Sunday, February 24, 2008

Live Blogging the Oscars

If Jon Stewart is on network TV, and it's no longer 1995, it can only mean one thing - the Oscars!

I'll be live-blogging by adding to the bottom of this entry with time-stamps, so keep refreshing the page for maximum enjoyment. I'll also be doing this without the benefit of a Tivo, which makes the whole operation extremely dicey.

Of course, my pre-show planning included searching for any nostalgic clips of The Jon Stewart Show on youtube. Alas, my search did not turn any clips of Jon Stewart Show staples "The Moron Walk" or "Raymond and Ass," but I did find a classic GBV performance. Much has been made of the short turnaround the writers have this year with the strike ending just a couple weeks ago, so it will be interesting to see how that impacts the overall flow of the show.

I'll be doing my best to avoid specific spoilers from films, as I know some readers (and even contributors) haven't seen the films nominated.

Among the pre-show festivities:

- On her pre-show special, Barbara Walters berated Ellen Page until she sang "Anyone Else But You", even after Barbara Walters slammed the Moldy Peaches!

- Gary Busey (initially identified incorrectly as Nick Nolte) allegedly attacking Jennifer Garner on the red carpet! This was reported by Ross McLochness' home base. I did not see it first-hand as I was watching Barbara Walters berate Ellen Page. *UPDATE* Video confirmation of Busey gone wild below!

- I'm prediction an onslaught of "Raisin in the Sun" promos tonight, ensuring that every American gets their recommended daily allowance of Puffy Combs.

- Among the notable nominees tonight is editor Roderick Jaynes, up for No Country For Old Men. I'm hoping he wins, just to see how the situation is handled.

On to the pre-show!

7:03pm: George Clooney and Regis Philbin share an awkward conversation based around Notre Dame basketball. Oh Regis, this is not starting well.

7:07pm: The pre-packaged intro pieces leading into the interviews is coming off as pretty choppy. It seems so far that the producers have one message to the viewers: "We know you haven't seen any of these movies." Juno was the only Best Picture nominee to make over $100 million, so maybe they have a point.

7:09pm: I'm sure I'll say this later on tonight, but I don't understand how Miley Cyrus fits into the Oscars.

Ross McLochness, who has been locked in on all things Ryan Seacrest-based. Among Seacrest's though provoking questions thus far on the carpet:

To Casey Affleck: "Are you a history buff?"
To Colin Farrell: "Is it true that Nicole Kidman, to some part, has been responsible for you getting into acting?" (Colin, and his mom, were incredulous.)
To Hilary Swank: "In some of the research that I got...I understand you're into something, is it called Krav Maga?"
To Viggo Mortensen's niece, Sydney: "Walking down the red carpet with Viggo, what's it been like?"
To Katherine Heigl: "If [your teeth] were messed up, we'd fix them for you."

7:15pm: The crew in charge of putting together the lower-third fonts for each interview subject has clearly come prepared. Who knew there were so many worthwhile yet bite-sized facts to share about Amy Adams?

7:17pm: Regis spends some time with a senile old woman who babbles about how great the Oscars used to be. She one saw Paul Newman win an Oscar! Most like he claimed the award wearing an onion on his belt, which was the style at the time. Regis is the one on the left of the screen, by the way.

7:24pm: Regis has landed in the middle of Boystown! Actually he's backstage with dancers trying to get in their head. He's got absolutely nothing to say to them and just wants to escape their creepy pasted-on smiles. Good times for all.

7:27pm: Javier Bardem is sitting next to Jack Nicholson. I would love to hear any discussion those two have. Imagine the result of a confrontation between Anton Chigurgh and Jack Torrance!

7:31pm: A cheesy graphic opening starts with cars driving through the streets and makes me wonder if The Jimmy Kimmel show is starting instead of the Oscars. Luckily the advertisements on the back end clear it up.

7:32pm: I'm told that the Oscars are watched worldwide, which makes me wonder. Do people in the rest of the world know who Jon Stewart is? It probably doesn't matter, but I'm just wondering.

7:33pm: The cutaways to Javier Bardem are great, if for no other reason than to see Tommy Lee Jones over his shoulder with a stone cold death stare. Jones is clearly not a fan of The Daily Show.

7:38pm: Stewart gives a Norbit shout out! Ross McLochness called that one a couple hours ago. Color me impressed.

