiri, Christopher Benstead and Chris Munro. And the Oscar for Best Sound Editing goes to Gravity also. Actually to Glenn Freemantle. That’s three for Gravity now, and I’m sorry but this feels like a kind of omen.
7:01 pm: The group tweet photo routine was the coolest thing so far. Here it is:
Oscar nominee Julie Delpy (Before Midnight) has been quoted by France’s So Film magazine as saying something that everybody knows and is talking about, to wit: the voting tendencies of the Academy’s deadwood branch are killing its reputation. Do Academy officials honestly believe that today’s 25 year-olds are going to be as enamored of the Oscars in 10, 20 or 30 years as a healthy percentage of Boomers and GenXers are today? My sons are 25 and 24 and believe me, the Academy’s glory days are numbered if it doesn’t wake up. I’ve been caught up in the Academy mystique since I was a kid, but those who think the Academy is some kind of eternally cherished thought in the mind of the Gods is kidding themselves. The Academy has to “weight” the deadwood vote (i.e. those who haven’t worked in 20 or more years) and favor the votes of those who are still working and plugging away. And members under 50 have to number more than 14% of the Academy, which is what that L.A. Times survey reported a couple of years ago.
“I still desperately want to know what happened to Patsey,” Kate Calautti‘s 3.2 Vanity Fair piece concludes. “I want to believe she was able to survive, to prevail, and then to thrive on her own. As nobody’s property. As master of her own body and mind. I searched for her right up until the moment this piece was due. There’s still a thick stack of notes and to-do lists next to my computer. I’m not ready to crumple them in the trash uncrossed, unchecked. It feels too much like discarding a life.
“I hope this piece serves as a jumping-off point — as a call to action and a call to love and healing. [Patsey] is long gone, but her story never died. We cannot be hindered by what appears to be a lost cause — unearthing these narratives of our country’s painful history will set us on the path to understanding and willing ourselves not to repeat it. Let’s allow Patsey’s plea to resonate for countless others — because if we don’t consider what became of them, what’ll become of us?”
Tom Cruise‘s son should have never lived — it was ridiculous that he would have survived a pitched battle with Martian death machines. Seeing original War of the Worlds costars Gene Barry and Ann Robinson stepping out of that brownstone was like getting stabbed in the chest with a pencil. All because Steven “living incarnation of the spirit of Norman Rockwell” Spielberg had to deliver a heartwarming ending. Because he can’t help himself. Scenes like this are why Spielberg is regarded by perceptive types today (and will certainly be regarded by future film historians) as a hack. He is somewhere between the Cecil B. DeMille and the Mervyn LeRoy of our time. He had a brilliant run from Duel through Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, and then it was mostly a bumpy downhill road, the exceptions being Schindler’s List and Saving Private Ryan and…you tell me. (Inspired by Grolschfilmworks piece called “Rubbish Movie Endings.”)
The most deplorable incident of Russian arrogance and malevolence since the 1968 invasion of Czechoslovakia is about to happen. President Obama was on the phone yesterday with Russian president Putin for 90 minutes. If it had been me I would have said “C’mon, man, are you serious? What is this, the 1800s? What do you think you’re doing? Your guy was a Russian stooge. The new Ukrainian leadership is there as a result of a democratic process.” I wonder what Ryan Seacrest feels or thinks about this? (“Hello, Sandra Bullock…so tell us what you’re wearing!”) Somebody who wins an Oscar tonight should man up and say something.
The legendary French director Alain Resnais (Hiroshima Mon Amour, Last Year At Marienbad, Stavisky, Providence) has passed at age 91. We should all live so long and acquire the admiration and respect that Resnais had long been accustomed to. I couldn’t be bothered see his final film, Life of Riley (Aimer, boire et chanter), at the Berlin Film Festival, and now I kind of regret that. I’m sorry, also, that I never saw Wild Grass, which screened at the 2009 Cannes Film festival.
Like Michelangelo Antonioni, Resnais began making films in the ’40s but didn’t achieve significant recognition until his short about Nazi death camps, Night and Fog, appeared in 1955, and he didn’t hit it big until Hiroshima mon Amour (the first adult film with sexually arousing passages I’d ever seen) and Marienbad, which excited and perplexed Cannes audiences when it played there in 1961. The last Resnais film that I was truly excited about was Mon Oncle d’Amerique. Marienbad in particular had a huge influence upon many filmmakers for its suggestion that memory is often if not entirely unreliable and that lives come into focus and then lose it in an instant. David Lynch and Quentin Tarantino, among many others, drank the water from his trough.
Questions: Any chance the Academy will tell staff editors to insert Resnais into tonight’s “death reel”? Shouldn’t be difficult.
In the wake of 12 Years A Slave winning five Spirit Awards yesterday afternoon (Best Feature, Director, Supporting Actress, Screenplay, Cinematography) and feeling all the audience love and the relief and joy from the filmmakers about having scored big-time, I began to think about what may happen this evening at the Oscars. About what I fear will happen. For in the minds of many millions the Academy will be revealing a self-portrait if they give the Best Picture Oscar to Gravity in this, the year of the greatest surge of top-quality African-American filmmaking in Hollywood history and especially this one masterful film — the first indisputably artful drama about 19th Century slavery in America, not so ironically directed by a Brit.
12 Years A Slave producer and costar Brad Pitt, costar and Best Supporting Actress winner Lupita Nyong’o in Spirit Awards press tent after their big win.
Because if the worst comes to pass the main impression won’t be that Gravity has won. The main impression, trust me, will be that the old-white-fart Academy has frowned upon one of the greatest, saddest and most compassionate films about human dignity and one man’s unquenchable desire to live and not just exist. In so doing the Academy’s epitaph will read as follows: “Okay, look, we know 12 Years A Slave is a very well made film but we’re the smug Academy and we just didn’t like it…okay? Too downish, too brutal and our wives wouldn’t even watch the screener. We don’t like thinking that the culture of Scarlett O’Hara was this cruel, this heartless. It brings us down. So we’d rather give the Best Picture Oscar to a beautifully composed space thriller with Sandra Bullock tumbling weightless and going ‘aahh! aahh!'”