Is it a foregone conclusion that the big prizes go to “The King’s Speech,” Colin Firth, Natalie Portman and David Fincher? We’d love to see an upset, but we aren’t holding our breath.
The fun starts at 8:30 p.m. ET/5:30 p.m. PT. All times Eastern.
8:08 p.m. – T-minus 22 minutes ’til Oscar time. Who has been your favorite red carpet lady? We think Natalie Portman, Jennifer Hudson, Mandy Moore and Hailee Steinfeld look gorgeous. We are more divided at the Zap2it offices on Cate Blanchett‘s purple gown.
8:16 p.m. – Film critic Ben Mankiewicz just said on the red carpet that Colin Firth is a lock to win Best Actor. Fine. But he says it’s as though the Green Bay Packers were playing a high school football and not even a very good high school football team, that’s how much of a lock it is. We’re not sure Franco, Eisenberg, Bridges and Bardem = not-very-good HS football team.
8:30 p.m. – Well, this is ominous. The telecast is showing clips of the Best Picture nominees set to “Hall of the Mountain King,” which I always associate with Fritz Lang‘s “M.” (Look it up.)
8:35 p.m. – The Hathaway/Franco opening video montage was cute. We didn’t laugh out loud until “The Fighter” and “True Grit” parts, though. “The Guy from ‘General Hospital'” line was a nice touch. Seriously, how weird is James Franco for doing that?
8:38 p.m. – Can’t not love a “Back to the Future” insert, even if it’s totally random.
8:42 p.m. – The Hathaway/Franco opening monologue is cringe-worthy. This “casual chit-chat” instead of Ricky Gervais being “mean” is no good. At least Gervais made us laugh.
8:45 p.m. – Kicking things off with an award that only the nominees and their mothers care about, Art Direction goes to “Alice in Wonderland.” They spent three minutes prepping this award using shots from “Gone With the Wind” and “Titanic.” Because this telecast isn’t long enough.
8:48 p.m. – Keeping up with the Do the Boring Ones First theme, Best Cinematography goes to Wally Pfister (“Inception”). Excited to see “Inception” win something, it was such a good film. But bummer for Roger Deakins (“True Grit”) because he’s amazing and has been nominated nine times and never won.
8:51 p.m. – Kirk Douglas in the house. Over/under on number of tweets surprised that he is still alive – 200,000. Of course, he’s funnier in 2 minutes than the opening monologue was.
8:55 p.m. – Mr. Douglas gives Best Supporting Actress to Melissa Leo. No big surprise there, she’s won everything else. But my upset pick was Hailee Steinfeld.
8:59 p.m. – In her acceptance speech, Melissa Leo alternately sort-of grabs the Oscar from Kirk, hits on him, meanders through her speech, drops an F-bomb, yells something at the end about respect, then steals Kirk’s cane and hobbles off-stage with him.
9:03 p.m. – Mila Kunis and Justin Timberlake have a weird intro for Best Animated Short before awarding the Oscar to “The Lost Thing.” Then the film-making version of “Twins” take the stage to accept the award.
9:08 p.m. – Mila and JT then award the Best Animated Feature Film to “Toy Story 3.” Yay! What an excellent movie. Director Lee Unkrich accepts the award by thanking the audience that supported talking toys who “hopefully had something very human to say.” Aww, we’re getting teary just thinking about it.
9:14 p.m. – Javier Bardem and Josh Brolin are white tux twinsies
in the best episode of “Party Down” ever as they award Best Adapted Screenplay to Aaron Sorkin for “The Social Network.” This speech should be good.
9:18 p.m. – Javy and Josh award Best Original Screenplay to David Seidler for “The King’s Speech.” Since Nolan got snubbed on Best Director, we were kinda hoping he’s swoop in and get this one.
9:25 p.m. – Anne Hathaway wants to do another duet with Hugh Jackman, but since he “won’t,” she sings “On My Own” instead with made-up words. Seriously, WTF. That was neither funny nor served any functional purpose. Then Franco comes out dressed like Marilyn Monroe, which doesn’t make it any funnier. The obligatory Charlie Sheen joke doesn’t even save the bit.
9:28 p.m. – Russell Brand and Helen Mirren give Best Foreign Language Film to “In a Better World” (Denmark). Did we see a clip in that nominee montage of a man going after a cat with pruning shears while two girls screamed? That’s terrifying.
