February 24, 2008

80th Academy Awards: A Running Diary

Because it's easier to do this while I'm watching instead of trying to remember everything afterward:

7:08 PM (Red Carpet coverage):
Sigh. Wow. Miley Cyrus. NOT a good start to the 80th celebration of the Oscars.

7:18 PM (Red Carpet coverage):
84 year-old Sarah Golden and two teenagers are interviewed as some kind of superfans in the bleachers. Regis leads a cheer for Miley Cyrus that sets the crowd into a frenzy. Am I watching the right program?

7:25 PM (Red Carpet coverage):
Regis introduces a huge crowd of dancers (?) who will perform during one of Enchanted's three song performances. He mentions again the BILLION people who will be viewing the awards around the world. I'm no demographer, but I'm pretty sure it's impossible that a billion people are ever doing anything all at once.

7:28 PM (Red Carpet coverage):
Regis enters the theater and shows us who's sitting in the front row, including "Xavier" Bardem. Nice, Regis. Let's start the show.

7:30 PM:
The opening montage is a CGI truck driving to Hollywood while driving around and dodging stars from 80 years worth of movies. This was a little too much like the Monday Night Football opening. Schwarzenegger ends up as the driver of the truck, which was carrying the Oscar statues. Huh?

7:36 PM:
Jon Stewart's off to a great start as he roasts the dark mood of the nominated movies, Hillary Clinton, Norbit, Iraq movies, the Republican presidential nominees, Barack Obama's name, and last year's exaggerated "green Oscars."

7:42 PM:
First award is for Best Costume Design? I always thought the first one was for Best Supporting Actress. Hmm, oh well. Winner is Alexandra Byrne for Elizabeth: The Golden Age. Dang it, I'm 0/1.

7:48 PM:
Clooney introduces the first 80th anniversary montage and gives us 80 reminders of why I wait all year for this night. A little self-congratulatory, but that's why we're here, isn't it?

7:54 PM:
Steve Carell hilariously steals the show from Jon Stewart as he introduces Best Animated Film with Anne Hathaway. As expected, Ratatouille takes it. 1/2.

7:57 PM:
Katherine Heigl is disconcertingly nervous (I wouldn't make it as far as she did) as she presents Best Makeup - winner La Vie en Rose, I'm 2/3. Marion Cotillard looks like an 8 year-old on Christmas morning, setting herself up for an explosion of tears if she wins Best Actress.

8:02 PM:
Hmm, "Happy Working Song" is performed by Amy Adams alone on a stage. A little Broadwayish, a little bare. Hope the other ones are a little more show-stopping. Except for "Falling Slowly" - that should be bare.

8:09 PM:
The Rock (gonna be a while before he earns back "Dwayne Johnson") introduces Best Visual Effects. HUGE win to get me 3/4 - The Golden Compass. As I said in my review, best effects of the year.

8:12 PM:
Ouch, big loss for There Will Be Blood. I thought the Art Direction was top-notch. Stewart has a nice turn with Cate Blanchett's acting range. He's on fire so far.

8:20 PM:
Here we go, Supporting Actor for Bardem. Oh, not yet. First another anniversary montage, ending with Cuba Gooding Jr.'s now-embarrassing acceptance speech. How his career has fallen. OK, nominee clips. Ah, our only look at Philip Seymour Hoffman on screen - man, he had a year. There it is, Bardem, who delivers a beautiful speech in Spanish.

8:24 PM:
Stewart keeps it going with the "montages that could've been" had the writers not settled: binoculars, periscopes, and bad dreams. This will be forgotten, but it was pretty funny.

8:28 PM:
A minute into third nominated song "Raise It Up," and I immediately regret missing August Rush. I thought it was a smarmy movie about that little kid from Millions?

8:30 PM:
An uncomfortably quiet Owen Wilson presents Best Live Action Short to Le Mozart Des Pickpockets. Had a feeling that was going to win over my pick, The Tonto Woman. "That's what you get for being a rebel," says my sister. Yeah, no prize for correct predictions. That's what I always get.

8:33 PM:
Jerry Seinfeld as Bee Movie's Barry B. Benson presents Best Animated Short to Peter & the Wolf. As I said in my reviews of the nominees, no way to have predicted this. Nevertheless, this was the most entertaining one.

8:36 PM:
Right about now, we need Jack Black and Will Ferrell back up in this show again.

