11:59. Spotlight! An upset! We stagger to the exits. An ode to print journalism saves us the forces of Scrunch.
11:56. Scrunchy Face wins the award in the worst Best Actor lineup of my lifetime. Mangling his director’s name, muttering about the fate of the planet, not hesitating a second as he bounded onstage, he’s the star that Hollywood loves.
11:46. Eddie Redmayne already campaigning to play Cate Blanchett in 2040 biopic. It’s Brie Larson for Room, no surprise.
11:37. As readers can tell by the intervals between posts, I’m failing. But I awaken to hear Alejandro González Iñárritu become the first director since Joseph L. Mankiewicz to win back to back Oscars. His speech is as pompous as expected; every decision is imbued with world historic portent. The results are pop-up comics.
11:24. A frail but vivid Ennio Morricone wins Best Score for The Hateful Eight. . Sam Smith and Jimmy Napes win Best Song for their execrable Bond theme, the criticism for which they deflect when Smith turns his acceptance into a moment of triumph for the LGBT community to which he’d showed mild contempt.
11:09. Heralded by the Raiders of the Lost Ark theme, Vice President Joe Biden gives a short speech asking the audience to remember the male and female victims of sexual assault. Curtain rises to reveal Lady Gaga in a Bee Gees pantsuit at the piano to sing her tune from The Hunting Ground surrounded by victims of sexual assault. A lovely gesture ruined by closeups of Gaga pumping her fist and really feeling the lyrics. She wants the audience to know how much she feels instead of recasting attention on the victims.
10:56. Dave Grohl picks at a delicate version of “Blackbird,” effortlessly transforming it into Dan Fogelberg’s “Longer.”
10:53. “What’s Love Got to Do With It” announcing Whoopi and “I’ll Always Love You” announcing Academy prez. Excerpt from Spike Lee’s speech remarks on how easy it is for a black man to be president of the United States than head of a Hollywood studio.
10:51. Oh like we’d prefer Dave Grohl to Spike Lee and Gena Rowlands tributes.
10:45. While I’m throwing out trash, Amy wins Best Documentary and announcer promises “a musical performance by David Grohl.”
10:39. Louis CK introduces Best Documentary (Short) with obvious jokes about the award’s irrelevance or something.
10:28. Patricia Arquette, voice dripping with deadly boredom, recites the names of the Best Supporting Actor nominees. And it’s…Mark Rylance for Bridge of Spies! Second best performance in this category and the frontrunner until a few weeks ago. I had the pleasure of watching Rylance as Henry V in a Royal Shakespeare Company staging in summer ’97: charismatic and rather beautiful (the girls in our group couldn’t stop staring at him). Accepting the award, he looks unfazed. “Would it help?” indeed. Nevertheless I’m sad for Stallone, who was marvelous and subtle and deserved the accumulating good will.
10:26. Chris Rock interviews Regular Folk about the Best Picture nominees. David Letterman used to pick on CBS’ irrelevance too.
10:23. Since we’re talking about ill-used minorities, let’s mention Amy Ryan already playing suffering women in Spielberg pics.
10:15. I’ve waited my entire professional life for an orchestral version of “Earned It.” Surrounded by dancers and a female trapeze artist, The Weeknd acts out the Susan Kohner burlesque sequence from Imitation of Life.
10:13. Kevin Hart has waited his professional life for an orchestral “Axel F” to introduce him.
10:07. I will never not call for drone rockets aimed at minions. Nevertheless, Chile wins its first Oscar win for Best Animated Short Film. When Scrunchy Face wins his Best Actor award in 30 mins Blaze will present him w/the award.
10:01: Threepio and R2! Didn’t Brokeback Mountain lose 10 years ago tonight?
9:59. Jason Segal looks like he’s been basking in the achievement of whiskey.
9:56. Whew. Ex Machina, winner of Best Visual Design, breaks the Mad Max sweep of technical awards. Ex Machina too close to Gattaca for my taste. But needed Gore Vidal.
9:52. The Hateful Eight — remember that? Up for Best Sound Mixing. How fitting that it made a lot of noise but lost to…Mad Max: Fury Road. Oscars should win Best Pace. We’re racing through categories!
9:47. Chiwetel Ejiofor and Chris Evans introduce Best Sound Editing. I want to know why Evans wasn’t nominated for Best Costume Design for the crude oil poured over his hair. Mad Max: Fury Road wins again.
