7:00PM - Welcome to Film Thoughts' live blog of the 91st Academy Awards! This is my tenth such live blog. Yes, I've seriously been doing this shit for a whole decade now. If you are a regular reader, you probably know I do this the old fashion way. I simply write down the time, my thoughts, and press publish, adding to the post as the ceremony goes on. Re-fresh frequently, re-fresh often!
7:30PM – Before the show kicks off, why don't we run down what a cluster-fuck the behind-the-scenes scuttle for the ceremony has provided this year.
What has gotten the most press is probably the Academy's search for someone to host the show. After ninety-one years, apparently people have realized that hosting the Oscars is a thankless job that you'll be highly criticized for no matter what. The Academy really wanted Kevin Hart but we all know what happened next. Hart's total refusal to sincerely apologize for his homophobic comments made him even more radioactive, despite the Academy apparently still wanting him to host. After everyone else said no, the ceremony will go ahead hostless.
Which I'm totally fine with! I'm ambivalent to Hart's shout-y antics, so I was never looking forward to him hosting anyway. Honestly, I imagine the show will progress a lot faster and smoother without someone cracking lame jokes or propping up dumb skits in-between the awards being given out. That's what we are actually watching for after all.
It seems ABC has been breathing down the show's producers' necks to get bring in more eyeballs and keep the run time under three hours. The first impulse resulted in the incredibly ill-designed concept of Best Popular Film. This obvious plea for commercial relevance was widely hated by everyone for a number of reasons. That it would make essentially break the list of nominated films into Stuff That Actually Matters and Stupid Bullshit That Normies Liked, which would've prevented truly good blockbusters from getting nods in the top categories. The Academy changed their minds after about two weeks.
Next, the dumb-asses in charge had the genius plan to only have two of the nominated songs performed during the actual broadcast. Basically, only the numbers that had actual crossover with mainstream radio – Lady Gaga's “Shallow” and Kendrick Lamar's “All the Stars” – would be shown during the broadcast. Once again, this would've basically discredited the nominations given to the other songs. Not to mention making it seem like only the likely winner matters at all. After Gaga refused to perform unless everyone got a chance, the Academy relented. (“All the Stars” won't be performed anyway, because Lamar had scheduling conflicts.)
The next harebrained time cutting scheme the producers cooked up was to shoved four categories to the commercial breaks, only showing cut down versions of their wins during the show. I thought this was really shitty, as the Oscars is the only time makeup artists, short filmmakers, and sound technicians get a moment in the spotlight. (And, again, this continues this awful attitude that some nominations matter more than others, which is completely against the philosophy of the ceremony.) I fully expected shit nobody but nerds care about, like the shorts and Sound Editing/Mixing, to suffer this fate. Instead, the Academy chose Best Editing and Cinematography – literally the two things no movie can exist without! – to be excluded. The guilds protested, along with a lot of other people, and the Academy took it back after about a week.
As far as I know, with all these ridiculous schemes to cut the broadcast's runtime down, nobody proposed cutting all the painful skits and tedious montages. Whether or not those are maintained in the broadcast is something we'll discover soon enough.
7:40 – As for me, I really enjoyed my traditional month-long marathon of nominated films. At the end of February, I've managed to see 48 of the 52 nominated films. That only leaves four I didn't get a chance to watch, up from last year's seven. Foreign film nominees “Capernaum” and “Never Look Away” straight-up aren't available anywhere but select theaters somewhere far away from me, while “Mary Poppins Returns” won't be out on digital until next week. I could've watched “Mary Queen of Scots” bur ran out of time and, if I'm being totally frank, wasn't that interested in seeing it anyway. Still, I'm pretty pleased that I was able to squeeze in as many as I did.
7:50 – I did see all the Oscar-nominated Documentary Shorts, all of which are freely available on Netflix or Youtube.
“A Night at the Garden” was chillingly resonant and delivered its point powerfully. “Life Boat” was very hard to watch but ultimately made a pertinent statement. “Period. End of Sentence” was nicely uplifting but I hated the decision to dub the dialogue, instead of just providing subtitles. “Black Sheep” was very well done but, with its heavy use of reenactments, I honestly wish the director had just made a narrative film instead. “End Game” was an extremely heavy and sad watch but the intimacy it approached its topic with was definitely powerful.
“A Night at the Garden” is my pick but I'm betting “End Game” or “Life Boat” are a little more the Academy's speed.
7:55 – All right, how about some last minute predictions? I stand by most of what I said last month. I still expect “Roma” to take home some of the top prizes. Rami Malek seems to have become the favorite to win Best Actor. Best Supporting Actor is still up in the air, but Richard E. Grant has been getting a lot of support. (I really hope he wins.) It continues to look like Best Supporting Actress will be a toss-up between Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz.
