We are going LIVE at 5pm PST, kids to break down the last half-hour of the Red Carpet and then right into the big show. In the meantime, here are my predictions in every category:
Best Picture: Boyhood (though it’s about 51/49 between that and Birdman)
Best Director: Richard Linklater for Boyhood
Best Actor: Eddie Redmayne in The Theory of Everything
Best Actress: Julianne Moore in Still Alice
Best Supporting Actor: JK Simmons in Whiplash
Best Supporting Actress: Patricia Arquette in Boyhood
Best Original Screenplay: The Grand Budapest Hotel by Wes Anderson and Hugo Guinness
Best Adapted Screenplay: The Imitation Game by Graham Moore
Best Foreign Language Film: Ida
Best Original Song: “Glory” from Selma
Best Animated Feature: How to Train Your Dragon 2
Best Score: The Theory of Everything by Johann Johannsson
Best Cinematography: Emmanuel Lubezki for Birdman
Best Visual Effects: Interstellar
Best Makeup and Hairstyling: The Grand Budapest Hotel
Best Animated Short: Feast
Best Documentary Feature: Citizenfour
Best Documentary Short Subject: Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1
Best Live Action Short: The Phone Call
Best Film Editing: Boyhood
Best Costume Design: The Grand Budapest Hotel
Best Production Design: The Grand Budapest Hotel
Best Sound Editing: American Sniper
Best Sound Mixing: Whiplash
5:00 – We are officially LIVE. Yes, it’s raining in LA which is a major tragedy that causes more ridiculous traffic than you can ever imagine. So take some pity on the poor celebrities tonight. They probably had to leave at 3:00 just to get there on time.
5:02 – The announcer just dubbed this “The Oscar Opening Ceremony”. If Clint Eastwood doesn’t light a torch on top of Hollywood Blvd., this will officially be a jipp.
5:03 – Emma Stone and her mom both simultaneously crushing on Mark Ruffalo has a certain creepy vibe to it, but I don’t think I should go any further than that.
5:05 - Yes, everybody. Ethan Hawke has been nominated for four Academy Awards in his career. That’s still not enough to make up for him being a douche to Winona Ryder in Reality Bites.
5:07 – New most awkward Red Carpet Moment – Robin Roberts sorta asking Chris Kyle’s widow about all the trials against his estate. Narrowly beating out Melanie Griffith saying she hasn’t seen 50 Shades of Grey with her daughter standing next to her.
5:15 - Hear that, everyone? Tim McGraw singing a Glen Campbell song is going to be the moment of the night. I’ll give whatever betting odds you want that it isn’t.
5:16 - Following up that assertion, Lara Spencer told us that Kerry Washington is her “idol”. I feel like she has a long way to go to achieve that status.
5:19 – Ordinarily, I’d make fun of Lady Gaga for wearing a Christmas decoration to the Oscars, but she’s engaged to a guy from my hometown of Lancaster, PA – so she can do no wrong.
5:24 – Look, everybody! It’s the star of CSI: Cyber. Don’t mess with her: She works in the Dark Net.
5:25 - Also, spoiler alert! Supporting Actress is the 11th award being presented tonight? I don’t want to know that! Part of the fun is being surprised when a big category hits out of nowhere.
5:27 - And we close with JK Simmons getting played out by the credits. That’s okay. He now has practice for when he gets cut off by the band during his acceptance speech.
5:28 – Can somebody tell me why there’s this new Cinderella movie and why it has Robb Stark in it? I can’t come to grips with any of this.
5:30 – Five seconds in, I’m already taken aback at how glamorous the set looks. Old School Oscars anyone?
5:32 - Seems like a pretty big gaffe by the director to cut to non-joke audience reactions when the first two audience reactions were planned jokes – don’t confuse us, director-man!
5:35 – What are these camera angle choices? Did Billy Crystal slip into the director’s booth to sabotage this opening?
5:37 - Leave it to magician NPH to finish with a disappearing backup dancer trick. Also, to really bring the magic in his opening. A brilliant song that sums up everything the Oscars should celebrate while also being subversive enough to fit in with this age of irony. Where has that been for the last dozen years?
5:38 - I know I should be bigger than making fun of what people are wearing, but Lupita Nyongo’s pearl necklace dress just looks like she got spit on by June Cleaver’s vacuum in reverse.
