Oscars 2018 — Fish Man Strikes!

11:38. ARE WE READY FOR WARREN ‘N’ FAYE?? Never in my drunkest fantasies have I ever thought Warren Betty was hot. Even when he was a young man I couldn’t imagine him working up energy to make love to anything except his ego.

11:30. Jennifer Lawrence and, on crutches, Jodie Foster introduce Best Actress. The winner: expected. Frances McDormand is rad. Her film is bad.

11:19. I know it won an unsurpassed three Oscars for acting, but the Academy sure loves Network clips. Jane Fonda and Helen Mirren, both imperious, seem to indict the (largely male) audience by breathing. As the clips play, I wonder how Day-Lewis, Chalamet, and Kaluuya could lose to Gary Oldman. And they do. I wrote this when Darkest Hour was released, but I’ll repeat: Oldman already got kudos for a pitch perfect incarnation of colonialism and empire in 2011….

11:13. Emma Stone introduces Best Director: “these four mean and Greta Gerwig….” As expected, Guillermo del Toro wins for The Shape of Water.

11:05. Okay weird: Eddie Vedder playing a Tom Petty tune that only fans remember (1999’s fine “Room at the Top”)? It’s for the in memoriam section. I didn’t know or remember that Martin Landau died!

11:03. I said it already: when I hear “Mystery of Love” as title I think of Julee Cruise’s Blue Velvet theme.

10:57. Christopher Walken was unearthed for the weirdness. And he’s getting new scrutiny for being on the boat on which Natalie Wood died. Alexander Desplat wins Best Original Score for The Shape of Water, the treacliest part of the film.

10:53. This Greatest Showman tune celebrates the kind of indviduality that only an awards show understands.

10:48. Cinematography! Will Roger Deakins win at last after fourteen nominations? He does! For Blade Runner 2049.

10:43. Wes Studi, terrific in Dances with Wolves, Last of the Mohicans, and Heat. This man deserves a lead performance.

10:36. A big, genuine roar for Jordan Peele for winning Best Original Screenplay (Get Out).

10:31. Best Adapted Screenplay goes to James Ivory, a figure of respectability in my youth who was quietly but insistently queer (his partner: the late Ismail Merchant). A reminder that Sony PIcture Classics sucked when it came to rolling out Call Me By Your Name.

10:29. Geena Davis was in a good movie no one saw this year called Marjorie Prime.

10:11. In a naked attempt to boost ratings and tweets, Academy voters have done this plebeian condescension for the last few years. No wonder these people love Three Billboards.


10:05. The show stops so Jimmy Kimmel can lead Armie Hammer, Lupita, Mark Hamill, et. al through an embarrassing Jean Hagen but-the-little-peeple routine. Then they coerce thtese people into thanking them for showing up to comic book adaptations.


10:00. I see many people live to duplicate Ellen’s 2013 photo bomb.

9:55. Christ on a crutch I will never get used to hearing “Academy Award winner Matthew McConaughey.” And he hasn’t worked again, right? Anyway, Dunkirk wins Best Editing.

9:54. I thought the title was pronounced Blade Runner: TVC 15.


9:46. The reaction shot of Timothée Chalamet, seemingly reprising his CMBYN fireplace scene, was worth the Stevens performance.

9:45. Does Sufjan think that jacket makes him gay or

9:43. A Fantastic Woman‘s Daniela Vega introduces Sufjan Stevens’ song for Call Me By Your Name. Or: Sufjan Stevens performing MYSTERY OF LOVE from BLUE VELVET.

9:37. Remember when Threepio and R2 presented an Oscar in 1978? Oscar Isaac, Mark Hamill, and Kelly Marie Tran read a script that John Wayne and Bob Hope would have wheezed at in 1958. Koe Bryant and Glen Keane win for Best Animated Short Film, which excites Mark Hamill. “I’m fluent in Yiddish” — oh my fucking god. They also hand Best Animated Feature to Coco, for which only the second woman winner makes a speech at the Oscars’ most #woke ceremony ever.

9:32. John Podhoretez, who called me “boy” last month, tweeted the following: “Janney was in a play directed by Paul Newman at Kenyon College and Woodward told her she had the chops to go pro,” hence the special thanks to Joanne Woodward.

9:26. Depressing to watch montage of Best Supp Actress nominees and realize how many of them can’t work anymore. But when I see a Lesley Manville nominated, out of nowhere, hope rises. Mahershahla Ali gives the trophy to Allison Janney for using Tootsie glasses and emphysema as props in I, Tonya.

