David Edelstein Live Blogs the Oscars

Even with all the gazillions of words generated about this year’s Oscars, I’m still so giddy I can barely type. It used to be the suspense was over who would win. Now, given that we all know who will win — The King’s Speech, Colin Firth, Natalie Portman, Christian Bale, Melissa Leo — the suspense is over which of them won’t win. Not Colin Firth. I mean Colin Firth will not NOT win. As I said on CBS Sunday Morning today, he’s not a lock, he’s a locked locked in a locked lock. And he deserves the prize, although mostly for his work in last year’s A Single Man. In Firth’s case, the suspense is over what the hell he can say that he hasn’t said to the NY and LA critics, to BAFTA, to SAG…

You’ll find my predictions for the awards below the blog; you’ll see how right I was.

11:50 Sorry for sounding sexist about Anne and Mila Kunis’s boobs but there was very little tonight to engage the eye and ear. I’ll be on CNN too early in the a.m. tomorrow with Jessica Coen of Jezebel. I’ll try not to sound like Rex Reed some snide bitchy jerk… but it will be hard. Thank you so much for sticking around and sharing the pain. See Winter’s Bone!!!!!!!!!!!!

11:44 Next year’s co-hosts… Charlie Sheen and Mel Gibson?

11:43 Anne Hathaway wins for biggest fake eyelashes… Those kids sound so much better than Gwyneth did… Unfair, Edelstein, cheap shot… I know… But I always dreamed, even when I was a kid before the Internet, that I’d one day LIVE BLOG THE OSCARS and now I have and there has just been so little to say that hasn’t been said. What I think has happened is that here at Vulture and elsewhere we’ve written so much about the Academy Awards that we really have made the actual thing seem as if it happned long ago in a galaxy far, far away.

11:38 Some time I’d like to meet the person who thought it would be interesting to run the king’s speech (from the movie) under a montage of clips of the nominated films. It was just another weird disconnect in a night of many.

11:35 Some of you in the comments section like that Franco has been so laid-back, so stoner-esque. There are stoned people who can be quite amusing, others who just kind of sit back and think their own amusing thoughts. The latter kind shouldn’t maybe host awards shows.

11:31 I wondered how Colin Firth could make it fresh and he did: He talked as if he’d never won an award for this part, as if he were channeling George VI and his painful stammer. It was nice that he thanked Tom Ford, who helped him break through to something extraordinary in A Single Man–and which he carried over into The King’s Speech (and possibly this speech). The only thing is that he didn’t seem as if he wanted to dance. I wish he had. Long, dull night.

11:23 I like seeing David “Quentin Collins” Selby on the Oscars in the clip from The Social Network. Tim Burton, take note.He still looks great.

11:22 Sandra Bullock is on a first-name basis with the nominees, too. These aren’t intros, these are odes. But she’s cute with Jeff Bridges doin’ the twang.

11:18 Natalie Portman seems nice. She thanked her parents for giving her life. Some day I hope my daughters get around to doing that while I’m here. She thanked the people who gave her life behind the camera… a long speech but delivered with charming sincerity and emotion. I judge but do not begrudge. Congratz, Natalie.

11:15 What’s with Bridges’ creepy first-name addresses of these poor captive actresses?

11:12 Warren’s mighty proud of his wife and should be.

11:11 Annette Bening always looks so beautiful in dresses with the suggestion of a collar. That’s the extent of my fashion knowledge… I leave it to the Fug Girls to speculate on why Anne Hathaway needs so many costume changes. At a certain point it looks like a desperate way of holding our attention. I wish amid all the swill tonight they’d found a place for live words from Francis Coppola, Eli Wallach, and Kevin Brownlow.

11:07 Believe it or not, Armond White (!!!!!!!!!!) and I presented Tom Hooper the audience choice award at last year’s East Hamptons Film Festival. Was that his first award on American soil? Anyway, I didn’t think he’d win–that he did means The King’s Speech is so in there for Best Picture. Which means you can shut off the TV after Best Actress. Anyway, I still think the way he cut back and forth between his two leads on opposite sides of the screen suggested he studied drama at Wimbledon. But I’m happy for him mom. Mothers are having a big night.

11:00 Jill Claybugh was so radiant, wasn’t she? What actors and actresses grab you that way now, just because their soul shines through? It’s hard when women are so terrorized into losing weight that there’s no room for anything in their faces but eyes and giant lips. Halle Berry’s salute to Lena Horne, moving as it was, was also an uncomfortable reminder that African-Americans on the whiter end of the spectrum get through the door first.

10:48 The coming obits should include a mention of this show.

10:46 Ricky Gervais ruined the Golden Globes not by being rude but by going after the low-hanging fruit–by being rude without being witty. What he did resonates here because the producers have gone in the opposite direction, working so hard not to offend anyone that they haven’t managed to engage anyone.