5:44 - WINNER: JK Simmons wins Best Supporting Actor for his role in Whiplash. (My Predictions: 1/1) – Simmons underwhelms with a clearly pre-written speech that ended up sounding like an AT&T commercial. Much better than his speech were him failing to laugh at Nyongo’s flubbing by saying “The Actor Goes to…” as he was clearly in the “I’m About to Win” zone and then NPH slipping in a Farmer’s Insurance reference after the guy just won an Academy Award.
5:46 – I guess there’s no good way to introduce the Accountants, but rambling about a case filled with predictions for two minutes is definitely one of the most not good ways to do it.
5:47 - This show is absolutely Hell-bent on ending on time. Cramming two Best Picture nominees into the same segment? That’s the best part! Can’t we let them each have their own platform?
5:49 - Maroon 5 Alert! Be right back, I’m gonna go see if there’s a way for me to temporarily lose my sense of hearing.
5:53 – That Samsung Commercial definitely got into the class of the old Martin Scorsese Kodak commercial. No, it can’t equal it, but it’s at least a worthy Oscar commercial successor.
5:55 – As this site’s ‘American Idol’ recapper, I love Jennifer Lopez, but when the last three entries on your IMDB are The Boy Next Door, Parker and What To Expect When You’re Expecting, maybe you shouldn’t be invited to the Oscars for awhile.
5:57 – WINNER: Milena Canonero wins Best Costume Design for her work The Grand Budapest Hotel (My Predictions: 2/2). She also wins the award for longest walk ever to the stage. Was she in like the fourth balcony or something? Come on, Academy! Don’t you read my predictions?
6:00 – “Eat her up with her spoon.” – Joke of the night!
6:02 – WINNER: Frances Hannon and Mark Coulier win Best Makeup & Hairstyling for their work on The Grand Budapest Hotel (My Predictions: 3/3) – A few awards in and this is starting to feel like when all the tech people thanked James Cameron win they won for Avatar. I think there’s more to come.
6:03 – Hey, everyone! Here’s six kids who submitted short films that total six minutes in length. No! We’re not going to show them to you. Why would we do that? We have Jennifer Hudson to get to!
6:10 – WINNER: Ida wins for Best Foreign Language Film (My Predictions: 4/4) – How do you like that? I saw that movie! That must be why it won. Why didn’t the director thank me? He seemed to thank everybody else. He outran the orchestra for crissakes! Oh well, I’m sure he’ll tweet about me later. Plus, he’s the leader right now for speech of the night.
6:13 – Three movies in one shot? Three!? Are they trying to end this in time to beat traffic or something?
6:15 – NPH makes the right decision: If you’re going to try to get a celebrity to spin gold out of nothing, go with somebody who has improv background. Also, I assume those seat fillers are fired by now.
6:17 – Tegan and Sara on the Oscars! Everything truly is awesome.
6:19 – It’s so sad that song is going to lose to “Glory”. So sad.
6:25 – WINNER: The Phone Call wins for Best Live Action Short Film (My Predictions: 5/5) – and Matt Kirkby wins for most British person who’s ever existed on this planet.
6:29 - WINNER: Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1 wins for Best Documentary Short Subject (My Predictions: 6/6). This makes a clean sweep of the short film awards for movies set inside a volunteer call center. Is this Hollywood’s next big trend? Is Telephone Answer Man the next big Hollywood superhero?
6:32 – I will never understand the decision to cut time from the Oscars by handing out lifetime achievement two months prior to the ceremony. These are some of the most enduring and excellent moments and awards that celebrate film. I’m all for the little guy, but it would make more sense to push some short and technical awards to a different ceremony than it does the lifetime achievement awards.
6:35 – Calm down, everyone! According to Lara Spencer this is the moment of the night! Isn’t this the Oscars? Why does this feel more like the Grammys at this point?
6:43 – At this point, I feel like this year’s Oscars has been made up entirely of musical numbers and recapping awards that were handed out earlier in the year. Can we get this thing moving a little bit?
6:46 – WINNER: Craig Mann, Ben Wilkins and Thomas Curley win Best Sound Mixing for their work in Whiplash (My Predictions: 7/7). This speech is so dry, I almost wonder if the guy is trying to make a point at how crucial sound mixing is to increase the drama behind dialogue in a film. Has he gone meta on us?
6:49 - WINNER: Alan Robert Murray and Bub Asman win Best Sound Effects Editing for their work on American Sniper (My Predictions: 8/8) – Their speech was so generic, I have no further comment.
6:53 – That Meryl Streep clip was the most I’ve seen of Into the Woods and I have to say…it was a little bit too much.
