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Live blogging: 80th Academy Awards

Posted by Wesley Morris  February 24, 2008 11:44 PM

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11:44 p.m. I hate not to be paying attention to the fact, however inevitable, that "No Country for Old Men" won best picture. But are Sissy Spacek and Quincy Jones at the Oscars together? I'm starting rumors! Did the producer Scott Rudin just thank his partner? Way to not thank a beard, Scott Rudin.

Wait, the band is playing the "Mission: Impossible" theme music over the closing credits. Is that a joke? If Bill Conti really wanted to show off his cojones wouldn't he have had made his strike commentary at the start of the show? Oh well. Thanks for letting me type all over you. 'Night.


11:30 p.m. Diablo Cody will presumably get to keep her EW column. Her 16th minute might have just turned into a career.

"Ambition." "Amorality." "Deviousness." "Venality." "Remorse." "Decency." "And good old-fashioned Cojones." Helen Mirren is totally playing "Password"!

Daniel Day-Lewis wins best actor and thanks the "golden sapling" that grew out of the mad head of Paul Thomas Anderson. Every winner should be obligated to mention golden saplings from here on out.


11:23 p.m. This just in from my pal Armida, who's kindly translated Javier Bardem's acceptance speech.

"Mamá, esto va por ti, por los abuelos Rafael y Matilde. Va por los cómicos de España que llevaron la dignidad y el orgullo a nuestro oficio. Esto es para España".

"Mom, this is for you and for grandpa Rafael and grandma Matilde. This is for the Spanish comedians that carried, with dignity and pride, our trade. This is for Spain."

Armida explains: This is specially significant, because the Bardems are a clan of artists, since the Spanish civil war or even before. They were traveling artists that would go from town to town in Franco's Spain and performed at the plazas. These are Javier's grandparents and uncles. The mother, Pilar is a grand dame, a very important actress in Spain. She was politically active against Franco and an active Spainish leftist.

Wesley explains: I'll be able to do this for myself in a few months.


11:16 p.m. Hey, having soldiers in Baghdad present the documentary-short Oscar was pretty inspired. They should have done the same for the feature category, which Alex Gibney won for "Taxi to the Dark Side." That was the strongest category after supporting actor and cinematography.


11:02 p.m. The necrology reel is always weird. The selective applause feels tacky. It's like a popularity meter that just makes the whole tribute feel so, so -- Ooo, audible applause for "Sembène Ousmane." Wait, who the bleep is "Sembène Ousmane?" Oh, for crying out loud, Ousmane Sembène. Hey Academy producers, you forgot "Keith Ledger," too.

(I've since done a little research and found out that the name reversal is the French style. So take that, me.)


10:42 p.m. Isn't Penelope tired of presenting the "foreign-language" film Oscar? Even if she's never done it before, doesn't it seem as if she has?

Patrick Dempsey is "versatile" how exactly?

Oh my God, this "Enchanted" number is like being at somebody-I-can't-stand's wedding reception. I don't want to sleep with anyone in the bridal party, and the bar just closed. I want to go home, but my ride is getting some bridesmaid's phone number. Arrgh.

Somebody please fix John Travolta's tie.

Hey, the audience loves that the "Once" just won. Hollywood likes Frappuccino music, too. Jon Stewart's one-liners are good. He just called super-earnest Glen Hansard "arrogant." Sometimes his rudeness is classy. Ha ha, and he just made Travolta, who's a really good sport, run across the stage for the annual "parked car" gag (this time it was Travolta's jet).


10:35 p.m. Here are some Academy-approved facts about honorary Oscar-winner Robert Boyle.


10:19 p.m. Hey hey, it's the "Once" song. I like the guitar shop the producers built behind these two. It's very Rock 'N' Roll Hall of Fame. Speaking of "hall of fame" or "rock 'n' roll" (you decide), heeeeere's Jack, who's been given his most thankless Oscar task in years. He's introducing the semi-obligatory best-picture reel, a lot of which is nothing to brag about. Has anybody seen "Gandhi" lately? What about "Dances With Wolves?" How refreshing would it be if they presented the reel of movies that lost the Oscar?

What was that picture they showed for "Roderick Jaynes," the Coens' editing alias? Incidentally, "The Bourne Ultimatum" has three craft Oscars. If the Academy loved it so much, why didn't they nominate it for anything else?

It's Nicole Kidman. Let the universal bump inspections begin.


10:10 p.m. Cate Blanchett just cringed at her "Elizabeth" best-actress clip. I know the feeling, Cate. But seriously: who's picking the clips this year? Who doing the voting? Marion Cotillard just won, which feels kind of miraculous. I'm shocked. But not as shocked as she was. She thanked love. She said they really were angels in Los Angeles. The French have such an enviable sense of romance. Even better: Did anybody catch a teary Amy Ryan smiling a few rows behind Cotillard's man?


