Live Blogging - The 2011 Oscars

Well....here we go again. I've been watching red carpet footage for a while. Everyone looks stunning, as usual. But admittedly, I'm distracted thinking about the opening ceremonies.

I wonder, will they be cringe-inducing or classy? Awkward or elegant? As my friend Jen always reminds me this time of year, it will NEVER be worse than the Rob Lowe/Snow White musical debacle of 1988 that Disney has attempted to scrub from our collective memories.

Oh yeah...it happened.

 I bet you didn't know Corey Feldman had moves like that, did you? Sometimes people ask me, "Audrey, why are you so idealistic-so-childlike?" Then I point them to things like this and say,  "I grew up in a world where large-scale musical numbers were produced like this on live national television."

It explains a lot.

So...who do you want to win tonight? I'm pulling for True Grit and The King's Speech. Then again, I'm pulling for lots of funny technical errors too. I'm not to be trusted.

(Does anybody else think maybe James Franco is always just a second or two away from snapping? I like him as an actor, but there's something about his ubiquitousness this year that makes me nervous when I see him now. Who knows?)

The dresses tonight really are stunning. Anne Hathaway's first red dress was very "Pretty Woman" and I enjoyed Mila Kunis' lacy lavender number. I think my favorite so far is Annette Bening's art deco slip dress.  Maybe I haven't seen it yet, but there didn't seem to be any big flamboyant Cher-like fashion choices. Stupid classy trends depriving us of being able to laugh at silly outfits...thanks a lot, good taste.

Steven Spielberg's backstage jokey antics pre-show? Nice. Tom Hanks calling Oscar night, "The magic night of nights" was awesome. You get the impression this is basically Hollywood's prom.

Ah, here we go. Starting the show off with a slide show of the ten Best Picture nominees. I envy the gal that got that editing job...

This montage reminds me of the time Conan hosted the Emmys.

Anne Hathaway in The Fighter scene made me want to see her play Marisa Tomei's sister. As Gene Wilder once yelled, "It. Could Work!"

Hey, it's Morgan Freeman. The dance of the brown duck...loved it. Here comes the leaked Grease reference...no, fake-out. Back to the Future. (Somewhere my best friend Lindsay is tearing up at the BTTF soundtrack being on live television.)

Oh, I'm such a sucker for the sappy awards show music they play...and Anne's dress #2 is stunning. Stunning I tell you. (Say it like Blanche Deveraux for more emphasis.) Wow, everyone really loves James Franco's grandma...uh oh, first Marky Mark joke of the night...he's gonna blow his stack if they're not careful.

James Franco seems super nervous. I guess I would be too though?

Gone with the Wind tribute makes the theater look like it is on fire. I would've run for the emergency exit. Weird choice.

I'm digging the stage this year. It's sort of like, The Oscars go to the Planetarium. Or The Oscars go to the Holodeck. Goes? Whatever, I'm loving the projection.

First Oscar for Art Direction. Alice in Wonderland...that's...a surprise. I would've liked True Grit or The Deathly Hallows to win.

Second Oscar for Cinematography. Keeping the show rolling. (My husband is yelling at the TV like he's watching the Superbowl, "Give it to Deakins!" But nothing was hurled when Inception won, so we're all good.)

Kirk Douglas looks great. (makes a mental note to watch, "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea" really soon) He's a sassy one that Kirk Douglas, looks like he's handing out Best Supporting Actress. Helena Bonham Carter looks so gorgeous tonight. I've said it before and I'll say it again, she may be the coolest actress working today. I love her individualism.

Cut to The Fighter clip and Conan's sister is his SPITTING IMAGE. Note how my coverage continues to veer toward Conan. I'm a bad reporter.

So here's the moment. And the winner is...*bit of wacky cane humor*...and...wait for it....witty repartee...is this scripted? Melissa Leo. Well deserved. Now we all know that Kirk Douglas has another career waiting as a stand-up, for he shall surely live for a thousand more years.

Aaaaaaaaand F-BOMB.

Crew shirt from "Toy Story 3", pic courtesy PixarPlanet.com
Oh come on...did you see The Fighter? Anyone who is shocked has some nerve. Relax, it's fun. As my aunt always says, the f-bomb is what keeps people from killing each other. It helps you express yourself. Vent your rage. All that.

Is it just me or is this a strangely awkward ceremony? Mila Kunis and Justin Timberlake are making me feel like I'm on the outside of an in-joke. So many long pauses...and Justin Timberlake immediately mocks Kirk Douglas. Ha frickity ha, jerk bag.

I hate that guy.

The Oscar for Best Animated Short goes to The Lost Thing.

Best Animated Feature goes to Toy Story 3.

Ooh, a nostalgic look back into the Golden Age of Hollywood...or the Silver Screen era...some precious metal that alludes to the past. They played Ain't Misbehavin'. I love that song.. (I took a break to try to link to Jack Black singing Ain't Misbehavin' from "Be Kind, Rewind" and had to pause quizzically to try to figure out why it lead me to so many Kid Rock videos...I still can't figure it out.)

