LIVE BLOGGING THE OSCARS with Norman Wilner
8:27 PM - Regis Philbin tells us he's just seen Jon Stewart backstage, "and he's in great shape". I find this strangely encouraging.
8:29 PM - Now Regis is yelling at Jack Nicholson. I kinda miss Billy Bush.
8:35 PM: Is Tommy Lee Jones only going to smile when someone references one of his movies?
8:40 PM: Jon Stewart plants "Gaydolph Titler" in the minds of one billion people, collects $5 from the "Daily Show" writers who said he couldn't do it without laughing.
8:43 PM: "Elizabeth: The Golden Age" takes Best Costume Design. (I'd have bet on "Atonement"; these awards usually go to a movie with a Best Picture nom.) Nice to see that, once again, the winner for Best Costume Design is the one who wore the most interesting dress to the ceremony.
8:45 PM: Barbra Streisand takes a moment to celebrate her own wonderfulness in a flashback to her Best Actress win for "Funny Girl". Oh, right, she used to act.
8:54 PM: Brad Bird's "Ratatouille" wins Best Animated Feature, which means Marjane Satrapi's next graphic novel will be about how humiliating it is to lose an award to a movie about a rat, and then have to listen to someone else deliver a gracious acceptance speech that SHOULD HAVE BEEN HERS!
8:58 PM: Best Make-Up goes to "La Vie en Rose." Shit. Does that mean Marion Cotillard has a chance at winning Best Actress?
9:01 PM: Amy Adams sings "Happy Working Song," from "Enchanted," on a bare stage. Somehow it's not as clever or subversive if she's not surrounded by pigeons, rats and cockroaches. If they needed vermin, couldn't they could have rounded up a few agents?
9:08 PM: "The Golden Compass" wins Best Visual Effects, and I lose the office Oscar pool. Note to self: Talking animals always trump talking robots. (Amazingly, all four winners are allowed to finish their speeches -- how cool is that?)
9:11 PM: Cate Blanchett emerges to present Best Art Direction -- wait, don't they usually throw out one of the acting awards by this point?
9:12 PM: "Sweeney Todd" wins Art Direction. Screw you and your orchestrated marketing campaign, "Atonement"!
9:18 PM: Javier Bardem wins Best Supporting Actor for "No Country for Old Men." Because you can't stop what's coming.
9:26 PM: A choir performs the big number from "August Rush." And I want to see that movie even less.
9:30 PM: Owen Wilson shows up to introduce the Live-Action Short award. He looks good, but does that nose really need to be broadcast in HDTV?
9:31 PM: Hey, did you know Jerry Seinfeld made a movie about a bee? It's called "Bee Movie"! That's hysterical, right?
9:32 PM: That's "Bee Movie," available soon on DVD!
9:33 PM: "Peter and the Wolf" wins Best Animated Short. As a Canadian, I'm expected to be all indignant about "Madame Tutli-Putli" losing, but you know what? "Peter and the Wolf" was pretty damn great. Sorry.
9:39 PM: I'd have said Cate Blanchett had a lock on that sucker, but Tilda Swinton just won Best Supporting actress for "Michael Clayton" -- and gives what may be the best speech of the night, despite clearly having no notes at all.
9:45 PM: Jessica Alba presents her book report on the Science and Technical Awards. 9:47 PM: Joel and Ethan Coen win Best Adapted Screenplay for "No Country for Old Men"; give the shortest acceptance speeches of the night. But first we got to see a clip of Sarah Polley answering her e-mail, so that was cool.
9:53 PM: Miley Cyrus, aka Hannah Montana, introduces another of the three nominated songs from "Enchanted" -- this one performed by Kristin Chenoweth, who (a) doesn't even try to replicate Amy Adams' sunny innocence, which is so essential to selling the song, and (b) is wearing a dress that kinda makes her look like an escaped mummy. Not cool.
10:01 PM: Seth Rogen and Jonah Hill help us get over the cognitive dissonance caused by the phrase "Oscar winners Dame Judi Dench and Halle Berry."
10:03 PM: "The Bourne Ultimatum" wins for Best Sound Editing. Somewhere in the audience, Michael Bay is wishing he'd vetoed that footage of him yelling at the techies on the "Transformers" DVD. But the lighting made him look so noble!