9:56 p.m. I know Kristen Chenoweth is, like, this Broadway goddess and all, but she's way too polished for a song like that. It's the only further insult to Amy Adams injury.

Seth Rogen and Jonah Hill really do seem like they stopped by the Oscars on the way to some cousin's bar mitzvah. But their Halle Berry-Judi Dench shtick is sort of charming.

"The Bourne Ultimatum" just deservedly won the sound awards - one of the winners made a joke about kissing "Halle Berry" that would have made him Adrien Brody.


9:51 p.m. The how-the-we-vote reel is like a "News Hour" segment, with some laughs.

Sorry, it's only right now sinking in: Tilda Swinton? For real? As my friend Mark said: All she did in that movie was sweat.

9:44 p.m. Hold it. Hold it. Jessica Alba is the "always wonderful Jessica Alba?" Is the Maxim staff writing the introductions? Or, better yet, the grandparents of the Maxim staff?

Who let the Coen brothers out of the teachers' lounge?

Oh, no it's Sid Ganis. I'm going to the bathroom. I smell more clips.


9:33 p.m. Owen "Drillbit Taylor" Wilson surfaces. He's no frills this evening. Seriousness does not become him.

So here comes Alan Arkin to give the supporting actress Oscar to, well, whom?

Whoa! It's Tilda Swinton! Holy cow. That's amazing. Her speech is cooler than I thought her performance was. But Tilda Swinton? The White Witch of Narnia has an Oscar. Now the world gets to wonder: Who's that tall skinny lady with the seal-hide dress?


9:25 p.m. Oh, Lord. I thought seeing this song in the movie was excruciating enough. It works when you have no idea what function it serves in "August Rush," which is to assure little Freddie Highmore that things could alway be worse: he could be a homeless black musical prodigy.


9:20 p.m. The pressure to finish these speeches before the pit attacks is ruining everything. Javier Bardem's speech might have been short but it wasn't memorable, regardless of what Jon Stewart says. But seeing him kiss his momma after he sits back down, I'll remember that.

A tribute to binoculars and night-vision goggles? And another one to popping awake from nightmares? Oh strike, what hath thou wrought?


9:09 p.m. How did "Transformers" lose visual effects to "The Golden Compass"? Nicole Kidman must have done some campaigning.

The pit must be stopped. It's as rude as all these clips show are filler. Although: we do get our Cuba Gooding Jr. moment, which really is the all time greatest acceptance speech by anybody anywhere. I just got really happy.

Giving away this supporting actor trophy is the best performance Jennifer Hudson's given since she won her Oscar. It's the only performance she's given since she won. What is going on in Hollywood. And when do we get to see her as Carrie Bradshaw's assistant?


9 p.m. Watching Amy Adams sing this song from "Enchanted" makes you appreciated the magic of the movies. I can see the critters in my mind. But it's wrong to make her do it alone with no props -- and no best-actress nomination. Still, Adams is a good sport, singing this song with zero production values. Let's see you do that, Cate Blanchett. Oh, OK: Cate could probably do that, too. But still... Amy, you was robbed, girl!


8:49 p.m. Anne Hathaway is a good foil for Steve Carell. She's funny while letting him be funnier. They're presenting the animated-feature award, and people are really laughing at the "Surf's Up" clip. Strange. Are they telling Brad Bird to wrap -- oh, here comes that Muzak.

Sorry, what is the "this" Katherine Heigl's "not very good at?" Presenting? Presenting in public? Or wearing Anne Hathaway's dress? In any case, "La Vie en Rose" won for makeup, which means enough voters might have seen the movie to vote for Marion Cotillard, too.


8:43 p.m. The costumer designer Alexandra Byrne has just given an ideal Oscar speech. It took her longer to get to the podium. Fellow nominees, observe. Also: brace yourselves. For it seems the producers still have to use all the stuff they prepared when it looked there would still be a strike. So look for more unscripted bits, like the memories of past winners. (Do they ask Cuba Gooding Jr. to look back at his?) Or the clip show George Clooney just presented.


8:37 p.m. Jon Stewart has told just told his "black or woman president means an asteroid is about to hit the earth" joke, and the camera guys find Spike Lee and Wesley Snipes cracking up. That's a special moment. Way to give Wesley Snipes something to laugh about, Jon Stewart.


8:31 p.m. Jon Stewart just called the Oscars the make-up sex after the writer's strike. Dude, I don't know what kind of make-up sex you've had, but isn't that a crazy-high bar to set?

Doesn't Julie Christie look great as she gears up for a good Stewart joke about Hillary Clinton forgetting Bill.

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