27 February 2011

83rd Academy Awards Live Blog

For the first time in the history of my blog here at RyanHarveyWriter, I will be engaging in that strange activity known as “Live Blogging.” I’ll provide updates and snarky observations during the 83rd Academy Awards Ceremony. Newest remarks at the top of the list. I hope the evening has a few surprises in it—will there be an upset in the Big Eight?—but for the most part I predict a mostly routine round of the granting of golden statues.

My picks for the night are listed here (the Big Eight) and here (everything else).

In quick summary, I got 13 of 22 right, killed by those four categories that kill everyone each year. Surprise wins for Social Network in some categories, but the Big Eight went exactly as planned with the exception of Hooper nudging out Fincher for the Best Director win. I guess Fincher’s own apathy about the awards worked against him. It did seem at an earlier point that The King’s Speech was losing ground. It definitely didn’t sweep, and only picked up a few statues. Inception makes away with a load of technical awards, but should have gotten Best Score. Natalie Portman gives the best speech and is the most deserving winner, but Bale was also a blast. Melissa Leo becomes joke of the night, and will be known as the foul-mouthed lady who stole from the cute teenager who acted across from Jeff Bridges.

Rogert Ebert has called this the worst Oscar telecast he’s seen—and he has seen a few. I guess I’ve seen worse, if only because those were Awards where films I hated were getting wins. But the “young/hip” experiment? Dead, gone. If you’re going to go young, you give the fourteen-year-old girl the award. Sorry to keep harping on this, but that award bothers me—even if I expected it.

Anyway, enjoy my backwards comments:

8:41. Hey, Melissa Leo, throw your award to the teenager!

8:39. Never mind the anticlimax . . . a near see-thru dress on Hathaway! Now some kids sing, and the entire nation runs to hit the “off” switch.

8:36. Oh well, anticlimax. The King’s Speech wins. Sail on Black Swan! Many great movies last year, and Inception, True Grit, The Social Network, and Black Swan are guaranteed to be perennial classics.

8:34. Wow, I forgot how much I love Winter’s Bone. And this montage reminds me of how many superb films were up for the top award this year. Inception and Black Swan forever.

8:33. Oh man, the fix is in. The King’s Speech dialogue plays over the montage of Best Picture nominees.

8:32. Music from Jurassic Park! And thank you Spielberg for pointing out all the great “losers.” I would have mentioned GoodFellas.

8:28. Ironically, this is a rather dull speech from Colin Firth for The King’s Speech. Maybe if he stuttered. And why didn’t he thank King George VI?

8:26. Colin Firth wins. Gee, didn’t see that coming. He was excellent, however. 12 out of 21.

8:23. And that’s why Jesse Eisenberg deserves to win Best Actor. But he won’t.

8:22. More proof that Jeff Bridges is all the awesome in the room.

8:20. And then Sandra Bullock comes on and reminds us how terrible last year’s Best Actress win was. Portman rules!

8:16. Natalie Portman gave one of the gigantically astonishing performances of the last ten years, and this is one of the most deserved award wins in my memory. Her speech is magnificent and honest, and . . . oh hell, I’m going to cry. This is a beautiful win for a dark, twisted performance from a wonderful human being in a breathtaking film. Good luck with your little one! Oh, and 11 out of 20.

8:14. Not the best clip for Lawrence.

8:12. I liked Julianne Moore in The Kids Are All Right much more than Anette Benning. Yet Benning is the one with the nomination.

8:11. Jeff Bridges makes everything cool. Who doesn’t love this guy?

8:03. Tom Hooper wins the Best Director statue for The King’s Speech, upsetting what looked like a Social Network machine. However, Hooper is the least deserving for this honor, with the other four (five, two Coens after all) all much more skilled. So, I guess The Kings Speech will win Best Picture. And since Fincher has said he doesn't care about winning. . . . But it would be pleasing symmetry to have three of the “Alien” franchise directors win Oscars. 10 of out 19.

8:01. My fatigue is showing, but that purple tube on Hathaway is hot!

7:57. Lena Horne hardly got much of a “tribute,” but “Stormy Weather” is an amazing song.

7:52. The montage of sadness. I love Charlie Chaplin’s song “Smile.” John Barry right up front, the death that hits me the hardest. One of the greatest musicians ever. Leslie Nielsen! (Enrico Polazzo!) Pete Postlewaithe! Patricia Neal! Robert Culp! Lynn Redgrave! Dede Allen! Peter Yates! Arthur Penn! Anne Francis! Ronald Neame! Alan Hume! Dennis Hopper! Arthur Penn! Irvin Kershner! Blake Edwards! Kevin McCarthy! Wonderful people who the world of entertainment a happier place. And yet, why did I have to listen to Celine Dion during this?

