7 Mar



11:58pm/est: BEST PICTURE

  • Nominees: “Avatar” (20th Century Fox, 12/18), “The Blind Side” (Lions Gate, 11/20), “District 9” (TriStar, 8/14), “An Education” (Sony Pictures Classics, 10/9), “The Hurt Locker” (Summit, 6/26), “Inglourious Basterds” (The Weinstein Company, 8/21), “Precious” (Lions Gate, 11/6), “A Serious Man” (Focus Features, 10/2), “Up” (Disney, 5/29), “Up in the Air” (Paramount, 12/4)
  • Projection: “The Hurt Locker”
  • Presenter(s): Tom Hanks

: Make no mistake about it: David has slain Goliath! “The Hurt Locker,” which first premiered at the 2008 Toronto International Film Festival but only became a critical darling in mid-2009, establishes a new record for the lowest-grossing best picture winner ($14,700,000 domestically); over the past 31 years — the time period for which widespread data is available — no best picture winner earned less than $43,984,230 domestically, the box-office take of “The Last Emperor” (1987). For the 15th time in 20 years, a film with the lead or co-lead in total nominations has won best picture (both “The Hurt Locker” and “Avatar” had nine). And Bigelow, who had already become the first female to win the best director Oscar, also becomes the first female to have directed a best picture Oscar winner. (For much more information on “The Hurt Locker,” check out a primer on the film that I recently posted and the audio of a post-SAG screening Q&A that I conducted with its stars Jeremy Renner and Anthony Mackie back in November.) Meanwhile, “Avatar,” which has earned more money at the box-office than any other film in history ($720,180,000-and-counting domestically, $2,559,189,000-and-counting internationally), proved unable to overcome snubs in the acting and screenplay categories (only one film has ever managed to win under the same circumstances, and that was 77 years ago). And fellow best picture nominees “An Education” (3 total nods), “District 9” (4 total nods), “A Serious Man” (2 total nods), and “Up in the Air” (8 total nods) become only the 135th, 136th, 137th, and 138th best picture nominees in 82 years of Oscars to go home empty-handed.

11:53pm/est: BEST DIRECTOR

  • Nominees: Kathryn Bigelow (“The Hurt Locker”), James Cameron (“Avatar”), Lee Daniels (“Precious”), Jason Reitman (“Up in the Air”), Quentin Tarantino (“Inglourious Basterds”)
  • Projection: Bigelow
  • Presenter(s): Barbra Streisand

: Bigelow makes history by becoming the first female in the 82 years of the Academy Awards to win the best director Oscar — taking the prize over her ex-husband Cameron, to boot! Streisand can be overheard saying, “I am so honored to present you this” as she hands her the statuette. I encourage you to check out our recently-posted retrospective of Bigelow’s work and rundown of female directors who paved the way for her and for whom she has paved the way (several of whom cheered her nomination and potential win when I reached out to them for comment last month).

11:39pm/est: BEST ACTRESS

  • Nominees: Sandra Bullock (“The Blind Side”), Helen Mirren (“The Last Station”), Carey Mulligan (“An Education”), Gabourey Sidibe (“Precious”), Meryl Streep (“Julie & Julia”)
  • Projection: Bullock
  • Presenter(s): Michael Sheen (Mirren), Forest Whitaker (Bullock), Oprah Winfrey (Sidibe), Stanley Tucci (Streep), Peter Sarsgaard (Mulligan), Sean Penn (the envelope)

