Live blogging the 2011 Oscars

Yes, it’s that time again.  It’s the red carpet of all red carpets.  The big kahuna.  The award show that tops all others. 

Sigh, no.  Not the Teen Choice Awards, it’s the 83rd Academy Awards!  And none other than best actor nominee James Franco has graced us with his presence by taking time out from the 17 different art installations he’s working on, studying for his third graduate degree and his recent addiction to twitpic to co-host the show with the always adorable Anne Hathaway. A new generation is here!

That said, can you believe Oscar is 83 years old?  The statue gets around more than Grammy, Emmy or that bastard cousin the Golden Globe and still, the world stops every year to find out who hands he’s going to be in next (O.K., well the 323 and 310 area codes of Los Angeles come to a stop and a good chunk of TV viewers tune in but excuse us while we are a bit myopic today).

As ever, your loyal awards season pundit is here to live blog the big night’s proceedings.  You can check out my predictions here, but I’ll be listing them along the way so you can determine whether I really know my stuff or should be sent off to cover the lowly Saturns instead (and if you don’t know, you really don’t want to).  Of course, I got 12 out of 13 right at yesterday’s Spirit Awards, but who’s counting?


5:03 PM PT

And we’re live!  If you’ve been watching the pre-show, you’ve already seen how horrible this interviewer is from Vanity Fair.  Note to Oscar producers and the Academy:  just because you are from a dying, er, big print outlet doesn’t mean you know how to interview on camera or are charismatic on TV.  The Franco interview?  Painful. “Break a leg James!” 

5:07 PM

On the other hand, Tim Gunn has been pretty impressive.  Hope he comes back.  Although it appears Justin Timberlake is more nervous about the live set up than he is.

Ah, the ever fantastic Sandra Bullock.  Looks much better on TV than the photos we’ve gotten from AP so far.

Ben Mankiewicz is somehow an Oscar expert — who knew?  But he’s right, Colin Firth is going to win best actor.

5:12 PM

Love Nicole Kidman, she’s so nice, but not sure that hairstyle is working for Ms. Urban tonight.  Look for Liane Bonin’s take on the fashion later tonight on HitFix. Turns out this one is special for Kidman because “I’ve never been nominated while married to Keith.”

Gwyneth Paltrow is golden in her Calvin Klein dress as she talks to Gunn.  She gives good advice to fashion newbies, “don’t go too far into the avant garde.”  She would also like to do a duet with Jay-z.  “He is a genius, I’m his biggest fan.”  And says Chris Martin would be “happy” about it.

Bale is back in full beard talking about Dickie and Micky to Robin Roberts (the characters he and Wahlberg played in “The Fighter”). He also gives a very political answer about what it’s like to get nominated and not.  Considering he should have a number of times over the years.

Who does Tim Gunn like on the red carpet: Marisa Tomei, Hailee Steinfeld (“age appropriate!”) , Mila Kunis, Scarlett Johansson, Jennifer Hudson (wowzers), Anne Hathaway.

Looks like the producers are trying to keep the drama up by numerous suggestions “The Social Network” could still win best picture.  Of course, the film’s own producer stayed home in NY.  Gee, I wonder why?

5:23 PM

Really America?  Robert Benigni’s acceptance speech?  Really?  One of the worst wins ever?

 5:26 PM

Ah, yes, let’s keep the show young.  Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks stop by.  Hanks, “This town shuts down for Oscar.” Yep, yes it does.

And next – the REAL SHOW — after this “Source Code” commercial!


We start with a montage of all the nominated best pictures which tends to be a lot of “The King’s Speech,” “Black Swan,” “The Fighter” and “The Social Network.”  Oh, wait, here’s a bunch of “Toy Story 3” and “The Social Network.

In a tribute to Billy Crystal – ? – Anne Hathaway and James Franco are cut into a scene of “Inception.” And Alec Baldwin stops by (last year’s host). Hathaway and Franco stop by “The Social Network” and then “The Fighter” (with Hathaway adding a Boston accent!).  And she knocks out James.  Next up, “True Grit” with Hathaway with a black eye and Franco with a bear on his head. “I loved you in ‘Tron.'”