8:39 PM:
Tilda Swinton steals away Best Supporting Actress - great for me, but I'm still only 5/9. She'll be thrown to the wolves for her outfit, but she gave a terrific speech. Good for her. Michael Clayton was terrible, if I've failed to mention that yet. Hope this is the only statue it receives tonight...

8:45 PM:
The "always fantastic" (?) Jessica Alba summarizes her hosting (!) of the Academy's Scientific and Technical Awards earlier this week. As usual, that was made to sound a lot more boring than it probably was. They probably have all kinds of cool gadgets and tricks during that show.

8:48 PM:
Jack Nicholson is getting a lot of screen time for having only starred in The Bucket List in recent months. Coens take away Best Adapted Screenplay as the No Country train gets rolling. I'm 6/10. Ethan Coen awkwardly cuts himself off during his speech - oh well, they'll be back there in a couple hours again anyway.

8:50 PM:
AMPAS president Sid Ganis offers an actually funny peek into the Oscar voting process. Still no explanation as to how 4 Months, 3 Weeks & 2 Days is not receiving any attention tonight.

8:53 PM:
Whoops, changed the channel again. Miley Cyrus. How did I get to Nickelodeon? WHAT IS SHE DOING HERE? Kristin Chenoweth delivers "That's How You Know," #2 from Enchanted. Here are all of Regis' dancers, and a show-stopper, that's what I'm talking about it! If "Falling Slowly" tragically loses, it will be to this.

9:03 PM:
Seth Rogen and Jonah Hill ham it up - somebody realized Knocked Up and Superbad were both last year, and were both totally ignored. Nice save. They present Best Sound Editing to Bourne, leaving me 6/11 and pretty much out of any competition I'm in. Oh, they're still here for Sound Mixing, and still hilarious. Another Bourne win. Well, this should have been a lot more predictable as Bourne was all over the blogosphere lists in the last week. Hey there's that guy! (Back row, 8th from the right) He won an Oscar! That's awesome, even though his speech was cut off.

9:15 PM:
Forest Whitaker delivers Best Actress to a completely shocked Marion Cotillard. And cue the tears explosion I told you would come. The early favorite came through - blogger friend Dorothy is going to be happy. I'm 6/13 and plummeting.

9:19 PM:
Wii tennis on a theater screen - awesome!

9:20 PM:
"Falling Slowly" is sung with full feeling - Academy voters hang their heads in shame that Once received no other nominations.

9:24 PM:
Jack Nicholson takes us into a look at the last 79 Best Pictures. All we learn is that the award definitely used to mean a lot more than it used to, as Shakespeare in Love makes everyone blush with embarrassment.

9:30 PM:
Bourne is blowing up, taking all three Oscars for which it was nominated. Must be to make up for not winning the Oscar for Best Stunts. I mean not being nominated for Best Stunts. Or wait...

9:32 PM:
Nicole Kidman comes out of hiding to offer an Honorary Oscar to 98 year-old art director/production designer Robert Boyle. Good for him. A classy speech, but is anyone else sweating that they're going to cut him off with music after this long? The man is 98 - this is the greatest achievement of his life! Don't do it...don't...whew! Something is still sacred in Hollywood.

9:43 PM:
Penelope Cruz is typecast to present Best Foreign Language Film, which she does, with robotic style, to The Counterfeiters. Excellent speech by Stefan Ruzowitzky.

9:46 PM:
"So Close" is the last nominated song, and 3rd from Enchanted. That just ain't right. A Ben Affleck look-alike belts out the boring ballad.

9:50 PM:
Here comes Original Song - prepare the riot gear just in case "Falling Slowly" gets robbed...OK, put it away, we can all sleep soundly tonight. Glen Hansard gives the best speech of the night before Marketa Irglova gets cut off - before the orchestra cuts itself off to give her another chance. Whoops, too late, she's gone - that's what you get. You know what, bring out the riot gear again! Why didn't Once get the credit it deserved this year?

9:58 PM:
Oscar history has just been made. Marketa Irglova is allowed to come back out and give her acceptance speech, which she does magnificently, delivering what is now the best speech of the night.

10:01 PM:
Wow. Roger Deakins beats himself out by being nominated for cinematography twice and losing to Robert Elswit for There Will Be Blood. Is a double nomination a curse; split the vote? That's not fair.

10:06 PM:
In Memoriam. Surreal and sickening to see Heath Ledger on that screen.

10:10 PM:
Amy Adams, who has for some reason been all over this thing tonight, presents Original Score to Atonement. No surprise there - it was driven into your head throughout the entire movie.

