Many of the races at Sunday (March 2) night's Academy Awards seem pre-determined as the ceremony is about to begin. Those guys from “My So-Called Life” and “True Detective” seem like locks. Etc. However, Best Picture is wide open.
So let's hope that adds drama, while Ellen DeGeneres adds comedy.
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8:25 p.m. ET. So how many times do we figure Jennifer Lawrence is going fall down on tonight's Oscars telecast. Five? 10? Twice that many if she wins? Actually, if she wins, Lupita Nyong'O fans are going to be tripping her. Not Lupita, though. She's too classy for that.
8:27 p.m. There are dozens of people in the HitFix office right now, but I'm hiding out in my office, because I'm dedicated to you, the readers. Because I'd just keep eating lasagna if I were with the main group. Also, there are small children in there and they're gonna be rooting too hard for “Frozen.”
8:30 p.m. Ellen Degeneres takes the stage a sparkling blue suit and with… a Pilgrim tie? First Jennifer Lawrence audience siting!
8:31 p.m. “We're fine. Thank you for your prayers,” Ellen says of the rain in LA. Trust me, it's been tough. Ellen talks about all of the same people being nominated this year and last time she was hosting seven years ago. June Squibb! Ellen makes a joke about how June Squibb is old and possibly deaf. June Squibb is not deaf and she's awesome. That was not funny. African jokes? No. This is not good. Stop, Ellen. Stop with the Liza-looks-like-a-drag-queen jokes.
8:34 p.m. “Tonight's theme is Heroes in Hollywood,” Ellen explains. This is getting worse and worse. “I think you should think of yourself as winners. Not all of you, but the people who have won before,” she says. All of the nominees have made over 1400 films. “And you've gone to a total of six years of college,” she says. Lupita Nyong'O went to Hampshire and Yale drama. So… Nobody else? Amy Adams did not, however, go to college. She is, however, in several nominated films. “That is so selfish,” Ellen tells Amy. We clap for Meryl Streep. Because she needs that. Validation. “Simply put, Meryl cannot afford to be nominated again,” Ellen says. “It's a celebration, although who are we kidding, it's 'The Hunger Games,'” she says. Now we'll make jokes about Jennifer Lawrence falling down last year!
8:36 p.m. Emma Watson! Hermione!
8:37 p.m. Yay! A reference to Jennifer Lawrence falling earlier tonight. “If you win tonight, I think we should bring you the Oscar,” Ellen says. “I'm not going to say who looks most beautiful, but it's clear. It's Jared Leto. Boy is he pretty,” Ellen says. She clarifies that Matthew McConaughey is also pretty, but “dirty-pretty.” They're both in “Dallas Buyer's Club.” “It deals with the serious issue of people who have sex at rodeos,” Ellen says of that movie. Bruce Dern has an important family. Yawn. “You showed us something in that film that I have not seen for a very, very long time,” Ellen jokes of Jonah Hill's penis.
8:40 p.m. Ellen says that there are two possibilities for tonight: One, “12 Years a Slave” wins Best Picture. “Possibility No.2, you're all racists,” she says. “And now, please welcome our first white presenter, Anne Hathaway,” she closes. Nice. First funny moment of the whole monologue.
8:41 p.m. Hathaway is, of course, presenting Best Supporting Actor. I think I'd have voted for Michael Fassbender, but I won't quibble with the eventual and inevitable winner. Not surprisingly, it's said inevitable winner who gets the loudest applause. Your winner… Jared Leto for “Dallas Buyer's Club.” I like the way he leans. “Incredible. Ellen, I love you,” Leto says. He's in awe of his fellow nominees. Awww. Jared Leto loves his mom. “Thank you for teaching me to drink,” I think he says. “To all the dreams out there,” Leto says, giving shout-outs to people in Ukraine and Venezuela. “We're thinking of you tonight,” Leto says. He's going way long. Nobody's cutting off the first speech of the night, I guess. “This is for the 36 million people who have lost the battle with AIDS,” he says.
8:46 p.m. Ellen takes a selfie of herself looking at the audience.
8:47 p.m. “'Citizen Kane,' 'Lawrence of Arabia,' 'Ace Ventura.' Our next presenter was in one of those,” says Ellen of Jim Carrey. “It must be tiring being a nominee,” Carrey says. Remember when we thought Jim Carrey might get Oscar nominations? Jim Carrey's doing a very weird Bruce Dern impression. I'm not sure what he's introducing, though. This is a very blue suit Jim Carrey is wearing. He's presenting Animation, I guess. With an LSD joke. That ran long, too.
