Monday, February 25, 2008

Live blogging the Oscars... UPDATED

My hot water bottle is leaking.

Old-fashioned or not, I like to take a hot water bottle with me to bed. Not only does it keep me warm, it also makes up for my congenital defect of keeping a companion for longer than 17 minutes. As usual, last night, just before I went to bed, I tucked it in, like it was my own little green plastic baby, totally oblivious to the fact that the screw cap had started to give. I woke up around one to find myself in a puddle of lukewarm water, and couldn’t properly get back to sleep. This is all by way of saying I am not on my top form this cold, and unusually wet, February morning…


One thing before we start off – I am not sure how “live” this whole thing is going to be since my internet connection is acting up. There are a few wireless networks, but I don’t like latching onto other people’s internet connections without letting them know. Me and my morals… (Mind you, this one genius has called their wireless network “Battlestar Galactica RULEZ” – I bet you their password is Starbuck)


Only a few minutes to go until the ceremony. Hey, Kristin Chenoweth! I have only seen Pushing Daisies’ pilot, but it is a very good show. Not a fan of whimsy in general but that one makes it work. A lot to do with Bryan Fuller, and also a lot to do with Chenoweth, and Anna Friel.
Regis Philbin is making everyone nervous. He is talking to the dancers now, urging them not to fuck up, because half the world is watching them. Good on you, Regis.

Nice montage of all sorts of characters and scenes – The Terminator is driving the truck that’s delivering the Oscars. Very similar to the one from last year.

I love Viggo Mortensen’s beard. It’s glorious. And talking about beards, there is Kelly whatsherface. Ooh, snap!

Dorothy Hammill’s wedgecut – Tommy Lee Jones didn’t like that joke. Cheer up baby. It’s the Oscars.

This IS great; Jon Stewart’s rocking the house.

Sorry about the stream of consciousness – I never said this was going to be any good.


It’s Costume Design now. And Elizabeth: The Golden Age wins. I predicted that, so well done me. Alexandra Byrne did a great job with Hamlet, and even though I haven’t seen Liz II, I am a fan of her work – so far, so good…


These montages have been great lately. This one now is on the 80 years of the Oscars. And I can’t believe I am going to say this but My Heart Will Go On did not jar as much. That was a brilliant montage. People bitch about montages in general, but few realise how difficult they are to get right.

Phillip Seymour Hoffman is wearing the same suit he’s worn the past two years.

Animated Feature. It’s got to be Surf’s Up. Nope, it’s Ratatouille. Awesome. That is one incredible film. Brad Bird is running on a bit, and the music starts. Just let them talk!
The ubiquitous Katherine Heigl and her fake “I’m genuine – honest” schtick. She’s presenting the Make-Up award. I predicted Norbit, but it goes to La Vie En Rose. Oh well. Je ne regrette rien. Marion Cotillard looks to be genuinely happy for the make-up guys. I couldn’t get their names – sorry.

Amy Adams is singing Happy Working Song. That was a brilliant scene with all that vermin cleaning shit up. I love, love, LOVE Amy Adams. She has a great voice on her, too. She was championed by Roger Ebert in her work for Junebug two years ago, as was Ellen Page this year for Juno. Both films have quirky women, both are, essentially, called Junebug. Spooky, eh?


Visual Effects now. Ian McKellen was so NOT the right voice for Iorek Byrnison. This is going to Transformers, which was a surprisingly good little film.


The Golden Compass and a big CGI polar bear won. Oh, look at the geeks on the stage. My darling geeks. You shall inherit the earth.


Sweeney Todd wins art rirection. It also wins art direction. I love the way that lady says Tim Burton.


Supporting actor now. And another good montage on all past winners. Tommy Lee Jones winning for The Fugitive. He got on the stage that year, and said: “For everyone wondering, I am not REALLY bald.” Heh. And Cuba Gooding, Jr, and his truly great speech. I like shit like that, what can I say…

Casey Affleck, and force perspective is sandwiching him between Calista Flockhart and Cameron Diaz. Nice. But Javier Bardem is winning this.