Wait...Javier Bardem and Josh Brolin TOTALLY look like waiters. (I bet you never thought Brand from Goonies would be this guy, did you?) All that Googling caused me to miss Best Adapted Screenplay. Aaron Sorkin won for The Social Network. They're playing him off...nobody is safe from the impatient orchestra. (Also, nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition.) If only Sorkin would just go with it and burst into, "The Hills Are Alive!" Someday, someone will just start singing to whatever they're playing. That will be a good day.

Best Original Screenplay goes to *Kings Speech, Kings Speech, Kings Speech* YES! Kings Speech! Rip your trophy from the hands of those two goofball waiters and enjoy your moment.

Seidler talks about the difficulty of writing a great acceptance speech. I don't know what on Earth he's talking about. Just say, "Webster's Dictionary defines a winner as..."

"The Melissa Leo F word." Or as my mother used to call it, "Tom Cruise's favorite word...you know, from that one movie...oh what was it...The Rainman?"

Seriously, if you don't know Seidler's story, go a Googlin'. Immediately.

Anne Hathaway rocking the Victor/Victoria tux and spoofing the over-sung "On My Own" from Le Mis. (Seriously, if you've ever been to an audition, EVERY girl sings this song or something from Annie. I think Dawson's Creek infamous pageant episode is at least partially to blame.)

Russell Brand and Helen Mirren presenting Best Foreign Language Film. (Why can't I decide if I like Russell Brand or not?) In a Better World wins from Denmark. I mean, they won here in the U.S. but the film is from Denmark. You get what I mean.

Hearing her struggle a bit with her words takes me back to trying to explain why I liked the food there, I tried to tell them it was because it didn't have preservatives and was all-natural. Their shocked and horrified faces and one look into my translation book later told me I just told them their food tasted like condoms.


Best Supporting Actor goes to *Geoffrey Rush, Geoffrey Rush, Geoffrey Rush*

Christian Bale. "Bloody hell," he begins. Love the candor, love the beard, love the suit, love the accent. Aaaaand self-referential F-bomb comment referencing Bale's infamous internet tirade brings the audience right to their feet. (I think it's safe to say Melissa Leo will be the one everyone is scrambling to get an interview with tomorrow though, at least three people have referenced her so far after her win.) I think Bale is officially back in the public's good graces after that speech.

Commercial for Super 8. So will Abrams deliver a monster we can see or just the compelling idea of a monster and when we complain we'll be told we "just don't get it"? Yes. I'm still bitter.

Hey, more cool old-timey stuff!!! Chaplin and his famous dancing baked potato, Al Jolson's Jazz Singer, the THX sound...SCORE!!!!!!! (as in "win") IT'S the STAR WARS SCORE!!! (as in orchestral soundtrack) LAWRENCE OF ARABIA! E.T.! WEST SIDE STORY! (Yes, I may be shedding a tear...)

Best Original Score goes to...Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross for The Social Network. It's a unique and lovely minimalist sound, the near-complete and total opposite of the music they just played to commemorate the idea of what a score really is. The awkward juxtapositions of award shows really are jus the most.

Franco is really working those eyebrows in the transition to Best Sound Mixing. It's like they're doing the wave. I hate it.

And the Oscar goes to the crew who mixed the sound for Inception. The technicality of that film is stunning. I'm sure mixing it was no small feat which must be even more difficult against Hans Zimmer's heavy strings. One could say he has string fever. (I'm sorry.)

The Oscar in Sound Editing goes to Richard King for Inception.

Okay seriously, if Diet Coke hits this show any harder with more commercials, I'm gonna get salt poisoning. We get it, if we drink Diet Coke we will all be awesome and happy. Noted. (The irony? I am currently drinking a Diet Coke and didn't even realize it until I typed that entire paragraph. They Live.)

Cate Blanchett presenting for makeup and costumes. She's majestic.

Rick Baker WINS Best Makeup Design for The Wolfman, a film that Jake and I both loved for its story loyalty to the original movie. I love Rick Baker so much...strange to see his trademark black streak out of his hair though. That's a well-deserved award. Rick Baker is the kind of guy you want to grab a pint with, or maybe that's just me. I'd probably grab a pint with Big Bird.

Costume Design goes to Colleen Atwood for Alice in Wonderland. Costume and makeup people just seem so cool and imaginative and creative and down-to-earth. Uh oh, there's that orchestra again playing Atwood off. Boo.

Kevin Spacey presenting Best Song and singing a Fred Astaire song from Top Hat. Randy Newman performing We Belong Together. (Sorry about the link, I couldn't help it. I'm going to L.A. next week and I've been listening to this over and over.) Turn him up, turn him up tech people! The music is louder than he is! Oh great..Family Guy is going to have a blast with this. "Left foot, right foot, left foot, right foot."

Alan Menken at the piano performing his song from Tangled. Animation geeks everywhere go wild...I know because I'm one of them. I really wish they'd put the camera on Menken. Come on, he wrote for The Little Mermaid. He's the sound of an entire generation's childhood.

Amy Adams and Jake Gyllenhaal reading off the teleprompter like they're in a Junior Miss pageant. Why so nervous you two? This was one of those moments where I felt like maybe the live audience was seeing something we weren't?