10:06 PM: Why do the sound guys all have such haunted expressions? Perhaps it's because they have to take notes from Michael Bay.
10:07 PM: "Bourne" wins Sound Mixing, too. Those car crashes don't Dolby Digitize themselves, you know!
10:13 PM: The marvelous Marion Cotillard wins Best Actress -- for the worst performance she's ever given, as a gargoyle version of Edith Piaf in Olivier Dahan's excruciating "La Vie en Rose." Which means she's going to spend the next five or six years making terrible Hollywood movies until she gets the hell back to France. At least she'll be paid very handsomely for her suffering.
10:20 PM: Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova perform "Falling Slowly," the delicate guitar-and-piano duet from "Once." Now it has a string section. That's Hollywood.
10:26 PM: Jack Nicholson introduces all 79 of Oscar's Best Pictures. Pee break!
10:29 PM: "The Bourne Ultimatum" wins Best Film Editing, and everyone else loses his or her Oscar pool.
10:30 PM: Hey, Jon Stewart just stole my Oscar-pool joke!
10:38 PM: Honorary Oscar recipient Robert Boyle -- Hitchcock's production designer -- delivers a classy speech, paying tribute to generations of industry talent. Tomorrow, no one will remember a word he said.
10:43 PM: "The Counterfeiters" wins Best Foreign-Language Film, once again demonstrating you can never go wrong submitting a Holocaust picture. (I kid, I kid; as I'll explain in next week's paper, it's actually quite good.)
10:50 PM: And the Award for Best Original Song goes to ... "Falling Slowly", from "Once", a decision which absolutely everyone in the audience seems to approve. (Is George Clooney crying in the front row?)
11:02 PM: Hilary Swank introduces the annual Death Reel; doesn't it always creep you out when certain faces get more applause than others? (And when did Bob Clark become "Robert Clark"?)
11:10 PM: "Atonement" -- with those frackin' typewriter keys -- wins Best Original Score. This one deserves an asterisk, since "There Will Be Blood" was ruled ineligible for the prize, and "No Country for Old Men" had no score whatsoever. But never mind that now, here's Tom Hanks!
11:14 PM: Oscar supports the troops! It's an election year! Oscar supports the troops!
11:16 PM: Of course, if Oscar really supported the troops, they'd let them introduce the Documentary Feature category, too.
11:17 PM: "Taxi To The Dark Side" wins Best Documentary Feature -- catch it tomorrow night at the Royal Cinema!
11:23 PM: Oh my god, Harrison Ford has been replaced by a century-old robot!
11:25: And the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay goes to ... Diablo Cody, for "Juno." I assume the Wilma Flintstone look is some sort of political statement, because everyone knows Betty Rubble was the hot one.
10:56 PM: Jon Stewart brings Marketa Irglova back out to deliver her half of the Best Original Song acceptance speech -- and she totally makes the most of it. This will not end the tyranny of Bill Conti's playout music, but it's a nice start.
11:00 PM: Robert Elswit wins Best Cinematography for "There Will Be Blood" -- so maybe Roger Deakins' dual nominations really did cancel each other out. Either way: Woo freakin' hoo, "There Will Be Blood" won something!
11:34 PM: Helen Mirren -- ever the epitome of the classy Englishwoman -- names Daniel Day-Lewis this year's Best Actor for "There Will Be Blood." Did she even open the envelope? Did she need to?
11:43 PM: MartinScorsesepresentstheawardforBestDirectorto ... Joel and Ethan Coen (pictured), for "No Country for Old Men." Which is okay, I guess, but I was really hoping for Paul Thomas Anderson in a last-minute shocker. Guess that means "No Country" gets Best Picture, too. Can I go to bed now?
11:46 PM: ... yep, there it is, "No Country for Old Men" takes Best Picture, bringing the festivities to a close on a respectable note of inevitability. Scott Rudin is appropriately gracious and effusive in his remarks -- and unless I miss my guess, he just outed himself to one billion people. Good for you, Scott Rudin!
11:48 PM: Imagine that -- the Oscars came in at less than three and a half hours! I'm signing off now; hope you enjoyed the coverage, and I'll see you in Thursday's paper.