9:22. Following my lead, 1962 Best Supporting Actress winner Rita Moreno chugged a glass of champagne. I first saw her in a Cosby Show episode in which she played a hospital custodial worker who quotes Tennyson to Cliff Huxtable. Because she’s drunk, I forgive the phrase “the universal language of film.” She introduces Best Foreign Language Film. The winner: the maudlin and trite A Fantastic Woman.

9:19. Gonna join Miguel but with a negroni. I’ll be back.

9:17. Two-minute job done, Miguel heads to lobby for mescal shot.

9:16. What on earth is happening? This is Jose Carioca level shit

9:14. OH FUCK YES GAEL SING TO ME. But rehearse first. And don’t sing “Remember Me.” And don’t introduce choreography out of EPCOT Center 1982.

9:13. The stage looks like a decoration in a margarita.

9:08. Sassing Hollywood liberalism quietly and politely for perhaps embracing the provincialism of Three Billboards, Lupita Nyong’o and Big Sick star/co-writer Kumail Nanjiani introduce Best Production Design. The Shape of Water wins.

9:05. It’s a school night, but I’ll be up until midnight. Negroni or no?

8:56. My husband Ansel Elgort, wearing the tux I recommended, introduces Best Sound Editing nominees, including his own Baby Driver. Dunkirk wins, to no one’s surprise. What is a surprise: Dunkirk is not a sure thing anywhere else. Dunkirk also wins for Best Sound Mixing because the battles were loud.

8:52. The Academy showed a clip of Sunrise and Falconetti. I forgive them. This clip and others introduce..what exactly? A commercial for the Oscars themselves? A trailer for That’s Entertainment XVI?

8:43. Kimmel introduces “the warm and talented Taraji P. Henson.” She in turn introduces Best Supporting Actress nominee Mary J. Blige, also nominated for co-writing her Mudbound song. She’s in good voice. Last year’s Strength of a Woman and 2014’s The London Sessions represented her best work in a decade. Although she and Raphael Saadiq have written good work already, “Mighty River” leans too heavily on soul boilerplate.

8:39. Best Documentary Feature is next. Greta Gerwig correctly pronounces Agnès Varda’s name. She and Laura Dern project poise and intelligence. I want Gerwig to write and direct a role for her. Here’s an upset: Icarus wins.

8:38. I’ve lived through the age when Eva Marie Saint trends on Twitter.

8:23. I’d like to remind everyone that besides On the Waterfront and North by Northwest, Eva Marie Saint gave a magnificent performance as a spurned wife in Empire Strikes Back director Irvin Kershner’s Loving and marvelous playing a C-level version of same in the forgotten Nothing in Common in 1986. If video stores still existed, they’d be readily available.

8:28. Eva Marie Saint, looking fabulous in black, receive the waves of applause with cheek. She even manages to mention here late husband without getting maudlin. She awards Best Costume Design to Mark Bridges for Phantom Thread — could it be otherwise? The costumes deserved Best Supporting Actress recognition.

8:24. Armie Hammer and Gal Gadot presenting Best Makeup and Hairstyling? I can’t. Alas, Hammer is wearing a jacket stitched out of the wrapping I see in butter cookie presentations

8:14. Here we go: Best Supporting Actor. Mr. Roberts and Cabaret show up a lot. People forget Kevin Kline won in 1988 for A Fish Called Wanda. Viola Davis walks on stage. Poor Willem Dafoe wears the sad expression of a guy who has seen his chances deflate. The winner: Sam Rockwell wins after two decades of good work playing a terrible part as best as he can. His acceptance speech involving a grandmother and an impish dad is a delight; I wish that delight had found its way into Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.

8:13. I don’t see the point in reminding people of how painful this evening will be, i.e. its length. This ceremony starts on the west coast at 5 p.m. My ideal Oscar ceremony would start at 2 p.m.

8:10: Kimmel: “We don’t make movies like Call Me By Your Name to make money — we make them to upset Mike Pence.”

8:07: Jimmy Kimmel, responsible for the 28th Amendment, wears his sincerity on his sleeve and pants. I can feel the audience hold its breath as he relates the All the Money in the World anecdote…then lets the air out with a limp agent joke. Those Oscars, I tell ya!

8:05: A bit late because I thought it started at 8:30 EST. Here we go.

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