Ross weighs in on the monologue: Overall, I'd give Stewart's opening monologue an 8 out of 10. He did have one of those "stahp it, yuhkillinmee" moments, but he was much closer to success than bombing.
I agree. He played it pretty safe, but it was more "Conan safe" than "Leno safe." Which is to say, not terrible.

7:41pm: Jennifer Garner presenting by herself? I hope the solo presenter isn't a harbinger of things to come. I demand two presenters from very different backgrounds, forced into awkward small talk. I hope Best Sound Editing will be presented by Helen Mirren and Tiki Barber.

Elizabeth: The Golden Age wins best costume design, and my predictions are currently Zero-for-One. I'm off to a stellar start.

Ross's take: Why does costume design always go to the busiest/oldest wardrobe? Makes me wonder what Heidi and Nina Garcia would say.

7:48pm: We're 30 seconds into the montage and I already don't care. The letterboxed photos are weird - did some production assistant destroy the master tapes from those years? Thank God for the Titanic background music.

This also marks the first failure of my wireless access tonight. This will be a recurring theme I fear. Go to hell, SBC.

7:52pm: Best Animated Feature. Ratatouille gives me my first correct prediction of the night! Congrats to Brad Bird, whose impression of his high school guidance counselor makes me wonder if his guidance counselor was Mickey Rooney (or rather, Dana Carvey's impersonation of Mickey Rooney.)

7:56pm: Katherine Heigl seems like she may cry presenting Best Makeup. During my youtube searches earlier, I found Jon Stewart interviewing a then 15-year-old Heigl. Enjoy the clip in all it's vivid VHS-ness.

Norbit is denied victory by a much more French (and probably more humorous) film. Ross accurately wonders, "How did the Oscar winner for makeup f*ck up that left eye so horribly?"

8:00pm: Amy Adams does her best audition for a job as a cruise ship chorus member. Why is it that the cheerier a song is, the creepier it is? Ross notes that the set looks like Rubik's Magic: Link the Rings.

Thus far, things seem to be moving at a relatively healthy clip. It wouldn't kill them to throw an acting award out there early.

8:07pm: Not only is Miley Cyrus here, but so is The Rock! And he's almost as good a comedian as he is an actor! The Golden Compass wins, proving my criticism that Transformers may have had a ridiculous visual effect budget, but clearly did not include enough compasses. All four guys thank their crew. I also would like to thank their crew, just to avoid being left out.

8:11pm: Art Direction. My pick of Sweeney Todd wins, insuring no back-to-back win for The Golden Compass. Ross laments the fact that anti-Catholic flicks are stopped after only one statue.

I love when the Art Directors thank the actors, and the actors give them that look that says "I've seen you on the set, but I don't really know you."

8:14pm: It's obvious that all these "Aren't the Oscars great?!?" vignette were produced under the assumption that the writers strike would not end and they would need all the archive material.

That said, I love the Cuba Gooding moment. Why isn't he nominated tonight for his performance in the Michael Jordan Hanes ads?

Ross wonders, "Can we get any more ridiculous European caricatures to win tonight?" I'm thinking that Roberto Begnini may have been parking cars tonight.

8:17pm: Javier Bardem gets the win, as expected. Jon Stewart remarked that he had a Dorothy Hamill haircut in No Country, but I would have gone with a Pete Rose comparison. I read that Bardem hated the haircut so much that he got suicidal when he saw himself in the mirror, which of course made me think, "Seriously?!"

Another great cutaway as Bardem thanks Tommy Lee Jones while Jones adjusts his cuff links. You can't do that in the commercial break, brother?

Ross notes that Javier Bardem's mother just won the Oscar for most overzealous jewelry. The woman's wearing the equivalent of 6,000 nickels tonight.

8:24pm: I'm really enjoying the salutes here. Not only for the Rushmore reference, but because I would also like a salute to "people objecting to weddings" or "people picking up phone calls on the first ring."

8:26pm: There is some testifying going on! Ross states, " This "Raise it Up" number reminds me too much of the "Total Eclipse of the Heart" video."

Let's see who the obligatory "black celeb in the audience" cutaway" is?

Wow - they just cut back to Jon Stewart. I'm impressed, director.

8:29pm: Owen Wilson clearly did not read his script beforehand. He's just here for the gift basket. Ross suspects Owen Wilson has presented this award at least three times. Was there not another wrestler available to present instead of this Oscar-nominated writer?

