The 81st Annual Academy Awards: The Oscars Live Blog!

BlogHer Original Post

It's Oscar night and welcome to BlogHer's first liveblog of the biggest annual event in Hollywood.  I'll be updating my posts every 30 minutes and I expect all you movie-philes and fashionistas out there to tell me what you think about the show in the comments below. 

All times are EST.  Let's get started.

81st Annual Academy Awards - Press Room

First some red carpet quick hits:

  • It's official, Ryan Seacrest is a dipstick.
  • Kate Winslet is channeling Grace Kelly and looks fab-u-lous!  My favorite of the night so far.  She says she's "extremely nervous."  She's on the cover of Time Magazine!  How cool.
  • Natalie Portman is in a gorgeous fuscia dress.
  • Philip Seymour Hoffman is wearing a longshormen's cap.  I kid you not.  A black, knitted, longshoreman's cap.  He just knows he ain't winnin'.
  • Angelina Jolie looks amazing in the strapless black.  But who can forget the year she came with Billy Bob Thornton and the vial of his blood she wore around her neck?  Or the year she came with her brother and was kissing him like a lover all over the red carpet? I guess motherhood's made her grow up.  Brad doesn't look too shabby either.
  • Viola Davis is in a bronzy/gold number that rocks.

8:00:  Robin Roberts and Tim Gunn are hosting ABC's official red carpet show.  First interview is Kate Winslet.  I'm loving my new plasma TV right now.  Makes Kate look even better.

8:04:  Taraji P. Henson: "I've had dresses thrown at me..."  Hee, hee.  

8:05:  Tim Gunn has Brangelina, but all he gets to do is say how wonderful they are.

8:08:  Clip reel of Valentino's gowns.  And there's Valentino himself.  His hair is the same color as his faked, tan skin.

8:10:  The "Slumdog" kids!  They're beyond adorable.  Who's that white guy in the back?

8:11:  "We didn't know how much we loved him."  Who's that?  Mickey Rourke.  He has a chain saluting his dog Loki who died six days ago. 

8:13:  Robert Downey, Jr.  Oh man, the interviewer says, who's your date?  Turns out it's Downey's wife.  His date for life.  Funny.

8:14:  Lovin' Viola Davis in her gold and cleavage.

8:19:  Accountant movie clips lead into the accountants with the winning envelopes.

8:20:  Meryl Streep is there with her daughter.  Her daughter loooks like she wants to be anywhere else than talking to this smoe on the red carpet.

8:21:  Sorry, but the bottom of Penelope Cruz's dress looks like funeral curtains.

8:23:  Can't stand Jack Black.  

8:23:  Marisa Tomei looks like she's growing out of the bottom of that gown.  

8:24:  If there was an earthquake at the Kodak, which red carpet reporter would you want to die first?

*    *     *     *     *

8:30:  Time for a swig of chardonnay.  Here comes the show!

8:31:  I love the set.  Beautiful Swarovski crystal cutains.  Love the yummy Hugh Jackman too.

8:32:  The whole set looks like Radio City Music Hall.

8:35:  Anne Hathaway can sing!  A little of B'way comes to Hollywood.  

8:37:  Even though this opening number is out there, Hugh Jackman is so likable, I don't care.  Even he can't seem to keep a straight face.

8:38:  They're giving him a standing ovation just for his guts.

8:40:  Best Supporting Actress clip reel.  Nice effect that the screen reflects on the stage. 

8:42:  Great idea to have the previous winners present Best Supporting Actress.  Tilda Swinton still looks like a cadaver.  Classy Eva Marie Saint, old Hollywood at its best.

8:46:  We're never gonna get through the night if every award goes like this.  But I really love that the actresses nominated get to be saluted instead of just with tacky clips.

8:47:  And the winner is...Penelope Cruz!  There goes one prediction.  Don't faint Penelope, it'll make the night longer.  

8:49:  Penelope's going to make me cry.  Stop it Penelope!

8:52:  Tina Fey!  She really is everywhere.  They should book her and Steve Martin to present at the Emmys this fall.  Original Screenplay is early.  Love that they've changed things up like this.

8:56:  And the winner is...."Milk."  Dustin Lance Black.  Sean Penn's gonna cry.  Stop it Sean!

8:58:  People it's only the second award.  Stop making me cry!  Wonderful speech by Black.

9:01:  The first of the "Slumdog" sweep.  Simon Beaufoy for Best Adapted Screenplay.   Is there still a Miss World pageant?

9:02:  Jennifer Aniston and Jack Black.  We don't ever need them paired up again.  Pul-eeeze.

9:06:  Philip Seymour Hoffman still has that longshoreman's cap on.  Maybe he's auditioning for a new version of "On The Waterfront."

