Live blogging the Oscars 2020

11:06 p.m. “Please watch our film on a larger screen,” Frances McDormand advises audiences regarding Best Picture winner Nomadland — perhaps an oblique attempt to back away from criticism about Amazon’s conflicts of interest.

11:01 p.m. Hollywood needed COVID to perfect this mixture of cold calculation and sentimentality. “I’m Lin-Manuel Miranda, my first film memory is watching Kramer vs. Kramer, here’s a trailer of my new film.”

10:52 p.m. I’m always up for “As.”

10:46 p.m. Unless she’s getting info via earpiece, Glenn Close’s monologue about “Da Butt” represents her best film moment since 1988.

10:45 p.m. What is happening

10:23 p.m. Tyler Perry, winner of the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award, has been a stealth bomber for years, a cottage industry who writes and directs films that rarely get the longform attention. And like many moguls he’s ruthless about getting his way.

10:22 p.m. Anyway, Sound of Metal wins Best Editing, an ominous development for Nomadland fans.

10:16 p.m. Have y’all watched Harrison Ford in Working Girl? Wry on ham. If he didn’t need to make non-action bait like Regarding Henry and Random Hearts, he would’ve been more recognized for his BPM comedic delivery.

10:13 p.m. Academy voters are suckers for (a) black and white (b) nature calendar art. The best films released in any year must have camerawork and editing deepening the script.

10:06. Mank wins again for Best Cinematography. Again, pretty black and white sequences do not qualify as good to great landscape. This win reminds me of when, say,  Dances With Wolves and A River Runs Through It earned Oscars for nature photography of valleys and prairies and shit.

10:03 p.m. I’d argue Gary Oldman in Mank plays an example of production design.

9:53 p.m. Yuh-jung Youn, as expected and to my delight, wins Best Supporting Actress for her shrewd grandmother in Minari. It’s the sort of win that makes paying attention to this category worthwhile. “I’ve been watching her, so many performances,” she says about Glenn Close.

9:52 p.m. Brad Pitt used the phrase “the likes of.”

9:50 p.m. Steven Yeun can discuss the prosthetic subtleties in Nothing But Trouble (1991) and I’d be handing him an Oscar.

9:50 p.m. Remember Once Upon a Time in Hollywood? In one of those moments intended to loosen up my film students, I rank Brad Pitt’s shirt removal in that film with Montgomery Clift’s aqua eyes flashing at Elizabeth Taylor in A Place in the Sun as my favorite among film’s most erotic moments.

9:40 p.m. My Octopus Teacher wins Best Documentary Feature, beating expected frontrunner Time. Pippa Ehrlich and James Reed’s film the discoveries in a kelp forest off the South Africa coast — terrific for a National Geographic doc.

9:34 p.m. I don’t know what filters these cameramen are using for this ceremony, but they make the audience look like the extras and stars in The Player‘s charity ball sequence.

9:22 p.m. No way to win. The Oscar ceremonies have experimented with lither broadcasts, i.e. fewer musical set pieces and shorter speeches (the 2001 broadcast o the 2000 awards got kudos). The pandemic has forced them to consider this again yet the online reaction remains lukewarm.

9:12 p.m. “Please don’t be indifferent to our pain.” And Joey Bada$$ gets a thanks.

9:06 p.m. Sound of Metal wins Best Sound Mixing.

8:58 p.m. Nomadland’s Chloé Zhao makes many first lists: first female nominee in this category to win in years, first Asian woman to win (Ang Lee won twice in this category).

8:55 p.m. A short break later, I’m back, and last year’s Best Director winner Bong Joon-ho appears, sporting COVID hair. It’s impossible to stress how Parasite has become a cultural phenomenon; my students, none of whom will major in film, have seen it and have comments ready.

8:48 p.m. Auditioning to play the voice of Optimus Prime, Bryan Cranston in a tux wanders an empty chamber explaining how Mary Pickford and Jean Hersholt in 1921 “took action” for the MTPF health fund.

8:40 p.m. I accept that THE OSCARS as experience aren’t the same without kitsch-classic performances like Placido Domingo singing “Beautiful Maria of My Soul” in 1993 and Allen Carr’s 1989 Snow White musical, but, sorry, I’m like the actors: end this shit as swiftly as possible.

8:33 p.m. “My mum. My dad. They HAD SEX.” You GO, Daniel.

8:31 p.m. Winner Daniel Kaluuya reminds me he’s British, which I forgot.

8:30 p.m. SACHA. SACHA. “You imbued your own extraordinary activist instincts.”

8:28 p.m. This patter is defeating good actors like Laura Dern.

8:26 p.m. We’re up to Best Supporting Actor, a category more guilty than other years of category fraud. Leslie Stanfield and Daniel Kaluuya are not glaring at each other.

8:21 p.m. The winner is Another Round, also a nominee for Thomas Vinterberg in Best Director: a solid film, and a relief in that it makes the obvious point about alcohol actually enhancing performative arts — for a while.

8:18 p.m. Wearing what looks like a feather duster skirt, last year’s Best Supporting Actress winner Laura Dern reminisces on her experiences watching Giulietta Masina in La Strada. These remarks serve as intro for Best International Feature Film. Quo Vadis, Aida? is already one of 2021’s most searing films.

8:17 p.m. Is Sesame Street still a thing? Serious question. My nieces don’t watch it.

8:13 p.m. Standing on a rooftop, the French-born Zeller thanks Anthony Hopkins for saying ‘yes.’ The late-career comeback of Hopkins has taken me aback: two consecutive Oscar nominations.

8:11 p.m. Christopher Hampton and Florian Zeller win for their adaptation of Zeller’s play/film The Father, likely the only award for the Anthony Hopkins-Olivia Colman project.

8:10 p.m. Best Adapted Screenplay is next. I suspect the syrup that Regina King is pouring on these nominees will be de rigeur.

8:08 p.m. She reminds me of Adele with her offhand humility.

8:06 p.m. Emerald Fennell, writer-director of Promising Young Woman, wins the Original Screenplay award. “Omigod he’s so heavy and cold!” she exclaims when holding the trophy. Her movie is neither, whatever else.

8:05 p.m. Regina King praises Original Screenplay nominees for what we call in the biz their “life stories.” To watch these people seated by themselves in booths without food or drink is like watching a Brad Pitt film without skin.

8:02 pm. My god, it looks like a New York Film Critics Circle meeting!

8:01 p.m. I assume most of Hollywood got their jabs, though, uh, this crow has its share of liberal anti-vaccers.

8 p.m. Who’s even hosting this shit?

7:59 p.m. What will happen tonight no one knows, but, as my predictions post remarked on yesterday, it’s due to the best lineup in recent memory, though memory + Oscar are dire combinations.

7:54 p.m. Hi! I’m doing this again. If you want to read my predictions tonight, click here.

3 thoughts on “Live blogging the Oscars 2020

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