Grab your snack plates and your beverages, and put your pencils down. That’s right, the 2011 Academy Awards (hosted by Anne Hathaway and James Franco) are about to begin — and the time for last-minute tweaks to your Oscar Ballots has passed. (You know you’re just guessing at Best Documentary Short anyway, although Killing in the Name sounds like a winning kind of title, no?) So click through past the jump starting at 8:30 p.m. ET for my running commentary (keep hitting refresh — newest comments will show up at the top) and then head to the comments section to add your own opinions. Y’all ready? Here we go…
11:44 Thanks for hanging out with me tonight, folks! Maybe not the funniest Oscar telecast in recent memory, but lots of deserving winners when it was all said and done. Until next year, when Just Go With It and Justin Bieber: Never Say Never duke it out for Best Picture…
11:39 This children’s chorus is incredibly amusing in its unpolished choreography. (Also, Anne, be careful with those exuberant high-fives…a child might get hurt!)
11:37 Indeed, The King’s Speech takes best picture. “Not an obvious film to back,” says producer Emile Sherman of a film that sounds like broccoli, but totally tastes like chocolate.
11:36 Brace for tomorrow’s headlines: “The King’s Sweep!”
11:34 The montage of images from the Best Picture nominees and the audio from The King’s Speech‘s climactic speech is pretty damn effective.
11:32 Steven Spielberg reminds the nine about-to-lose pictures that they’re all in excellent company.
11:27 Colin also thanks “Harvey, who first took me on 20 years ago, when I was a mere child sensation.” Maybe Ms. Bullock and this guy could team up to host next year?
11:26 Colin is experiencing “stirring somewhere in the upper abdominals which are threatening to form themselves into dance moves, which, joyous as they may be for me, would be extremely problematic if they made their way to my legs before I get off stage.”
11:25 COLIN FIRTH WINS! “I have a feeling my career’s just peaked.”
11:22 Sandra’s Oscar zingers > James and Anne’s Oscar zingers.
11:20 Sandra Bullock, who once starred in a sequel to Miss Congeniality, is now introducing Best Actor nominees at the Academy Awards. Well-played.
11:17 Natalie thanks everyone who ever hired her. And the people on films that no one ever talks about. (Loving the fact that she names ‘em all by name.)
11:16 The Oscar goes to Natalie Portman for Black Swan. (I know…it was folly to root for Jennifer Lawrence.)
11:13 Love that Oscar isn’t skimping on the clips of the Best Actress nominees, though I’d prefer they double their length in place of Jeff Bridges’ tributes. When he says the nominees’ names, it freaks me out! “NATALIE!” (Eeep.)
11:11 That new Dana Delany show looks fun. (Yeah, I’m avoiding discussing Anne and James’ intro to Best Actor/Actress trophies.)
11:06 The award for Introducing Annette Bening With the Least Possible Amount of Energy goes to…James Franco.
11:05 Now THAT is how you give a shout-out to your mother.
11:02 Oscar for Best Director goes to Tom Hooper for The King’s Speech. Can’t be mad at the guy who pulled together that final symphonic masterpiece, and who references the “triangle of man-love” in his acceptance speech.
11:01 ANNE! Why’d you wait so long to break out that hot-ass royal blue gown?!
10:59 Golden Globes didn’t drag like this. Is it the fact that they serve alcohol, or that they also honor TV stars?
10:56 Halle Berry pays tribute to Lena Horne. They should’ve just played Lena’s rendition of “Stormy Weather” instead of bringing out the Celine, no?
10:53 Wonder if they asked for silence, or if they’ve hit the mute button on audience applause? (Probably the latter.)
10:52 Celine Dion singing “Smile” for In Memoriam segment. But is she in her patented bubble of humidity?
10:47 Funniest speech of the night, as Randy tries to follow Oscar rules and not read a list of names. “I want to be good television so badly! I’ve been on this show any number of times and I’ve slowed it down almost every time.” “They only nominate four songs? There’s not one…what about Cinematography, there’s five. You can find a fifth song from someone, But hell with it. Thanks, it might’ve beat me!”
10:46 Randy Newman wins his second Oscar (on his 20th nomination) for “We Belong Together.” The Academy probably should have a Randy Newman chicken.
10:44 Not sure why Gwyneth is standing frozen in one spot, looking nervous as a bunny in a Rottweiler cage, but this isn’t her first time at the awards-show rodeo!
10:43 Gwyneth better come correct in Muppets-inspired attire.
10:42 “Remarkable singer, actress, and woman…Jennifer Hudson.” Alrighty then!
10:41 Is it me or the gowns? Anne’s costume changes aren’t really registering with me.
10:35 Best Fim Editing goes to The Social Network. Oscar Highlight Clip That Made Me Squirm Hardest goes to 127 Hours.
