It's a wonderful night for Oscar… Oscar Oscar… Who will win?
Neil Patrick Harris is MCing Sunday (February 22) night's Academy Awards, which is coming down to a “Birdman”/”Boyhood” showdown for the big prize. Thanks to The Guilds, we're all expecting a “Birdman” victory, but could there be exciting upsets in store?
Click through, follow along and join (or start) the conversation below…
8:25 p.m. ET. That's a lot of Red Carpet coverage. My favorite moment was Terrence Howard playing “American Idol” nerd with Ryan Seacrest.
8:28 p.m. Really, ABC? You don't need a critical citation to call “American Crime” “an extraordinary new drama”? Well, if you say so yourself!
8:30 p.m. LET'S GO!
8:30 p.m. Neil Patrick Harris rises onto the stage like a fire-free phoenix. “Tonight we honor Hollywood's best and whitest,” he says, helping people playing Oscars Bingo at home.
8:31 p.m. Musical number time! Benedict Cumberbatch gets to be part of a joke about people drinking. Kanye West joke! Yup. NPH is all about Oscars Bingo. There's a cute silhouette bit with NPH singing about “moving pictures.” He's dancing with holograms. It's… strange. Also strange? NPH blocking Sharon Stone's Special Place from “Basic Instinct.” Lots of great movies existed in history! NPH then appears in the background of several movies. ENTER Anna Kendrick, kinda in character from “Into The Woods.” In the crowd, though, Jack Black is grumpy about this celebration of movies. Did Sondheim write the lyrics or are they just borrowing the melody. He comes up on stage and sings about how soon people will only watch on their phones. “Beat it!” Kendrick says, throwing her shoe at him. More dancers dot the stage to back up NPH. Wait. Bring back Anna Kendrick. “Who will get a statue? Results are coming at you,” NPH sings.
8:36 p.m. And that's that! It's been a great Oscar night.
8:37 p.m. “That whole thing? Completely improvised,” he says. He notes that the eight Best Picture nominees have grossed over $600 million. The joke is that “American Sniper” is Oprah and the other seven nominees are everybody else. Oprah has no idea of why she's being picked on as rich. Tonight is for the stars and craftsmen and for people who love movies. “Tonight, on this stage, we have come together to celebrate and hopefully to fall in love with moving pictures all over again,” he says. “Maybe not 'Smurfs 2.' The script read funny,” he insists.
8:38 p.m. Lupita Nyong'O is presenting our first award of the night, Best Supporting Actor. She begins by quoting Robin Williams, which is nice. There really isn't much drama to this one. Tee-hee. “The Judge” is a movie that's nominated for Oscars. Well, it's nominated for “Oscar.” But “Most Violent Year” isn't nominated for “Oscar” or “Oscars,” so all hail “The Judge.” “The Actor goes to,” says SAG Awards presenter Nyong'O. And the winner is… J.K. Simmons. Duh. He begins by thanking his wife and his “above average children.” He's saluted his wife and kids at every award show, but tonight they're named. Awww. J.K. Simmons wants us to call our parents and tell them we love them. Sorry, people associated with “Whiplash.” This was not your night to get thanked. Tonight's about parents. And that's OK. Simmons has thanked Miles Teller and his director. “He won an Oscar,” NPH sings, to the tune of the Farmers ad.
8:45 p.m. What's happening? And why? NPH made Oscar predictions. And this is important.
8:46 p.m. Liam Neeson is, indeed, a former Oscar nominee. But now he's mostly just rich. His black tux is awesome. But he's presenting the trailer from “Grand Budapest Hotel,” which stars his “Schindler's List” co-star Ralph Fiennes. And also “American Sniper.”
8:48 p.m. There, America. That's the last of tonight's nominated movies that you've seen.
8:49 p.m. A joke about how Harvey Weinstein has killed more people than Chris Kyle. Hi-larious.