8:50 p.m. That was a totally pointless clip package of animated things. Ellen dubs it “a little light on 'Finding Nemo.'” It was also light on “point and substance.”
8:51 p.m. Pharrell Williams and his hat are joined by dancing random people! He's wearing pants now. It's a bit light on fun until Pharrell goes into the audience and gets Lupita, Meryl and Amy Adams to dance along with him. Points to Lupita and Amy for getting up and gettin' down. Meryl Streep doesn't need to stand up. This is definitely energetic. Lots and lots of dancing on the stage. Oooh! And they even have an overhead camera for some Busby Berkley action. Pharrell tries to get the entire audience on its feet. It mostly doesn't work, but Amy Adams is always happy to dance!
8:53 p.m. Standing O from Meryl. That was a nice rebound for the show's momentum after Jim Carrey and the animation pointlessness threatened to kill the energy entirely.
8:56 p.m. Ellen is in the audience talking to Jonah Hill. “No. I don't want to see it,” Ellen tells Jonah. Sigh.
8:57 p.m. Naomi Watts and Samuel L. Jackson are paired. They're presenting Costume Design. The Oscar goes to… Catherine Martin for “The Great Gatsby.” It's her third Oscar win. She confuses both presenters with a double-kiss. Both Naomi and SamJack were expecting one cheek and they got two. “I do have a few words tucked into my bra. It's a very Australian thing to do,” she says. “He makes it all possible. He dreams the dream,” she says, thanking Baz Luhrmann.
9:00 p.m. The Makeup Oscar goes to “Dallas Buyer's Club,” because giving an Oscar to “Bad Grandpa” or “Lone Ranger” would have made people uncomfortable.
9:03 p.m. Stay with us, Harrison Ford! Stay with us! I can't tell if he's drunk, high, having trouble reading the Teleprompter or just sleepy.
9:05 p.m. Channing Tatum helped participate in a Team Oscar competition of some sort.
9:10 p.m. Ellen has consolation prizes for the runners-up in categories. She gives Bradley Cooper some scratcher tickets. He looks grateful, I guess.
9:10 p.m. “Here's a Hollywood legend and my co-star from 'EdTV,'” Ellen says aptly of Kim Novak and Matthew McConaughey, who are presenting next. That was awkward. And bad. And weird. And a bit sad. That's all I'll say on that subject. Because Kim Novak is, indeed, a legend. The Animated Short Oscar goes to “Mr. Hublot.” This is the first category that people in the office seem to have missed in our pool. The winners are charming and nervous and foreign. One of the great things about hi-def is being able to watch the winners' hands shake as they try to hold their speeches.
9:15 p.m. Now, on to Animated Feature, the most anticipated category for the undersized members of my Oscars party. The winner is… “Frozen.”
9:17 p.m. Ellen begins her next bit making a joke about hitting your marks. Because she isn't on her mark. Sigh.
9:18 p.m. “She is only a stranger to people who don't know her,” Ellen says of Sally Field, presenting another filler clip package. When you're an Oscar producer and empty clip packages are the only thing you can think of to occupy time, you've pretty much lost the war. And if Lawrence blowing out the match ended that montage, it probably can't end the Necrology, which is sad.
9:20 p.m. Why have Joseph Gordon Levitt and Emma Watson never starred in a romantic comedy together? They're presenting Visual Effects. The winner is… The team from “Gravity.” Duh.
9:23 p.m. “I'm sitting in Zac Efron's seat, because Zac Efron is going to be up there,” Ellen explains. And, indeed, he is! Is he going to present a montage tribute to “That Awkward Moment”? No. He's introducing Karen O performing the song from “Her.” I like it when you have the contract between oddball indie songs and… “Happy.” This isn't quite “Miss Misery”/”My Heart Will Go On” in terms of discord. But it's an amusing and adorable contrast.
9:30 p.m. Kate Hudson and Jason Sudeikis are presenting the Shorts. The Live-Action Short Oscar goes to “Helium.” It looks groovy. Harrison Ford would get such a kick out of that movie tonight. They're grateful that the Academy keeps giving out these awards for Shorts on the main telecast.
