Our crew this evening is Adam (arettber), Bilal (bdar), the lovely and talented Zul (hssst), Chris (who doesn't have an LJ, and should be pressured), and me. I have no idea what's going to happen tonight, so ride along and find out.
7:00: Billy Bush is riding along with Keshia Castle-Hughes. The odd thing is that until the current regime ends, Billy isn't even close to being the most embarrassing member of the Bush family.
7:03: Scarlett Johansson in a teal dress that Zul refers to as "ugly". I'll take her word for it.
7:04: Good Christ, Jada Pinkett-Smith is short.
7:06: Bilal says Heath Ledger looks a little stoned. I wonder if Heath's not a little stone.
7:08: Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson should just graft themselves together at the hip already.
7:09: This just in: Zul hates Julianne Moore's teeth.
7:12: Jude Law has no damn business being nominated. Shoulda gone to Jack Black or Chiwetel Ojiofor.
7:13: Catherine Zeta-Jones admits that she's looking forward to getting piss drunk tonight (not in so many words).
7:15: Bill Murray scores best line so far: "What am I wearing? Boxers." But why did we need to investigate his crotch so thoroughly?
7:16: I think I just defended Sofia Coppola with regard to Godfather III. I think I will now go set myself on fire.
7:17: Johnny Depp is just so damn cool. And he's looking good.
7:18: And now, Angelina Jolie and her nipple. Who's standing on a box, her or Billy Bush?
7:22: Alec Baldwin rocks and stuff.
7:24: Tom Hanks makes a mistake sartorially with the white tie. Yeck.
7:25: The question of "How much would you pay for a fight between Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock?" The answer of "There aren't numbers that large." comes back.
7:26: And that, the seat between Nicole Kidman and Renee Zellweger, is why I want to be Harvey Weinstein when I grow up.
7:27: And as usual, Peter Jackson looks like an unmade bed. Will someone get the man a shirt that fits well?
7:28: No, you didn't need to repeat the "Oprah...Uma" bit, Billy.
7:29: OK, the Depp/Castle-Hughes introduction is redemptive. Good show, Billy. (Well, a bit awkward, but the idea worked.)
7:30: Showtime. Opening with Sean Connery. Interesting. How much powder did they have to put on his head to make sure there was no glare? He's giving the annual "Movies are nice" speech.
7:31: Oh, look Billy's pirating. And he's got the Ring. And he's NUDE! AAAAAAAH! Oh, boy, a "Gigli" joke. That was hard. The "Monster" thing was not cool. And now, compound nudity. Great. Woo! A-Rod reference! Go Yanks! Did anyone count how many different LOTR character's he's been in this montage? Good on Michael Moore for making fun of himself. Hmmm...I might have enjoyed LOTR more if Jack had been Gandalf, but then I'm strange.
7:36: Grand entrance. Billy looks like and Agent of the Matrix. Billy looks good, as usual. And now it's time for him to sing. The Passion of the Crystal, in Aramaic? Passion made $117Mil? Damn. The Bush joke wasn't exactly new. City of God! American Splendor! Woo! Yes! Rip LOTR! Long-ass overrated trudge. "Mystic River" to "Old Man River". Not too bad. "Paint Your Wagon"--good ref. Wow. Marcia Gay Harden gets the Catherine Zeta-Jones Pregnant as Hell Best Supporting Actress Nominee Award. First Governor Schwarzenegger joke. OK, that was good--Seabiscuit in Peter Jackson's bed. "Sofia" to "Maria", not bad. "Lord of the Rings" to "My Favorite Things" is inspired. "Seabiscuit" to "Goldfinger". Eh--rather like the movie. The Pete Rose thing went tooooooo long. "Come Sail with Me" to "Come Fly With Me" for "Master & Commander", OK.
7:48: Marc Shaiman in the pit. Interesting.
7:49: Our first award: Best Supporting Actor. I'd prefer Alec Baldwin, but I can't argue too much with the probability of Tim Robbins. Hounsou's got a very, very outside chance, but I doubt it. We need to create a Best Ensemble acting category. And the Oscar goes to: Tim Robbins. No surprise, but let's see how far his speech leans to the left...well, a plea for those who are abused. How noble. Holy hell! Penn showed up!
7:55: Scorsese's pictures! HA! Martin rules. Period. Everyone else, just get the hell out of the way. Scorsese better have directed that commercial--otherwise, can you imagine trying to direct HIM?
