Tuesday, February 24, 2009

2009 Oscar Liveblog

This is an archive of the liveblog comments I made during the February 22, 2009 Oscar ceremony via Twitter. I've added some additional comments to help put things in context. The times listed are Pacific Standard.

After far too many hours of pre-show on far too many networks -- all of which is best to ignore -- I tuned into ABC at 5 to watch the final half hour of hype before the proper ceremony started. While every single moment of it was embarrassing, the most embarrassing part is when they made the accountants at PriceWaterhouse Cooper walk the red carpet, doing turns as if they were one of the starlets wearing glamorous dresses.
  • When they went to school to become accountants, did they ever imagine they'd have to suffer THAT indignity?
  • No video montage before the host introduction? It's a new era.
That was me making a lame joke about the Australian accent. It was funnier in the moment.
  • My prediction that this ceremony would include more singing and dancing came true sooner than I expected.
Some people enjoyed the Tony's-esque nature of Hugh Jackman's hosting, some didn't. I thought it was tolerable. I'm just glad they kept it to only two numbers.

The broadcast tried a new method of honoring the nominees in the acting categories before the awards were handed out. Instead of showing a clip from the movie, they had previous Oscar winners talk about each nominee individually. Our first look at this method was for the supporting actress category. I wasn't too sure about this method at first.

  • I hope they don't do these three minute tributes for each category. We'll be here a looooong time.
Penelope Cruz won.
  • I consider Penelope Cruz a surprise win. Is that the case, or am I out of touch?
Penelope Cruz gave part of her acceptance speech in Spanish.
The Best Original and Best Adapted Screenplay categories were fired off quickly, one right after the next.
  • Now that those pesky writers are out of the way, let's get to the Oscars we care about.

  • It was very generous of the Academy to include clips of -Space Chimps- in the animation montage.
...Because seriously, that movie would not be on the Academy's radar at all if there weren't so few animated movies per year. Didn't see any clips of, say, Meet the Spartans during any motages. Yes, the Academy is permitted to pass qualitative judgments.

After the montage, the Best Animated Short award was handed out. The winner was called La Maison en Petits Cubes. To which I said...
...but I now realize actually means "the house IN small cubes." That's what three years of French class taught me.

Strange thing: the makers of that animated short with the French title were Japanese. The winner, in very labored English, thanked a series of people and items (such as his pencil). He ended by thanking "Mr. Roboto."
  • Funniest moment of the night so far: self-stereotyping Asian guy
  • Either that, or a Mister Roboto contributed significantly to the production of the animated short winner.
Despite my early reservations, I grew to truly enjoy the extra time and attention being given to the admiration of each individual craft. Turned out they were paying extra attention to everyone, not just the actors.
  • I changed my mind - this extra time they're taking to appreciate the crafts they're honoring is a nice touch.
  • The best acceptance speeches are the ones that aren't a list of thank-you's.
...I said that after a particularly boring laundry-list-style acceptance speech. But it's always true, no matter what. Future nominees should take that into serious consideration.
...Because she's not; but she keeps getting foisted into the spotlight as if she were.

Later, a German filmmaker won Best Live Action Short.
Hugh Jackman took the stage again, and I realized he'd had a particularly long absence.
  • I keep forgetting Hugh Jackman is host. We're not seeing much of him. Ah, more singing and dancing
That was the second and final major dance number. It pushed the limits of tolerability. But I was willing to let it go... a feeling I would have retracted had there been any more.

Soon came Heath Ledger's win for The Dark Knight.
Bill Maher handed out the Best Documentary award, and was his usual smarmy self... which I enjoy.
People towards the back of the auditorium had to negotiate a small fence in order to get to the stage.
  • The visual effects guys couldn't figure out how to unlatch their little fence.
He really does. Check out any footage of him.

Jerry Lewis was given the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award.
  • Just so that the public is aware, Jerry Lewis is being protested by a faction of MS sufferers. But he wins anyway.
I was made aware of this when I found myself in Hollywood the day before the ceremony. Click here for their complaints.

Jerry spoke for less than a minute.
  • That was a very short acceptance speech for a lifetime achieve-y type of thing.
Slumdog Millionaire composer A.R. Rahman won two Oscars in ten minutes - one for Best Original Score, and one for Best Original Song.
Then came the annual tribute to those who died in the last year.
  • Yay! Tribute to dead people! My prediction for biggest applause: Heath Ledger.
  • Oh, right... Heath was in LAST year's montage. I'd like to change my vote to Paul Newman.
The nominees for Best Picture were listed off. When they cut to David Fincher in the audience...
  • I believe David Fincher just smirked when people cheered for him.
What were those white ribbons that some of the nominees were wearing?
Kate Winslet takes Best Actress.
  • I like Kate Winslet and all. I just didn't think she'd win for -The Reader-.
Robert De Niro makes with the funny when talking up Sean Penn before the Best Actor winner was announced.
The whole night, that kid was glowering and pouting. We need an intervention now before he grows up taking himself too seriously.
Finally, Slumdog Millionaire swoops in to take Best Picture.
  • -Slumdog- is a win that makes perfect sense... which is not something you can say for every best picture winner.
...I'm looking at you, Chicago.
  • Since -Slumdog Millionaire- won, the whole auditorium should break out into a Bollywood dance scene.
  • I think this was a pretty good Oscarcast. It lost some momentum after the first hour and half maybe, but it was all good.
And it ended up time, too.