9:03 pm: Lean, gray and grizzled Sean Penn presenting the Best Picture Oscar. “And the Oscar goes to…who gave this sonuvabitch his green card?…Birdman.” Inarritu: “Two Mexicans in a row? That’s suspicious, I guess.” That’s diversity, I think. “Michael was the guy who really…Michael was the guy.” Keaton: “Look, it’s great to be here…who am I kidding?” Inarritu gives a shout-out to fellow Mexicans and offers a plea for a fairer, more decent government in Mexico, and praises “this wonderful immigrant nation.”
8:55 pm: Matthew McConaughey handing out Best Actress Oscar to locked-in-stone Julianne Moore.
8:49 pm: Big Moment for Best Actor Oscar. Maybe Redmayne? Yup…he takes it! He was favored/predicted by the Gold Derby-ites so not a total surprise. “This belongs to all those people battling ALS…my staggering partner-in-crime Felicity Jones…director James Marsh.” Classy guy, top-rank performance…congrats.
8:40 pm: Ben Affleck about to hand out the Best Director Oscar, and the Oscar goes to Alejandro G. Inarritu. Big hug from Richard Linklater. Tonight I am wearing the real Michael Keaton tighty whities….for someone to win, some one has to lose…but for the real filmmakers, there can’t be defeat. This is a slow-motion kidn of moment.
8:35 pm: The Imitation Game‘s Graham Moore has won the Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar. A very moving speech given by Moore on behalf of Alan Turing and to all the weird and different and alone-feeling kids out there. You’re good. Your time will come.
8:30 pm: Best Original Screenplay Oscar being announced by Eddie Murphy, and the Oscar goes to the four Birdman guys. That’s it, Boyhood gang. I love you but you’re done. The Grand Budapest Hotel was forecast by Gold Derby gang…thud.
8:22 pm: Best Original Score Oscar is being announced by Julie Andrews. The Theory of Everything is expected to win, of course, but it doesn’t! Alexandre Desplat‘s Grand Budapest Hotel score takes it! Four Budapest Oscars. For the fourth time this evening, Wes Anderson is thanked by a winner. Four wins for Budapest, three for Whiplash so far….right?
8:11 pm: This Oscar telecast has no bite, no snap, no real pizazz or feeling. Neal Patrick Harris has been agreeable but bland. The whole show has been kind of bland. Only the acceptance speeches — Common, John Legend, Patricia Arquette, J.K. Simmons — have delivered the deep-well memories. Lady Gaga is doing a fine job with her Sound of Music tribute and the great Julie Andrews coming on stage…but why do it in the first okace? I say give the hook to Craig Zadan and Neil Meron as Oscar-show producers. Time to move on, give someone else a chance.
8:06 pm: Did NPH just make a joke work? He’s been whiffing all night. The Best Song Oscar, I expect, will go to “Glory”….right? Yes. Well earned. “Right now, the struggle for freedom and justice is real. Selma is now…march on.” — Common and John Legend.
8:01 pm: The performance of “Glory,” the song from Selma, was easily the best of the evening. Emotional song, very emotional reaction.
7:49 pm: Here comes the Best Documentary Feature Oscar moment. The winner, as everyone knows, will be Citizenfour. And it is, of course. I’m a huge fan of Rory Kennedy‘s Last Days in Vietnam, but I worship Citizenfour. Well deserved.
7:47 pm: Too many emotional exhale blown-away pauses from Terrence Howard as he introduces The Imitation Game, Whiplash and Selma. Calm down.
7:43 pm: The Best Editing Oscar being presented by Benedict Cumberbatch and Naomi Watts, and the Oscar goes to Tom Cross for Whiplash. Boyhood was the predicted Gold Derby winner. This may be an indicator of something. Yo, Whiplash!