: As I wrote last month, Bullock — who is greeted by a standing ovation — seemed to have an edge in this race because 51 of the previous 82 best actress winners won for a performance in a film that was nominated for best picture (which Bullock’s is); only 11 of the previous 82 best actress winners represented the sole nomination for their film (which Streep is); and since the first SAG Awards in 1994 only 4 women have won the Golden Globe for best actress (either drama or comedy/musical) but not the SAG Award for best actress and still gone on to win the best actress Oscar (which boded well for Bullock but not for Streep) and no woman has ever lost both the Golden Globe for best actress (either drama or comedy/musical) and the SAG Award for best actress and still gone on to win the best actress Oscar (which did not bode well for Mirren, Mulligan, or Sidibe) And that’s before you consider that Streep has already won two Oscars and garnered 16 Oscar nominations; Mirren won an Oscar only 3 years ago; and Mulligan and Sidibe are nominated for their first starring roles; whereas this is the first nomination of Bullock’s long career as a leading lady, and while most people don’t usually win on their first nomination exceptions are periodically made for “America’s Sweethearts”. Some fun facts: (1) only two other Oscar-winning performances have come in movies that grossed more money domestically than Bullock’s ($250,480,000 and counting): Heath Ledger (“The Dark Knight,” 2008) for best supporting actor and Tom Hanks (“Forrest Gump,” 1994) for best actor; (2) Streep’s record number of acting losses grows from 13 to 14; her closest living competition is way behind her: Jack Nicholson (9), Peter O’Toole (8), and Al Pacino (7); and (3) Bullock becomes the first person to ever win a Razzie for worst performance and an Oscar for best performance in the same year.

11:24pm/est: BEST ACTOR

  • Nominees: Jeff Bridges (“Crazy Heart”), George Clooney (“Up in the Air”), Colin Firth (“A Single Man”), Morgan Freeman (“Invictus”), Jeremy Renner (“The Hurt Locker”)
  • Projection: Bridges
  • Presenter(s): Tim Robbins (Freeman), Colin Farrell (Renner), Vera Farmiga (Clooney), Julianne Moore (Firth), Michelle Pfeiffer (Bridges), and Kate Winslet (the envelope)

: Bridges, the beloved child of Hollywood and veteran actor, is greeted with a loud standing ovation and gives a lovely speech thanking his parents and the many others who have helped him over the course of his five-plus decades in the business. He became the clear favorite for this prize as soon as Fox Searchlight unveiled “Crazy Heart” in November — they hadn’t even planned to release it in 2009 but bumped it up when resources became available thanks to “Amelia” flopping. Now, on his fifth nomination, he finally takes home the prize, having waited longer between his first nod and first win than all but three others in Oscar history: Henry Fonda waited 41 years between his best actor nod for “The Grapes of Wrath” (1940) and best actor win for “On Golden Pond” (1981); Alan Arkin waited 40 years between his best actor nomination for “The Russians Are Coming! The Russians Are Coming!” (1966) and his best supporting actor win for “Little Miss Sunshine” (2006); and Jack Palance waited 39 years between his best supporting actor nod for “Sudden Death” (1952) and his best supporting actor win for “City Slickers” (1991).

  • Kathy Bates introduces the best picture nominee “Avatar.” The camera then cuts away to a shot of the director and voiceover-stars of the film.


  • Nominees: “Ajami” (Israel),“The Milk of Sorrow” (Peru), “A Prophet” (France), “The Secret in Their Eyes” (Argentina), “The White Ribbon” (Germany)
  • Projection: “The Secret in Their Eyes”
  • Presenter(s): Pedro Almodovar and Quentin Tarantino

: A big thank you to my sources on the Academy’s foreign language committee, who told me that this moving film appeared to be much better received by Academy audiences than several of the more critically-embraced but stiffer alternatives. This becomes the second Argentinian film to take this prize, joining “The Official Story” (1985).

  • Keanu Reeves introduces the best picture nominee “The Hurt Locker,” which was directed by Kathryn Bigelow, who also directed him in “Point Break” (1991). The camera then cuts away to a shot of the director and voiceover-stars of the film.

11:06pm/est: BEST FILM EDITING

  • Nominees: “Avatar” (Stephen Rivkin/John Refoua/James Cameron), “District 9 (Julian Clarke), “The Hurt Locker” (Bob Murawski/Chris Innis), “Inglourious Basterds (Sally Menke), “Precious” (Joe Klotz)
  • Projection: “The Hurt Locker”
  • Presenter(s): Tyler Perry

: The ACE Eddie winner has now corresponded with the best film editing Oscar for 10 consecutive years. This category is also a crucial stepping stone on the way to a best picture win, as the same film frequently — but not always — wins both.