6:54 – WINNER: Patricia Arquette wins Best Supporting Actress for her performance in Boyhood (My Predictions: 9/9). Didn’t she tell us this was going to be the eleventh award in the pre-show? Did I pass out from a musical number overdose and miss two?
6:55 – Look for rapturous, effervescent and beguiling line readings like that this Spring on CSI: Cyber! But seriously, the last bit was an important thing to say, but would have felt more powerful if she hadn’t red it off a dot matrix printout.
7:02 - I’m grateful that song is over. Though I’m sure it will soon be anthologized in the next edition of the Big Book of Generic Ballads Songbooks.
7:03 – Look! it’s the next Spider-Man and Mary Jane! (Not true yet, just my prediction)
7:05 - Paul Franklin, Andrew Lockley, Ian Hunter and Scott Fisher win Best Visual Effects for their work on Interstellar (My Predictions: 10/10). Kip Thorne Cal Tech shoutout! That has to be an Oscar first.
7:07 – WINNER: Feast wins for Best Animated Short (My Predictions: 11/11) – Hearing Patrick Osborne say that all the Animated Shorts were so great this year makes me wonder – when exactly are they going to figure out how to make these things available for normal people to see? The Internet does exist right?
7:09 - I guess we can count out that Rock cameo at “Fastlane” tonight. Not sure he made the right choice.
7:11 – WINNER: Big Hero 6 wins for Best Animated Feature. (My Predictions 11/12) – This is my first incorrect prediction and actually a pretty major upset. How to Train Your Dragon 2 pretty much swept all the precursors, even when it also had to go up against The Lego Movie. The Disney marketing machine outdid the Dreamworks marketing machine on this one.
7:12 – Hear that everyone? (Well maybe you didn’t because NPH’s mic went out), but there’s going to be more singing coming up! Yay?
7:19 – “Watching in more than 100 countries and over 20 time zones around the world.” – but only one country and set of time zones that matter in Hollywood: China and the time zones in China.
7:22 – WINNER: Adam Stockhausen and Anna Pinnock win Best Production Design for their work on The Grand Budapest Hotel (My Predictions: 12/13) – Another lovefest speech for Wes Anderson. Is he going to thank himself when he wins Best Screenplay? It’s totally the style, Wes.
7:25 – WINNER: Emmanuel Lubezki wins Best Cinematography for his work on Birdman (My Predictions: 13/14) – That’s his second-in-a-row and he should have won two more. Too bad the Academy loves to spread the wealth so much that he’ll probably never get another one.
7:28 – Look, Apple. You may have gotten Martin Scorsese for your Oscar commercial, but you’ll never be the Kodak Martin Scorsese Oscar commercial. Never.
7:35 – It’s not much of a surprise that Mike Nichols won the Oscar In Memoriam Applause-O-Meter popularity contest, but I was kind of surprised that Richard Attenborough finished a very close second. There were some heavy hitters he beat.
7:37 – You know the expression “She won an Oscar. And nobody can ever take that away from her.”? Can we please take that away from Jennifer Hudson? Please? I guess the only good thing is that everybody can feel safe that they’ll never have the title of worst actor ever to win an Oscar. That also includes the technical categories.
7:42 – More like Benedict CumberBUND, amiright? #NailedIt.
7:45 - WINNER: Tom Cross wins Best Film Editing for his work on Whiplash (My Predictions: 13/15) – This category got really oddly confusing this year. Birdman doesn’t get nominated when it pulled off a one-shot editing magic trick and then Boyhood loses despite making 12 years of footage look seamless. Making Vern Schillinger look terrifying is what ends up winning? I don’t get it.
7:47 – Did working on Empire scramble Terrence Howard’s brain or something? He made Jacqueline Bisset at the Golden Globes seem like she had it together. That was nuts.
7:50 – WINNER: Citizenfour wins for Best Documentary Feature (My Predictions: 14/16) – I didn’t see it, but I went to the premiere of Life Itself and that will be my Documentary of the Year no matter what.
7:52 - I’m also bummed out because I was hoping this documentary and its Oscar was all just a ruse to get Edward Snowden to show up. So close.
7:53 – For those keeping score at home we have eight more awards and two more musical numbers left. Things are almost in balance.
7:59 - I know this is an important movie and everything, but I seriously cannot stand this song. Yes, it’s a John Legend thing.
8:02 – Prediction – Tomorrow everyone will say that performance was the showstopping moment of the night. Second prediction – I will not be one of them. Get John Legend away from my ears!
8:04 – There’s an incredible battle happening on stage right now. Who’s botching this bit more? Who has a bigger ego? Who’s wearing more makeup? The answer – Travolta, Menzel, probably Travolta.