8:49 p.m. “Ben and Kate” star Dakota Johnson could have been paired with Oscar winner Nat Faxon. She's presenting Adam Levine singing “Lost Stars.” Will anybody playing an instrument behind Adam Levine get a close-up during this performance? He might as well have played with the house band. Why did other members of Maroon Five have to get dressed up for that? Do you think they even got seats in the theater? Or do they have to go home and watch on ABC now?
8:56 p.m. NPH jokes that the Oscars are The Depend Spirit Awards and also jokes about the obscene swag bags. Sigh. Why is every joke tonight about the wealth in the room? Jennifer Lopez and Chris Pine are presenting Costume Design. [I honestly hadn't realized “Inherent Vice” was nominated here.] The winner is… Milena Canonero for “Grand Budapest Hotel.” This is her fourth win. She's a freaking legend. “Chariots of Fire.” “Barry Lyndon.” This. It takes her a long time to get to the stage. She thanks the audience and Wes Anderson, who she compares to a composer and a conductor. Unlike Colleen Atwood when she wins every year, Milena Canonero isn't dressed oddly at all.
9:00 p.m. NPH says our next presenter is “so lovely, you could eat her up with her spoon.” Are they trying to remind us that NPH isn't actually a comedian? Reese Witherspoon is presenting Makeup and Costuming. The winner is…“Grand Budapest Hotel” for Frances Hannon and Mark Coulier. The rout is on. Hannon thanks Bill Murray for introducing her to Wes Anderson.
9:03 p.m. Channing Tatum is talking about the Team Oscar thing that Michael Strahan talked about during the Red Carpet.
9:04 p.m. There was a “Bermuda Short” joke that literally nobody in the audience noticed or laughed at.
9:07 p.m. “Mad Men” promo!
9:08 p.m. Make another Bermuda Shorts joke, NPH. I dare you. NPH blew Chiwetel Ejiofor's name *and* his “12 Years a Slave” character's name there. Nicely done. Anyway, Ejiofor is presenting Foreign Language Film with Nicole Kidman. The winner is… “Ida.” Go Poland! Pawel Pawlikowski gave a great speech at the Indie Spirits yesterday. “Life is full of surprises,” he says, joking about his movie about silence being honored at this epicenter of noise. He's the first winner tonight to be played off. In your face, Poland. He refuses to stop, though, thanking his parents and the drunk members of the crew and his kids, who are still alive. He beats the band. Go Pawel!
9:13 p.m. I love vintage Shirley MacLaine. But I don't need to hear anything from current Shirley MacLaine. She's presenting “Boyhood” and “Birdman” clips. Oh and “Theory of Everything.”
9:15 p.m. Time for NPH to do some audience interaction. He's chatting with Seat Filler Heidi. And Seat Filler Laura. And Seat Filler Steve Carell. Steve is very excited to meet Ed Norton. That… wasn't a good bit.
9:17 p.m. Marion Cotillard is introducing the various people singing “Everything Is Awesome.” The Lonely Island guys are singing and lots of fun people are dancing. Others participating are Will Arnett, Questlove and lots of other people.
9:24 p.m. NPH has a Lego Oscar. A “How To Train Your Dragon 2” joke. And I'll admit that I chuckled at NPH calling Jason Bateman the best adjusted former child star in the room. Kerry Washington and Bateman are presenting the shorts categories. Live Action Short Film goes to… “The Phone Call” and directors Mat Kirkby and James Lucas. One of them fell down. I don't know which. “Crikey!” one of them says. He's very funny, this man with a mustache. He's going to get a free donut. He also thanks the volunteers at crisis centers, including their mums. They also ignore the “Get off the stage” music.
9:28 p.m. The Documentary Short Subject goes to… “Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1” and Ellen Goosenberg Kent and Dana Perry. Huh. Crisis centers are having a moment. The winners are very amused to have one, especially the one who is being attacked by tribbles. The orchestra starts to play Dana Perry off and she talks about her son who committed suicide and the band STOPS. Yikes. That was unfortunate.
9:31 p.m. “It takes a lot of balls to wear a dress like that,” NPH says. Viola Davis is talking about the Governors Ball and introducing clips. I wish some of this stuff was still in the real telecast. I'd give up the musical numbers for honoring important old people. But what do I know?
