Oscar! Live-Blogging and Occasional Musings

Oscar-ama! The 79th Annual Academy Awards have come and gone, and here's the upshot: The Departed wins Best Picture. Marty Scorsese wins Best Director - finally. Forest Whitaker and Helen Mirren take Best Acting nods; Alan Arkin and Jennifer Hudson take suporting Oscars; and An Iconvenient Truth wins Best Documentary. We're looking forwards to the commentary on that tomorrow on Fox. ETP liveblogged the Oscars tonight, because, well, that seems to be the thing to do, and our real-time reactions are preserved for you below, plus pictures! Vamanos, muchachas! That's how they say it in Pan's Labyrinth.

Hi all, and welcome to the ad-hoc ETP Oscar liveblog. Your trusty crew of Rachel Sklar and Melissa Lafsky , plus assorted cheap shots from the cheap seats, will be doing what we can to keep up with the program; see our pre-Oscar fashion-fest here, where our impressions were blurted out res gestae-style and published without a second thought, and before André Leon Talley gushed over Kirsten Dunst's dress. Oops.

8:30 pm: We open with a montage of people who have never won. Peter O'Toole! Leo DiCaprio! MARTY SCORSESE! Our fingers are crossed for you, Marty, and not just because we've got five bucks riding on it.

zz will ferrell.JPG8:36: Ellen looks dapper and lush in a red crushed velvet pantsuit. Tonight, we celebrate the nominees! Since she was a little girl, she always wanted to host the Oscars. Aw. Now she's babbling Ellen-style, and it's working....yes, yes, we know the Oscars are international. But make a movie joke, soon.

8:40: "It's not that we don't have time for long speeches, it's that we don't have time for boring speeches." Ellen is now poking gentle fun at the nominees and whether or not they have anything in particular riding on tonight. But still, please - get to the movie jokes - Billy Crystal would be on his third song already.

8:41: Aw! Abigail Breslin! Adorable. Eighth nomination for Peter O'Toole: "You know what they say, third time's a charm!" Okay, she's warming up now.

842: "Jennifer Hudson was on American Idol, America didn't vote for her, and yet she's here with an Oscar nomination. That's incredible....And then, Al Gore is here, America did vote for him, and..." HUGE APPLAUSE. Go Ellen, go!

8:43: The first controversial joke of the night! "If there weren't blacks, Jews and gays, there would be no Oscars. Or anyone named Oscar." Seems an appropriate segue for bringing on the Gospel Choir!

cute kids.JPG8:45, ish: And suddenly...that's it! We got a mention of Leo DiCaprio, and it seemed like it was on to business....and a new first category as Nikki Finke predicted - here's Art Direction, and Daniel Craig (swoon) and Nicole Kidman, bold in red with a giant bow-like thing on her shoulder. Not quite Charlize Theron something-on-my-shoulder-is-alive, but still. Oh, who are we kidding, Nicole can do whatever the hell she wants. And the Oscar goes to....Pan's Labyrinth! Scary-looking Goat Men don't just make themselves, y'know.

8:52: Jack Black (leering): "Helen Mirren, what party are you going to?" Smart and surprising move: Cede the Oscar real estate to three crowd-pleasers with indie-but-mainstream cred: Will Ferrell, Jack Black and John C. Reilly. "Helen Mirren will be coming home with meeeeeee!"

And that's it - we're straight into the nominations for achievements in makeup: Apocalypto's first Oscar nomination of the night, oh, yay! And the Oscar goes to....Pan's Labyrinth! Scary Goat Men 'round the world, rejoice!

ari sandel, new hearthrob.JPG8:59: "People say that the children are our future - but this year, we've seen that they're also our competition." Abigail Breslin and Jaden Christopher Sire Smith - we think that's his name. That's a lot of names. Here they are to announce the nominees for Best Animated Short. Aw. Kids are cute when they get confused. The winner, eventually: The Danish Poet! ETP is 3 for 3 right now, by the way. We RULE.

8:59: Wait, what happened to Jack Nicholson's head? Apparently he's sporting the Moby look - with the trademark shades, 'natch.

9:04: Best Live Action Short Film goes to West Bank Story, the falafel-icious work of filmmaker (and uber-hottie) Ari Sandel. He immediately wins our hearts with his "hope is not hopeless" speech. And look! He brought his mom as his Oscar date!

9:10: Steve Carrell and Greg Kinnear take the stage to present sound editing- a couple 40-year-old virgin jokes, and Kinnear rocking the hooker joke. Early love for Iwo Jima is flowing as Alan Robert Murray and Bub Asman get it - plus a note that Murray's father was an Iwo Jima survivor. Ok, so the speech is less than riveting - but redemption arrives in a heartfelt message to the troops.

james thunder early.JPG 9:19: James McAvoy and Jessica Biel (and her pink lipstick) deliver the first statue of the night for Dreamgirls, in Best Sound Mixing. Note for all "thank you" speech givers: Never be the third to speak!