10:39 65cyclista below has written that Franco’s performance tonight makes her (or him?) want to cut her/his arm off. He hasn’t bothered me that much. But he’s not there. She’s singing and dancing and mugging and acting her heart out and he’s not projecting anything. He brings so little to the party.

10:33 There was a certain comfort level when Billy Crystal hosted that hasn’t been equaled since. It was like Carson back in the day and Bob Hope before him. But I’m not sure bringing Hope in like that played much better than Nancy Marchand did in her posthumous edited-together-from-outtakes final episode on The Sopranos. The producers’ desire to look back does not speak well for their confidence in their own abilities, even if the older members will be pleased that this isn’t only about wooing the younger demographic.

10:25 Charles Ferguson: “Not a single financial executive has gone to jail, and that’s wrong.” Yes, Inside Job does leave you thinking, “String ‘em up!” I wrote that I could barely watch it through gritted teeth and marveled that Ferguson could hold to a tone of objectivity. Looks like he couldn’t keep up the equanimity.

10:20 Would you also want to breathe Oprah’s air? Send e-mails to nytimes.com.

10:18 The short film God of Love was a little slick for my taste, but everyone will look at this tall curly haired dude talking like an Aaron Sorkin character and want to work with him.

10:13 “He made out with my co-host… in a movie.” Come on, writers, try.

10:11 I wish our president had sung a few bars. I wish Kevin Spacey hadn’t. I’d be more pleased with Spacey if he didn’t always look so pleased with himself. Randy Newman has written some of my favorite double-edged songs, like “Sail Away,” and I’m quite partial to “That’ll Do, Pig” (in spite of how often I hear it at the dinner table). But he has become what he once parodied. Meanwhile, there were better songs in Tangled (all of them).

9:57 Nikki Finke thinks they shouldn’t have let Kirk Douglas present. I… like that Douglas had fun. I, like many of you, can’t write what I truly think. But I hope I’ll never have cause to relate to how hard people try to hold onto certain physical and physiognomic (if that’s a word) attributes beyond reason…

9:48 Of course, Inception won for sound. It was quite an aural tapestry. The best work in this category, for The Fighter, wasn’t nominated. But nice of the winners to mention their union. I wonder if anyone will express solidarity with the Wisconsin union workers tonight.

9:45 That fine, noncommittal, Eno-airport score for The Social Network has deservedly won… but what I’m thinking about is that not all men are comfortable hugging.

9:40 For those of you who aren’t watching, Bale and Leo have won. Anne with an “e” sang “On My Own” very well with “funny” lyrics about Hugh Jackman letting her down. Everyone’s picking on old Hugh tonight.

9:35 Thank you so much, Christian, mate, for reminding us what a Brit you are because once your career took off you couldn’t talk like that ever… And, mate, I just love your forgetting your wife’s name… no, you were choked up… that’s lovely. Americans never say stuff like “You are my mast through the storm of life.” If we did, we’d get laid a lot more.

9:29 Helen Mirren and Russell Brand are an inspired combination. They should host together.

9:26 Anne is like a big, gorgeous marionette in her musical lover number [FREUDIAN SLIP-9:29]. She is great. And do you see how comfortable mugging she is? It works against her onscreen, but she’d do well in musicals. [As I typed the above… FIRST CHARLIE SHEEN JOKE!]

9:21 Good on old David Seidler. He became obsessed with the story of George VI because he stuttered as a child. Which is another lesson that disabilities can be turned into Oscars, either behind the scenes or in front of the camera. And given the slashing of government programs for the disabled as taxes aren’t raised and revenues fall, Hollywood might have to step in and subsidize all those people on whom it relies for awards.

9:17 Sorkin speaks with the same unnaturally fluidity with which he writes. Makes it easier to talk over rude piano and strings…

9:08 How quickly Anne and James became bystanders. What was all that rehearsing about?…

9:06 Ha! The Lost Thing. Y’know I picked this one and no one else did. Very sweet and poignant…

9:04 Memo to Justin Timberlake: Make Mila Kunis laugh as much as possible so she showily (and show-stoppingly) bends over…

9:02 Oh, Melissa Leo, she really looks surprised. I love her. I even love her swearing. Okay, I don’t totally love her dithering. And she should have been better prepared, she was the favorite. But… I hear stories about actors… and I’ve never heard anything but love sonnets about her…

8:53 On his deathbed, Kirk’s last words will be trying to get some tootsie to climb in with him…

8:46 A lot of folks have bashed Alice in Wonderland, including in Vulture’s critical worst-of-the-year round-ups. They’re full of it. It looked terrific. Like most of Tim Burton’s films, it plays wittily with perspective… more wittily than the art director putting the Mad Hatter hat on the Oscar, which didn’t get a close-up…

8:41 Lame material is better done by people you want to sleep with, though…

8:40 “Anne, honey, stand up straight…” That was old when Shirley Temple did it…

8:38 A different dress than she wore on the red carpet to come into the theater? That seems wasteful…

8:36 What’s great about this opening montage is that they just get access to EVERYTHING. They’re the friggin’ Oscars. It’s not that it’s good material, it’s second-rate, it’s just that such silliness performed by such Hollywood royalty… is enjoyably silly…. Ann Hathaway gives off this vibe that says, “I’m so game.”…

Totally unsatisfying mash-up montage of Best Picture nominees. Did Darren Aronofsky direct it?