9:33 p.m. NPH can't say “Oyelowo” either. That makes two black British actors of African heritage whose names he's botched. I get that both names are hard, but if you're going to make jokes with/around them… Learn to pronounce the names. Tug McGraw's son is performing Glen Campbell's “I'm Not Gonna Miss You.” That's a nice song and it was well-performed by Tim McGraw.
9:42 p.m. Backstage hijinks. The joke is that NPH's robe is caught in a door, so he's gonna wander around backstage naked “Birdman”-style. And Miles Teller is playing the drums, making that the second award show in a row to make that joke. NPH ends on the stage in his underwear.
9:43 p.m. “Pan Am” star Margot Robbie is pretty. She's presenting with Miles Teller. They hosted the Scientific & Technical Awards. And that's it for Margot Robbie. This makes me sad. ABC should have a new season of “Pan Am” starting next week.
9:45 p.m. “Keen Eddie” star Sienna Miller and Chris Evans are presenting the sound awards. Up first? Sound Mixing. The winner? “Whiplash.” Woot! Go Craig Mann, Ben Wilkins and Thomas Curley. I don't know who's accepting. Maybe it's Ben Wilkins. That's 2-2 now for “Whiplash” and 2-2 for “Grand Budapest Hotel,” right? They're having a hard time with this, like they're begging the orchestra to play them off. Finally, the music starts and they leave.
9:48 p.m. Now? Sound Editing… The winner? “American Sniper.” Sienna Miller is very pleased for Alan Robert Murray and Bub Asman. I wonder if she could have named those two men yesterday. Cut to Chris Kyle's widow in the audience.
9:50 p.m. Jared Leto's here, which means that we're back to awards people care about. With his glorious hair and his powder blue tux, Leto is presenting Supporting Actress, complete with a Meryl Streep joke. [Emma Stone with the Lego Oscar is awesome.] Sing it Meryl! The winner, though? “CSI: Cyber” star Patricia Arquette. Everybody was well-prepared to smile for her other than Laura Dern. Emma Stone gives Patricia Arquette a big hug-and-kiss. But who has the Lego Oscar? Jared Leto is a hero for wiping Emma Stone's lipstick from Arquette's cheek. Arquette says something about “ecological sanitation.” Then she says this is for every mother who gave birth and says it's time for every woman to have equal rights and wages. REPRESENT! [Lil Bow Wow should know that tomorrow is not the day to ask for a “CSI: Cyber” raise.]
9:59 p.m. Robert Duvall is not interested in being part of NPH's Oscar prediction joke.
10 p.m. Josh Hutcherson is introducing Rita Ora singing “Grateful” from “Beyond the Lights.” This is very nice. But I need a piece of pizza.
10:02 p.m. Chloe Grace Moretz and Ansel Elgort are presenting Achievement in Visual Effects. The winner is… “Interstellar,” specifically Paul Franklin, Andrew Lockley, Ian Hunter and Scott Fisher. “One of these apparently is good for a free drink,” one of them jokes.
10:06 p.m. Anna Kendrick towers over Kevin Hart. They're presenting Animated Short and making jokes about how Kevin Hart is short. The winner is… Patrick Osborne and Kristina Reed for “Feast,” the Disney short that you may have seen before “Big Hero Six.” It was very cute.
10:09 p.m. “If you're at an Oscar party with the guys who made 'The Lego Movie,' now's the time to start distracting them,” NPH says, introducing The Rock and “Rosemary's Baby” star Zoe Saldana presenting Animated Feature. I get making a “Lego Movie” joke at a different time, but why emphasize the snub that pissed everybody off as a lead-in to the category they were snubbed in? The winner is…“Big Hero Six” and Don Hall, Chris Williams and Roy Conli. Personally, I thought “Big Hero Six” lacked things like a second-half, semi-developed villains and dramatic stakes. But what do I know! It was cute! So… Yay! The winners get played off.