8:06 – WINNER: John Stevens and Lonnie Lynn win Best Original Song for “Glory” from Selma (My Predictions: 15/17) – I almost thought somebody else won at first when they announced Stevens and Lynn. This is like finding out a pro wrestler’s real name. I’m not comfortable with that. John Legend and Common won, dammit. The other people sound like a Senator and a mid-80s baseball player.
8:08 – John Legend: “We live in the most incarcerated country in the world.” Random person in the audience: “Wooo!”. He didn’t mean that as an accomplishment, person who yelled.
8:15 – I love The Sound of Music and I love Lady Gaga, but this is literally the first thing beyond the opening number that’s even mentioned a celebration of the movies – and it’s a musical number! Can I get one montage? Please?
8:17 – I just hit fast forward on my DVR and then remembered that I’m watching this live. Agony.
8:21 – That number filled me with so much malaise that I actually just want Julie Andrews to get off the stage. That’s a really dubious accomplishment.
8:23 – WINNER: Alexandre Desplat wins Best Original Score for his music in The Grand Budapest Hotel. (My Predictions: 15/18) – After six losses in the last decade Desplat finally wins! Maybe this is exactly what he needed: A double nomination which means that even though he won an Oscar he also lost one.
8:30 – WINNER: Four people whose names I don’t feel like trying to spell win Best Original Screenplay for Birdman (My Predictions: 15/19) – A very mild surprise this one, but it’s enough to make me want to change my prediction to Birdman‘s winning Best Picture. I think the odds have shifted in its favor. Have to stick to my guns though.
8:34 – WINNER: Graham Moore wins Best Adapted Screenplay for The Imitation Game (My Predictions: 16/20) – There’s just no way Harvey was letting this film get through the Oscars without winning at least one major award. Nice speech from Moore too. Writers give the best speeches. It’s a known fact.
8:42 – WINNER: Alejandro G. Inarritu wins Best Director for directing Birdman (My Predictions: 16/21) – Ring the bell. It’s over. Birdman is going to win Best Picture. Only thing left to decide – will Keaton get carried up in this momentum and win Best Actor? Either way, his underpants got to go up on the stage as Inarritu so delightfully pointed out.
8:49 – Just look at this rundown of clips. These are all brilliant performances. They don’t even include David Oyelowo, Jake Gyllenhaal, Timothy Spall or Ralph Fiennes. What an amazing year for leading male performances. If only the ladies could get such good parts made for them.
8:52 - WINNER: Eddie Redmayne wins Best Actor for his performance in The Theory of Everything (My Predictions: 17/22) – He’s really just keeping the stage warm for next year when he wins Best Supporting Actor for Jupiter Ascending. Seriously – did you see how insanely he acted the absolute hell out of that nonsense? They shouldn’t have any other nominees next year.
8:56 - WINNER: Julianne Moore wins Best Actress for her performance in Still Alice (My Predictions: 18/23) – Might’ve expected more emotion out of Moore after so many years of going home empty-handed, but I think the precursors have come to rob us of that moment. That’s why Redmayne was so much more emotional: That category wasn’t completely decided. Moore had to know she was going to win and that knowledge robs us of that moment.
9:02 – Well, this NPH Oscar Magic Case bit is kind of paying off. Kind of.
9:03 – Sean Penn reading Best Picture nominees is officially the new voice in my nightmares.
9:04 – WINNER: Birdman wins Best Picture (My Predictions: 18/24) – People have gotten incredibly cynical about Birdman‘s momentum that led up to this Best Picture win, saying that this is all Hollywood giving itself a pat on the back for the movie about movies, but I look at it a different way. This movie is weird. It’s really weird. It’s a borderline experimental film that rode all the way to Best Picture. This movie is as little like a traditional Oscar Best Picture movie as any winner we’ve ever seen. It makes me very happy that such a different kind of movie ended up winning Best Picture. It’s also my favorite movie of 2014, so that fills me with joy as well.
Final Thoughts: For a night that started so strong, this Oscar ceremony became incredibly dull and plodding alarmingly quickly. Following a brilliant opening number, NPH gave us a magic case bit that barely paid off and many jokes that fell flat. That thrown in with about zero celebration of film and, instead, an endless number of musical numbers made this something of a perplexing Oscar ceremony. Perplexing and frustrating.
I’d say it’s time to blow the whole thing up, but a good show was right there. The show that the opening promised was great. I just don’t know why it went so far off the reels.