10:13 PM:
Bizarre, uncomfortable introduction of the Documentary Short nominees by U.S. troops in Baghdad. Freeheld takes it. By my memory, Craig at LiC is mopping up in his own Oscar pool.

10:16 PM:
Alex Gibney wins Documentary Feature for Taxi to the Dark Side. Eh, it's no No End in Sight. My write-up here goes out the window, but I did announce it would win as the nominee clips were being shown. Just had a feeling. Good speech by Gibney, and he deserved one for Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room, anyway.

10:25 PM:
Brook Busey has just received a standing ovation for Juno's Best Original Screenplay. Time to hear about Minnesotan screenwriters for the next life and a half. She's not even from Minnesota! Nevertheless, hungry-for-attention Minnesotans will throw a parade and soon rename the capital after her.

10:30 PM:
At the end of the Best Actor anniversary montage, Forest Whitaker almost makes me cry again. Helen Mirren delivers an atrociously written intro before handing the statue off to Lock #2, the always hooped earringed Daniel Day-Lewis. This guy's the bomb. Third best speech after Hansard and Irglova. Paul Thomas Anderson receives another shout-out from the stage. Too bad he won't make it up there himself in 10 minutes when Best Director is announced.

10:41 PM:
Scorsese steps out of the clip that was just shown from 2007 to give Best Director to the Coens. Ethan nails his speech by picking up where he left off for Screenplay - simply, "thank you." These guys are most deserving, and they always work together. Great work, boys.

10:45 PM:
Denzel - where have you been? Here to present Lock #3, Best Picture, and...yup, No Country for Old Men. No need for that drumroll, maestro. Well it's been several months, and it's still my best of the year. Worth seeing again, perhaps.

10:48 PM:
Jon Stewart, absent for the last hour it seems, comes out to boringly close it. He actually did a really good job overall, though.

  • My prediction was 14 correct, I got 13.
  • Beaver wins the first annual Getafilm Oscar Pool with 15 correct, followed by Nicole with 14, Brendan and Josh with 13, and everybody else behind them. That site was a little messy, but it worked well on its own terms.
  • "Falling Slowly", Once, Glen Hansard, and Marketa Irglova make people smile. People like me.
  • The best movie of the year won Best Picture, a fitting ending to 2007 as the best movie year of the new millennium.
  • Someday I'd like to attend the Academy Awards. Anybody have an invite?


  1. Hey Hey. How great were the Oscars?
    When Jon called Marketa Irglova back onto the stage to give her speech - that right there made the night magical.

    I predicted 17/24, I cannot believe how Transformers screwed me over!

    Later Dan.

  2. As happy as I am about 90% of the winners, the nicest moments for me were A) Marion crying when her makeup artist won, B) Marion crying when Marion won, C) Jon Stewart bringing Marketa Irglova out to give her speech.

    Good stuff.

    I was 15/24. Not great, not bad.

  3. Nicole was on fire and having a great time before her picks fell of a cliff. Tough stretch of misses is even worse now seeing she was only one off.

    Anyways, this is the first Oscars I've watched in near entirety in quite a while. I thought it was great and by great I mean it wasn't bad.

    Stewart was funny (Gaydolph Titler! I think this joke was recycled but still funny). I liked that Stewart was able to think on his feet, I'm guessing he had some help here but bringing out Marketa was right on.

    That made me think alot about the speeches, it's next too impossible for a whole show to work out. I'm not blaming the orchestra as the have some tough calls to make with some groups having one speaker and others having everyone speak. When the first speaker ends on a applausse inspiring note it makes it difficult for the next person to get in. Most are cognizant of the music and would rather not talk over it. For the Coen's who are going to be up there again in 10 minutes its ok but for the unknown person having a career pinnacle moment, you'd hope they'd have a chance to thank their Mom or something. That being said you can only listen to the "umm wooo ahh thank yous" for so long.

    Long story longer the Oscar's end at 10:48?!? So, not only do they have eight hours of commercials but they get done with twelve minutes to spare? There has to be a middle ground here, I assume they prepare the nominees with how it is going to go down but they should do a better job with that so everyone is ready to work within the confines of the show.

    Random Notes:
    Either Cuba stops doing Hanes commercials or the Academy stops featuring his speech. I don't care which.

    Death Montage, can we get people to hold there applause until the end? I hate how it is a popularity contest with the people that frickin died the past year. Have a moment of reverance and be quiet for one second and applaud at the end, they are going to put the most "important" people at the end anyway.