9:07:  "Wall-E" is Best Animated Feature.

9:09:   I got an Oscar pool answer right:  "La Maison En Petits Cubes" for Best Animated Short.  Never saw any of the movies but I picked it because the title was in French.

9:16:   Daniel Craig, hubba, hubba.  Whoever dressed the set for this art direction award deserves an award.

9:17:  Art Direction, and the winner is..."Benjamin Button."   These art direction guys look interchangeable with the accountants.

9:20:  Costume Design:  "The Dutchess."  I wish the winner were a woman because the women winners of costume design are always the lead contenders for worst dressed of the night. 

9:23:  Best Makeup:  I'd say "Benjamin Button" has this locked down.  And the winner is..."Benjamin Button."  One of the few good things about the movie was the makeup.

9:24:  It seems we're in the "bad speech" section of the show.  That's four bad speeches in a row.

9:27:  This romance clip reel just reminds me how few good romantic movies there were last year.

9:31:  Ben Stiller is doing Joaquin Phoenix!  Natalie Portman is playing straight woman.  Great stuff.  Best laughs of the night so far.

9:34:  Cinematography:  "Slumdog Millionaire."  Frank Langella came back from the bathroom right in the middle of the the nominees.  

9:36:  "Slumdog" cinematographer looks like an aging rock star.

9:39:  Jessica Biel looks like she bought some satin fabric and wrapped her dress herself.

9:43:  Our first Barack Obama mention.  Time for a swig of chardonnay.

9:44:  And what's the point of these two guys?  Was it comedy?  Bring back Steve Martin and Tina Fey.

9:45:  Best Live Action Short: Spi-speg-spigel-grand?  Oh, Spielzeugland.  Meryl Streep is like, who is this bald, German guy and why aren't they up to my category yet?

9:51:  "Doubt" the musical, I'd pay to see that.  

9:53:   And it's Beyonce singing and dancing with Hugh.  Is this the Oscars or the Tonys? 

9:56:   I will say this, the producers are going for broke with the changes in the show and if it doesn't all work, at least it's interesting.

10:02:  The Heath Ledger Memorial Award:  Best Supporting that's why Kevin Kline was on the red carpet.  I knew there had to be a reason for him to leave New York.  Seeing Alan Arkin up there only reminds me how much Eddie Murphy was robbed.

10:04:  Philip Seymour Hoffman evidently no longer believes in razors.

10:05:  Cuba Gooding, what the hell happened to your career?

10:06:  He's beyond talented but if Christopher Walken doesn't give little kids nightmares, I don't know who does.

10:07:  And the winner is...Heath Ledger, and the crowd stands.  His Mom, Dad and sister are accepting.  It's only the second postumous award to an actor.

10:08:  Sean Penn's about to sob.   Grab the tissues.   Dad, Mom and sister give very nice prepared speeches.  Sniff....sniff...glad he won.   We're also spared Philip Seymour Hoffman going up there in that cap.

10:12:   What is this music that they're using for the documentary clip reel?  I can't remember.  

10:13:   It's Bill Maher, the man's whose biggest nightmare is figuring out how to make jokes about President Obama.  

10:14:  Best Documentary..."Man On Wire."  Amazing movie.  If you haven't seen it, you must.  It's about Phillipe Petit who walked a tightrope between the World Trade Center towers. 

10:17:  Phillipe Petit is there...and he does a magic trick....and balances the Oscar on his chin!  Now that's a thank you.

10:18:  Best Documentary Short..."Smile Pinki" Megan Mylan.  How is it that women can make great documentaries in Hollywood, but when it comes to making huge studio pictures, no one hires these same women?   Just askin'.

10:26:  Will Smith and his ears are presenting Best Visual Effects.  And the winner is..."Benjamin Button."  Since the whole movie was one big visual effect, that works.

10:28:  By the way, Will Smith could you please ditch that Jada girl and call me?   Especially now that you're the biggest box office star in the world.

10:29:  Best Sound Editing..."The Dark Knight."  There were lots of sounds in that movie to be edited, so that works too.

10:30:  Best Sound Mixing..."Slumdog Millionaire."   Our first Bollywood native of the night!  Woo hoo!  And he's hyperventilating.  Breathe, man....breathe! 

10:33:  Sound Mixer Guy:  "This is history being handed over to me."  More sniffing...

10:34:  That's okay Will, you can stay out there as long as you want.   And keeping Will up there allows the show to whip through these technical awards like a house afire.  Thank you producers!

10:35:  Best Editing, an award close to my heart, and the winner is...."Slumdog Millionaire."  Chris Dickens.  I bet he worked like the dickens on that movie...sorry, couldn't help myself. 