9:33 p.m. Documentary Short Subject goes to… “The Lady in Number 6.” If you were in an Oscars pool, you probably know it as “the Holocaust one.” The director is sitting in a different time zone. I actually really want to see this one. If you weren't aware, the subject of the short died last week at 110. The filmmakers are emotional about the timing. And they may be the first winners to get played off. Was that John Stamos in the crowd? Why?
9:35 p.m. “Hi. Happy?” Ellen says to Pharrell in the audience. She's just wandering through the audience. Because she has nowhere to be. She's making jokes about ordering pizza. And just meandering. And this show will never, ever end.
9:37 p.m. Bradley Cooper is presenting the Documentary Feature award. I haven't seen “Act of Killing” and this fills me with genuine shame. Genuine. The winner… “20 Feet From Stardom.” I saw that one at its Sundance premiere. It's a lot of fun. No problems here. Morgan Neville pays tribute to one of the main producers on the film, who died last year. And then… DARLENE LOVE, y'all. “Lord God, I praise you,” Darlene says before singing a wee bit. Because she's awesome. Darlene Love will be singing the 2015 Oscars.
9:40 p.m. Kevin Spacey is up. He gives his intro in a bad Southern accent. Because he does a bad Southern accent on a TV show. Sigh. He's reminding us of the people who won honorary Oscars at a show we didn't get to see. He ends with a Jack Lemmon impression, before kicking to clips from the show we missed. The clips start with Steve Martin, a better Oscars host. Sigh.
9:44 p.m. They arrived at our Oscars party as toddlers, but they're ready to start high school now.
9:48 p.m. Ewan McGregor and Viola Davis are presenting Foreign Language Film. The winner is… “The Great Beauty” from Italy. The last time Italy won the Foreign Oscar was for “Life Is Beautiful.” This one should be rescinded just for that.
9:51 p.m. Tyler Perry is listing “Nebraska” and “Her” and “Gravity” as Best Picture nominees. Amy Adams appears to have been texting when Perry blathered about “Her.” I'm not sure if that was a coincidence, ironic or just a sign that even the people there want this show to be over.
9:54 p.m. Ellen DeGeneres is in a new white tux, which caused her to miss her cue. She gives an introduction about how Brad Pitt doesn't need an introduction. He's presenting the U2 performance of “Ordinary Love.” They're going acoustic. Why wasn't “Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me” nominated for an Oscar? They should transition straight from “Ordinary Love” into that “Batman Forever” anthem, see if anybody has the balls to shut down U2.
10:02 p.m. Ellen is back to wandering around the audience. “Don't be scared of me,” Ellen tells Steven McQueen, before going to take a selfie with Liza. Lupita turns down Ellen's offer of pizza. She takes a selfie with Meryl in effort to break some record for Retweets. They're joined by Jared Leto, Bradley Cooper and more.
10:02 p.m. Michael B. Jordan and Kristen Bell are telling us what happened at the Nerd Oscars. Chris Hemsworth and Charlize Theron are using prettiness as a distraction from the fact that they're presenting sound awards. And as a distraction from the fact that they can't read the teleprompter. “Gravity” wins for Sound Mixing.
10:09 p.m. Now what about Sound Editing? It sure as heck should be “All Is Lost.” Great movie. See “All Is Lost.” Instead, this one also goes to “Gravity.” Everybody thanks Alfonso Cuaron some more. Get ready for more thanking of him. Even Alfonso Cuaron will thank Alfonso Cuaron a bit later.
10:11 p.m. “I added a scarf,” Ellen says. And she did. Truth in time-killing. Christoph Waltz is up. He won last year. I keep forgetting about that. There are some great performances in this category. I even think Julia Roberts was great, even if I don't think she should win. I love that they show the part of the June Squibb grave scene that the Globes cut off. The winner? Lupita Nyong'O. She was fantastic and she's overwhelmed, especially when Liza Minelli pulls her over for a surprise hug. She's very careful to lift her skirt as she heads to the stage. The crowd is on its feet for Lupita. “It doesn't escape me for one moment that so much joy in my life is thanks to so much pain in someone else's,” she says. “You charge everything you fashion with a breath of your own spirit,” she says of her director. She thanks her co-stars and also thanks her editor. NICE. Always thank your editor. And the Yale School of Drama. When applicable on the latter. The former is always applicable. She ends, beautifully, by telling children wherever they are that their dreams are valid. That's about as emotional as you'll ever see that room get. And they were brought to that emotion by an actress none of them knew existed 12 months ago.