Best Live Action short goes to God of Love. I LOVE this category because literally, anyone can win...and this kid, who really is just a kid, officially just got a career wrapped in a big red bow. Luke Matheny, who won this award, proves that anyone can make a film and get past those velvet ropes. This kid is LOVABLE. (And also, he sort of looks like the guy who loses his gum to Venkman's electro-shock therapy in Ghostbusters. Bonus.)

HARRY POTTER AUTO-TUNE!!!!!!!! Lots of people will hate this. I love it. Oh my, everyone got auto-tuned. That makes me like it less. I am a fickle mistress.

Oh, they know we're getting awards-weary and they're bringing out the big guns. Oprah ladies and gentlemen, Oprah.

She's presenting the award for Best Documentary which goes to Inside Job. Here's our political moment of the night, where the filmmakers point out that none of the corrupt bankers partially responsible for the recession were ever prosecuted.

The parade of Big Guns continues. Billy Crystal just came out...and I was just about to quit blogging. Billy Crystal is, as Wendy Williams would say, my friend in my head. He's a master storyteller. And apparently, Bob Hope flipped him off back when he hosted which segues us to more cool old-timey retro staging. Hey, Bob Hope is at the podium in hologram form. Somewhere, George Lucas is shaking his fist at the sky, "I thought of that first!"

Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law presenting Best Visual Effects. Now these two know witty banter. Take notes Mila and Justin. Take notes.

The Academy Award goes to Inception.

The Oscar for Film Editing goes to The Social Network.

James Franco really needs to tone it down. I mean, I know he's full of life and enthusiasm for this ageless institution of American pop culture and cinema, but really, he just needs to calm down. There's too much energy popping and crackling off of him. I have the weirds again.

A stunning performance by Florence Welch. I have no sassy comment for her.

Gwyneth Paltrow singing. I raved and raved about her after Duets, but did you listen? Nope. I hate to say I told you so, but... (As you wonder to yourself, "Is she kidding?" just know, I'll never tell.)

Randy Newman takes home Best Original Song. I love this guy and let's face it, he's sort of the sound of Pixar. He's funny, he's humble, and I don't care what anyone says...the man is good TV.

Oh no, get the Kleenex, here comes the In Memorandum.

Hitting it hard right away with Chaplin's "Smile". Most people don't know Chaplin wrote that...holy crud...Pete Postlethwaite died? I didn't know that! That's awful. Big downer for this live blogger. Oh, there goes Kershner and Edwards. Sad.

Quick, awkward, awards show pivot.

Best Director goes to Tom Hooper for The Kings Speech! It really is well constructed. It gives the audience room to breathe and process and participate in the film. There's great montage work, there's a great sense of humor to the film but also dignity and beauty. Tough to find all that in one package nowadays. Or all of the days. I think he deserves this award, but I anticipate many will disagree. Also, I'm loving his speech. "The moral of the story is 'listen to your mother'." Will do Tom, guess it's off to Broadway for me, where I will surely become an instantaneous success!

They announced Annette Bening with trumpets. Fancy. Oh, but look at that dress! Gorgeous. That's officially my favorite dress of the evening.

These intermittent audio problems are making it seem like everyone is dropping horrible curse words.

A nice cutaway to Eli Wallach being honored, along with many others, at The Governer's Awards. Looks like a bunch of film geeks hanging out and having dinner...don't mind if I do. Oh, they brought Wallach out on stage!!!!!! I love him so much. You may know him as the cute old guy from The Holiday. But I know him as Tuco from The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.

Jeff Bridges ladies and gentlemen. I brake for Bridges. Even for his VO in car commercials. Everything he says has gravitas. It looks like he'll be handing out the award for Best Actress. What a double whammy for the lucky lady who wins tonight, an Oscar and a meet and greet. Natalie Portman takes it home. The audience is cheering like she won prom queen. She's so easy to love, that one.

Sandra Bullock presenting Best Actor. She calls Jeff Bridges "Dude". Love it. I'm really rooting for Colin Firth. He worked so hard and pulled off a challenging role. Huzzah! Firth takes it home! "I have a feeling my career has just peaked." Best first words after winning an Oscar ever. I could really let fly with the flowery language if I wanted to right now singing Firth's praises. I won't.

Best Picture coming up!

Steven Spielberg arrives onstage to hand out Best Picture. I wonder if he gets tired of being accompanied by the Jurassic Park score? Like...wouldn't that make you self-conscious after several years? In context, all that trombone is majestic, but wouldn't it just make you feel...dowdy?

Best montage of the night if you ask me, the delicate Kings Speech score could probably make Wal-Mart security cam footage feel heart-wrenching and important. (Jake is literally on the edge of his seat.)

And the winner is......

The Kings Speech!

What a lovely conclusion to a fun evening. All in all, a fun night. While I liked the casual tone I also miss some of the almost cheesy awe and reverence from ceremonies past. I loved the production design this year, the projections, the moments of throwback nostalgia to the glamour days of filmmaking, the live musical performances, and the delightful Anne Hathaway who made me feel like less of a nerd for being so over-the-top excited about the Oscars.

Until next year.