Morgan Freeman stops by, “Alec likes me to narrate his dreams.”

At “The King’s Speech” – Hathaway, “I have good news from the future.  Microphones get smaller!”

Hathaway then does a dance of a brown duck as they crash “Black Swan.”

They end at the dream.  Baldwin, “Who were those people?”  Freman, “I have no idea.”  The duo get in the time traveling delorian to the future.

And here they are…Franco is recording the moment with his iPhone. 

Franco, “And it’s very exciting because we are both nominated.”  I’m not nominated.  I’m not modest. I’m just not nominated. It used to be, you get naked you get nomianted. Not anymore. Not anymore.”

Franco, “What do you get if you win?  Do I get money with it?”

Franco “It would be weird if my mom called me Academy Award winner James Franco.” 

Hathaway’s mom tells her to stand up straight and Franco’s grandmom both have funny lines. Franco’s grandma, “I just saw Marky Mark!”  (Big laugh.)

Hathaway, “It’s been a great year for lesbians!” (Wheres the dad in “Toy Story 3”?)

Wait – THIS is the projected set?  That’s it?  Sigh.  Look, it’s “Gone With the WInd”!

5:44 PM PT

Tom Hanks is up to present best cinematography and best art direction.  We now transition to “Titanic” projected. Something tells me this is more impressive in person.

Art Direction:

My Prediction “Inception”

The Winner: “Alice in Wonderland”

Wow, that was my upset contender, but still thought “Inception” or “The King’s Speech” would get it. It’s clear the two winners didn’t think they were going to win.  Except for the hat of course.


My Prediction: Roger Deakins, “True Grit”

The Winner: Wally Pfister for “Inception”

Wow. Shock number two.  Deakins loses AGAIN. 

Pfister, who is truly an amazing atalent and deserving, gives a nice speech with a shout out to his “master” Chris Nolan.

5:51 PM PT

Surprise presenter Kirk Douglas comes out to the stage and gets a standing ovation. Douglas says he wants to thanks Franco and Ms. Hathaway, “She’s gorgeous. Where were you when I was making pictures?”  “I have something confess. I am crazy about the beauty of women.  The nominees for best actress in a supporting role…”

[OK, love Douglas, but not sure this was a good idea…this is way too long and he is making this very, very awkward.

“I will never forget this moment. I was nominated three times and I lost all three times.” Just give the Oscar Kirk!]

Best Supporting Actor:

My Prediction: Hailee Steinfeld, “True Grit”

The Winner: Melissa Leo, “The Fighter”

Yes, you too can run your own campaign ads and win! “Really, really, really, truly thank you . I’m just shakin’ in my boots here.”

Oh, lord…Leo is gonna freak on us. “When I watched Cate two years ago it looked so fuckin’ easy.”  That’s our Melissa!

As a friend just said where I’m watching the show, “Melissa Leo is batshit crazy, isn’t she?”  No comment.

Hathaway, “I thought that stood for the Fighter!”

6:02 PM PT

Justin Timberlake says he’s Banksy.  Mila tells him he’s not.  Timberlake pulls out an app to change the background to “Shrek.”  Of course, the jumbotron at Dallas Cowboys stadium is impressive, not so much this stage.

Best Animated Short Film

My Prediction: “Day & Night”

The WInner: “The Lost Thing”

I’m now 0-4! I should be fired.  This is insane. Who are these voters? [I think every “professional” Oscar pundit is now at least 1-3.]

Best Animated Feature Film

My Prediction: “Toy Story 3”

The Winner: “Toy Story 3”

Whew. I almost got sent to Siberia. 1-4

Unkrich makes everyone realize that where they work is crap because he works at the “greatest place in the world.”  Oh, lord this speech makes me want to puke.

I’ve just been told people on that newfangled Twitter think James Franco is stoned. Having met James a number of times, let me assure you this is completely natural.  He is not stoned.  On the other hand, that Douglas bit was a huge mess and mistake.