  • Nominees: “Burma VJ” (Oscilloscope), “The Cove” (Roadside Attractions), “Food Inc.” (Magnolia), “The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers” (Kovno), “Which Way Home” (HBO)
  • Projection: “The Cove”
  • Presenter(s): Matt Damon

Winner: “THE COVE”
: This social-activist doc about dolphin slaughter in Japan caught the attention of blogger Jeffrey Wells and then many high-profile celebrities (including Ben Stiller), who championed it all along the way.

  • Jason Bateman introduces the best picture nominee “Up in the Air,” in which he played a key supporting part. The camera then cuts away to a shot of the director and voiceover-stars of the film.


  • Nominees: “Avatar” (Joe Letteri/Stephen Rosenbaum/Richard Baneham/Andrew R. Jones), “District 9 (Dan Kaufman/Peter Muyzers/Robert Habros/Matt Aitken), “Star Trek” (Robert Guyett/Russell Earl/Paul Kavanagh/Burt Dalton)
  • Projection: “Avatar”
  • Presenter(s): Gerard Butler and Bradley Cooper

Winner: “AVATAR”
: The Camerons and the “Avatar” cast stand up and cheer the winners. Only a few weeks ago I had the pleasure of chatting with Letteri about the pioneering technological work that he and his team did on this film over the course of several years — all that I can say is it’s probably the most deserved honor of the night.


  • Nominees: “Avatar (James Horner), “Fantastic Mr. Fox” (Alexandre Desplat), “The Hurt Locker” (Marco Beltrami/Buck Sanders), “Sherlock Holmes” (Hans Zimmer), “Up” (Michael Giacchino)
  • Projection: “Up”
  • Presenter(s): Jennifer Lopez and Sam Worthington

Winner: “UP”
: Lopez and Worthington introduce well-choreographed dancers — the choreographer/”Dancing with the Stars” judge/Oscar show co-producer Adam Shankman‘s touch — performing to snippets of each of the nominated scores. (Very well done, but not necessarily related to film in any way, is it?) Giacchino wins — a really nice guy who, in addition to “Up,” has worked on many other Pixar films (most recently “Ratatouille”) and also works with J.J. Abrams (this year on both “Star Trek” and television’s “Lost”).

  • Demi Moore introduces James Taylor, who plays guitar over a montage of select Hollywood figures who passed away over the past year. These include Patrick Swayze, Jean Simmons, Tullio Pionelli, Eric Rohmer, David Carradine, Dom DeLuise, Army Archerd, Ron Silver, Brittany Murphy, Lou Jacobi, Betsy Blair, Joseph Wiseman, Jack Cardiff, Kathryn Grayson, Roy E. Disney, Larry Gelbart, Horton Foote, Budd Schulberg (audible applause for this controversial figure), Michael Jackson, Natasha Richardson, Jennifer Jones, David Brown, and last but certainly not least Karl Malden (loud applause).


  • Nominees: “Avatar” (Mauro Fiore), “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Bruno Delbonnel), “The Hurt Locker” (Barry Ackroyd), “Inglourious Basterds (Robert Richardson), “The White Ribbon” (Christian Berger)
  • Projection: “The Hurt Locker”
  • Presenter(s): Sandra Bullock

Winner: “AVATAR”
: An obviously clenched and nervous Bullock introduces the nominees and announces the winner. “Avatar” was not a clear favorite in this category if only because many people don’t know whether to credit the film’s look to its cinematographer or visual effects artists or someone else. (The cinematography of “The White Ribbon” had been named the best of the year by the cinematographers’ guild, but the foreign-language film was not seen by nearly as many members of the full Academy, which votes to determine the winner of this award.)

  • John Travolta introduces the best picture nominee “Inglourious Basterds,” which was written and directed by his “Pulp Fiction” director Quentin Tarantino. The camera then cuts away to a shot of the director and voiceover-stars of the film.
  • Elizabeth Banks calls attention to the Sci-Tech Academy Awards that she helped to present several days ago.