7:46. Toy Story 3 wins Best Song, but can this be considered a “win” at all given this field? Regardless, 11 out of 19. At least Newman is moderately amusing at the mic, better than he was during the song performance. He actually acknowledges the weakness of the category.

7:44. Please, get rid of the Best Song category, once and for all. Fill up time with a digitally recreated Sammy Davis Jr. or something.

7:41. James Franco says he’s not doing that good. Very insightful. Pick it up, kids!

7:36. The Social Network wins editing. Are we looking at a coming Best Picture upset?

7:32. Inception wins Special Effects. No duh. The hallway fight is the most memorable scene of the year. 10 out of 18.

7:31. Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law are, so far, the best intentionally humorous part of the show.

7:29. I have never thought Bob Hope was remotely funny. He was the sort of comedian that made Lenny Bruce, Richard Pryor, and George Carlin necessary.

7:27. For a second there, I thought they were going to bring out a zombie Johnny Carson. But no, we get Billy Crystal. I prefer Steve Martin.

7:20. Best Documentary goes to Inside Job, which some people picked as a favorite. I guess because Banksy would never show up to get an award for Exit through the Gift Shop (might get arrested). I’m glad the winners stuck it to the Man. 9 out of 17.

7:19. No more Twilight! Stop it!

7:16. For Best Short Film, my random pick Na Wewe loses, but the crazy acceptance speech from the God of Love winner and his super hairdo make up for it. And his father is apparently the Great State of Delaware. 9 out of 16.

7:14. I’m wrong on Documentary Short, but it was a shot in the dark anyway. 9 out of 15.

7:12. “Make a point to see short films?” Jake, I would if it were possible. It’s not that we don’t want to see them, we mostly can’t.

7:07. What do you think will happen first: the end of this show, or Gaddafi’s death?

7:03. The Best Song Performances. This is where I go into a temporary coma. Not since “Ave Satani” from The Omen lost to a Barbara Streisand song have I cared about this category. Okay, there was “Blame Canada,” but otherwise. . . .

7:02. Spacey is desperately trying to spice this up.

5:59. I lose on Best Costumes, and my hate for Alice in Wonderland now triples. Atwood talks about Carrol’s novel, and wouldn’t it be great if some of that had gotten on screen? 9 out of 14. I want the old Tim Burton back.

6:57. Rick Baker definitely deserves the win, even though it’s his seventh! I genuinely enjoyed The Wolfman, and it was a dream project for Baker. 9 out of 13.

6:56. Wow, music from The Lord of the Rings!

6:54. This is the only night Marisa Tomei gets out of the house. I wouldn’t mind actually seeing these technical awards one day.

6:49. Inception for both sound awards, as I guessed. It is so far the most honored film tonight. 8 out of 12.

6:46. Wow, Inception is rocking it! Sound Mixing Award, and I move up the scale with 7 out of 11 (and other convenience stores).

6:43. I don’t care about Best Score because TRON: Legacy wasn’t nominated. But The Social Network win means that The King’s Speech is losing ground. And I just lost another pick. S0 6 out of 10.

6:41. What, no playing of the music from The Omen? It won an Oscar! I guess Satan is only allowed in during the after parties.

6:39. Did the Academy really need to kiss ABC’s butt? And did they think I needed to know this?

6:35. The King’s Speech is not showing as strong as expected; I think Fincher has a shot now for Director. Anne can sing well, but so far the only real thrill here has been Bale’s great, honest speech, and Melissa Leo committing career suicide. Hailee Steinfeld forever!

6:32. Okay, just give it to Christian Bale. Yep, there it: Best Supporting Actor. Now I’m 6 out of 9. Bale is funnier than anything else yet in this show. Batman has an Oscar!

6:27. I’ve seen none of these Foreign Language nominees, but I did correctly pick In a Better World, so I’m 5 out of 8, and Russell Brand gets off my television set.

6:25. No, no, anything but a Charlie Sheen joke! Even from a cross-dressing James Franco!

6:24. Anne, I love you, but this just isn’t working. Maybe it’s the jokes. Maybe it’s the costumes. Maybe it’s the pacing. But, well, you’re Catwoman, so I forgive your role in this wooden exhibition.

6:18. Best Original Screenplay goes to The King’s Speech. So the favorite of the evening gets its first award, and I chalk up another right guess, putting me 4 out of 7. But Inception deserves this with every frame of its brilliance.