7:58 - And we are having high winds tonight, so my cable has already gone out twice tonight. This bodes well for the rest of the evening.
8:00 - Y'all ready for some
Oh, boy, Christian Bale looks like he loves this.
8:01 - Well, opening with Adam Lambert was an... interesting decision.
8:02 - That is some of the most unenthusiastic hand-waving I've ever seen in my life.
8:03 - Jesus, I can't fault this Lambert dude for his energy even if he sure as fuck doesn't have the pipes.
8:04 - Oh great, our first unnecessary montage of the night. Featuring a ton of movies that didn't get nominated for shit too.
8:06 - Tina and Amy killing it, like always.
8:08 - Okay, this bit has gone on a little too long.
8:09 - All right, right into Best Supporting Actress. Rooting for Rachel!
8:10 - Let's just cut the controversy and give both Emma and Rachel the award.
8:11 - Oh! Okay, that was a surprise. Looks like Stone and Weisz split the vote.
8:13 - Yes, I am playing my traditional Oscars Drinking Game: Every time they try to play someone off-stage, take a shot.
8:14 - Please welcome Aquaman and his bad-ass pink tuxedo.
8:15 - Documentary Feature! I'm rooting for Hale County but I'm betting RBG gets it.
8:16 - Fuck, I was literally going to say "Free Solo" but everyone was betting on "RBG." I shall never fall to peer pressure ever again.
"OOOOH SHIT!!!" Haha, this dude is awesome.
8:18 - FIRST ATTEMPTED PLAY-OFF OF THE NIGHT! Take a shot!
8:21 - That was a nice Rolex commercial. And this Google Home commercial is pretty solid too.
8:23 - "From Rage Against the Machine." Okay, that was not something I expected to hear at the Oscars.
8:25 - "Please welcome Elise Fisher, who we invited but didn't bother to actually nominate."
It's a bummer "Border" has no shot at winning.
8:26 - Yep, that was expected. "Border" convinced me very odd looking real people were in front of me. "Vice" convinced me that Christian Bale was under a ton of make-up.
8:27 - Having said that, the sincerity of these people are very endearing.
And they just cut off their mics. The Oscars are run by fucking assholes.
8:28 - Oh look, a man in a dress. Melissa's bunnies are a nice touch though.
8:29 - I have no idea who will win Costume Design. Black Panther?
8:31 - Ruth Carter seems fun.
8:32 - Awww, that was a good speech.
8:35 - Thirty-five minutes in and things are going... Really smoothly? Who says the Oscars broadcast needs a host?
8:38 - "Please welcome two more people we didn't bother to actually nominate." J-Lo's dress is very shiny.
"The Favourite" was my, uh, favorite in Production Design but I think "Black Panther" will get it.
8:39 - Yep, saw that coming. That is an awesome dress she has got on.
8:41 - This is a wonderfully emotional speech. Don't you dare fucking play her off, Oscar!
8:42 - "Please welcome Tyler Perry." *muted applause*
8:44 - Rooting for "Cold War" in Cinematography. No clue who will actually get it.
But "Roma" would've been my pick if you put me on the spot.
8:46 - Sweet and to the point. No, thank you Alfonso!
8:47 - I have only seen Emilia Clarke in that "Terminator" movie she did. Is that a good representation of her ability?
8:48 - Jennifer Hudson does not seem to be hitting every note correctly. Jesus, that sustained high note was ear-splitting.
Ugh, that was awful. I hate that style of super bombastic singing that leaves zero room for subtly.
8:53 - "Please welcome another random celeb who isn't even involved with the film industry."
8:55 - I'm really hoping "A Quiet Place" and "First Man" pick up the sound awards. But it'll probably be "Bohemian Rhapsody" or "Black Panther" or some shit like that.
8:56 - I mean, I guess if "Bohemian Rhapsody" had to win something, Sound Editing is what I'd go with.
8:57 - "Working on this movie with a director we are definitely not going to mention was great!"
8:58 - Is Bryan "Predator" Singer's movie going to make it a twofer?
8:59 - Yep, sure did. Are they going to play the "Bohemian Rhapsody" guitar riff every time it wins something?
9:03 - I know we all hoped "Bohemian Rhapsody" would be a total lock-out but this show has been running extremely smoothly tonight. Wouldn't it be hilarious if the hosts are what made the Oscars bad all this time?
Oh hey, look, an actual actress. Did Queen Latifah get picked to introduce "The Favourite" strictly for the pun?
9:05 - All right, closing in on Best Foreign Language film. If "Roma" wins this, will its shot at Best Picture disappear? Rooting for "Shoplifters" or "Cold War."
9:07 - Alfonso trying to reckon with knowing he's not winning Best Picture now.
9:08 - Okay, Key flying in on a wire was a gag I approve of.