7:31 pm: Here comes the Death Reel. I’m sorry but that’s what it’s called. No Joan Rivers! Mickey Rooney, Paul Mazursky, Geoffrey Holder, Nadian Bronson, James Garner, Elizabeth Pena, Alan Hirschfeld, Maya Angelou, orenzo Semple, Jr., Menahem Golan, James Shigeta, Anita Ekberg, H.R. Giger, Sandy Reisenbach, Virna Lisi, Louis Jourdan, Gordon Willis, Richard Attenborough, the great L.M. Kit Carson (!), Dee, Samuel Goldwyn, Jr., Hyer, Andrew McLaglen, Williams, Greaves, Rod Taylor, Stern, Lauren Bacall, Charles Champlin, Dupont, Jeffries, Misty Upham, Eli Wallach, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Frank Yablans, Alain Resnais, Bob Hoskins, Mike Nichols.
7:24 pm: Here’s comes Emmanuel Lubezski‘s Oscar for Birdman‘s ciematography. Presented by Idris Elba and Jessica Chastain. ‘Chivo!” The second consecutive win for Lubezki, who of course won last year for Gravity. Special thanks to Alejandro, of course.
7:20 pm: Chris Pratt, to his immense credit, looks trim tonight. Keep it up, homey! The Grand Budapest Hotel, as expected, wins the Best Production Design Oscar. For the third time tonight, a winners says “thank you, Wes!”
7:18 pm: Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs making a speech in defense of artists saying and creating whatever feels right. Basically a “no more Charlie Hebdo massacres” speech.
7:09 pm: Zoe Saldana and Duane Johnson presenting Best Animated Feature Oscar. The expected winner is How To Train Your Dragon 2, and the winner is Big Hero 6. The evening’s first surprise! I didn’t like Big Hero 6, by the way.
7:06 pm: Anna Kendrick and Kevin Hart presenting Best Animated Short Oscar to Feast. Which I hated, by the way. I called it “basically a corporate advertisement for the joys of junk food. It is one of the most odious and gastrointestinally irresponsible animated films ever made. Feast is basically about a lovable pooch, Winston, and his beefy owner bonding through the junk-food meals they share (pizza, french fries, nachos with cheese, burgers, garlic bread, pasta and sauce-covered meatballs), and how their relationship hits an impasse when the owner falls for a thin lady who’s into lean cuisine and who places sprigs of parsley on every dish she prepares. Winston is miserable about being deprived, of course, but he feels his master’s misery when the girlfriend leaves. But the couple eventually gets back together and then — deliverance! — Winston’s bliss is restored when a new baby comes along and starts feeding him crap again. Imagine the outcry if Disney was to make a short about a junkie and his dog who both love heroin, and about a girlfriend who comes along and gets the owner to kick and clean up, which makes the junkie dog miserable but then — hooray! — a baby pops out and is soon giving the dog heroin again. Osborne, Reed, producer John Lasseter and Disney should be dragged through the mud for making this thing. This is a country that’s literally killing itself with junk food and which has produced the fattest citizenry in the history of civilization, and here’s Disney making a film that basically says ‘hey, so what?’ and ‘junk food makes us happy.'”
7:03 pm: Ansel Elgort and Chloe Moretz arrive to hand Interstellar the Best Visual Effects Oscar. It’s all falling into line.
7:00 pm: Josh Hutcherson introduces Rita Ora, who begins singing some song I don;t gave a damn about. Something about grateful.
6:50 pm: Jared Leto, “wearer of the blue-est tux and whitest shoes,” arrives to hand Best Supporting Actress Oscar to Patricia Arquette. Patricia unfolds the paper with the list, reads from it hurriedly and finishes with “to every woman who gave birth to every citizen and every taxpayer…” Justice, respect, equal rights. Good moment! I’m not paying enough attention to the commercials. Says a New York friend: “It’s no fun when you know who’s going to win.”
6:46 pm: The sound mixing Oscar goes to Whiplash. Totally preidcted by Gold Derby gang. They’ve also predicted American Sniper to win for Best Sound Editing, as do I. And Sniper wins. It’s all falling into line. We need a surprise, we need a shocker…take us out of that realm.
6:43 pm: NPH’s Birdman underwear routine is the funniest bit of the night so far, but they used Miles Teller as teh drummer again…a repeat of yesterday’s Spirit Awards Birdman spoof. Would it have killed Craig and Neil to use Antonio Sanchez, the actual Birdman drummer-composer?