10:20 p.m. Two of the kids who arrived at this party have fallen in love and are getting married.
10:20 p.m. “Guess what? Pizza's here,” Ellen says. It's from Big Mamma & Papa's. There are only three pies. It's awesome that Chewitel and Meryl are taking pieces of pizza. “Kerry Washington is pregnant. She needs some,” Ellen says. Jared takes pizza. Leonardo DiCaprio does not. Harrison Ford is SURE getting pizza.
10:20 p.m. President of the Academy time. Get your own pizza!
10:25 p.m. “Good luck following that, Amy Adams and Bill Murray,” Ellen intros. “Baby, you look like $146 million domestic,” Murray says. “Thank you, Bill. Everybody over at Sony thanks you as well,” Adams says. Awkwardness ensues. They're presenting Cinematography. Awww. Before saying the winner, Murray gives a shout-out to Harold Ramis. Your winner? “Gravity” and Emanuel Lubezki. We call him “Chivo.” And he's awesome. And he probably deserved one or two of these earlier. More thanks for Alfonso Cuaron.
10:29 p.m. Anna Kendrick and Gabbie Sidibe are presenting Film Editing. And again, it's “Gravity”! And this one Cuaron gets to share. The other editor starts. Cuaron gets to the mic and the music immediately starts playing. “Bye,” he says. He'll be back.
10:32 p.m. Whoopi Goldberg is introing the tribute to “The Wizard of Oz,” recalling the days it used to only play on TV once a year. I remember those days! Judy Garland's kids, including Liza of course, are in the house. And Pink is performing. In red. No wires, though. She's doing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” in front of clips from the movie. Leaving aside the semi-randomness, I'd always prefer live entertainment to clip packages. Pink can actually sing. We forget that sometimes. Well, I forget that sometimes. I'm sure you remember.
10:42 p.m. Tee-hee. Ellen as Glinda is a bit funny. Jennifer Garner and Benedict Cumberbatch are paired to present Production Design. The Oscar goes to “The Great Gatsby.” Oscar voters seem to think that was a good-looking movie, eh? It's Catherine Martin's second win tonight, of course. We'll see if Alfonso Cuaron ties or surpasses her. [I don't remember if there was any overlap with the “Gravity” sound technicians.] Martin gives a shout-out to her kids so that they'll forgive her.
10:46 p.m. “The talented” Chris Evans is presenting another heroes montage. Including “Footloose.” And “Air Force One” and multiple scenes from “300.” Sigh.
10:52 p.m. Glenn Close. Does that mean it's Necrology time? Yes! She's got the necessary gravitas. “We lost too many of them this year, but because of the great gift of film, they will live forever,” Close says, with Closian sincerity. The montage leads with James Gandolfini and Karen Black. They didn't mute the applause for Gandolfini, but it seems like subsequent responses are muted. They got Harold Ramis in there. And Peter O'Toole came surprisingly early. They're just doing portraits and footage in the background. No audio at all. This is a very simple Necrology. They've experimented with the format. This year was simple.
10:58 p.m. Oh. I spoke too soon on simplicity. Here comes Bette Midler to sing “Wind Beneath My Wings.” Not having a singer crooning over the actual Necrology works on sensitivity grounds, but it also adds five minutes to the telecast.
11:01 p.m. Bette ends the performance by flapping. Her wings.
11:02 p.m. They added a tribute to Sarah Jones! I wonder when that was added or how they decided that's how they wanted to do it.
11:04 p.m. “I've changed again,” Ellen says, before boasting that they crashed Twitter with her photo. “We're all winners tonight. That's what it means,” she says.
11:06 p.m. Goldie Hawn. No comment. And three more Best Picture nominees.
11:08 p.m. Hollywood does bad things to actors and actresses of a certain age.
11:10 p.m. Idina Menzel can sing a little.
11:11 p.m. There was a note there that I didn't love so much. But the audience did.
11:12 p.m. Oscar winner Jamie Foxx and Oscar attendee Jessica Biel. Jamie Foxx has been somewhere out back with Harrison Ford, I think. But the part where he's humming the “Chariots of Fire” theme while Biel tries to talk is pretty funny. Original Score seems like another “Gravity” win, eh? This is the only category in which I'd tolerate a “Philomena” win. The winner is… Steven Price for “Gravity.” So many Oscars for “Gravity.” It's a great score, though. “Sorry I made so much noise when I was growing up,” he tells his family. Basically, everybody is making Sandra Bullock cry tonight.