9:20: Again with the scrim. Cute though. Penguins!

9:21: Rachel Weisz, looking pale and gorgeous, delivers Best Supporting. And the Oscar goes to Alan Arkin - fantastic! Upset! Okay Alan, it's really alright to look up from the notes when reading your speech. But we can forgive - none of it shakes our undying love for Grandpa and his Rick James moves.

ellen and crazy scorsese.JPG 9:24: Ellen banters with Mark Wahlberg (en eBay joke - clever!) and Martin Scorsese . Ellen is doing a great job as host because she's supporting the show, not elbowing into center stage. Plus, they're shaving off valuable seconds by placing her strategically in the audience. A good strategy. Less is more.

9:35: Leo DiCaprio and Al Gore - is it just us or do they look like relatives? Maybe cousins, once removed. Uh oh - a Presidential Announcement allusion.

leo and al.JPG9:37: The Oscars have gone green! And they have a website! Leo plugs for, and gushes over Gore, while Kate Winslet smiles. Ohhh - an announcement from Gore! Wait for it...

9:38: "I will take this opportunity to formally announce my--" Cue the orchestra! Audible sighs of relief from the Hillary camp. So far it's the best joke of the night - sorry Ellen, but it's true.

9:43: A brunette and ultra-svelte Cameron Diaz up to present Best Animated Film. And the winner is, surprising no one (including us) Happy Feet. Huzzah! Dancing penguins, man - kills 'em every time.

9:46: And ho, it's Ben Affleck, who still gets the "Oscar-Winning Screenwriter" intro - once you win, it's never expunged from the resume, not even by Reindeer Games. Cue the adorable screenwriters-depicted-in-film montage!

9:49: Is it just us, or are Tom Hanks and Helen Mirren the best dressed people at the Oscars? Best Screenplay has never looked so classy. We could listen to Helen read that entire Departed screenplay.

zzzzzzz.JPG9:52: William Monahan takes it for "The Departed." And, rightly, he thanks the writers of "Infernal Affairs." And the Academy. And Warner Brothers. And "Thelma" - hopefully not a 19-year-old mistress watching from home. Cue the soft piano sounds of "Get off the stage."

9:58: Best Costumes: Anne Hathaway and Emily Blunt the girls from Devil Wears Prada can't keep themselves from giggling at the silly costume processional. The winner actually worked on Barry Lyndon, if you remember your college movie course: "I wanted to get this doll" (Ed. We have no idea what our tipster is talking about, but we trust.) Pitch-perfect icy glare from Meryl Streep - made the moment. The Emilies are lookin' good! Pretty blue sparkly dress.

10:03: Ladies and gentlemen, Tom Cruise! Cue liveblogging couch-jumping award. But where is Katie? (Sorry, Kate.) Longtime Tom partner, first female studio president and top gun, and sometime Huffpo blogger Sherry Lansing gets the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award for such movies as Bravheart and Fatal Attraction. (Just kidding, and also for her huge body of work, expressed in handy montage form.) She looks fantastic, if a little deer-in-headlights - but short, sweet, sincere and well-spoken. At this point we know all too well that coming up with one-liners on the fly is exhausting. Bruce Vilanch, we need you!

dance, oscar, dance.JPG10-something - we're losing track: Gwyneth looks lovely - but is it enough to make us all forget the transgressions of Oscars past? Like we said, Oscar has a long memory.

10:20: Cinematography to Guillermo Navarro for Pirates of the Caribbean, his first - what? No statue for Spy Kids?

10:22: Pirates of the Caribbean wins again, for Best Visual Effects. More fun facts - we learn that Charles Gibson's parents wanted him to be a doctor. Aw. "My son, the Oscar winner" doesn't sound too shabby. Once again, the curse of the "third guy to speak during the acceptance speech." Oscar, you can be so cruel.

Somewhere between 10:22 - 10:35: Best Foreign Film - The Lives of Others - suck it, Pan's Labyrinth! Sorry, we're just getting in on the backlash curve early. Guess the Goat Man didn't do enough schmoozing at Academy parties this year. Suck it, Goat Man!

Next: Ellen gets eaten by giant morphing screen-squid. AWESOME.

oscaaaaaaahhhhhh.JPG10:35: Across Chelsea, Oscar parties erupt: JENNIFER HUDSON! OUR BABY WON! WE LOVE YOU, BABY! Sorry, she's all emotional, we're getting emotional TOO. Plus, she looks so great now that she lost the gold tinfoil coat! Aw, no, orchestra - you can't play off a Dreamgirl! Well yes, actually, they can - it starts with a warning piano tinkle and ends with a wall of sound pushing the hapless winner off America's precious airtime. Showbiz....that's just showbiz. Close-ups of Beyoncé-2; Thank-yous from Hudson - 0. Snap!