6:12 PM 

Anne Hathaway takes us through Oscar History and the first Oscars at the Hollywood Roosevelt.

Josh Brolin and Javier Bardem appear in white tuxes. Why? I’m not sure.  Are they catering on the side?

Adapted Screenplay:

My Prediction: Aaron Sorkin, “The Social Network”

The Winner: Aaron Sorkin, “The Social Network”

Get ready for a great Sorkin speech.  Can his ego fit on the stage?  Yes, he calls out “Network,” a better movie. And thanks mom and dad.  Gives David Fincher a shout out saying he’s the nicest guy in the world. Unlike Leo, he’s getting a play off. Calls Rudin, “American’s great living film producer.”  Sorkin won’t get off the stage. Not sure what else the music can do…and he’s off!

6:17 PM

Original Screenplay:

My Prediction: David Seidler, “The King’s Speech”

The Winner: David Seidler, “The King’s Speech”

OK, now I’m 3-4.  I can make it up in the other shorts! (Maybe).   Seidler says “this is terrifying.” Notes his father always told him he’d be a late bloomer.” 

6:24 PM

Anne Hathaway has her musical number!  “I thought Australians were our allies. It turns out down under is kind of shady not you Nicole or any other Aussies, but there is one who shall not be named. He stuck fake retractable claws into my heart.  When he left me on my own….” Hugh Jackman appears embarrassed but is laughing.

OK that was nice.

James Franco now appears in drag as Marilyn Monroe. “Weird part is I just got a text message from Charlie Sheen.”  Our first Charlie Sheen joke!

(OK that’s what people were hoping for when the two were announced as hosts.]

And now, Russell Brand and Helen Mirren for best foreign language film. (Someone on my feed just tweets

Foreign Language Film

My Prediction: “In A Better World”

The WInner: “In A Better World.”

4-4 on a comeback baby!  Whew!  Susanne Bier gives a bit too long speech, but what’s new tonight?

6:29 PM

Reese Witherspoon is out for Best Supporting Actor…

Best Supporting Actor

My Prediction: Christian Bale, “The Fighter”

The Winner: Christian Bale, “The Fighter”

The Dark Knight rises…and gets up and goes to the stage. No standing ovation, but “bloody hell” from Bale. “what the hell am I doing here in the midst of you?”  Bale says, “I’m not gonna drop the f-bombs like Melissa did, I’ve done that more than enough before.”  Bale gives a shout out to Dickies website.  Bale also breaks down when trying to mention his wife and his young daughter, “She’s taught me more than I ever thought I could learn.” (or something to that effect).

6:39 PM PT

Tom Sherak brings ABC television network president Anne Sweeny out to announce the news we already know, Oscars on ABC till 2020.  Uh, not necc Tom.  Why are you kissing ABC’s ass?

Anne Hathaway in her “Black Swan” number.  Introducing Jackman and Kidman to talk about sound…or is that music? In either way, yawn. The Oscar Orchestra plays lots of memorable music we’ve heard time and time again.  They do this about every three or four years on the show.  Sigh.

Orchestra plays cues from all the nominees. Didn’t love the choice for “How To Train My Dragon” (personal favorite). “Inception” sounds fantastic live though.

Best Original Score

My Prediction: Alexandre Desplat, “The King’s Speech”

The Winner: Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, “The Social Network”

OK, so this is the first real upset of the night.  Reznor seems surprised, not many thought he’d win.  Especially as Desplat was passed away

Is this really a harbinger that “Network” could win best picture?  We won’t know until the end.  

6:45 PM PT

Scarlett Johansson and Matthew McConaughey are here to honor excellence in sound.

Best Sound Mixing

My Prediction: “Inception”

The Winner: “Inception”

[Sadly, it looks like “True Grit” is going to go home with zero Oscars.  That’s wrong.]

Best Sound Editing

My Prediction: “Inception”

The Winner: “Inception”

OK, so if “Social Network” had won sound mixing I’d think we’d have a best picture upset.  Still sticking with “Speech.”