9:44. Is the orchestra on ‘ludes? Even the curious decision to play “Ghostbusters” creates a version that sounds waterlogged. I miss the days when Placido Domingo sang “Beautiful Maria of My Soul.”
9:42. Angela Bassett! The Academy sure took care of Angela Bassett quick after her one nomination twenty-two years ago
9:38. Liev Schreiber and Priyanka Chopra, introducing Best Film Editing, look confused at the idea that “tonight” has celebrated “the process” of filmmaking. Am I the only who thinks Star Wars: The Force Awakens was released a long time ago in an award season far, far away? At any rate, Mad Max: Fury Road wins yet another award.
9:35. Michael B. Jordan, beautiful and un-nominated for Creed, for me the most egregious no show. The Revenant wins for Best Cinematography by the great Emmanuel Lubezki.
9:28. Benicio Del Toro introduces Ronald Reagan as a movie where “a dead spirit that comes back to life to terrorize the living.” He means The Revenant.
9:22. Oh FUCK THIS at Jared Leto smirking through a Magic Mike XXL joke. Here’s a joke: “Oscar winner Jared Leto.” Either way, Mad Max: Fury Road wins its third consecutive award, this time for Best Makeup & Hairstyle.
9:18. Heralded by a string version of Huey Lewis and the News’ “The Power of Love,” Chris Rock remarks that Carol is only the third woman-on-woman film he’s seen this year. I detect a frisson between him and Blanchett, introducing Best Costume Design, who doesn’t help matters on this night by blathering about costumes as “second skins.” Jenny Beavan of Mad Max: Fury Road wins. As she says she has an important thing to say, the music rises nervously.
9:09. Two of the “remarkably well-rounded” supporting actress performances = imitations of lead actresses. Alcia Vikander wins, as I predicted. Tom Hooper and Eddie Redmayne, director and star of The Danish Girl, have quietly accrued an impressive number of nominations for movies I have never heard anyone praise aloud.
9:07. From the way he shoves his left profile at the camera and remains as immobile as his own statue in the park, Henry Cavell thinks he’s starring in a late ’70s Olivier picture.
9:03. The Brilliant Sam Smith, who sounds like a vacuum cleaner choking on a shag carpet.
9:00. A rather strained spoof of the Best Picture nominees in which the paucity of black actors and themes inoculates Jeff Daniels, Jennifer Lawrence, et. al turns into a dagger when Rock introduces Stacy Dash in a parody of white self-congratulation: it’s Black History Month! Thank you, white people! *moves offstage after five seconds* Cut to gobsmacked audience.
8:48. “Bittersweet Symphony” plays as Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling amble on stage to announce Best Adapted Screenplay. Their who-won-what-Oscar routine is painful and looks worse after Chris Rock’s monologue; it’s the sort of thing David Niven would have tried in 1972. Winners: Charles Randolph and Adam McKay, whom I’ve also predicted as winners. “Don’t vote for candidates who take money from big oil and banks,” Randolph advises the audience, still dazed.
8:44. Cursed with the misfortune of appearing after Rock’s monologue, Emily Blunt and Charlize Theron look like fundraisers at a charity ball. They introduce Best Original Screenplay — the first time I can remember when this category has led. As predicted, Tom McCarthy wins. Recall: McCarthy played the fabulist reporter in the last fraught season of “The Wire.”
8:34. “Otherwise known as White People’s Awards,” said Chris Rock, not wasting time. Only unemployed people tell you to quit, he says to tepid audience applause. Cate Blanchett, looking as if served creamed spinach over poached eggs, is not amused. The zingers accumulate. “We were too busy being raped and lynched to care about Best Cinematography.” The line that inspires the most applause? A gross line about Rihanna’s panties. Context matters though. He’s not stopping. The Academy of Motion Picture Farts & Biases thinks it lets itself off the hook by unleashing Rock. The audience has no idea what it’s supposed to react, if Cate Blanchett reaction shots are any indication.
8:31. A dizzying montage of winners and box office hits plays, like one of those Best of 2015 recaps that the networks run on New Year’s Eve when no one’s watching. The applause is tepid. Cuts to: Matt Damon, amused; Leonardo DiCaprio, referred to henceforth as Scrunchy Face.