8:32pm: It's good to see that the tornado of Bee Movie promotion doesn't end once the film bombs. But there's another Rushmore reference, so I'll allow it. I can't wait to see the winners shake hands with that bee!

Ross notes that the Euros certainly seem to be cleaning up tonight, as they win again here. Come on USA! Step up!

8:35pm: Best Supporting Actress. Tilda Swinton pulls the upset over Amy Ryan and Cate Blanchett. It's a win for all gingers! Her range extends from Ross's recollection of "Orlando" when she went out on a limb and played a male/female character, to "Young Adam" which got an NC-17 thanks to her and Ewan McGregor repeatedly banging each other silly.

I will say that in Michael Clayton, Swinton was tremendous in a role that had very little on paper but really was fleshed out brilliantly on screen. And she gives Clooney the business during her acceptance speech as well - nicely played Swinton!

I thought Cate Blanchett was great playing Bob Dylan, but it's tough to find much subtext in the Dylan from 1966. He never betrayed anything below the surface, so there wasn't much to mine there. Watching her in that film, it was a great impression, but nothing more, in part due to the brilliant act that Dylan played himself during that entire era. Who knows what he was really like, when the guy himself was always in character.

8:44pm: Contributor Pat Healy remarks that he hasn't seen Ben Affleck yet. Is he in the building? His wife presented, his brother is nominated, as is Amy Ryan from the flick he directed...something to keep in mind. I think he's on Kimmel tonight as well, so he must be there somewhere, no?

8:46pm: James McEvoy has the comedic timing of a train wreck. I love how Nicholson talks to people on stage, by the way. It's brilliant.

The Coen Brothers win for best screenplay. Does this give them the edge for the rest of the awards tonight? I think so. The screenplay was the least accessible part of the film, but was tremendous.

8:50pm: Have you ever wondered how films are nominated? Of course you haven't! But here's the magical process, shown on the big screen! John Travolta waxes poetic on the heavy burden of voting, as if he doesn't just do whatever Tom Cruise tells him to.

8:55pm: You wanted Miley Cyrus, and you've got Miley Cyrus! And another song from Enchanted! Kristen Chenowith, who inspired a character on a failed over hyped drama, plays an adorable pixie who apparently is exposed to the hidden world, depicting white people's visions of black Jamaican tribal dances! What a journey it all is.

By the way, sitemeter tells me we're getting a ton of hits for people searching for Viggo Mortensen's niece. Chris Hansen has been called and will be at each of your houses momentarily, so take a seat and enjoy some iced tea, you pervs.

I have a feeling Original Screenplay should be announced soon, so here's my take on expected winner Diablo Cody, beyond the hype of her ex-stripper/blogger past. I think she's clearly a talented storyteller, but not nearly as talented in the department of actually writing dialogue. The story lines within Juno are well-thought out and nicely nuanced (especially in the development of Jennifer Garner and Jason Bateman's characters.) But the dialogue is clunky and at time downright distracting. Rainn Wilson's short appearance is wasted behind dialogue that makes you wonder, "Is he supposed to be playing a retarded person?" There's also a scene where Allison Janney berates a ultrasound technician for no apparent reason that's jarring and disturbing. Despite these shortfalls, the film works because Ellen Page is outstanding and helps the viewer forgive some of the cuter-than-thou dialogue. Still, Cody's narrative is enough to overcome the awkward lines, and as a first-time screenwriter, she'll most likely only improve on future scripts.

9:01pm: Jackpot! Ross has found the video of Gary Busey freaking Jennifer Garner the hell out. Outstanding.

9:03pm: I feel confident in stating that I would enjoy the Oscars much more if every award was presented by someone with an affiliation to Superbad. It's an epic Jew trifecta with those guys on stage with Jon Stewart.

9:05pm: Best Sound Mixing. Come on Kevin O'Connell!

No! Kevin O'Connell loses for the 20th f'ing time! Amazing stuff. I feel for you Kevin O'Connell. If it's any consolation, you have won the Oscar that lives in my heart.

9:10pm: Forrest Whitaker is acting the hell out of these nominations. He may win an Emmy for his delivery here, especially his delivery of "Marion Cotillard."

Cotillard claims another win for the Euros, pulling the upset over the American favorite (Julie Christie) and Canadian dark horse (Ellen Page). I blame building security - someone could have easily kidnapped Cotillard and replaced her with Rose McGowan, and I'm not sure too many people would have noticed.