6:54 PM

Franco and Hathaway give Marisa Tomei some love for wasting, her, hanging out on a Saturday  night earlier this month or the Scientific and Technical Awards. They have made this look way more interesting than it was. Even with music that makes it seem like someone died.  Franco, “Congratulations Nerds.”  (no one laughs)

Cate Blanchett comes out to a “Lord of the Rings” theme to present makeup and costume.  She calls “Wolfman” makeup “gross.”

Best Make Up

My Prediction: “The Wolfman”

The Winner: “The Wolfman”

“It was always my ambition to lose an Oscar to Rick Baker, this is better.”

Costume Design

My Prediction: Colleen Atwood, “Alice in Wonderland”

The Winner: Collen Atwood, “Alice in Wonderland”

Eeek, Colleen has a written speech. Not a good sign. T-minus :10 seconds till the play her off…

7:02 PM

What is your favorite movie song?  President Obama says “When time goes by.”  And then we cut to Kevin Spacey…will he sing? Yes, he will. He can’t help himself.

Now, the musical performances…up first, Randy Newman, “We Belong Together.”  As a friend at my event says, “Another dippy song by Randy Newman” Yep.  All by himself in front of a big screen with “Toy Story 3” footage.

Mandy Moore and “Chuck” come out to sing “I See The Light” from “Tangled.” (I picked this one, I’m thinking I made the wrong choice….). Zachary Levi looks very tan…

Commercial break!  The other two songs are coming later…

7:11 PM

Amy Adams and Jake Gyllenhaal are lamely introduced by Franco.  Sigh. The duo are here to announce Live Action Shorts.  And Gyllenhaal says , “Make a point to see shorts. They will inspire you and might make you a winner.”

Best Documentary Short

My Prediction: “The Warriors of Qiugang”

The Winner: “Strangers No More”

Sigh, I should have changed my vote. Almost did, but kept it at the last minute.  This is a weak doc, but lots of cute kids in it.

Best Live Action Short

My Prediction: “Na Wewe”

The Winner: “God of Love”

Wow!  Can’t be upset about this. Luke Matheny is a great guy.  Met him during Telluride.  Met in line and we watched “Another Year” together.  Cool, cool, genuine guy.  Hope he goes far.  One of the rare wins for a student Academy Award winner. Rarely happens.

Now, an autotune montage of 2010 movies.  “Harry Potter,” “Toy Story 3,” “The Social Network,” “Eclipse” – “He Doesn’t Own a Shirt” (Wonder who did this?)

7:19 PM

Oprah Winfrey comes out.  Looks good.  She’s here to present best documentary. Shots of Coens show they are bored. Eek.

Best Documentary

My Prediction: “Inside Job”

The Winner: “Inside Job”

Awww. I predicted “Job” but was hoping Banksy would meet Oprah!  Darn it!

Fergueson says, “I must point out that after three years of a massive [financial failure] not one executive has gone to jail.”

7:27 PM

Billy Crystal comes out to a standing ovation (is the audience hoping he’ll take over Franco and Hathaway?). Crystal comes out to talk about the history of the Oscars. His bit is just reminding me how old Crystal’s shtick is.  Was such a big fan, but not sure this was a good idea.

We now get a digital representation of Hope from an earlier show.  And there is a voice double using Hope to introduce Robert Downey, Jr. and Jude Law….to the music of “Sherlock Holmes.”

Law throws out a zinger to Downey, Jr. about his being arrested for being with a hooker.  It will be on YouTube. Don’t worry.

Best Visual Effects

My Prediction: “Inception”

The Winner: “Inception”

No matter what happens, “Inception” should end the night tied with or with the most Oscars.

Best Editing

My Prediction: “The Social Network”

The Winner: “The Social Network”

Is there drama?  Can “Network” win best picture?  Or is this “Brokeback”/”Crash” as expected?

7:41 PM

Franco makes a joke about this year’s nominated film’s titles, “Winter’s Bone,” “Rabbit Hole,” How to Train Your Dragon” — “that’s disgusting.” His one good line so far tonight.