8:29 Lotta people on the red carpet saying they loved The Social Network. The King’s Speech not so much. Upset? No, the King’s Speech lovers are not on the damn red carpet…. they’re taking the disabled ramp in their wheelchairs…

8:25 Roberto Benigni voted THE BEST ACCEPTANCE SPEECH EVER? By an organ grinder’s monkey, maybe. I might be sick. I’m having concentration camp flashbacks. Ugh….


Before we begin with the live blogging, some opening thoughts. Natalie Portman is allegedly a very nice person — and I can’t get used to the idea of rooting against any artist. But Annette Bening, come on. She gave the more daring performance last year in Mother and Child, but right now she’s my favorite actress, mostly because she’s so brilliant at locating the actress inside the characters she plays, the ones presenting an image to the world and, often, failing. Her character in The Kids Are All Right is among her most subtle portraits — though still hilarious.

Meanwhile, Nicole Kidman, her forehead liberated, gave the performance of her life in the neglected Rabbit Hole. Michelle Williams surpassed herself (and Ryan Gosling) in Blue Valentine. Jennifer Lawrence broke your heart in Winter’s Bone as a girl trying so hard not to emote. When Portman wins tonight, it will be because she lost all that weight and suffered mightily. She’ll win because actors win awards when you see the acting, even though some of the greatest acting looks effortless. That’s why The Fighter’s Bale (weight loss, accent) and Leo (accent, scenery-chewing) will win, too. I love both those performances, but I’d be thrilled to pieces if John Hawkes or Jeremy Renner surprised everyone. And Amy Adams and her cute little tum, a win for her would make me happy, too. (When you watch the clips of Bening and Kidman, you’ll be amazed all over again that neither Julianne Moore nor Aaron Eckhart were nominated.)

By the way, a big cheer for Hawkes and Dale Dickey, who won Indie Spirit awards for Winter’s Bone. Too bad about that tour-de-force of idiocy Black Swan getting the others. But when an indie auteur like Darren Aronofsky breaks this big, it has to turn a lot of heads.

Speaking of auteurs, I agree with those who think there might be a picture-director split this year. Fincher is the rare commercial filmmaker who’s also beloved of auteurists (well, some) and the pudgy fanboys (boxers in their dreams) who bonded with him over Fight Club.

Other predictions: Sorkin (a no brainer — that movie is so WRITTEN), David Seidler for being in his seventies and waiting for the Queen Mother to croak before finishing The King’s Speech. I haven’t seen all the foreign films, but I’d be surprised if too many people cast votes for a movie as punishing (and unenlightening) as Biutiful, even if they all had to watch it for Bardem’s (great) performance. Suzanne Bier’s picture has the buzz.

About the docs I don’t know what to think. Inside Job is the obvious choice… but Banksy could sneak in, as he has snuck in so many places. As Alex Gibney and I discussed over at bloggingheads on Friday, if a doc as cheeky and unconventional as Exit Through the Gift Shop got past the unbelievably conservative Academy doc nominating committee, it could go all the way. (The Los Angeles Times’s recent fact-checking of the film — disproving suspicions, which I shared, that Mr. Brainwash was a Banksy creation — might seal the deal.) I’ll be happy if either wins —they’re both on my 10 Best List.

Finally, despite my undying love for Winter’s Bone and Toy Story 3 and The Fighter, they and The Social Network will genuflect before The King’s Speech — which will win because, according to my pal Lynda Obst, Harvey’s been playing on the sentiments of the againg, anti-Internet crowd; and because as much as we’re all affected by that shameless, royalist crowd-pleaser, show biz types relate more than anyone to the existential terror of standing before a crowd and not being able to get the words out.

Finally, congratulations to the Sex and the City 2 gals and the Shyamster for pulling out big wins at the Razzies.

All right, then. Time to pour myself a drink… settle down… meditate…; and begin…

The Oscars: The Complete Winners List
Oscar Wrap Up: What Worked and What Didn’t
The Fug Girls Critique the Red Carpet
Photo Gallery: See all the Oscars Red Carpet Looks
Your Oscar Ballot
Vulture’s Oscar Predictions: Who Will Win, and What to Say When They Do


David Edelstein Live Blogs the Oscars