10:17 p.m. I like the vintage score highlights they're playing between segments. That's nice.
10:17 p.m. The President of the Academy! Movies are important! Suck it, North Korea! And movies bind us together. Zzzzz. Come on orchestra. Play her off.
10:20 p.m. Nobody in America cares about this bit with Octavia Spencer and NPH.
10:21 p.m. “Parks and Recreation” star Chris Pratt has been paired with “Girls” guest star Felicity Jones. They're presenting Production Design. The winner, of course, is… “The Grand Budapest Hotel” and Adam Stockhausen and Anna Pinnock. I'm very pleased to see “Grand Budapest” winning the Oscars it deserves to be winning tonight. They like Wes Anderson. Stockhausen babbles and the second Pinnock gets to the mic, the music begins. Boo.
10:23 p.m. “The Wire” star Idris Elba! And the awesome Jessica Chastain. They're presenting Cinematography. And now I want Jessica Chastain and Idris Elba to make a movie together. The winner is… Emmanuel Lubezki for “Birdman.” It's his second straight win and it was such a no-brainer that Chastain just coos, “Chivo.” Everybody's happy for Chivo.
10:30 p.m. Meryl Streep is introducing the Necrology. She's got a really, really overwritten introduction. The deceased legends are presented in interesting partially animated stills. This is simple and well-handled. Nobody singing and upstaging the people. Mostly no audible applause. This is the right way to handle this segment. Or *a* right way to handle the segment. At the end, some applause sneaks in. Mike Nichols closed the Necrology. And now “American Idol” legend Jennifer Hudson is gonna sing. A song from “Smash.” Odd.
10:42 p.m. Naomi Watts and Benedict “Cumbie!” “Cumberbatch are presenting the award for Editing. The winner is… Tom Cross for “Whiplash.” Woo! I'm loving all the technical love for “Whiplash” and “Grand Budapest.” Damien Chazelle gets much love, particularly for not throwing a chair at Tom Cross. And the music begins.
10:46 p.m. “Empire” star and “American Idol” fan Terrence Howard follows up that “Whiplash” win with the clip from “Whiplash.” Terrence Howard is very emotional about “Whiplash.” And “The Imitation Game.” And “Selma.” Terrence Howard loves clips from movies.
10:49 p.m. Jennifer Aniston and David Oyelowo are presenting Documentary feature. The winner is… “CitizenFour.” Whatevs. NPH makes a joke that Edward Snowden missed the show “for some treason.”
10:57 p.m. Nobody cares about your prediction box.
10:57 p.m. “Red Band Society” star Octavia Spencer is introing “Glory,” from my former college classmate John Legend and Common, who I did not go to college with. I like the mock-up Edmund Pettus Bridge set. Sorry. If I'm sticking with my joke, that should be “Hell on Wheels” star Common. Apologies. Fantastic performance and I love the cut-aways to people in the crowd crying, including Oyelowo and Chris Pine.
11:03 p.m. NPH jokes that “Benedict Cumberbatch” is what John Travolta calls Ben Affleck. Then Idina Menzel introduces John Travolta, who comes out, says her name correctly and caresses her face in the creepiest way possible. They're presenting Best Song. The winner is… “Glory.” This will likely be the only “Selma” win of the night, so enjoy. Oh and “John Stephens” is who I went to college with, not “John Legend.” Common has been giving spectacular speeches across the award circuit this year. This is no exception. “We say that Selma is now, because the struggle for justice is right now,” John “Legend” Stephens says. “There are more black men under correctional control today than under slavery in 1850,” he says, as several people in the audience are unsure whether or not to clap.
11:12 p.m. Scarlett Johansson is having a hard time reading a long teleprompter introduction about “The Sound of Music.” Oscars producers Zadan and Meron produced NBC's “Sound of Music Live!” so… I dunno. I'm not sure why it's happening or why it's happening at 11:15 ET. Or why Lady Gaga is doing this. It may be time to go get another piece of pizza. Look, Lady Gaga has a very nice voice. But this is unnecessary. And if it was necessary, it was necessary during the two earlier hours that the producers forgot to keep audiences awake.