A STUNNING Jennifer Hudson introduces Florence Welch of Florence and the Machine to perform “If I Rise” with A.R. Rahman from “127 Hours.”

J-Hud is back to introduce another Academy Award winner, Gwyneth Paltrow, to sing “Coming Home.” Why are her backup singers off stage?

Now, for a winner…

Best Original Song

My Prediction: “I See the Light” from “Tangled”

The Winner: “We Belong Together” from “Toy Story 3”

Yes, it’s official.  The Academy, the world, the universe loves “Toy Story 3.”  It should run for Congress.

Randy Newman makes his speech about what his speech shouldn’t be.  He also makes the great point there should be a fifth song. 

7:50 PM

Celine Dion sings “Smile” in the new tradition of honoring the fallen members of the movie community. Overlooked: Corey Haim and…Gary Coleman?

Halle Berry’s tribute to Lena Horne was more moving.  Classy.

[Breaking News Alert: Twitter is going apoplectic over Corey Haim not being included in the In Memoriam montage.]

8:01 PM

Anne Hathaway returns in a new dress. Introduces Hilary Swank, Annette Bening has a heart attack thinking Swank is nominated in her category again.

(Just kidding. Swank beat Bening twice.)

Swank is joined by Kathryn Bigelow who is wearing some large…red…sweater.

Best Director

My Prediction: David Fincher, “The Social Network”

The Winner: Tom Hooper “The King’s Speech.”

Wow, this was a surprise. The Academy loves “The King’s Speech.”  Hooper jumped up for joy.  Note: he’s sort of a douche when he doesn’t believe you are important. Lots of people noticed at the Spirits yesterday. (Truth hurts.)

After a long Hooper speech, Annette Bening is here to introduce a salute to this year’s lifetime achievement winners.  Eli Wallach, Jean-Luc Goddard, Kevin Brownstow and Francis Ford Coppola.

The trio walk out to a standing ovation.  Which means it’s time for another commercial break.

8:12 PM

Jeff Bridges speaks to of the nominees for Best Actress…no group presentation this year.

[Side note: Andrew Garfield looks bored.]

Best Actress

My Prediction: Natalie Portman, “Black Swan”

The Winner: Natalie Portman, “Black Swan”

Don’t go far Jeff!  She’s very, very pregnant. “I truly wish the prize was to work with my fellow nominees. I am so grateful to get to do the job I get to do.” Portman thanks ID-PR before her agent or husband. Or Darren Aronofsky.  Eek.

Hathaway flubs in a cute way while introducing Sandra Bullock…

She starts right away…and she is the best presenter of the night. Funny, honest and charismatic.  Can she please host…soon?

Best Actor

My Prediction: Colin Firth, “The King’s Speech”

The Winner: Colin Firth, “The King’s Speech”

Let’s be clear, everyone knew he was going to win. Franco and Bridges gave up this race long ago.

“I have a feeling my career just peaked.”  As humble as ever Mr. Firth. Well done. Firth gives out a major shot out to Helena, Geoffrey and the little mentioned and overlooked Guy Pearce.

[Our first Harvey Weinstein shot of the night!  The comeback mogul in the flesh.]

8:32 PM PT

Steven Spielberg comes out to present best picture…

Best Picture

My Prediction: “The King’s Speech”

The Winner: “The King’s Speech”

After best picture PS22 from Staten Island sings “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” And then all the winners come out with their Oscars (and Melissa Leo is screaming. Dear god.)

In conclusion, this pundit had an O.K. night.  There were a number of big surprises which found most of my ilk a little “off.” 15-9.  My worst showing in some time. Sigh, there’s always next year.  And that campaign should start in like three weeks…I’ll have some final thoughts on the entire season, but I’m headed out to a party and then tomorrow?  Sleep.  Lots and lots of sleep.

What did you think of this year’s show?  Share your thoughts below.

Want more year round entertainment commentary and news?  Follow me at @HitFixGregory