7:57: Billy's back, introducing Ian McKellan. Sir Ian's introducing the LOTR clip, it seems, in an act of seeming autofellatio, onstage...unless they're all introducing they're introducing their own films, which would just be dumb.
7:59: Angelina Jolie "and her tits" (thank you Zul). Distributing Art Direction (which should be Production Design at this point--PDs don't have a union, though). Fingers crossed for M&C, but I'm going with Seabiscuit...nope, LOTR. Feh. And they're all effusive for Peter Jackson, no surprise.
8:03: And now Robin Williams is dubbing Billy in Spanish. Funny, but...Robin's best in very, very, very, very small doses. Best Animated Feature--appropriate to have a cartoon distributing it. It will be Nemo, but a Belleville pick would be a hell of a shock (didn't see it, dammit). And the Oscar Goes to: Finding Nemo. Probably the least of the Pixar pictures (well, that or A Bug's Life). It's no Monsters, Inc., that's for sure. Andrew Stanton's speech is nice. Does he get to keep the Oscar, or does it stay at the Pixar offices?
8:12: And we're back, with Renee Zellweger, doing Costume Design. Girl W/Pearl was good, but again, my hope is M&C...which means it will be LOTR again. And the Oscar goes to: LOTR. Feh. What the hell is on the head of the woman sitting with Peter Jackson (presumably his wife/paramour)?
8:15: Billy's back with a comedy bit...all obvious stuff...except for Saddam and "Holes". That was good.
8:17: Nicolas Cage is introducing Master & Commander. God, this was a hell of a film. There was just so much ambition and scope to this (and of course, nothing in the world is better than a one-armed 12-year-old shooting Frenchmen).
8:18: Chris Cooper presenting Best Supporting actress. I hope he's been practicing pronouncing "Aghdashloo", because she'd better fucking win. Patricia Clarkson should have been nominated (and won) last year for "Far From Heaven", this nomination is a make-up. Marcia Gay Harden's performance is little more than an exercise in increasingly tousled hair. Holly Hunter was great in "Thirteen", but Evan Rachel Wood was better and should have been nominated for Best Actress. Renee Zellweger, I love you, but you were too far over the top...and she won. FUCK! Angry now. Good speech, though, especially the Vincent Donofrio reference.
8:24: And now the customary shoutout to the troops, then Tom Hanks comes out to "Hail to the Chief", for some reason, and he's introducing the tribute to "Mr." Bob Hope. Rather like Christopher Hitchens, I never found him all that funny, but he hosted so often that he deserves this.
8:31: OwenBenStillerWilson, with Stiller in costume as Starsky. Heh. Love the sweater. They're presenting Live Action Short, which no one cares about, even those nominated. They banter well. I'll bet on Torsion, for no good reason. And I'm wrong again. Let's see if I can go the whole night without picking something correctly. Did they just randomly thank Charlize Theron? That's cool. And we have our first brutal playoff of the evening.
8:35: OBSW are back with for Best Animated short. I'll pick Destino because it's been so long in development. And it's Harvie Krumpet, of course. This is why I don't gamble. For fucksake man, buy a tie. Nice to thank his boyfriend, there.
8:38: Liv Tyler has a terrible hair thing going on, and the glasses are unnecessary. She's introducing Allison Krauss on "You Will Be My Ain True Love", with Sting in the back playing a...what the hell is that? We can't identify it. And what does "Ain" mean? Merriam-Webster tells us it's Scottish dialect for "Own". OK.
8:42: And now Allison's back for "Scarlet Tide", with Elvis Costello. I hope this wins so that Elvis has one. Is that so wrong? They're both nice songs, but "Scarlet" is, at least to me, a little more interesting, musically.
8:46: Looks like Liv needs the glasses to read. And here's Annie Lennox with "Into the West", and she's doing a good job. Is it just me, or do her ears look slightly elvified? She's getting a hell of a response--I smell a winner.
8:54: Back with Billy, and he's doing a "reading audiences' minds" bit, and Penn laughed, which is good. What the hell is Diane Keaton wearing? Not bad, on the whole.
8:57: Mr. and Mrs. Smith (Will & Jada). Zul declares Jada's dress "interesting". They're presenting Best Visual Effects: Pirates, LOTR, and M&C. I'd be happy with anything but LOTR, which means LOTR will win by a landslide. Yep. Blech. Hey, an American!
9:00: Jennifer Garner is recapping the SciTech awards, which she hosted. She's looking DAMN fine. Zul describes the color as somewhere between "Mango" and "Burnt Orange".