Philip Seymour Hoffman – “...and I am never sick at sea.” That Aaron Sorkin, and his Gilbert and Sullivanisms…

“I am Siva – the God of Death.” That is a better catchphrase than the milkshake line, to be honest.

Javier Bardem wins. He speaks Spanish, and says something about Spain. El Pueblo unido jamas sera vencido, Javier. No nos moveran.


Oscar’s salute to binoculars and periscopes. Bad dreams – an Oscar salute. This is one great show this year.

Keri Russell presents the second nominated song. It’s half four in the morning. I have to leave for work in exactly two and a half hours. It’s going to be a particularly cheery Monday.
Anyway, the song is over. Can’t say I am a fan.

Owen Wilson’s presenting best live action short. Le Mozart des Pickpockets wins. A lot of non-Americans winning this year. That’s great.

Jerry Seinfeld as the bee from that film about bees – what was it called now – is presenting the best animated short. Peter and the Wolf wins. The announcer messes Susie Templeton’s name. She calls her Jackie Chan.

Best supporting actress now, and a montage of past winners. Alan Arkin presenting. Let’s hope for a surprise. I think Amy “I ain’t got no dayceaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa” Ryan is winning this. Ruby Dee, and the scene where she tells Denzel she will leave him. Fucking fantastic scene.
Tilda Swinton wins! That’s great. I loved Michael Clayton. What are you wearing, Tilda? That was a good speech, though.


Jessica Alba, her impressive body of work, and the technical awards.

James McAvoy and Josh Brolin presenting best adapted screenplay. The Coen Brothers are walking away with this one. Yep.

A little bit now on how the whole thing happens. I don’t want to do this again, but this is great. A friend of mine used to work for PwC. He had to do far less glamorous stuff than tallying the Oscar votes.

Kristin Chenoweth, like a hobbit with tits, sings the second song from Enchanted. She does a great job, but the song itself is not that great. I didn’t particularly like that sequence, but this production number is really good. Interesting range this year – the first song was bizarrely minimalist (getting rats to dance on cue must have been a problem), the second more conventional, and this one is rather huge.

A commercial break and I start getting ready for work. I really hope I can get to see the final award before I leave for work.

Judy Dench and Halle Berry! Heh! Seth Rogen and the Superbad kid. Best Sound Editing. Bourne Three wins. Per Hallberg – what a great name. A Swedish Jew, maybe? Best sound editing – does this go to No Country as I predicted? Nope – Bourne Three. I am getting these predictions wrong left, right, and centre…

Best Actress – Forest Whitaker to present it to Julie Christie. Please let it be her, and please let her go postal about something political… Wow! Marion Cotillard! Expect to see her in a third-rate summer blockbuster in 2009 – that Oscar opens doors… Good on her, though. That was a good movie.


The song from Once, which, strangely enough, you don’t want to hear again once you’ve heard it once.

Jack Nicholson presents a montage of all the best film winners of the past 80 years. The Greatest Show on Earth! Around the World in 80 Days! Ordinary People! So many greats…
Renee “Yo-Yo” Zellweger is presenting film editing. This might go to Bourne Three for a Bourne sweep, but I predicted Roderick Jaynes so I shall stand by that. Nope, it’s Bourne. Because the most amount of cuts is tantamount to great editing.

“Someone just took the lead in their Oscar pool based on a guess!” Oh Bruce, you catty so-and-so…

Nicole Kidman – she got there late. Special award for Robert Boyle.