11:16 p.m. Foxx and Biel are sticking around for Original Song. The winner is… “Let It Go” from “Frozen.” And with that, Robert Lopez has gone EGOT. They do their speech in rhythm, with song and a tear-filled closing for their children. Awww. That was the best speech since Lupita's, I guess.
11:20 p.m. Robert Lopez's Emmy is, of course, a Daytime Emmy, so maybe he's got a DEGOT?
11:22 p.m. Ellen has Pharrell's hat and she's going through the crowd collecting money from Harvey Weinstein and Kevin Spacey. Lupita chips in some lip-balm, which is awesome. She shames Brad Pitt into emptying his pockets, which is pretty nifty.
11:24 p.m. Robert DeNiro and Penelope Cruz are presenting the writing awards. God, I'd love “Before Midnight” to win. In the Adapted category, the winner is John Ridley for “12 Years a Slave.” He recalls his difficult days writing on sitcoms. He thanks “Mr. Pitt.” In the Original category, we can pretend the applause was particularly muted for Woody Allen. The winner is… Spike Jonze for “Her.” That's a good one. Good for Spike! “This is an amazing moment. I appreciate it,” Spike says. He points to his friends and describes their reactions. It's sweet.
11:29 p.m. I think that may have been the last chance for an “American Hustle” win, eh?
11:32 p.m. Angelina Jolie and Sidney Poitier are a regal team. They get a standing ovation. Well, Sidney does. I'm sure they like Angelina a lot, too. “Please, keep up the wonderful work,” Poitier says. There hasn't been much mystery on this one for a while. The winner… Alfonso Cuaron for “Gravity.” This time, he'll get to talk. “Like any other human endeavor, making a film can be a transformative experience,” he says. “It took so long, but if not it would be a waste of time,” he cracks. He jokes about how the transformative experience for him was his hair color. “You're 'Gravity,'” he tells Sandra Bullock. He jokes about how “Gravity” took so long to make that he has to thank two Warner Brothers administrations. He closes in Spanish. I'm glad they didn't play him off.
11:38 p.m. “Well, we did it everybody,” Ellen says. But we did not. Three more awards to go.
11:41 p.m. They play “My Heart Will Go On” to start this next segment. Because this show will go on and on.
11:41 p.m. Daniel Day-Lewis is, of course, presenting Best Actress. The winner… Cate Blanchett for “Blue Jasmine.” A month ago, there wouldn't have been an iota of suspense to that. Now, it's almost a relief. Blanchett says getting the prize from Day-Lewis exacerbates the win. She says Amy's performance blew her mind and she'd watch Sandra's film til the end of time. “Thank you so much, Woody, for casting me. I truly appreciate it,” she says simply. She mocks executives who think female-centric movies are niche. “Audiences want to see them and, in fact, they earn money. The world is round, people,” she says. Go Cate! She closes with a shout-out to the Sydney Theatre Company.
11:48 p.m. Jennifer Lawrence takes the stage. She doesn't fall down. “Why are you laughing? What? Is this funny?” She asks. Best Actor time. The winner is… Matthew McConaughey for “True Detective.” Errr… “Dallas Buyer's Club.” He and Leo, who was spectacular, share a hug and a kiss. He makes sure to get a hug-and-kiss from Jennifer Lawrence. He thanks everybody. He says he needs three things. Something to look up to, something to look forward to and something to chase. The first one is God. The second one is his family. His father is up in heaven with gumbo and Miller Lite. I'll never stop laughing at his son Mr. Stone. He's chasing his hero. He closes with “Alright, alright, alright.”
11:49 p.m. The two kids, toddlers when they came in, have had their first child. It's now a multi-generational Oscar party!
11:56 p.m. Will Smith is presenting Best Picture. The winner is… “12 Years a Slave.” Oscar winner Brad Pitt, y'all. Pitt starts, but gives the mic quickly to Steve McQueen. He thanks the powerful women in his life. “Everyone deserves not just to survive, but to live,” he says, reminding us that people are still slaves today. It's a somber ending, but McQueen then starts jumping around with his team. Awww.
11:59 p.m. Now, I have to go home and watch and recap “The Amazing Race.”
That's all, folks. Thanks for those of you who survived.