9:02: And he's Jim Carrey--nail down the furniture. He's presenting the Honorary Award to Blake Edwards. God, he's funny as hell. Apparently Blake's got a bum leg. Good stuff. Need to see the Pink Panther stuff. It's a good selection of clips. Oh, great presentation. Straight through the wall! HA! Good speech. Really good speech.
9:15: Billy introduces Bill Murray. Nice gag about Sofia's relative inexperience. He's introducing the "Lost in Translation" clip. Poor choice of clip: the movie's not really about him (Murray), it's about her (Johansson).
9:18: And here's Scarlett, presenting Best Makeup, tripping over her words. I'm protesting this category this year since Toni G. was not nominated for her deglamming job of Charlize Theron in "Monster". It's LOTR, of course, but it's useless.
9:21: Travolta and Bullock doing Best Sound, doing a lecture on sound. Zul says Sandra's got too much eye makeup on, and I can't really argue. Bad banter, too. Go M&C (please!) And the Oscar goes to: LOTR. Duh. Usual workmanlike speech.
9:24: Travolta and Bullock are back for Best Sound Effects Editing (again, bad banter). Finally, a category Master & Commander can win (no LOTR nomination)! And it does! Thank the gods! This sounds brain-dead, but M&C sounded really good.
9:27: Billy: "It's official, there is no one left in New Zealand to thank." He then introduces Julia Roberts presenting the Katharine Hepburn deathreel. God, Hepburn ruled. ("I have one, Ms. Walters. I'll wear it to your funeral.")
9:37: Billy introduces Oprah. Other than the fact that she's Oprah, what the hell is she doing there? She's introducing "Mystic River". Designated fashion correspondent Zul says she's wearing a great color, but again, too much eye makeup. Odd clip choice.
9:39: John Cusack and Diane Lane ("Her dress? Hideous. It, like, shows her boobs, but doesn't show them off"--Zul.) presenting the Documentary Short award. Another one that no one cares about. And the Oscar goes to Chernobyl Heart. I can't find any real information as to what it's about, other than that it's 39 minutes long. "In Belarus, the country most seriously contaminated by the Chernobyl accident, the terrible effects of radiation are seen in the high levels of cancer, birth defects, and heart conditions suffered by the region's children." Thank you, Oscar.com.
9:42: Naomi Watts and Alec Baldwin are presenting Documentary Feature. Go Fog of War! Go Errol Morris! And it won! ROCK! It seems the Best Documentary Feature speech is the time to make political statements. (He's right, of course.) No booing this time, either.
9:46: Billy with a pitch-perfect joke ("hate to see [Errol Morris's] tax audit"). Nicely done. Frank Pierson is fumbling the Gregory Peck tribute badly, but looking to Billy for a lifeline was a good recovery. The Peck bit takes us into the necrology. Ooh, nice--dropping Stan Brakhage in, considering Brakhage would never be recognized otherwise.
9:56: Sting and Phil Collins: Fight! Harold Wheeler's actually conducting the orchestra. Where's Bill Conti? They're presenting Best Original Score. I've got no great love for James Horner, but his score for House of Sand and Fog was fantastic. Oh, fuck. Howard Shore wins. Fuck that. He should have had the good taste not to submit his name again, after he won for Fellowship. Fuck him and fuck everybody who looks like him.
10:00: Pierce Brosnan and Julianne Moore presenting Best Editing. It's an easy joke, but I'm making it: there's no way LOTR should win, because THEY DIDN'T FUCKING EDIT ANYTHING! City of God was cut beautifully. Fuck FUCK FUCK! Stupid fucking hobbits(es). Urge to kill rising! Hate world, revenge soon. The editing was genuinely bad in Return of the King. Poor shot choices, things going on too long. No. Bad. I reject thee.
10:02: Billy poking fun at the LOTR landslide again, then introducing Jamie Lee Curtis...and she's very close to wardrobe malfunction. She's introducing "A Kiss at the End of the Rainbow" from A Mighty Wind, and they're doing it in character, and it's great and I really hope this wins. Eugene Levy rules. Catherine O'Hara deserves a lot of credit for focusing on him the whole time. Really great job, all-around.
10:08: Jamie Lee's back to introduce Belleville Rendezvous. There's a guy playing...a bicycle. Nice. This is infectious as hell, but I don't think anybody heard it. The performer could be Allison Janney's sister. Great song, fun presentation.
10:12: Whoever did the animation for the United commercial did some great work. Who's the voiceover guy? Can't quite identify him.