10:34 Best Visual Effects goes to Inception. AS IF it could’ve gone to anything else.
10:33 Is it just me or did that tidal wave clip from Hereafter look crazy fake on TV?
10:31 Maybe I need more wine, but didn’t even break a smile during this Robert Downey Jr-Jude Law back-and-forth.
10:29 Don’t put words in Bob Hope’s mouth. Blech.
10:28 Billy always wanted to do what Bob Hope did. “So I moved to California and bought land in the valley.” Badum-bum!
10:26 Billy Crystal takes the stage. Wondering if he’s thinking he could show these demographic-approved hosts a thing or two about scoring laughs.
10:22 Best Documentary Feature goes to Inside Job. “Three years after a horific financial crisis caused by massive fraud, not a single financial executive has gone to jail, and that’s wrong,” says winner Charles Ferguson, in what is most definitely going to end the night as strongest opening acceptance-speech statement. I need to haul ass and see this doc already.
10:21 Sigh, she’s going the “illuminating the human condition” route, instead.
10:20 C’mon Oprah, ratchet up the energy in the house and give away some free crap!
10:17 Just spilled water on my remote. GAH!
10:15 The Oscar for Best Live-Action Short goes to God of Love. “Oh, I should’ve gotten a haircut,” says shaggy-maned winner Luke Matheny, most endearingly energetic speech of the night.
10:13 Strangers No More nabs Best Documentary Short.
10:12 “Shorts are also the hardest categories to predict on your home Oscar ballot. One missed pick could mean the difference between you ending your night ending in victory or defeat.” –Jake Gyllenhaal
10:11 What’s with James Franco’s stilted teleprompter readings? (Not everything is a performance-art project, dude.)
10:09 #TrueFacts: I am indeed listening to “Candy” during the commercial break. “Oooh-oh, yeah-yeah-yeah-yeah-yeah.“
10:06 Mandy Moore’s dress is spectacular. But I can’t lie: I wish she was singing one of my fave karaoke jams, “Candy,” instead of this soporific ballad.
10:04 The award for best sound mixing does not go to Oscars for whatever foolery is occurring during Randy Newman’s performance right now.
10:03 President Obama gives a shout-out to “As Time Goes By.” Gwyneth Paltrow is totally gonna give him grief in the next issue of Goop for not picking “Country Strong.”
10:00 Colleen Atwood takes home Best Costume Design for Alice in Wonderland. Sheer black gloves take home my award for Most Unneccessary Accouterment.
9:59 “It was always an ambition of mine to lose an Oscar to Rick Baker. This is better,” says his co-winner, Dave Elsey.
9:58 “That’s gross,” she says, eyeing clips from eventual winner The Wolfman.
9:57 Cate Blanchett in a gown designed in Elfish.
9:55 Marisa Tomei gives a shout-out to Oscar tech types. “Congratulations, nerds!” says James Franco.
9:52 “OFF WITH HIS HEAD!” (Never gets old.)
9:51 Inception also wins for Sound Editing. (But they weren’t really gonna give an Oscar to Tron: Legacy or Unstoppable, were they?)
9:50 Another union shout-out in an acceptance speech. If the orchestra is composed on union members, dude should not get played off, right?
9:49 Best Sound Mixing goes to Inception. Is this really happening? Keep your eye on the top.
9:48 Salt got an Oscar nomination? Seriously? (That’s never gonna sound right to my ears.)
9:46 No f-bombs during Trent’s speech, but some of us haven’t forgotten when he used to try to sneak the naughty word into his song lyrics.
9:45 Oscar goes to Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross for The Social Network.
9:44 Yep, nominees for Best Original Score. (Loved King’s Speech and Social Network here, and stoked that the telecast is giving us a little refresher course in all the nominated films.)
9:43 Movie-theme mashup. This leading up to something?
9:41 Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman. Why is my brain yelling “Awww-stray-len for beer!”?
9:39 Blah blah blah ABC blah blah ABC and Oscars…”help shape the future”…oh em gee really?
9:36 Not every day you hear a Web address mentioned in an Oscar acceptance speech, and have it turn out kinda moving. Visit dickeklund.com, implores Christian.
9:35 Christian Bale’s “forgot wife’s name” turns out to be “too choked up to continue.” Whew.
9:34 Christian says he won’t drop the f-bomb like costar Melissa Leo: “I’ve done that plenty before.”
9:33 Christian Bale thanks David O. Russell for being a “great spirit on set.” Methinks Lily Tomlin would disagree?
9:32 And the award for Best Supporting Actor goes to…Batman!
9:31 Don’t know whether to root for John Hawkes or Christian Bale. Will gladly accept either of the above.
9:30 Hopefully no horses were killed in the creation of Reese Witherspoon’s high ponytail.
9:29 Denmark’s In a Better World wins Best Foreign Language Film.