6:33 pm: The sparse-thatch guy (I’ll get his name in a sec) singing “I’m Not Gonna Miss You,” the Glenn Camnpbell tribute tune, is wearing a too-big black cowboy hat. It overwhelms his face. I know from cowboy hats as I’ve worn a few. Who wears a cowboy hat with a traditional tux?
6:23 pm: Did NPH just pronounce David Oyelowo‘s last name as “Olaywello”? I need to listen again.
6:25 pm: NPH’s How to Train Your Dragon 2 joke bombed. Okay, fizzled. Jason Bateman and Kerry Washington announcing winners of Best Live Action Short Film. Matt Kirby and James Lucas have on for The Phone Call. You’re being played off, guys! Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1 will win for Best Documentary Short Subject….right> Yes. Completely predicted on Gold Derby. “For those who are brave enough for ask for help…we should talk about suicide out loud.”
6:08 pm: Shirley MacLaine introducing clips for The Theory of Everything, Birdman and Boyhood. Marion Cotillard introducing “Everything’s Awesome.” Time to take a break, feed the cats, call for take-out. Oh, wait…this isn’t bad. Colorful, spunky, fun. Okay, now feed the cats.
6:09: Chiwetel Ejiofor and Nicole Kidman announcing that Pawel Pawlikowski‘s Ida will win the Best Foreign Language Feature. And it has! Everything is falling right into the Gold Derby line. A film about black and white and silences being honored in “the epicenter of noise and world attention,” says Pawlikowski. Go Pawel! The audience can’t push him off! This is one of the main reasons he became a successful director. I will have my say!
6:01 pm: Channing Tatum welcomes winners of 60-second short film contest. Possible players in a year or two or five. (Or never.) NPH: “Live action short, documentary shorts, Bermuda shorts….its the Oscars! On ABC!”
6:00 pm: Reese Witherspoon announcing the winner of the makeup and hairstyling award. Another Grand Budapest Hotel win! “Without you, Wes, we wouldn’t be here.” Second shot of beaming Mr. Anderson.
5:55 pm: NPH: “Or as I like to call them, The dependent Spirit Awards”…what does that mean?” Chris Pine and Jenny on the Block amnouncing the winner of the costume design, which will be won by Grand Budapest…right? Yes! The great Melena Canonero for The Grand Budapest Hotel. “Thank you so much, Wes.”
5:51 pm: Dakota Johnson introduces the vaguely detested Adam Levine. Okay, I detest him. Okay, not Levine himself but his character/performance in Begin Again. Nice enough song. Is it okay if I say that apart from Simmons’ wife and family speech this has been a fairly dull first 25 minutes?
5:47 pm: Who cares about NPH’s prowess as an Oscar predictor and the whole routine about his predictions being kept in a locked briefcase by Price Waterhouse? Liam Neeson takes the stage to introduce clips from The Grand Budapest Hotel and American Sniper. NPH: “160 confirmed kills…or as Harvey Weinstein calls it, a slow morning”….bad joke! Bombs! Imagine…somebody actually said that joke would work. And he/she is getting paid big money.
5:41 pm: Time to get the J.K. Simmons‘ Best Supporting Actor Oscar out of the way. Lupita Nyongo presenting. “And the actor goes to…the Oscar goes to J.K. Simmons for Whiplash.” The whole house is cheering, howling. And he focuses on his wife, Michelle Schumacher…good vibe. It’s all domestic. “Call your mom, call your dad….listen to them for as long as they want to talk to you.” Nice words!
5:31 pm: The proscenium arch design looks busy, sparky, gaudy, emphatic…Neil Patrick Harris: Tonight we honor Hollywood’s best and whitest…brightest!…we hope that no one pulls a Kanye West…moving pictures! Anna Kendrick‘s entrance is nice….Jack Black speaking for the cynical, art-worshipping, had-it-up-to-here millions…Kendrick: “Beat it!” NPH: “Moving pictures, million of pixels on screen….show you what something or other really means”…Eddie “over and done” Murphy is in the audience! The Birdman spoof that opened the Spirit Awards was cooler.