10:14: Jack Black and Will Ferrell doing Best Song. This is awesome. Hey, why the hell wasn't "Teacher's Pet" from School of Rock nominated? Great job with the lyrics to the song "You're Boring". Fuckin' LOTR's going to win again. Fuckin' fucky fuckity fuck fuck fuckery. Toldja. There is some minor surprise in the room, but it's quickly shouted down. They're letting Annie give the speech, which is nice.
10:20: Charlize Theron ("I don't like her hair so much"--Zul) presenting Best Foreign Language Film. Charlize is appropriate, considering she's like, foreign and stuff. This will go to Barbarian Invasions. Yay, I got one right! Nice line about LOTR's ineligibility--though isn't Elvish a foreign language? Good speeches.
10:23: Jude Law and Uma Thurman presenting Best Cinematography. Zul strenuously objects to Uma's dress. Go M&C! Woo-hoo! Russell Boyd wins! City of God would have been a good choice as well. Peter Weir's wife/girlfriend is pretty hot.
10:27: Yay! Badger made it home!
10:28: Billy introduces Sofia and Francis Ford Coppola, presenting Best Adapted Screenplay. Please, please, please American Splendor. Or City of God. I may fucking vomit if LOTR wins. Helgeland's actually the favorite, though, and he did a fine job (plus he co-wrote L.A. Confidential, which is never a bad thing). Fuck. Stupid fucking Lord of the Rings. At this point, they're poised to threaten The Last Emperor's 1987 record of 9 nominations, 9 wins.
10:33: Tobey Maguire introduces the Seabiscuit clip. Short and sans horse, which is odd.
10:34: Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon doing Best Original Screenplay, which should go to Sofia Coppola, but I'd prefer it head toward Dirty Pretty Things. Susan's falling out of her dress almost as much as Jamie Lee Curtis was. And Sofia wins. Good on ya. She's nervous, but that's to be expected. WOO! Name-dropping Wong Kar-Wai! IT was a good enough script, I suppose. I'm still not sure why it never connected for me, though, in thinking about it, there's not really a lot of conflict, which is part of it.
10:42: Tom Cruise presenting Best Director. Stand-up, low-key. Jackson's going to win, of course. Wish it could be Fernando Meirelles. And the Oscar goes to...Peter Jackson ("In the biggest surprise since LeBron James was taken with the first pick."--Adam) He still looks like hell. That top button should BUTTON, dammit.
10:45: Adrian Brody comes out to present Best Actress ("Don't worry, they have me under a restraining order" got a huge laugh). It'll be interesting to see what clip they pull for Monster--it's full of F-bombs...hey, they found one! Oh, Adrian Brody just WINS, y'all. And it goes to Charlize. Yay yay yay yay! Let's see how long it takes her to start crying, or if she's doing so already by the time she gets there. Yes, she is. Zul indicts her makeup, rather rightfully. She's just melting at the end, here. It's touching, really.
10:57: Nicole Kidman comes out to present Best Actor, and Zul declares her the best-looking woman of the night, to some small debate about the way her hair looks and her in comparison to Jennifer Garner. She got a good joke, too. Anyone but Law, please, please, anyone but Jude Law. Strange choice of clip for Ben Kingsley. Far and away, this is the hardest race of the night to call. And it goes to Sean Penn, which isn't really a surprise. Well done, sir. Is he really that much shorter than Nicole? I mean, I know she's tall, but, wow. Nice WMD joke, Sean. Also big credit for namedropping Paul Giamatti. Good job, Sean.
11:03: Billy Crystal has to beg Bill Murray not to leave, who welcomes some hack named Spielberg out to present Best Picture. It will go to LOTR, which will thereby set a new record for 11-for-11, tying Ben-Hur and Titanic as it does so. GodDAMN. My hat is off to you, Mr. Jackson. But now I have to go hide out under a rock until this all blows over. Anybody know what the blue buttons are for? The "Billy Crystal's cousin" thing was a bit odd. We need Jack Black and Will Ferrell back out to sing the "Really Boring" song again.
11:10: Billy closing up. "What happens at the Oscars, stays at the Oscars." And all the winners are onstage one last time. Wow. Only 3:42. Not bad at all. Funnier than "Return of the King", to boot.
All in all, that was one hell of a juggernaut. Just wish the movie had done more for me. I'd like to thank my hosts, Chris, Bilal, and Zul, with special thanks to Bilal for the use of his computer. This was fun. Hope I can do it again.