9:09 - My mom loves Bette Midler. I felt like sharing that. She's doing a fantastic job on this song.
9:11 - Lovely performance, Miss M.
9:16 - And we are back with Trevor Noah dunking on Mel Gibson.
9:18 - Best Editing was kind of a shit category this year and "Bohemian Rhapsody" winning reflects its weakness more than anything else. And, yes, they are going to play that guitar riff every time this movie wins something.
9:20 - Another "Bohemian Rhapsody" Oscar winner visibly remembering he absolutely can not mention Bryan Singer's name
9:21 - Here we are in Best Supporting Actor. Will Ali get it? Will Grant come through and get the surprise win? Will someone else get that? I don't know, let's watch and find out.
9:22 - Lol at Ali's mortified facial expression there. I totally called that this would be Adam Driver's Oscar clip, by the way.
9:24 - Um, well, yeah, that was expected. Sigh. Maybe next year, Richard.
9:26 - I was really hoping Ali's speech would be really awkward. He does seem slightly uncomfortable but I guess he's too much of a class act to Make It Weird.
9:28 - You bring Laura Dern on-stage just to talk about a museum?
9:30 - "Spider-Verse" should get Best Animated Feature. Knowing the Academy, they may just throw it at Disney or Pixar. But, if I was an Academy member, I'd totally vote for "Mirai." And, aww, it got a little cheer.
9:32 - Well, I'm glad that happened. Aww, this speech is already fantastic.
But fuck that other guy for trying to talk. No mic for you!
9:33 - There is no version of this universe where "When a Cowboy Trades His Spurs for Wings" wins Best Song tonight but, god, it's far and away my favorite of the nominated songs tonight.
9:35 - That was lovely, you guys. You are already the winners in my heart!
9:37 - Oh shit, I come back from my bathroom break and here's the first teaser trailer for "The Irishman."
9:40 - And here's a clip from "Wayne's World," a movie that was not nominated for any Oscars but, let's face it, should've been.
9:41 - Oh shit, this bit is actually making me want a "Wayne's World 3."
9:43 - Spike Lee's visible discomfort made this skit worth it.
Lol at "They gave us one of the big ones."
9:44 - It's going to be "Bao" but I think "Late Afternoon" is my fave? "Weekends" was pretty great too.
9:45 - Aww, "all those nerdy girls that hide behind your sketch books" is my girlfriend.
9:46 - "To my little Bao Lucy" Awwww, that was adorable too! That how speech was great.
For Documentary Short, I'm rooting for "A Night at the Garden" but I have no idea if it'll win.
9:47 - "Period. End of Sentence" was my least favorite of the doc shorts but it was a strong line-up. The director seems like a nice person.
9:53 - We are back and a chef is presenting an award for some reason.
9:56 - We are heading into Hour Three of the ceremony and, while I haven't agreed with all the wins, it's been running extremely smoothly.
As for Best Visual Effects, "Christopher Robin" is my fave but - going by the "most not best" rule - it sounds like "Ready Player One" will get it.
9:57 - Wait, someone who worked on "Solo" has the last name of "Chewie?"
I'm glad "First Man" won something as it was a phenomenal film, even if it really should've cleaned up the Sound categories.
9:59 - I like that guy's moxie. "You can't play me off, I'll play you off!"
10:00 - While I'm meh on the song a little, I'll admit this performance of "Shallow" is very well shot.
10:02 - Gaga's "belt everything out with as much emotions as possible" style isn't really for me but I do love that piano riff she just threw in there.
10:06 - Heading into the home stretch. Holy shit, they've actually succeeded in making the show go by faster.
10:07 - Live Action Short was extremely week this year, with "Marguerite" being the sole stand-out.
Annnnd they just gave it to one of the worst films to ever be nominated for an Oscar.
10:08 - I know most people probably didn't get to see "Skin" but, seriously, it is among the most tasteless, exploitative, and tone-deaf motion pictures I have ever seen.
10:10 - Sam Jackson and Brie Larson have some nice chemistry has. The "late, great William Goldman" made me a little sad. Gonna miss that guy.
10:11 - I know "First Reformed" has almost no chance of winning but, seriously, it's one of last year's best films. Here's hoping "Green Book" doesn't get it.
I spoke too soon. "Green Book" is just the most middlebrow of middlebrow junk.
10:13 - I don't know, I'm souring on this now. "Skin" and "Green Book" winning back-to-back is putting me in a grumpy mood.
10:14 - Give Adapted Screenplay to "BlacKkKlansman" or "Can You Ever Forgive Me?" to make up for that bullshit, Oscar.
10:15 - Okay, thank you. Haha, Spike just jumped into Sam's arms! It's about damn time he actually win a fucking Oscar.
10:17 - And now I'm going to call him "Spiky-Poo."