9:28 Russell Brand gets a bigger laugh for Oscar shtick than at any point in recent SNL hosting gig: “What Helen Mirren really said was ‘Yo! My Oscar winning performance as a queen was much more realistic than Colin Firth’s as a king!’”
9:24 Bless Anne’s heart for gamely fighting her way through this laugh-free “Hugh Jackman stood me up” musical interlude.
9:23 Anne breaks out the tux, and the glittery platform heels. Not a bad look for her.
9:19 “My father always said to me I would be a late bloomer.” –David Seidler, self-proclaimed oldest-ever winner for Best Original Screenplay, for The King’s Speech. “I hope that record is broken quickly, and often.” Nice to hear such a lovely speech from a guy winning for his way with words.
9:18 That was a choice clip from The Kids Are All Right. “Same goes for the micro-managing.”
9:16 Sorkin keeps on talking. WTG!
9:15 Sorkin hat-tips Paddy Chayefsky’s Network, promptly gets threatening-violin-about-to-play-you-off treatment. #WritersLoseAgain. Sigh.
9:14 Rooting for Winter’s Bone for Best Adapted Screeplay. But not surprisingly, it goes to Aaron Sorkin for The Social Network.
9:13 Josh Brolin and Javier Bardem all dressed up for their wacky new Vaudeville act!
9:12 Just found a piece of boef bourguignon on my shirt: The perils of live-blogging and eating at the same time.
9:11 I am dying laughing at that Fancy Feast ad! The fluffy kitten’s eyes demand this response!
9:08 Toy Story 3 wins!
9:06 Time for Best Animated Feature. Anyone else out there spend the last 15 minutes of Toy Story 3 filling their popcorn bucket with a flood of salty tears?
9:04 Best Animated Short goes to The Lost Thing: “Our film is about a creature that nobody pays any attention to, so this is wonderfully ironic.”
9:04 But those kids sure did look pretty!
9:03 Not sure any part of Mila and Justin’s “animated backdrop” shtick worked, from a comedy or understandability perspective.
9:00 “It’s the young and hip Oscars!” says Anne, chuckling about Melissa Leo’s censored moment.
8:58 Melissa breathless, speechless, waving to the balcony seats. “When I watched Kate two years ago, it looked so f****** easy!” Way to drop an f-bomb and still keep it classy!
8:57: Melissa Leo wins! Asks Kirk Douglas to pinch here.
Kirk: “You’re more beautiful than you were in The Fighter.”
Melissa: “Hey, you’re pretty good lookin’ yourself — what are you doin’ later on?”
8:56 Kirk scores another laugh struggling with that blasted envelope, further delaying the announcement. “I will never forget this moment. Three times, and I lost every time.” Awesome.
8:53 Best Supporting Actress time. I understand why Melissa Leo is the front-runner, but isn’t it amazing Amy Adams was just as convincing in The Fighter as she was in Enchanted and Doubt?
8:52 “Where were you when I was making pictures?” Kirk asks Anne, scoring an unexpected laugh with a “dirty old man” joke.
8:51 Holla to Mr. Kirk Douglas, from my hometown of Amsterdam, NY!
8:47 Wally Pfister wins Best Cinematography for Inception. And rightfully so! Here’s hoping summer’s magnificent blockbuster/mind-bender wins a few more prizes, right? (Note subtle shoutout to unions, as well as plea to applauding audience not to delay sure-to-be-cut-off acceptance speech.)
8:46 Nope, Robert Stromberg takes a classy approach, doesn’t call for beheading of rival nominees. Adds jaunty cap to Oscar statuette.
8:45 Oscar for Art Direction goes to Alice in Wonderland. Please let the acceptance speech include the line “Off with their heads!!!!”
8:43 I hate that when I see/hear a Titanic necklace reference, my mind turns to Britney Spears’ “Oops!…I Did It Again.”
8:42 Tom Hanks here to present awards for Cinematography and Art Direction.
8:41 Lesbian subtext in Toy Story 3: “Where’s the dad?”
8:40 Okay, maybe not the world’s funniest opening monologue, but James Franco’s grandma is all kinds of awesome. “I just saw Markie Mark!”
8:38 Anne scores another laugh: “You look very appealing to a younger demographic as well!”
8:34 “Dance of the Brown Duck” is absurdly brilliant. Love that our hosts are sacrificing dignity in favor of comedy!
8:33 Hathaway! Coulda been one of the sisters in The Boxer!
8:32 “Ambien! Don’t mind if I do!” Please let the inside of Alec Baldwin’s mind be awesome!
8:30 Best Picture montage playing out like a lovely, haunting ballet. Bada-da-da-da…I’m lovin’ it.
8:28 I know tonight is all about Important Films, but based on that ad, I’m totally going to go see Source Code.