I'm shocked Christie didn't win. If you want to be very impressed and very depressed by a film, watch Away From Her. Fun with Alzheimer's! But an amazing script and directing effort by Sarah Polley, who by the way is also easy on the eyes.

9:18pm: Wherever Bono is, he's pissed that Colin Farrell got to introduce Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova. By the way, in reviews of Once, I've read some criticisms of Hansard (and The Frames) that knock them as a Coldplay ripoff, a comparison I enjoy immensely, considering that The Frames have been around since 1990. Also, I defy anyone to mention an instrument cooler than an acoustic guitar worn through by strumming. It can't be done.

How many flying V's can they hang on this set? Is Lenny Kravitz showing up at some point?

(Another wireless interruption. You will not steal my thunder, SBC!)

From Ross: "Was that a scene from Once or This is Spinal Tap?"

9:26pm: I can imagine the setting when the strike was still going on, and someone said "What if we just show every Best Picture?" That'll kill some time. Indeed it will.

From Ross: " I tried to guess each year's best picture during that montage. Starting in 1973 I guessed The Last Emperor about 12 times."

9:29pm Renee Zellweger is about 3 years away from having her eyes permanently shut. What the hell is going on with her?

Roderick Jaynes is snubbed for Best Editor! But who was that photo of that accompanied his name? That picture no doubt is very funny to the Coens for reasons known only to them.

9:32pm: If Nicole Kidman is here, why did they use a picture of her instead of a live shot during the "pregnant actresses" bit? Was she in the sh*tter at the time? That's the explanation I'm going with, according to sources nowhere near the scene.

9:34pm: Well we've reached the part in the telecast where, for no apparent reason, I turn into a judgmental a-hole. When they brought out Robert Boyle and everyone stood, I said to myself "Whatever, you people have no idea who he is, do you? F*ckin' phonies!" There's no rational explanation for such pointless internal cynicism, but my point is this: you can never go wrong with Jameson.

I would love it if the conductor had the balls to cut this guy off with the "wrap it up" music. That would be awesome.

Ross points out that Boyle is the first guy to get a posthumous Oscar while he was still alive. I love these two women trying to figure out how the hell to get him off the stage.

During the commercial break I discover that Steve Gutenberg is coming back! And he's coming back dancing! And shockingly I haven't seen any "Raisin in the Sun" promos.

9:43pm: A Euro even wins Best Foreign Film! This is getting ridiculous!

9:44pm: Patrick Dempsey is introduced as "handsome." Did my mom write these introductions?

That crooner looks like a mid-1990's Ethan Hawke, with a slightly less impressive stage presence than Hawke showcased covering the Violent Femmes in Reality Bites.

Upon discovering this is the final nominated song, Ross feels cheated. "I've watched for over two hours and now they tell me there will be absolutely no appearance by Randy Newman's drunk ass!"

9:49pm: The crowd is clearly behind Once, and it wins! A win for the homeland! A win for Paul McGrath! I hope somewhere there's someone pissing on Oliver Cromwell's grave!

By the way, this soundtrack lost out on a Grammy thanks to The Beatles, but I the Irish have struck back. 26+6=1, bitches! How much more can I write to direct more traffic from angry oppressed farmers in Donegal?

And the "Raisin in the Sun" promo is here! I'm on fire right now!

9:57pm: Marketa Irglova is back and she kills the acceptance speech and melts my cold, cold heart.

9:59pm: Ah, the Cameron Diaz verbal stumble. A timeless tradition - keep it in mind for next year's montage. It's cinematography, and Roger Deakins is up twice here. Will he cancel himself out? Perhaps so, as Robert Elswitt takes it. I'll voice my concerns about There Will Be Blood soon enough, but the cinematography is stunning.

10:01pm: Ah the death montage. I'm predicting that nobody gets more applause than Heath Ledger. And it seems I'm right, despite a challenge from Ingmar Bergman. Looks like you picked the wrong year to die, Miyoshi Umeki.

My brother chimes in alarmingly, "For a moment I thought the kid who played Rufio died."

10:09pm: It's time for Best Score, and this category is flawed from the getgo, as the best score put together this year (Jonny Greenwood's There Will Be Blood) was disallowed due to some nonsensical rule nitpicking. It bsears mentioning that the same powers that screwed over Greenwood tried to do the same to Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova. Thank heavens those monsters were stopped in that case!

