The stars are on the red carpet … and I’m in the kitchen making dinner. But fear not! Once the show proper gets underway, I’ll be here throwing out wisecracks as fast as my fingers can get them typed. Does the Academy once again virtually pat itself on the back and award Birdman? Does Richard Linklater’s 12-year high wire act with Boyhood bring him a statue? What mind-boggling montage eats up time during the third hour? We’ll find out in just a few minutes. Be sure to check back here throughout the night, as I’ll be updating frequently. And no laundry going on this year, so you — and the Oscars — will have my undivided attention. For better or worse.
8:29: And Neil Patrick Harris is officially three-quarters of the way to a hosting EGOT.
8:31: Okay, this intro is pretty damn spectacular. It’s funny but also reverent.
8:34: Gonna call it: we’re on our way to one of the best Oscar openings ever.
8:36: Harris can call it a night if he wants. Impression made.
8:37: Oh no, NPH, you don’t go to Oprah in your monologue. Did Letterman teach you nothing??
8:38: If this ain’t Simmons, all bets are off on everything tonight.
8:40: Oh, so Birdman is going to get the full subtitle treatment all night.
8:41: Totally earned. You could argue Simmons is more a co-lead in Whiplash, but that category is a minefield as it is.
8:44: Loving this bit with NPH’s predictions. Way to relate to the people watching the show.
8:46: “He will find you, and he will kill you.” Then gets played on to the theme from Schindler’s List. Aaaaawkwaaaard.
8:47: All right, who’s the genius who decided to pair Grand Budapest Hotel with American Sniper? “Hey, they both have countries in the title, it’s a natural fit!”
8:50: Nice of Jared Leto to back up Adam Levine here.
8:52: And Adam, it’s the Oscars. Next time, wear a damn jacket.
8:57: Is it too late to give Lopez Best Costume Design?
8:58: I get the feeling Grand Budapest Hotel is going to clean up in a lot of these design categories. Don’t know if that’ll translate into anything bigger though.
9:00: Um, did NPH suddenly think he was doing *too* well?
9:03: Already a better performance from Tatum than Jupiter Ascending!
9:05: For the record, my Big 6 predictions:
Supporting Actor: Simmons
Supporting Actress: Arquette
9:10: And now sit back as the Best Foreign Language Film winner actually walks in from Poland.
9:11: Our first play off of the evening is a total failure!
9:14: Okay, how do you not pair Theory of Everything with Imitation Game? American Sniper with Selma? Birdman with Whiplash? It’s not that hard. Sure that leaves Boyhood and Grand Budapest together, but that’s not egregious.
9:17: This “Everything is Awesome” production is kinda adorable. AND A BATMAN CAMEO!
9:22: For some reason, I saw Lonely Island up there and “Beastie Boys bio-pic” flashed in my head.
9:24: I always feel a little bad for the shorts nominees. To them, this is a crowning achievement. To the vast majority of watchers, this is just the part where they lose the Oscar pool.
9:31: Yeah, because Maureen O’Hara and Harry Belafonte and Miyazaki don’t deserve to be given their due in primetime, because that’s less time for Lady Gaga to sing.
9:34: Is it just me, or are NPH’s wheels starting to come off a little bit here?
9:42: And NPH redeems himself.
9:44: Now it’s time for the annual Send a Pretty Girl to the Geeks Awards!
9:48: I think the orchestra has pretty much given up on playing anyone off at this point. They’re terrified they’ll start up just as someone mentions their cancer-stricken wife.
9:54: I predicted she’d win because the momentum was with her, but I really thought Arquette was kinda cliched in Boyhood. I thought all the adults were, actually.
9:55: Oh good, I was worried the MRAs were going to be bored tonight.
10:01: I hope I don’t jinx it, but the pace feels pretty good so far. Even the filler seems to be moving along at a fair clip.
10:03: What’s Chloe Grace Moretz got in her pocketses, Precious?
10:04: Okay, what the hell do the Apes films have to do to win for Visual Effects? Have an actual ape climb off the screen and maul someone?
10:07: Yay for Feast! The mood it put me in had a lot to do with my enjoyment of Big Hero 6.
10:09: Of course Dwayne Johnson would be good at this.
10:10: And that’s twice now Toothless has gotten robbed by Disney.
10:19: “And hey, look at me. So how about nominating some black people next year?”
10:20: I so want Chris Pratt to do this as Johnny Karate.
10:26: Can’t argue with Birdman for Cinematography. It may deserve more credit for the film working than the direction.