10:42: Your HuffBloggers disagree: Melissa says that "Eva Green is the most beautiful actress working today" and Rachel says "That eye makeup gives her a slightly evil-looking Goth quality." Plus she broke the heart of our Daniel Craig and that WILL NOT BE TOLERATED. One of us just realized that Gael Garcia Bernal in those glasses looks just like a Chilean heartthrob named José whom we once knew. Te adoro, José. Oh wait, there was a movie in here, wasn't there. Best Documentary Short: The Blood of Yingzou District. Congratulations, Yingzou!

emilies.JPG10:46: Noted environmentalist Jerry Seinfeld introduces the Best Documentary feature. Stop talking, Jerry! We just want to see our next president take the stage!

10: 48: WHOOOOOOO! BEST DOCUMENTARY: AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH! Half that stage blogs on HuffPo, by the way. Whee, hybrid cars! Al Gore looks choked up; Laurie David looks sensational; Bush looks the other way.

10:53: Ennio Morricone! Apparently he's scored a lot of movies. Remember at the beginning of The Mission when the dude goes over the waterfall on the cross? POWERFUL. The Untouchables, The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly, Days of Heaven, A Fistful of Dollars and - wait for it - Orca!

10:58: Sing it out, Celine! We'd like to point out right now that Celine Dion, like Ryan Gosling and Paul Haggis, is Canadian. Okay, so we're not doing quite as well as the Brits or Pan's Labyrinth, but still. (This is Rachel, btw.) Ahh Celine Dion. Wake up crowd - she's done singing! (This is Mel, btw.)

ennio.JPG10:59: Standing O for Ennio! This man has written some of the greatest movie scores of all time - AND he knows Italian! (We love that Clint Eastwood is translating, too. Oscar is about collaboration!) Ennio is earning his standing O, meanwhile; very classy to mention all the artists who work so hard but don't ever make it to the fancy-pants award shows. We're pretty sure that he said "fancy-pants award shows" in Italian.

(Comment from an ETP reader: "I guess Clint picked up Italian when he was making all those spaghetti westerns." Never mind that Fellini with clam sauce is delicious.)

11:08: Best Original Score, as presented by the poised and lovely Penelope Cruz and the delicious and hardbodied Hugh Jackman. Sorry, we saw Scoop on a plane (which, incidentally, is really the only place to see it). In any case, Babel! We are so digging this Pan's Labyrinth backlash.

11:11 - Make a wish! We have no problem with the Oscars being self-referential about how long it is when it's done at warp speed. Good job, Sid Ganis.

spielberg ellen and clint.JPG11:14: Award for longest stage directions: The Queen! Here's a thought: "The Queen sees a stag." Congratulations, Michael Arndt, for Little Miss Sunshine! He's had a good weekend; won an Indie Spirit award, too. Screenplay is one category where the Oscar can go "indie": Sophia Coppola for Lost in Translation, Charlie Kaufman for Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,and nom'd for Being John Malkovich. Letters From Iwo Jima reminds us of that famous quote attributed to Ann Richards about Ginger Rogers having to do everything that Fred did but backwards in heels. (The movie was subtitled in Japanese. Labored analogy? Whatever. Why are you reading this? The Oscars are on!) In any case, congratulations to all nominated writers - that montage earlier was for YOU.

11:16: Dude. They totally made a SHOE!

11: 19: For one brief, shining moment, the Oscars belong to Dreamgirls. It's a great, great segment, and the ladies look diva-licious in red (Beyoncé, stick with that dress. The night is young.) Beyoncé is WORKING it. A reader writes: "Dude, Beyoncé dreamgirls baby.JPG is trying to outshine Jennifer Hudson; we say, ask not for whom Beyoncé shines; she shines for thee. We don't really know what we're saying at this point, they just announced the Oscar for best song. WHYYYYYYYYYYY ACADEMY WHYYYYYYYY?

11:28: Across the entire world, Oscar ballots are marked with a giant red "X." Somewhere, Bill Condon is bonking his head against a wall repeatedly. We admit that we have no clue what the Metheridge song sounds like (we were in transit when she performed), but we saw An Inconvenient Truth and don't remember LEAPING OUT OF OUR SEATS IN PURE JOY. Then again, considering the subject matter that's not surprising.

11:30: Our DVR runs out - it thinks the Oscars are from 8:30 - 11:30. HA. That's actually sort of awesome. THAT was their planned running time and they went over by almost an hour? Maybe Harvey Scissorhands should produce the Oscars. That'll get that puppy in on time. Worked with Gangs of New York! (NB: This is why there are no last-hour photos. Sorry, Marty!)