    Katherine Heigl was weird. Isn't she an actress? Also it looked like she had too much make up on as she anounced Best Makeup. I have no idea how to spell make-up.

    Owen Wilson was weird. Really? You're going to play the appearance after your suicide attempt straight? Stone cold straight? I might just try again after I get backstage straight?

    Daniel Day Lewis is too good for movies. Everyone is tearing their eyes out over "Paul" and he doesn't win shit. There Will Be Blood (can we decide on where to put the emphasis?)doesn't win shit. Is it because everyone focuses on Day-Lewis' perfomance? Probably.

    That segues into my thoughts on the Academy. You kind of assume it is some golden council on top of Mount Olympus but it turns out it is John Travolta and Brad Bird. Are we still seriously asking why people get snubbed or why there is politics involved? It's John freaking Travolta people. You think he is hitting Landmark week in and week out looking for the "Best" Picture? No, he hears buzz and like alot of actors is heavily biased towards what other people think. The whole town is set up on what other people think. Something tells me you could watch a season of Entourage and read The Tipping Point/Freakonomics and this would all make perfect sense.

    And the award for longest rambling unedited comment/diatribe goes to...

  4. And I didn't even get it all in. I just wanted to also mention SNL's hilarious skewering of Daniel Day Lewis with "I'm Going to Drink your Milkshake". I have it on DVR, I'll try to transfer it and post it for people that missed it.

    I just went to nbc.com and they had the video up but I couldn't get it to play. It's called "There will be Milkshakes for Old Men".

  5. Oh and the "always fantastic" Jessica Alba was because of the Fantastic Four movie(s). I would guess this was their excuse for having her host the scientific awards as well. I'm guessing the host voting went something like this:
    1. Jessica Alba
    2. Leonard Nimoy
    3. Pam Anderson
    4. Bender from Futurama
    5. Steve Jobs

  6. Thanks for checking in, all. Nick and Craig - absolutely agree with Marketa's moment in history. And Nick, 17 is fantastic for this year, as you know from winning Craig's pool. My picks are an embarrassment compared with present company.

    Boland, glad you guys were watching Nicole's run to second place. She was in 3rd place for the whole thing for a while there. I don't know if it actually ended early - was it scheduled until 10:30 or 11:00? It has to be one of the only TV events that doesn't have an ending time.

    Other points at your hilarious observations:
    - Cuba Gooding, agreed, though I'll shyly admit that I actually like him in a few roles, including as Rod Tidwell.

    - In memoriam, agreed. Either clap for everybody or wait 'til the end. Maybe they should put it in alphabetical order instead of by "importance." Although they kind of skipped through Antonioni and Bergman. And why not add Roy Scheider - I saw the death deadline was Feb. 1st, but is it that hard to add him?

    - Heigl was totally awkward, and so was Owen Wilson. I guess it was to give him a chance to prove that he was OK with himself, but he looked really uncomfortable. I don't know if that was the best idea.

    - DDL is incredible. Every time I think, "eh, maybe it wasn't that good. He was just too 'on', anybody could do that with 4 years prep." Then I see another clip and get set straight. THERE Will Be Blood, There WILL Be Blood, There Will BE Blood, There Will Be BLOOD. Hmm, none really fit.

    - Well the Academy members are definitely who we thought they were. I saw a list of recent additions from a couple years ago and was a little surprised. I'm pretty sure Miley Cyrus is going to be an Academy member now. I'm serious.

    - I gotta find the milkshake video. As much as it's been played out, I still thought they would have used it last night.

    - Steve Jobs - I'm reminded of the iPhone bit that Stewart did. Really funny.

    So early reports are now saying this was, ironically, the least watched Oscar ceremony in its 80 year history. I guess a BILLION people had better things to do...

  7. 8:50 pm -- You thought Sid Ganis was funny??? Oh well, there's no accounting for taste. :-) Just kidding, I enjoyed reliving the Oscars with you. Great post.

  8. Thanks, Nayana. Let me clarify - Ganis himself wasn't too amusing, but the actors interviewed were, and at least they were able to make fun of themselves. Still, it didn't really learn me anything new except that I really want one of those Academy gold movie passes...

  9. I didn't see enough movies to participate in the Academy Award game. If I did play the game, I might have scored 1/24. The best part for me was when Once recieved the Oscar for best song. They really deserved it! And... they were so thankful. It was great. I cried!

  10. What? I don't remember you crying. Actually I'm surprised I didn't, too. Nick (first comment) has the speech transcripts on his site, by the way. Great to read again.


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