10:30: Okay, going silent for the In Memoriam.
10:36: Still don’t get having a separate musical performance after the In Memoriam. Do the song live over it. It’ll at the very least cut down on the applause popularity contest.
10:37: That said, classiest xenomorph ever.
10:43: Think that black tube top was a last minute addition by Watts when she realized that dress was an accident waiting to happen?
10:44: Makes sense that a film so concerned with tempo would have outstanding editing.
10:48: This just in: Selma still robbed.
10:52: We’re well into the third hour and I really don’t feel like we’re dragging.
10:58: No way this song doesn’t win. It’s the pat on the head they’ll give Selma.
11:02: Oh my god that shot of David Oyelowo crying…
11:03: “… it’s also the sound you get when you ask John Travolta to pronounce Ben Affleck.” THERE YOU GO.
11:04: LOVE them bringing Menzel and Travolta out for this.
11:07: No way they even try to play Common and John Legend off.
11:09: Okay, wait, you follow up a speech from Common and John Legend about equality and change by playing “Pure Imagination”???
11:16: I want to be snarky about this Sound of Music bit, but 1) people really do *love* this movie and 2) looking at the other Best Picture nominees that year, I don’t really see a huge injustice with the possible exception of Doctor Zhivago (and it’s not like Lean hadn’t already had his due by then anyway).
11:19: Okay, if you’re gonna have filler, THAT is the kind of filler you have.
11:20: And then Julie Andrews with the perfect capper.
11:23: Desplat for Grand Budapest Hotel felt like another — deserved — foregone conclusion.
11:25: Do we get more words out of Eddie Murphy here than on SNL 40?
11:30: Original Screenplay could be a big indicator of where Best Picture is going.
11:34: First really sour note for me. Didn’t think the script for Imitation Game was all that special.
11:38: Some of these acceptance speeches have made the Super Bowl commercials look downright cheery.
11:42: All right, Iñárritu winning Director seems to lock it up for Birdman for Best Picture.
11:44: Linklater needed to win here for Boyhood to have a shot at Best Picture. That film was so tied to Linklater’s 12-year odyssey that for him not to be recognized indicates it doesn’t have the support it needs for the big win.
11:47: Okay, big one here. Redmayne has the precursors. Keaton may have the Birdman momentum.
11:51: Called the Redmayne win. Too many indicators pointing his way.
Don’t think this derails the Birdman train, but who knows? Could be a lot of splitting going on between it and Grand Budapest Hotel, allowing something else to slip through.
11:54: And Redmayne’s performance was more than just scrunching up in a wheelchair. He does some really subtle work early on when Hawking is perfectly fine.
11:56: Haven’t seen Still Alice, but there were enough tea leaves out there to call this one for Moore.
12:02: And NPH’s prediction gag really didn’t pay off. Too much too late.
12:04: It’s Birdman. Never underestimate the Academy’s love for anything that ennobles their profession.
Well, five out of six on my predictions, but really not surprised by Iñárritu beating Linklater. I just thought that would be the spot they’d honor Boyhood outside of Arquette. I think we got pretty deserving winners in all the categories outside of Adapted Screenplay and Animated Feature, and I can’t even complain all that much about Big Hero 6; it’s incredibly well animated, even if it doesn’t have a tenth of the depth and emotion of How to Train Your Dragon 2. Yeah, you can feel disappointed for Linklater and Wes Anderson, but guys like that don’t really care about Oscars. The fact they make the movies they want to make and still garner nominations is probably reward enough for them, and I imagine they’d chafe at the Oscar-winner label as much as they’d revel in it. Still, the Selma snub hangs over this year’s awards for me. That was a film that more than earned its sense of importance and history, and to only recognize it with two awards — and one of them Best Picture — feels like a complete and total miss.
As for the show itself, Neil Patrick Harris scored early, then sort of went into a hole for the rest of the show, only livening things up with the Birdman bit and a few one-liners here and there. And the prediction gag was a huge misfire. But he didn’t get in the way, and didn’t completely embarrass himself. Besides, I get the feeling all anyone is going to be talking about tomorrow is Lady Gaga. That was a grand slam home run for her, and took something that could have felt extraneous — hell, it was extraneous — and made it a standing ovation moment. And for a three and a half hour show, it never felt like the slog some past ceremonies have been. So kudos for that.
And that’s a wrap on the Oscars for another year. Thanks to those who followed along here, and apologies to those I annoyed on Facebook. Let’s all do this again next year, when we’ll all be pulling for The Force Awakens for Best Picture. Right? RIGHT???