6:15. Hey, Fincher is actually there!

6:14. The Social Network gets it with no trouble for Best Adapted Screenplay. This was a lock for Sorkin. I’m 3 out of 6 now.

6:11. So far some surprises, and some anger, but the ceremony is rigid and this experiment in presenters is not working. Everyone seems uncomfortable.

6:06. Best Animated Feature goes to Toy Story 3. I’m back on track, 2 out of 5. No real shock here, but I did like The Illusionist.

6:03. My nephew loves the book The Gruffalo. But a surprise win for The Lost Thing over Day & Night. Wow, my record is bad, 1 out of 4.

5:59. Wow, the “F-BOMB”! Now everybody hates Melissa Leo! Terrible acceptance speech. Think of how cool Steinfeld’s would have been.

5:58. Melissa Leo wins. Boring. But it’s my first right guess of the night. 1 out of 3.

5:57. Kirk, read the damn thing!

5:54. Supporting Actress . . . please be Steinfeld . . .

5:51. Poor Kirk Douglas. I’ll bet he’s still difficult to work with. But he’s allowed to be a horndog and nobody holds it against him.

5:47. Inception! Inception wins Best Cinematography! Yes! I didn't pick it, so I’m 0 out of 2 now. But still, Wally Pfister, yes!

5:44. Best Art Direction . . . Alice in Wonderland. Evil! This film deserves nothing. But the Tim Burton factor comes in, I guess. So far, I’m 0 out of one 1, since I picked Inception.

5:42. Gone with the Wind did not deserve to win Best Picture in 1939. Stagecoach did. Let’s all just admit this fact.

5:41. Franco’s grandmother actually nailed that line.

5:38. I think we’re in trouble. Franco and Hathaway look terribly uncomfortable.

5:35. The comedy montage is DOA. Franco is okay, but this isn’t Hathaway’s realm. Still, Inception!

5:34. Tron love!

5:31. It means something that Inception closes the montage and then opens the “comedy” intro. I think people know the who the real winner of the year is.

5:30. Finally. Go get ‘em Black Swan and Inception! Yes, I’m being unrealistic. We must learn to dream a little bigger, darling. (Techno Grieg for the opening montage?)

5:26. So Stephen Spielberg is now a towel boy?

5:24. Halle Berry . . . not Catwoman.

5:15. Rare chance to hear Christian Bale’s actual Welsh accent. And he’s almost a sure win.

5:14. Tim Gunn . . . ugh. Nothing in the ceremony can be worse than this guy.

5:12. Nicole Kidman always looks great.

5:10. Please, no more of this Tim Gunn guy. How is it he gets paid to be mediocre?

5:09. Twenty more minutes of this? Montage of Monty Python screaming: “Get on with it!”

5:06. Hey Sandra: give back the Oscar you unfairly won last year!

5:03. My mother, who knows quite a bit about pregnant women, thinks Natalie picked the perfect dress for her condition.

5:02. Natalie! Natalie! Give her the statue now!

4:55. It’s just wonderful that we have Robert Downey Jr. sober again. Great guy.

4:53. First Twilight reference. No more, no more please, I beg you. (I hope in vain.)

4:48. I really hate this interviewer. But Anne Hathaway . . . Catwoman!

4:44. Stop talking to the designer and talk to Anne Hathaway, you Red Carpet louse! Why does Tim Gunn get paid to do this?

4:42. Annette Benning was my least favorite performance in The Kids Are All Right.

4:40. Wow, that kid-reporter montage was not funny.

4:32. Marisa Tomei is now a professional Red Carpet walker. This is all she does.

4:25. This year we have an experiment in hosting in order to bring in a young crowd: split duties with two young non-comics, Anne Hathaway and James Franco. Actually, Franco can be extremely funny (Pineapple Express) but he’s not strictly a comedian. I have no issue with seeing a lot of Anne Hathaway.

4:18. I would once more like to emphasize how much I don’t want Melissa Leo to win Best Supporting Actress. She’s the favorite, but please let Hailee Steinfeld be the upset. And I’m glad to see the Ms. Steinfeld seems to be a down-to-earth, normal teenager.

4:14. One reason I don’t like this “On the Red Carpet” business: I’m forced to watch Russell Brand.

4:13. Jennifer Lawrence says she’s here “to have fun and lose.” That’s a good attitude. She’s up against Natalie Portman. Amazing how poor Lawrence looks in Winter’s Bone, and how beautiful she is in real life.