10:26pm/est: BEST SOUND MIXING

  • Nominees: “Avatar” (Christopher Boyes/Gary Summers/Andy Nelson/Tony Johnson), “The Hurt Locker (Paul N.J. Ottosson/Ray Beckett), “Inglourious Basterds” (Michael Minkler/Tony Lamberti/Mark Ulano), “Star Trek (Anna Behlmer/Andy Nelson/Peter J. Devlin), “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” (Greg P. Russell/Gary Summers/Geoffrey Patterson)
  • Projection: “Avatar”
  • Presenter(s): Zac Efron and Anna Kendrick

: “The Hurt Locker” becomes only the third film in the past decade to sweep both sound categories, joining “King Kong” (2005) and “The Bourne Ultimatum” (2008). It now seems very, very likely that “The Hurt Locker” will defeat “Avatar” for the best picture Oscar.


  • Nominees: “Avatar” (Christopher Boyes/Gwendolyn Yates Whittle), “The Hurt Locker (Paul N.J. Ottosson), “Inglourious Basterds” (Wylie Stateman), “Star Trek (Mark Stoeckinger/Alan Rankin), “Up” (Michael Silvers, Tom Myers)
  • Projection: “Avatar”
  • Presenter(s): Zac Efron and Anna Kendrick

: The two presenters present a montage about sound editing/mixing narrated by — who else? — Morgan Freeman. Then “The Hurt Locker,” which won the CAS and BAFTA awards for best sound, beats the epic “Avatar.”

  • Martin and Baldwin preview a clip about horror movies with their own spoof of this year’s breakout genre-hit “Paranormal Activity.” Taylor Lautner and Kristen Stewart, two of the three hot young stars of the “Twilight” franchise (which I wouldn’t really categorize as horror) take the stage and introduce the actual montage. (I noticed Stewart’s hands were tightly clasped behind her back, probably to curb her usual tick of playing with her hair while speaking, no.)
  • Charlize Theron introduces the best picture nominee “Precious.” The camera then cuts away to a shot of the director and voiceover-stars of the film.


  • Nominees: “Bright Star” (Janet Patterson), “Coco Before Chanel (Catherine Leterrier), “The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus” (Monique Prudhomme), “Nine (Colleen Atwood), “The Young Victoria” (Sandy Powell)
  • Projection: “The Young Victoria”
  • Presenter(s): Tom Ford and Sarah Jessica Parker

: Ford and Parker are paired together as presented, presumably because he makes nice clothes and she wears them? Anyway, the great Powell takes the prize. Kudos to her publicists, who ran an aggressive but tasteful campaign. Upon accepting her prize she remarks, “Well, I already have two of these, so I’m feeling greedy.” I’m sure that is of great consolation to her fellow nominees.


  • Nominees: “Avatar” (Rick Carter/Robert Stromberg/Kim Sinclair), “The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus (Dave Warren/Anastasia Masaro/Caroline Smith), “Nine” (John Myhre/Gordon Sim), “Sherlock Holmes (Sarah Greenwood/Katie Spencer), “The Young Victoria” (Patrice Vermette/Maggie Gray)
  • Projection: “Avatar”
  • Presenter(s): Sigourney Weaver

Winner: “AVATAR”
: Weaver, the star of “Avatar,” presents the award to her film’s art directors. Goliath finally picks up its first win of the night; in all likelihood, not its last. Acceptance speech, part 1: “Jim Cameron, this Oscar sees you!” Acceptance speech, part 2: “13 years ago, my doctors told me I wasn’t gonna survive.” Quite the juxtaposition!

  • Colin Firth introduces the best picture nominee “An Education.” The camera then cuts away to a shot of the director and voiceover-stars of the film.


  • Nominees: Mo’Nique (“Precious”), Penelope Cruz (“Nine”), Vera Farmiga (“Up in the Air”), Maggie Gyllenhaal (“Crazy Heart”), Anna Kendrick (“Up in the Air”)
  • Projection: Mo’Nique
  • Presenter(s): Robin Williams

: Despite playing a horrifying character, refusing to campaign for the Oscar, and making some questionable comments/decisions over the past few months, Mo’Nique snags the top prize and receives a hearty and largely standing ovation from the audience. She becomes only the fourth African-American actress (out of 16 nominated) to ever win an Oscar in this category, following in the footsteps of Hattie McDaniel (“Gone with the Wind,” 1939), Whhoopi Goldberg (“Ghost,” 1990), and Jennifer Hudson (“Dreamgirls,” 2006). She thanks the Academy “for showing that it can be about the performance and not the politics.” A win for Mo’Nique’s co-star Gabby Sidibe — and perhaps even for best picture — somehow feels a lot more plausible right now.