Back from commercial, and Penelope Cruz is presenting best foreign film. I am a regular on the Four Word Film Review site, and one of my finest achievements, even if I say so myself, is my review for The Odyssey – Penelope, Cruise. Such wit, eh? Anyway, The Counterfeiters wins. And the director gives a good speech.
Patrick Dempsey presents the final song – the third one from Enchanted. John McLaughlin sings, Amy Adams and a bunch of other people dance. This was my least favourite song of the film. And the only thing I can think about right now is Monday morning traffic on the second Bosphorus bridge. Fun. Anyway, John Travolta literally waltzes in to present the award. Falling Slowly from Once wins. Even though I don’t like the song, I am glad it won purely for the novelty value. “Make art, make art.” Nice. “That guy is so arrogant.” Nicer.

I must now get ready for work. I will finish this up in a couple of hours from memory.

Please feel free to comment. Thank you for reading this ramble so far.

(Both photos I've used are from, by the way)



I managed to see the entire show after all. I even took a photo of myself right next to the telly as Denzel announced the best film winners, but I can’t upload it to Blogger for some reason. Maybe Blogger doesn’t accept fugly. Self-deprecation, thy name is Ali.

After I stopped doing the live blog, and packed up for work, Jon Stewart comes back on stage, and brings out Marketa Irglova, who was cut off with the music. Very classy move, and very touching. William Goldman has written about this before, and I totally agree with him: Don’t cut people off when they’re giving their speeches, make the show more self-indulgent. Also, this from Goldman again, they should let us know the vote tallies. It’d be a great water-cooler topic.

Robert Elswitt then comes on to win best cinematography for There Will Be Blood. I will post my review of the film later this week, but just a taste of things to come: it’s crap. Astute as ever, me…

The In Memoriam section did not feature Ulrich Mühe, Brad Renfro or Roy Scheider, even though Renfro died before Heath Ledger, and Mühe died in July.

When it was time for original score, which went to Dario Marianelli as I’d predicted (my predictions were 41% on the money, if you’re interested), I had already decided to shave and shower so I might have missed some stuff here and there. Anyway, he won – good. Then Taxi To The Dark Side won best feature documentary, and all I could think of was how great a title Taxi to the Dark Side could have been for Revenge of the Sith. Anytime anyone mentions the dark side of anything, I can’t help but think of Palpatine in Jedi, chewing the plastic scenery, going “Everything that has transpired has done so according to MY design.” Interestingly, a lot of people know that speech by heart. At least they think they do because when they get to the end, they always say “I am afraid the battle station will be quite operational when your friends arrive.” Actually, the line goes, “I am afraid the deflector shield will be quite operational when your friends arrive.” It’s attention to detail like that that makes me such a hit with the lay-deez.

Next up was Harrison Ford, who presented the best original screenplay award to Diablo Cody. Cody might not be a lady, but she’s all woman. And backlash my backside. The room erupted into applause when Ford called her name. She ended up giving a fairly run-of-the-mill speech, punctuated with sobs. Worse things happen at sea, luv.

Then Helen Mirren came on to give the best actor award, and it was some dreadful copy she had to read. Anyway, Daniel Day-Lewis won for the loudest performance in the history of film. “I’ve abandoned my boy – I’VE ABANDONED MY CHILD!” Oh, shut up.

Finally, best director went to the Coens, whose No Country For Old Men also won best picture. Everyone lived happily ever after.

I went to the gym during lunch, and this blast from the past was on VH1. Enjoy, and thanks for reading my self-indulgent odyssey. Please check back later this week for all sorts of reviews, and commentary. Cheers, ta, thank you very much…


Oz Kanka said...

Bugger the awards, I was amazed to find that the Oscars has a preferential voting system. No wonder Australia is a fairly stable place, they took their voting system from the Oscars.

Good stuff Ali, much better to read your account than actually staying up all night.

gc said...

Jon spoke of superdelegates in the Oscar voting system (referring to the unpledged delegates in the Democratic Presidential Primary), but I'm sure that's not how it works.

Ali Arikan said...

He did a good job, I thought. There were a few strange choices (like the lack of a production number during a song that most requires it), but, on the whole, I thought it was a good ceremony this year. Better than last year's, for sure, and better than the first time Stewart hosted the show.