9:33 p.m. – As expected, Christian Bale wins best supporting actor for “The Fighter.” He jokes that he’s not going to drop an F-bomb like co-star Melissa Leo did — “I’ve done that plenty of times before.” Well played, Batman. Also: He tears up while thanking his wife, “my mast through the storms of life.” Aww.
9:38 p.m. – Go get your sandwiches now, folks! Academy president Tom Sherak is on stage. So is Disney/ABC honcho Anne Sweeney, talking about their renewal of the broadcast rights through 2020.
9:42 p.m. – Whoops. That didn’t take long. Hathaway forgives Hugh Jackman (“We made out backstage”) as she introduces him and Nicole Kidman. After an overlong montage about sound and music in movies, they present the award for best original score to Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross for “The Social Network.”
9:45 p.m. – Franco says he’s six degrees of Kevin Bacon away from the next two presenters, Matthew McConaughey and Scarlett Johansson. “Look it up on the Internet,” he says. OK, we will.
9:47 p.m. – In the meantime, “Inception” wins the Oscar for best sound editing.
9:49 p.m. – “Inception” also wins for sound effects editing, as Johansson and McConaughey talk all over each other in their presentation.
9:55 p.m. – Marisa Tomei and her giant dress summarizes the sci-tech awards. Kudos to you, innovators of bounce-light technology, facial motion-capture and other stuff. “All right,” Franco says. “Congratulations, nerds.”
9:56 p.m. – Ladies and gentlemen, Oscar winner “The Wolfman.” For reals — it wins for best makeup. (Even though presenter Cate Blanchett said, “That’s gross” after seeing a wolfman transformation.)
9:59 p.m. – “Alice in Wonderland” gets its second award of the night, for Colleen Atwood‘s costumes.
10:01 p.m. – Best original song time, introduced by a bunch of people at Hollywood & Highland (down the street from the Kodak) talking about their favorite movie songs. And also: Barack Obama. Really? ‘K. Anyway, he likes “As Time Goes By.”
10:02 p.m. – Kevin Spacey sings, then says “Good evening, I’m George Clooney.” Oof.
10:05 p.m. –
Hey, everyone, it’s “Chuck”! Zachary Levi and Mandy Moore sing the nominated song “I See the Light” from “Tangled.” “Chuck” airs at 8 p.m. ET Mondays on NBC, btw.
10:07 p.m. – So, circling back to Franco’s Kevin Bacon comment: According to The Oracle of Bacon, he only has a Bacon Number of 2, and his connection is neither through Johansson nor McConaughey. It’s through Sonja Bennett, who co-stars with Franco in “Rise of the Apes” later this year and appeared with Bacon in “Where the Truth Lies.”
10:12 p.m. – “Shorts are also the hardest pick on your home Oscar ballot,” presenter Jake Gyllenhaal notes. He ain’t lyin’.
10:15 p.m. – “Strangers So More” wins the Oscar for documentary short. The narrative short subject award goes to “God of Love,” whose writer-director-star Luke Matheny says, “Wow — I shoulda got a haircut.”
10:18 p.m. – Best use of auto-tune ever.
10:19 p.m. – Anne Hathaway is snitting next to Borpoh!
10:21 p.m. – La Winfrey presents best documentary feature to Charles Ferguson‘s “Inside Job.”
10:27 p.m. – It’s many-time Oscar host Billy Crystal. “Some things never change — the producers have asked me tell you we’re running a little long.” Joke, joke, joke, by way of introducing a tribute to even more many-time Oscar host Bob Hope. Clip package!
10:31 p.m. – OK, that was kind of creepy. Beyond-the-grave Bob Hope introduces presenters Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law, who give the award for best visual effects.
10:32 p.m. – Great bit with Downey and Law, as RDJ “gripes” about effects people keeping him hanging from wires all day and stuff. “If it wasn’t for them,” Law retorts, “the closest you would have ever gotten to a superhero is in 2001 in a cheap motel room with a woman dressed as Batgirl.” Fantastic.
10:34 p.m. – “Inception” wins the visual effects Oscar, its fourth of the night.
10:35 p.m. – Downey: “Jude Law no longer has a ride to the after-party, if anyone’s interested.” And then: Best editing to “The Social Network.”