  • Queen Latifah introduces a montage of highlights from this year’s honorary Oscars ceremony, where John Calley, Lauren Bacall, Roger Corman, and Gordon Willis. Corman and Bacall are in attendance, stand up, and get a well-deserved standing ovation from the audience. Bacall: talk about a living legend!


  • Nominees: “District 9 (Neill Blomkamp/Terri Tatchell), “An Education” (Nick Hornby), “In the Loop” (Jesse Armstrong/Simon Blackwell/Armando Iannucci/Tony Roche), “Precious” (Geoffrey Fletcher), “Up in the Air” (Jason Reitman/Sheldon Turner)
  • Projection: “Precious”
  • Presenter(s): Rachel McAdams and Jake Gyllenhaal

Winner: “PRECIOUS”
Commentary: This is a stunning upset over “Up in the Air” and makes me believe that “Precious” may be a lot stronger in other categories. Fletcher, a soft-spoken, lovely guy, takes the stage to cheers from Sapphire and everyone else associated with the film, among many others. Fletcher becomes the first African-American to ever win an Oscar for a screenplay, either adapted or original.

  • Jeff Bridges introduces the best picture nominee “A Serious Man,” which was directed by the Coen brothers, who also directed him in “The Big Lebowski” (1998). The camera then cuts away to a shot of the directors and voiceover-stars of the film.

9:38pm/est: BEST MAKEUP

  • Nominees: “Il Divo (Aldo Signoretti/Vittorio Sodano), “Star Trek” (Barney Burman/Mindy Hall/Joel Harlow), “The Young Victoria” (Jon Henry Gordon/Jenny Shircore)
  • Projection: “Star Trek”
  • Presenter(s): Ben Stiller

Winner: “STAR TREK”
: Stiller takes the stage in full Na’vi makeup, speaking the Na’vi language, and informing James Cameron that he’d like to plug his tail into his tail. Then he announces the winner of the category, in which “Avatar” is not even a nominee. There’s a quick cutaway to “Star Trek” star Pine clapping. (Not sure anyone else from the film is even there.)


  • Nominees: The Door (Juanita Wilson/James Flynn), Instead of Abracadabra (Patrik Eklund/Mathias Fjellström), Kavi (Gregg Helvey), Miracle Fish (Luke Doolan/Drew Bailey), The New Tenants (Joachim Back/Tivi Magnusson)
  • Projection: “Miracle Fish”
  • Presenter(s): Carey Mulligan and Zoe Saldana

: This category is brutally unpredictable — last year they gave it to a Holocaust short, this year to a comedy about a gay couple who move into a troubled apartment building takes the category. Go figure!


  • Nominees: China’s Unnatural Disaster: The Tears of Sichuan Province (Jon Alpert/Matthew O’Neill), The Last Campaign of Governor Booth Gardner (Daniel Junge/Henry Ansbacher), The Last Truck: Closing of a GM Plant (Steven Bognar/Julia Reichert), Music by Prudence (Roger Ross Williams/Elinor Burkett), Rabbit à la Berlin (Bartek Konopka/Anna Wydra)
  • Projection: “The Last Truck: Closing of a GM Plant”
  • Presenter(s): Carey Mulligan and Zoe Saldana

: This was an incredibly competitive category. Timeliness and sentiment was on the side of “The Last Truck,” but alas. Burkett rudely interrupts Williams’ acceptance speech. Williams becomes the first African-American to win an Oscar in this category.