11:34: Montage for Little Miss Sunshine. We hear it's good.

11:38: We were thinking, has there been a clip from The Sound of Music yet? It doesn't feel like Oscar without a nod in the montage. Will Michael Mann oblige? It's no Miami Vice, it's true. Tonight's Americana montage seems to be about tolerance, diversity, saying hello to Al Pacino's little friend - time to escape over the mountains! We think this montage is a titch overbroad, but we love that the reference to Sunnis and Shi'ites and Kurds (oh my!) came from American Dreamz.

meth mouth.JPG11:42: Kate Winslet presents the Oscar for Film Editing: The Departed! The winner is a woman named Thelma, who we'll Google in a second. (Update: Schoonmaker.) She's pleased as punch, and so is Marty Scorsese, who we actually think may be a little choked up. Aw. How cute is Marty? He may be little, but he's a giant.

11:45: Jodie Foster presents the In Memoriam montage. We're going to miss a whole bunch here, but we'll give it a try: Joe Barbera, Don Knotts, Betty Comdon, Red Buttons, June Allyson, Gordon Parks, Marueen Stapleton, VIncent Sherman, James Doohan, Peter Boyle, Sidney Sheldon, Jack Palance - just so you know, this is tough, because this is pretty moving, and we're getting a little choked, so we'll get right to it - Robert Altman. To all of those the industry lost, we tip our hats - watching this thing really reminds you how very much movies are about standing on the shoulders of giants.

11:49 T minus 3.5 hours, still plenty to go!

whitakers.JPG11:52: "Philip Seymour Hoffman" and "People's Sexiest Man" in same sentence - the magic of the movies! Presenting the Academy Award for Best Actress: Penelope Cruz. Judi Dench. Helen Mirren. Meryl Streep. Kate Winslet. And the Oscar goes to...God Save The Queen - it's HELEN MIRREN! Whooooo! Hands down the best dressed and loveliest woman at the Oscars, PLUS great cleavage. We seriously think Jack Black is going to try to go home with her.

11:56: End, Oscars, end!

12:01: Ellen is vaccuming - we sort of love her kooky, madcap style. She's been a very good host. "Somebody dropped their rolling papers" - excellent.

12:02: Reese! Here are our leading men: Leo DiCaprio. Ryan Gosling, talking about trees (poems are made by fools like him). Peter O'Toole. Aw! Will Smith. Finally, Forest Whitaker, sweaty and intense. And the Oscar goes to: FOREST WHITAKER! Wow, he needs to take a breath. Aw. He's so soft-spoken, so overwhelmed. It's nice at the end of the night. Please, orchestra, don't spoil it. Thank, Forest, Thank!

12:07: BEST DIRECTOR. Marty. Marty. Marty. Marty. Marty. Come on, Steve, Francis and George: DO IT!
YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Wow, why are we so invested in this guy finally getting his Oscar? Because he deserves it. Finally. Congratulations, Marty!

The crowd is going nuts as he climbs to the stage, embraced by Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, and Francis Ford Coppola. And then: "Could you check the envelope, please?" Ha. Funny guy, that Scorcese. "So many people over the years have been saying to me - in doctor's offices, elevators...I thank you, this is for you." The orchestra would not DARE play him off. Great speech, and then he walks off, flanked by his buddies, colleages, and co-winners. Well, except for George Lucas.

all work and no play makes jack a dull boy.JPG12:12: Finally, here we are: Best Picture. Who will be riding that great yellow mini-bus into Oscar history? Jack Nicholson and Diane Keaton cross the stage to present. No Annie Hall look for Diane this year - she' smokin'! The older ladies definitely take it tonight. Here they are: Babel. The Departed. Letters From Iwo Jima. Little Miss Sunshine. The Queen. Not Dreamgirls. And the Oscar goes to.....

The Departed
!!!!! Whoo hooo, crowd favorite, and may we remind you it was the Official Selction Of The ETP "We're Just Guessing!" Oscar Ballot. As happy people mount the stage, Diane tells us that Martin Scorsese calls The Departed: "The first movie I have ever done with a plot." So that's what it was!

*Note that The Departed was a remake of the 2002 Hong Kong original, Infernal Affairs, which was released in the U.S. by the pre-Weinstein-split Miramax. So don't fret, Harvey & Bob - you may have had an empty win basket this year, but in a roundabout way, you had a tie to the Best Picture!

And that's it - the Oscars are over - and only 20 minutes overtime, which is actually pretty decent. Heck, that almost seemed fast. We're currently enjoying the musical medley of Oscar songs - Oklahoma, Chariots of Fire, ET, Fame,, movies are fun. Thanks for reading, everybody! We hope all two of you enjoyed yourselves and had a wonderful 79th Annual Academy Awards — goodnight, everybody!