10:41:  Speak of the devil, Eddie Murphy is presenting the "let's give him an award before he's dead" award to Jerry Lewis.  I gotta say he looks much better than the last time I saw him.

10:45:  Thank you Jerry, for making it short and sweet.  Good to see ya'.

10:53:  Best Original Score...I've been listening to the "Slumdog" soundtrack all day...and the winner is...A.R. Rahman for "Slumdog Millionaire."  Woo hoo!

10:55:  Best Original the Bollywood girls!   And the drummers!  And the backup singers for John Legend!   And the second set of Bollywood dancers!..who probably all live on Ventura Boulevard.

11:00:  And the winner is...A.R. Rahman for "Jai Ho" from "Slumdog."

11:06:  Hugh Jackman woke up from his nap and is back just long enough to intro Freida Pinto and Liam Neeson.  Best Foreign Language Film..."Departures" from Japan.  The winners have very thick Japanese accents.

11:00:  Queen Latifah is singing accompaniment to the parade of dead people film...Ah, Bernie Mac...Latifah's got some amazing voice.   Is this from her retro songs album?   Ah, Isaac Hayes...Ricardo Montalban..."The plane, the plane."  Ah, Stan Winston, special effects extraordinaire...Chuck Heston..."Out of my cold dead hands..."  And....Paul Newman....sniff... sniff...Very nice.

11:18:  Reese?  What the hell are you wearing?  Elle Woods would never be caught in a dress matching her eye shadow.  Best Director...Danny Boyle for "Slumdog Millionaire."  I wrote that out before she read it.  How psychic am I?

11:20:  Was he jumping or having an attack?  The show is "bloody wonderful" in the room.  What's he saying?  He's harder to understand than the Japanese guys.  

11:22:  Damn, this show is gonna come in close to 3 hours!  That's unprecedented.

11:25:  When was the last time you saw Best Actress awarded before midnight?  But here it is.  And there are the actresses coming out to the theme from "Gone With The Wind."  Did they have to pick a movie theme from a movie with slaves in it?

11:27:  Shirley MacLaine actually sounds like she wrote what she's saying about Anne Hathaway.  Very touching.

11:29  Halle Berry looks better and better every year.   Anybody else remember Melissa Leo from "Homicide, Life On The Street?"

11:30:  Sophia Loren looks likes she came to bury Meryl Streep, not to praise her.  How pissed is she?

11:31:  Are those real emeralds Angelina Jolie's wearing?  

11:32:  And the winner is....Kate Winslet!  Yeah!!!!

11:33:  An immediate standing ovation for Kate.   No Katie, it's not a shampoo bottle.   And her Daddy would be great at getting a taxi in New York with that whistle.

11:37:  Best Actor and another standing ovation for the five presenters, Robert De Niro, Michael Douglas, Anthony Hopkins, Ben Kingsley and Adrian Brody.

11:38:  A good botox job on Michael Douglas.  Still looks kinda natural but smooth as a baby's butt.

11:40:  De Niro:  "How for so many years did Sean Penn get all those jobs playing straight men?" 
 Hee, hee.

11:42:  Mickey Rourke looks like a mobster.

11:43:  And the winner is....Sean Penn!!!!   Wow!  I thought it was a lock for Rourke.  Glad I was wrong.

11:44:  Sean Penn:  "You commie loving, homo, sons of guns!"  Hee, hee. 

11:45:  At least he knows he's a pain in the ass to work with.  

11:46:  He's pushing for support of gay marriage.  Must have been protesters outside the Oscars.

11:47:  Third Obama reference.  More chardonnay.

11:48:  Mickey Rourke ain't heavy, he's Sean's brother.  No thank you to the long suffering wife, Robin Wright Penn.  

11:47:  Steven Spielberg is presenting Best Picture.

11:49:  Excellent clip montages tonight.  Excellent choices and put together well.

11:51:  And the winner is...."Slumdog Millionaire!"  Woo hoo!!!

11:53:   Glad the whole cast is on stage.  They deserve it so much.  And this for a movie that was almost released directly to DVD.

11:54:  Good speech.  Good win.

11:55:  Hugh Jackman is back to send us out.  


I gotta give kudos to producers Bill Condon and Laurence Mark because that was a pretty good Oscar show.  It moved, it was fresh, it was visually exciting and though not everything worked, what did work, worked very, very well.  And it was done before midnight!  Unprecedented.

Good night all.


Megan Smith is the BlogHer Contributing Editor covering Television and Online Video and always loves watching the Academy Awards. Her personal entertainment blog is Megan's Minute, Quirky Commentary Around The Clock.



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