  • Nominees: French Roast (Fabrice O. Joubert), Granny O’Grimm’s Sleeping Beauty (Nicky Phelan and Darragh O’Connell), The Lady and the Reaper (La Dama y la Muerte) (Javier Recio Gracia), Logorama (Nicolas Schmerkin), “A Matter of Loaf and Death” (Nick Park)
  • Projection: “A Matter of Loaf and Death”
  • Presenter(s): Carey Mulligan and Zoe Saldana

Winner: “LOGORAMA”
: The win streak of Nick Park’s “Wallace and Gromit” films in this category finally comes to an end. I’m shocked that this film hasn’t been sued yet — it’s basically “Pulp Fiction” starring corporate logos, complete with gunfire and cursing.

  • Samuel L. Jackson introduces the best picture nominee “Up.” The camera then cuts away to a shot of the director and voiceover-stars of the film.
  • Molly Ringwald and Matthew Broderick, who are decidedly not in high school anymore, come out to introduce a special tribute to the late director John Hughes, who specialized in flicks about kids/teens and their troubles throughout the late ’80s and ’90s, and who passed away suddenly last August at the age of 59. Following a video montage of clips from Hughes’ films, a huge group of the stars whose careers owe a great debt to Hughes (including the largely reclusive Macaulay Culkin) take the stage, deliver a few funny and touching remarks about the man, and call the audience’s attention to his family in the audience.


  • Nominees: “The Hurt Locker” (Mark Boal),“Inglourious Basterds” (Quentin Tarantino), “The Messenger” (Alessandro Camon/Oren Moverman), “A Serious Man” (Ethan Coen/Joel Coen), “Up” (Bob Peterson/Pete Docter/Thomas McCarthy)
  • Projection: “The Hurt Locker”
  • Presenter(s): Robert Downey, Jr. and Tina Fey

: Following a back-and-forth about the desires of writers (represented by Fey) and actors (Downey), the nominees are introduced with dialogue read and displayed over footage of the scene to which an original screenplay gave birth. Boal, a reporter who returned from covering EOD units in Iraq and wrote a script based on what he saw, is then honored (over chief rival Tarantino). He especially thanks Bigelow and dedicates the win to the troops who are still in Iraq and to his father, who passed away only a month ago and “would have liked this a lot.”

  • Chris Pine, whose sci-fi film “Star Trek” was denied a best picture nomination by the Academy, graciously introduces the best picture nominee “District 9,” another sci-fi flick with which he has no personal affiliation. The camera then cuts away to a shot of the director and stars of the film.


  • Nominees: “Almost There (“The Princess and the Frog”), “Down in New Orleans” (“The Princess and the Frog”), “Loin de Paname” (“Paris 36”), “Take It All” (“Nine”), “The Weary Kind” (“Crazy Heart”)
  • Projection: “The Weary Kind”
  • Presenter(s): Amanda Seyfried and Miley Cyrus

: Cyrus stumbles a bit with her reading of the teleprompter but makes it look cute by noting, “We’re both kind of nervous — this is our first time doing this!” Following clips of each song being composed and also the scene in which each is featured in its respective film, the announcement is made. This was Bingham’s first nomination; Burnett was previously nominated for the song “Scarlet Tide” in “Cold Mountain” (2003) and also contributed to the films “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” (1998) and “Walk the Line” (2005). He also worked on another Jeff Bridges film, “The Big Lebowski” (1998). Bridges and Gyllenhaal, the stars of this film, and Robert Duvall, one of its producers, are visibly delighted.


  • Nominees: “Coraline” (Focus Features), “Fantastic Mr. Fox” (Fox Searchlight), “The Princess and the Frog” (Disney), “The Secret of Kells” (GKIDS), “Up” (Disney)
  • Projection: “Up”
  • Presenter(s): Cameron Diaz and Steve Carell

Winner: “UP”
: Following a teleprompter blunder (Diaz referred to Carell as “Jude” since Jude Law was originally scheduled to be her co-presenter) and clips featuring the “stars” of the nominees talking to outgoing Oscar Special host Barbara Walters about the honor of being nominated, they cut to the announcement. Pete Docter, who has been at Pixar since “Toy Story” (1995), accepts the award on behalf of all of the people at the studio. “Up” joins “Finding Nemo” (2003), “The Incredibles” (2004), “Ratatouille” (2007), and “WALL-E” (2008) on the list of Pixar productions that have won this category since its establishment in 2001.