11:20 p.m. Julie Andrews! WOO! Felicity Jones is especially happy. “Dear Lady Gaga,” Julie Andrews says. She's presenting Score. And then… HitFix's office lost power. But apparently “Grand Budapest Hotel” and the wildly deserving Alexandre Desplat won.
11:29 p.m. That was very scary, our brief power outage. I'm told it was only two or three minutes, but it FELT like five.
11:29 p.m. Yet another joke about how rich the people here are. Current rich person? Eddie Murphy. He presents Original Screenplay to… “Birdman.” That would be Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris Jr. & Armando Bo. And of all of the wins “Birdman” could get tonight, this is the one I find most ridiculous. Cinematography? Sure. Best Director? If it happens? Count me in. It's a marvelous technical achievement. But the screenplay? Nuh-uh. Anyway… Iñarritu thanks the appropriate people. “Wait! Family time!” he tells, sensing the band was about to play. He then gives his three co-writers the chance to talk their families. One thanks his dog.
11:33 p.m. Eddie Murphy has already gone home.
11:33 p.m. Oprah's on! She's presenting Adapted Screenplay. The winner is… “The Imitation Game” and Graham Moore. “Thank you so much to The Academy and to Oprah,” Moore says. He thinks it's unfair that Alan Turing never got to attend the Oscars. He tells a story of his suicidal teen years and hopes that he can inspire other people feeling the same to believe they have value and stories to tell. No jokes to make here.
11:41 p.m. “Project Greenlight” producer Ben Affleck is presenting Best Director, because when he directed a film that won Best Picture, he wasn't even nominated. Anyway. The winner is… Alejandro G. Iñarritu for “Birdman.” I said I wouldn't be unhappy about this one. So I won't. “Birdman” is a very well-directed movie. “Good luck charm… work,” he says. He says he's wearing Michael Keaton's underwear from the movie, that they're tight and smell like balls. Oh. My.
11:47 p.m. Oh God. This is going forever, isn't it?
11:48 p.m. Cate Blanchett. Best Actor. Rush, rush, rush! The winner is… Eddie Redmayne for “The Theory of Everything.” That's half-way to EGOT for Mr. Redmayne. And the hard part. “I don't think I'm capable of articulating quite how I feel right now,” he says, emphasizing that he knows he's a lucky man. He says the Oscar belongs to all of the people around the world battling ALS and to the whole Hawking family. He thanks Felicity Jones and his apparently huge team. And apparently his wife is pregnant. [Apparently I need to explain that his wife isn't really pregnant, but he described bringing the Oscar home in a creepy way… Anyway… Maybe she is pregnant. What do I know?]
11:54 p.m. Emmy loser Matthew McConaughey is presenting Best Julianne Moore. Sorry. Best Actress. The winner is… Julianne Moore for “Still Alice.” Everybody is very happy for Julianne Moore. She says she read an article saying that Oscar winners live five years longer. She jokes that this is good, because her husband is younger than she is. Awww. She thanks Kristen Stewart and Alec Baldwin. Sorry Kate Bosworth and Hunter Parrish. “People with Azheimer's deserve to be seen, so we can see a cure,” she says.
12:00 p.m. Nobody cares about your Oscar predictions, NPH. We're running 75 hours long. Why is this necessary.
12:01 p.m. Wow. This is awful. And why joke about the one time you mispronounced “Ejiofor” and not the two times you blew “Oyelowo”? So basically, he just recapped the show. So what? It was mediocre magic and dreadful time usage.
12:03 p.m. Sean Penn, trying out under-energy Eddie Murphy, is presenting Best Picture. The winner is… “Birdman.” Sean Penn approves. “Who gave this sonnobitch his green card?” Penn asks. Iñarritu even lets Michael Keaton talk. That was sweet. The director hopes that his fellow Mexicans can find and build a government that they deserve.
12:07 p.m. So, Guillermo del Toro? You're next, eh?
That's all, folks. That was… exhausting.