On the presenter front, Ross remarks "Amy Adams's nose looks like she's been licking a bowl of pudding. Too many costume and makeup changes."

10:13pm: And the winners in the category of "Who will be the drunk chicks crashing all the after-parties" are the ladies of Short Documentary Feature! One of them will be puking in a purse within the next four hours. I guarantee it.

From Ross: "If you win for a short documentary, shouldn't your acceptance speech be short as well?"

10:15pm: I'm pulling for No End in Sight in the Doc Feature category, as I've worked with the director of photography before, and the film itself is outstanding. Alas, Taxi to the Dark Side takes it, which I'm planning to check out soon as well. I think it's best for everyone that we were spared a Michael Moore win.

Ross asks "Must all documentary features scare/depress the hell out of me?" And I agree, which is why I'm announcing here my plans to produce a feature documentary based solely around how delicious ice cream is! Or to paraphrase from Dave Attell, why can't anyone make a movie called "Santa Pizza Pussy," since everyone loves at least one of those three things.

By the way, I predicted Original Screenplay would be announced about an hour-and-a-half ago. Swish!

10:23pm: But they're doing it now! And Harrison Ford may be incapable of delivering any line without sounding like he could be doing something more worthwhile than dealing with this nonsense. Diablo Cody takes it, wearing a lovely dress from the Flintstone line.

Before Daniel Day Lewis wins, here are my thoughts on There Will Be Blood.

At times I wonder if there is something about Paul Anderson that I'm just not getting. I love Boogie Nights and really like Punch-Drunk Love. While Magnolia is an adored favorite of more than one BIBJ collaborator, the truth is that I can't stand the movie, for reasons not worth getting into here. When it comes to There Will Be Blood, I thought the first 2 hours were very good (not great.) It seemed clear that Anderson was building to something; the writing was intriguing and the cinematography was exceptional. Then it all goes to hell. The final 20 minutes or so are a train wreck. Lewis' character is embarassingly over the top (as opposed to the rest of the film where he's just dementedly over the top.) The action is ridiculous and the writing is embarassing. Both There Will Be Blood and No Country For Old Men have gained notice from their "unconvential" endings, but for me the difference was simple: No Country For Old Men ended in a way that made me immediately want to watch it again. There Will Be Blood ended in a way that made me literally (and I do mean literally) roll my eyes.

10:31pm: Daniel Day Lewis drinks everyone's milkshake! I wish he had worn a mustache tonight - it would have looked much more debonair, no? Even when this guy is smiling, he just seems intense. Ross points out that he seems like a giant on the stage. Is he wearing foot-tall lifts? Or perhaps platform shoes?

So now that I've ripped Paul Anderson and gushed about the Coen Brothers, which will take the directing crown? In this night of Euro upsets, you can't count out Julian Schnabel (he's American but his movie is French,) though it would be surprising if a film not nominated for Best Picture takes Best Director.

10:43pm: The Coens take it. Ethan Coen gets cute on stage and naturally it's up to the older brother to pull it together, clean up and actually make a speech to cover up for the younger sibling's snarkiness. Some situations are univesal.

Hey Best Picture! Thank goodness I wrote about this earlier today and saved it!

I will disclose again that I have not see Atonement yet. No Country For Old Men is the best movie of the year. That said, the film's ending has gotten a lot of attention for it's ambiguity and the overall confusion it inspires. It's a film that clearly lends itself to multiple viewings, but if the voters are left confused rather than intrigued, Juno could pull the upset. Michael Clayton is an excellent movie, but not the kind of film that ever wins this award, as it's a very by-the-numbers corporate thriller (albeit one done better than 95% of comperable efforts.) And I've voiced the failings of There Will Be Blood. Based on the Best Director win, it should be No Country's award to lose.

10:45pm: And so it is. The Coen's (who Ross feels "are very very high right now") reign supreme. Jon Stewart returns to see us off.

And the Bad Idea Blue Jeans Oscars blog ends smashingly. Outstanding job by all contributors! With the success of this live blog, can a Cable Ace Award live blog be far behind? I think not. Goodnight everyone!

1 comment:

monkey said...

okay kudos for making me laugh, even a day after. the one that really got me was the line about calling patrick dempsey handsome.

I am not really a fan of Paul Anderson. so it's delightful to know there are a few of us willing to admit that.