  • Ryan Reynolds introduces the best picture nominee “The Blind Side,” which stars his co-star from “The Proposal” Sandra Bullock. The camera then cuts away to a shot of the director and stars of the film.


  • Nominees: Matt Damon (“Invictus”), Woody Harrelson (“The Messenger”), Christopher Plummer (“The Last Station”), Stanley Tucci (“The Lovely Bones”), Christoph Waltz (“Inglourious Basterds”)
  • Projection: Waltz
  • Presenter(s): Penelope Cruz

: Waltz’s portrayal of the tri-lingual Nazi Col. Hans Landa becomes only the eighth performance delivered largely or entirely in a foreign language to win an acting Oscar; the other seven were Sophia Loren (“Two Women,” 1961) for best actress; Robert De Niro (“The Godfather, Part II,” 1974) for best supporting actor; Meryl Streep (“Sophie’s Choice,” 1982) for best actress; Marlee Matlin (“Children of a Lesser God,” 1986) for best actress; Roberto Benigni (“Life Is Beautiful,” 1998) for best actor; Benicio Del Toro (“Traffic,” 2000) for best supporting actor; Marion Cotillard (“La Vie En Rose,” 2007) for best actress; and Penelope Cruz (“Vicky Cristina Barcelona,” 2008) for best supporting actress. He also becomes the first actor to win an Oscar for a performance in a Quentin Tarantino-directed film; the four others who have been nominated but lost for their work with the celebrated “actors’ director” are John Travolta (“Pulp Fiction,” 1994) for best actor; Samuel L. Jackson (“Pulp Fiction,” 1994) for best supporting actor; Uma Thurman (“Pulp Fiction,” 1994) for best supporting actress; and Robert Forster (“Jackie Brown,” 1997) for best supporting actor. Harrelson, Tucci, and 80-year-old Plummer, meanwhile, remain Oscar-less. Upon accepting his statuette from Cruz, Waltz riffs on his iconic line as Landa, “Oscar and Penelope? That’s an uber-bingo!” He also effusively thanks Tarantino, who has called the part of Landa the best he’s ever written, and which Waltz himself has called Shakespearean.

  • Yep, now Martin and Baldwin tap-dance onto the stage together and introduce one another. (It’s been years since we had more than one host of the show — but that’s how it used to be every year during Hollywood’s Golden Age.) The duo riff on each other; their “It’s Complicated” co-star Meryl Streep’s annaul nominations (and losses); “The Last Station”; Vera Farmiga and the pronunciation of “Up in the Air”; Dam vs. Dame Helen Mirren; and Streep again; “Precious” (nice to see Gabby’s mom in the audience, by the way) and its stars; the tendency to deny stand-up comedians Oscars; Woody Harrelson’s proclivity for pot; and James Cameron (slapping on 3-D glasses) and “Avatar”; Cameron’s marriage marriage to Bigelow (she’s clearly uncomfortable); George Clooney (now they’re just ticking off stars to try to keep the TV audience tuned in for as long as possible); Christoph Waltz playing a Nazi obsessed with Jews (and motioning all around the room); Sandra Bullock (“Who doesn’t love Sandra Bullock?” “Well, tonight we might find out!”); the young’ns (Zac Efron and Taylor Lautner, who seem nervous but chuckle at “Take a look at us guys; this is you in five years!”)
  • Harris breaks into a narrative musical number surrounded by dozens of dancers, often shot from above like a Busby Berkeley sequence in a 1930′s musical. So-so lyrics. Gets a sitting-ovation. Now, on with the show?
  • Neil Patrick Harris takes the stage. As he says, “What am I doing here?” Well, I guess because he’s been such a hit hosting every other awards show this year. I expect that this will lead into an introduction of the actual co-hosts, Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin.
  • Lead actor and lead actress nominees collectively introduced as if they’re on a reality show, provoking a big ovation. (Not sure why the supporting actor and supporting actress nominees aren’t up there with them.) Sidibe and Renner seem happiest to be there. Lots of cut-away shots to famous faces in the crowd.


