Tuesday, March 1, 2011

2011 Oscar Liveblog

This is an archive of the comments I made on Twitter during the February 27, 2011 Oscar telecast, enhanced with a timeline of the televised ceremony, in Pacific time.

3:00 PM - Oscar pre-show coverage has already started on E! and locally.  It's best to avoid watching it.

5:12 PM - Settle in for a long night in front of the TV.  Am immediately greeted by horrible red carpet questions.  Host Robin Roberts asks Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban who picked the music in the limo on their way to the show.  Ugh.

5:25 PM - They give a brief glimpse inside the production trailer, with the director and others sitting in front of 20 monitors.  This sort of thing might be interesting to viewers for more than three seconds.

5:30 PM - The show opens with a montage of Best Picture nominees.
  • I was told they were doing away with montages this year. Instead, they open with a big one.
5:33 PM - For the opening, pre-filmed bit with the hosts, the broadcast falls back on the old trope of inserting the hosts into recognizable scenes from the year's movies.
5:38 PM - The clip finishes, and the hosts take the stage in the flesh.  James Franco comes out with phone in hand - Twitter has made its official stage debut at the Oscars.



- The jokey banter between Franco and Anne Hathaway lands with a resounding thud.  Mercifully, it's short.

5:42 PM - Tom Hanks arrives to hand out the first awards.  He draws attention to the fact that the stage is surrounded by several arced video screens that transition into a Gone with the Wind theme background.  I remember hearing that the Oscar producers planned to "bring us inside the movies" or something like that.  This is apparently what they meant.

5:44 PM - The first award of the night, Best Art Direction, goes to Alice in Wonderland's Robert Stromberg and Karen O'Hara.

5:46 PM - Hanks also presents the Best Cinematography award to Wally Pfister for Inception.  Then the telecast goes to the first commercial, having handed out awards to older, unfamous people in categories that few people care about.  On the way to the commercial, the announcer runs through a list of upcoming categories and presenters.
  • That bumper out might as well have said, "We promise young famous people when we come back"
5:51 PM - 94-year-old, post-stroke Kirk Douglas takes the stage; so, not so much with the youthfulness the Oscars are angling for.  He hands out the award for Best Supporting Actress.  He teases the nominees by delaying the winner announcement as long as possible.
- Finally, he announces Melissa Leo as the winner.  Somewhere in her speech, she says "fuck."

6:01 PM - Mila Kunis and Justin Timberlake start talking animation.  Once again, they draw attention to the video screens surrounding the stage which "take us into" an animated backdrop.
  • The changing backgrounds are as annoying as I imagined them when reading the pre-show coverage
- Timberlake makes "an app for that" joke and pulls out his phone.  We're going to be seeing more and more phones on stage in years to come.

- "The Lost Thing" wins Best Animated Short.

- Toy Story 3 wins Best Animated Feature.
6:11 PM - Anne Hathaway gives a quick tribute to the very first Academy Awards ceremony in 1929.

6:13 PM - Javier Bardem and James Brolin hand out the Screenplay awards.  Social Network wins Best Adapted.  Aaron Sorkin's speech goes longer than writers are allowed to go.
  • Did you really think the cue off music would work for Aaron Sorkin? You've heard his dialogue, right?



- Original Screenplay goes to King's Speech.
6:23 PM - Hathaway sings a parody of "On My Own" from Les Miserables, jokingly lamenting that Hugh Jackman refused to sing with her... which couldn't possibly be true.
6:26 PM - Russell Brand and Helen Mirren do a comedic bit which has Mirren speaking French and Brand mistranslating.  The Best Foreign Film goes to In a Better World.
  • Just noticed they went back to "the Oscar goes to..." Last year, it was "the winner is..."
6:29 PM - Reese Witherspoon hands out the Best Actor award to Christian Bale.
6:38 PM - Academy president Tom Sherak and Disney/ABC Television Group president Anne Sweeney essentially talk about renewing their contract with each other.



6:40 PM
- Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman award the Best Original Score to Social Network's Trent Reznor.  The telecast repeatedly cuts to David Fincher, sitting with who I assume is his daughter.
6:46 PM - Scarlett Johansson and Matthew McConaughey do the Sound awards.  Mixing and Editing both go to Inception.

6:53 PM - Marisa Tomei gives a quick mention to the sci-tech Oscars, which were presented at a different ceremony so as not to nerd up the joint.

6:55 PM - Cate Blanchett hands out the award for Best Makeup to The Wolfman, then Best Costume Design to Alice in Wonderland.  Colleen Atwood gives a lengthy acceptance speech from a single index card.
7:00 PM - They play a video where people on the street are asked to name their favorite Best Original Song winner.  Obama is the last person to name a song.  Yes, that Obama.

7:02 PM - Kevin Spacey introduces performances for two of the Best Song nominees.  Randy Newman performs his song from Toy Story 3, followed by Mandy Moore and Zachary Levi from Tangled.


7:11 PM - Amy Adams and Jake Gyllenhaal present the Short Film nominees.  Gyllenhaal notes that these can be vital tools in winning your Oscar pool, so everyone should strive to see the nominees.  True, but it didn't help me.  The Best Documentary Short winner was Strangers No More.  Best Live-Action Short was God of Love.
7:18 PM - In an amusing bit, some movie scenes are remixed into music videos using auto-tune and fancy editing.



7:20 PM - Oprah hands out the Oscar for Best Documentary Feature.  Inside Job wins.

7:26 PM - Billy Crystal honors Bob Hope and introduces a clip reel of Hope's Oscar-hosting highlights.
- The end of the Hope clip reel is doctored to make it sound like Hope is introducing the next presenters - Jude Law and Robert Downey, Jr.  They give Best Visual Effects to Inception and Best Editing to Social Network.
7:41 PM - The remaining two Best Song nominees do their performances.  First AR Rahman and Florence Welch for 127 Hours.
7:43 PM - Then Gwyneth Paltrow sings her song from Country Strong.
7:45 PM - Finally they award the winner for Best Original Song.  It goes to Randy Newman for Toy Story 3.  He frets that his speech will slow the show down.
7:52 PM - The telecast comes straight out of commercials into the In Memoriam clip reel, with Celine Dion singing live underneath it.  The audience was clearly instructed to hold their applause until the end, and the camera did not pull away from clip reel in favor of the performer as it did last year.
7:56 PM - Halle Berry gives a special tribute to Lena Horne at the end of the In Memoriam reel.
8:01 PM - Hilary Swank and Kathryn Bigelow present the Best Diretor award.  It goes to Tom Hooper.

8:06 PM - Annette Bening introduces Governors Awards winners - Kevin Brownlow, Eli Wallach, and Francis Ford Coppola.




8:10 PM - Jeff Bridges singles out each of the Best Actress nominees for individual love, then announces the winner - Natalie Portman.
  • Did any of the perverts drooling over 13-year-old Natalie Portman in -The Professional- ever think they'd see this moment?


8:20 PM
- Sandra Bullock gives the individual love treatment to the Best Actor nominees, then announces the winner - Colin Firth.
8:31 PM - Steven Spielberg takes the stage to announce the Best Picture winner - King's Speech.


8:39 PM - As if the show hasn't already gone on too long, some sort of children's choir is trotted out on stage to sing "Somewhere Over the Rainbow."  Kind of strange, but hey, good for them.
So those are the minutes for this year's Oscars.  Check back in a couple days for my final summary, and then we can put this awards season to rest.  See you then!

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