10:21 - We've really ran the gamut of emotions tonight, you guys.
10:22 - Michael B. Jordan and Tessa Thompson are killing it right now. Some great and some forgettable scores nominated tonight. Rooting for "BlacKkKlansman" but "Black Panther" probably gets it.
Yeah, it did.
10:24 - This Ludwig guy has got some bitching hair.
10:25 - Just go ahead and give "Shallow" the win. We all know "Buster Scruggs" should've won.
Yeah, no shit, we all saw that one coming.
10:27 - Gaga's speech is as weepy as expected but, to be fair, if I ever win an Oscar, I'm going to cry like a fucking baby. And, okay, the speech was pretty good.
10:29 - Okay, here comes the "In Memory Of" montage, the only montage we actually need. I do like the Academy President getting ahead of the "They left out HIM/HER?!" virtrol.
10:31 - Margot Kidder hurt a little. Gonna miss her.
10:32 - Penny Marshall was an unexpected loss. Oh, and I honestly forgot Isao Takahata died last year. Another fantastic talent, to be sure.
10:33 - Awww, they used a clip from "Return of the Living Dead" for James Karen!
10:37 - Was that a liqour commercial or the new "Dune" movie?
"Rocketman - From the director of "Bohemian Rhapsody!" No, the other director!"
10:39 - Barbara Streisand is wearing a nice hat.
10:40 - Spike Lee and Babs being secret BFFs is the most delightfully surreal moment of the night.
10:43 - Lol, Alison Janney towers over Gary Oldman.
It sounds like Rami Malek has got Best Actor in the bag. I have no horse in this race, because Ethan Hawke and "First Reformed" wasn't nominated. Dafoe is my personal choice, I guess?
10:45 - God, Viggo in "Green Book" could not have been more cartoonish.
10:46 - Best Prosthetic Teeth.
10:47 - Visibly cringing not to even think about Bryan Singer.
10:48 - I'm having a lot of mixed feelings about this speech, you guys.
10:51 - It looks like we are actually going to get this in the bag by midnight, you guys. Not by eleven though but close.
10:54 - There's a definite disconnect between the power of John Lewis' speech here and fucking "Green Book."
10:56 - Frances McDormand is a godsend.
10:57 - Definitely sounds like Glenn Close has got Best Actress in the bag, which is a bummer. Colman and McCarthy are much more deserving.
10:59 - Oh, nice! That was a good surprise, Oscar! Aww and Emma is so overjoyed her co-star won.
11:00 - Colman's speech is the real winner tonight. Oh my god, she's so adorably sincere. You can tell she didn't expect to win.
"My mom and my dad... Oh, you know!" "This isn't going to happen again." Oh my god, this is the best moment of the entire night.
11:06 - Alright, guys, just two more to go. Here comes Guillermo!
11:08 - There was a rumor going around earlier today that it had leaked that Yorgos would win Best Director. Though that would've been delightful, I'm sort of glad it was bullshit. "Roma" is exactly the kind of a movie that should win its filmmaker Best Director.
11:10 - It would've been awesome if Spike won this as well but at least he got one tonight. Can't bitch about that too much.
They are weirdly hyping Julia Roberts presenting Best Picture kind of hard.
11:12 - Alright, here we go. Will "Roma" get it or will there be some sort of upset? It's been a very unpredictable night, so I'm not sure. Honestly, as long as it's not "Green Book" or "Bohemian Rhapsody," I won't get too bent. (Oh, "Vice" can get fucked too.)
11:14 - Oh, what the fuck? Are you fucking serious?
11:15 - My eyes just rolled back into my head so hard they fucking disappeared.
Is it too late to hope for another "Moonlight/La La Land" mishap?
11:16 - How the fuck did this happen? Which one of you fucking cowards voted for "Green Book?"
11:17 - Play them off. Fuck this thing.
11:20 - I have so many conflicted emotions right now, guys.
All right, first off, having no host helped the pacing of this show so much! Almost no stupid skits, a single unnecessary montage. Comparatively speaking, this thing just rolled by! This is how you pace a fucking awards show. Please no host next year!
Secondly, there were so many delightful wins tonight! Spike and Colman getting it were fantastic! Lots of really good speeches all around.
But what Academy got wrong they got wrong so fucking hard. "Skin," "Green Book," "Bohemian Rhapsody" getting prizes... This was a big night for mediocre or outright offensive garbage grabbing statues. "Green Book" winning Best Picture is one hundred percent a Best Picture win everyone will look back in with complete bafflement.
11:21 - Over all, it was a wild fucking night. Really high highs, fucking abysal lows. But it wasn't fucking boring, which is very unexpected for the Oscars broadcast.
11:22 - With that, I bid anyone still reading adieu. (Hi, Liz!) This was a weird evening. Thank you and good night.