  • One of the neat things about the extended awards season is that it has afforded me more time to meet/pose questions to awards hopefuls. (Here’s a complete list of/links to all of the interviews that I’ve conducted during this award season.) Since voting is over, I feel that I can now say that the coolest of the bunch were — in no particular order — Quentin Tarantino, Anna Kendrick, Woody Harrelson, Viggo Mortensen, George Clooney, Gabby Sidibe, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Carey Mulligan, Jeremy Renner, Michelle Monaghan, and Ben Foster.
  • I suspect that the best clue for the best picture race is the Producers Guild of America Award — that was the only other precursor that followed in the Academy’s footsteps by expanding its best picture field to 10 nominees and switching over to a preferential ballot; they anticipated 8 of the Academy’s 10 nominees (they nominated “Invictus” and “Star Trek” over “The Blind Side” and “A Serious Man”); and they wound up picking… “The Hurt Locker.”
  • Some of the challenges of blogging about this year’s Oscar race? Having to…
    • Distinguish between “A Serious Man” and “A Single Man”; “Julia” and “Julie & Julia”; “Up” and “Up in the Air”; and “9,” ”Nine” and “District 9” – before I’d even seen any of them
    • Remember that it’s not “Anvil,” “Bad Lieutenant,” “Capitalism,” “Valentino,” and “Precious,” but rather “Anvil! The Story of Anvil,” “Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call — New Orleans,” “Capitalism: A Love Story,” “Valentino: The Last Emperor,” and “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire”
    • Correctly spell and/or pronounce Louie Psihoyos, Lone Scherfig, Gabourey Sidibe, Saoirse Ronan, Neill BlomkampMira Nair, Ben Whishaw, Zooey Deschanel, Shohreh Aghdashloo, Kodi Smit-McPhee, and Michael Stuhlbarg
  • One of the cooler pieces of news I’ve heard today: the Academy’s producers have instructed presenters to drop the politically-correct line “And the Oscar goes to…” and go back to the original line “And the winner is…” when they open an envelope to announce a winner. See, everything old is new again — and the title of this blog suddenly seems a lot more relevant, don’t you think?!

Tonight, the 82nd Academy Awards will bring an end to the 2009 awards season, providing final answers to questions that we’ve been tackling on this blog every day since the last Oscar show came to an end 378 days ago. If you can’t watch the show or want to better understand what you’re watching, stay right here for complete and up-to-the-minute coverage throughout the evening — we’ll keep you informed about all of the presenters, nominees, winners, and speeches, while providing you with statistical analysis that you won’t find anywhere else. New updates will push down older updates so that you won’t have to scroll down much; you will, however, have to periodically refresh your browser for all the latest. Thanks for choosing to spend the most exciting evening of the year with us!

7 Responses

  1. Ken 07. Mar, 2010 9:20 pm #

    When will we know the presentation order or is it a complete surprise?

  2. Editor 07. Mar, 2010 9:24 pm #

    Hasn’t leaked out yet, to the best of my knowledge.

  3. Anthony 07. Mar, 2010 11:44 pm #

    Regarding the animated shorts…Logorama was long and vulgar, but its redeeming quality to me was that Dean Martin performs in the intro song.

  4. Robert Hamer 08. Mar, 2010 12:08 am #

    “…all that I can say is it’s probably the most deserved honor of the night.” Well, let’s be honest, it was also the most obvious.

  5. Jim 08. Mar, 2010 1:37 am #

    I thought Logorama was great, actually. The Nick Parks was kinda tired imo (and I like
    his stuff usually).

    For the show overall, I liked nearly all of the key winners. A lot of nice films in 2009. Didn’t
    care for the show itself though for a lot of reasons. But I’ll stick with the positive for now.

  6. Robert Hamer 08. Mar, 2010 1:47 am #

    It couldn’t have gone to a more deserving film this year…

  7. Joe W 10. Mar, 2010 7:13 pm #

    Nevermind ^, thought you forgot to include it Scott

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