7:27 pm: What was funny about Regina King holding up a screener of The Last Duel while saying that no one has seen it? Or Wanda Sykes holding up a shredded Texas ballot — good point but not funny.

7:19 pm: What am I mostly feeling while watching the Oscars? What is the one thought that keeps repeating in my head? “I can’t wait to attend the 2022 Cannes Film Festival…that God for that forthcoming adventure.”

7:04 pm: Congrats to Belfast‘s Kenneth Branagh for winning the Best Original Screenplay. And to CODA‘s Sean Heder for winning Best Adapted Screenplay. Heder is thanking the phone book, but that’s what winners sometimes do. Friendo: “The two best speeches both belonged to CODA. Because they had emotion. Branagh’s speech was classy and succinct and gracious.”

6:55 pm: This is basically a folks-of-color Oscar telecast…a rainbow inclusion pageant…a vigorous and passionate representation factor for Latinos, African Americans, Asian, LGBTQs. In this sense it’s fairly similar to the Union Station atmosphere in that the industry’s mostly (am I allowed to say this?) European-descended majority is…uhm, subordinate? Not all that vigorously represented. But that’s okay. Academy sentiments are Academy sentiments. We’re living through a time of progressive change. Incidentally: The Latin dance number is pretty terrific.

6:45 pm: Costume design Oscar for CruellaJenny Beavan! A brilliant designer, hugely respected, great smile.

6:38 pm: So far the show is playing a little better than last April’s Soderbergh disaster, but not that much better. Friendo text: “Arianna DeBose has made history as the first openly queer woman to win an Oscar. Fine and good and obviously approvable, but I’m not really feeling the current. The whole community i/s supportive…queer artists are not the underdogs.”

6:20 pm: Time to hand CODA‘s Troy Kotsur his Oscar for Best Supporting Actor. Troy’s signed acceptance speech is very moving – the first poignant moment of the show. Congrats to Troy — a very fine delivery of evolved humanity. Especially his tribute to his dad. Quote: “Don’t forget to eat this spinach.” He’s going on a little long, but it’s a heart moment…fully earned and felt.

6:17 pm: Wanda Sykes (fresh outfit) introducing a promo for the Academy Museum — i.e., “Woke House.”

6:13 pm: The Best Animated Short Oscar goes to Windshield Wiper.

6:07 pm: Best Animated Feature goes to Encanto. Great, congrats, whatever.

Apology to HE readership: I’m firing Siteground, my Eastern European ISP, for that infuriating 500 internal server error. I’ve been pleading with them to fix or offer a solution I would have to implement. They’re history — incompetent bastards. Again, I apolgize.

5:55 pm: The 60th anniversary of the James Bond franchise? Dr. No opened in England on 10.5.62, but not until May 1963 in the States. So even by British exhibition standards the Bond franchise is 59 and 1/3 years old. Friendo: How is this playing at home?” HE to friendo: “Blah, meh, woke, flat. Something needs to happen.”

5:52 pm: Another Dune Oscar, this time to Best Visual Effects. Terrific. When is this show going to come alive?

5:44 pm: The Oscar telecast is 45 minutes old, and I’m not feeling anything. At all. Nothing. Friendo: “Is this as bad as I think it is? So far woke. Are you watching?” HE to friendo: “I’m watching and waiting.”

5:40 pm: A minor tribute to the White Men Can’t Jump guys (Woody, Rosie, Snipes)? And the Best Cinematography Oscar goes to Dune and Greig Fraser.

5:35 pm: Regina’s random Covid-testing routine is…why? People are laughing and cheering but it’s not funny. Really. I’m sorry.

5:25: West Side Story‘s Arianna de Bose wins Best Supporting Actress Oscar — locked in from the beginning, unanimous consensus, totally predicted, good work. She celebrates her history, her luck, her job, her queerness…going on too long. Like they all did during last year’s Soderbergh show.

5:22 pm: “Take away the lame opening number and unfunny opening monologues, and they could’ve given out all the awards they are eliminating from the live broadcast” — regional friendo.

5:10 pm: Amy Schumer, Wanda Sykes and Regina King sharing the monologue duties. “Toxic masculinity.” Snippy insult joke aimed at J.K. Simmons. Sykes: “I’ve watched The Power of the Dog three times, and I’m halfway through it” — a Jimmy Kimmel joke. And now they’re introducing the cavalcade of Oscar presenters. And now Schumer has taken over solo. “Home is the best” joke…?…nope. “We finally got a movie about the Williams sisters’ dad”…nope. A Leonardo DiCaprio young girlfriends joke…nope. A Being The Ricardos put-down joke.

5 pm: Venus and Serena Williams kicking things off with a Beyonce music video? I’m not getting a movie-madness feeling from this. Getting a lime chiffon vibe. Key lime pie and whipped cream. This could be an opener for the Grammys. What is this? Righteous Brothers: “You’ve lost that Oscar feelin’…”

…starts at 5 pm Pacific. Or maybe before. I don’t know what I’m saying. All I know is that for the last several weeks I’ve been hearing nothing but variations of “the Oscars are over, they peaked a couple of decades ago, nobody cares, how low will the ratings be?, everything sucks,” etc. And now we’re all on the red carpet and everyone is jubilant, jazzed, giggling, tickled pink!, caaaan’t wait!, etc.

It’s like the Invasion of the Happy Mysterians…who are you people? What do you really think? Do you have brains? Why is no one talking about what’s really and truly going on in this town? And where’s Penelope Cruz?

David Edelstein‘s CBS commentary is a nice way to start things off. Then again he doesn’t even mention Penelope Cruz as a possible Best Actress victor.