I don't know if I can do my usual live-blogging, but I will try to watch, and I'll put numbered comments up if I think of anything amusing. The main point of this post is to give you a place to comment if you're so inclined.
1. Loved Penelope Cruz's red dress.
2. Have you noticed how many of the men are chewing gum? Morgan Freeman, etc.
3. Sarah Jessica Parker is chewing gum. She's 44 and she looks 60, but she's sweet and enthused about the Chanel column of gold satin. Meanwhile, no one wants to talk to Matthew Broderick, who's gone gray and portly.
4. "I like seeing all my friends cleaned up and looking good" — Meryl Streep on what she likes best about the Oscars.
5. Yikes. This production number is more painful than the crap they make "American Idol" contestants do on elimination night. (Elimination... crap... hmmm....) Men in suits singing, surrounded by scantily clad showgirls waving feather fans... what is this, 1962? So retro. So pre-women's movement. Oh, phew, it's over. Now, the talking. Yeeze. Steve Martin looks like Spencer Tracy in "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?" ... i.e., just before he died.
6. Christopher Plummer looks way better indoors. Somehow the lighting bestows an artificial tan. Outdoors, he looked diseased.
7. Ah! Penelope Cruz again, in that dress. Lovely! She was last year's Best Supporting Actress, so she's giving the Best Supporting Actor award. Dialogue chez Meadhouse: "Is that Robert Duvall?" "No, Woody Harrelson."... "Everyone knows Christoph Waltz is going to win." And he does. "Oscar and Penelope. That's an uber-bingo."
8. So the first predictable thing has happened. Will all the other predictable things happen to?
9. Sandra Bullock is "a member of the NRA" and "always packing"... according to the clip show of "The Blind Side."
10. Meadhouse dialogue: "IPad ad. Oh, man! Ohhhhhh!" "Still want one?" "Yeeeeaaaaahhhhh."
8a. "Up" wins animated pic. Predicatably.
8b. "The Hurt Locker" wins screenplay, not "Inglourious Basterds." That's not what was predicted, right? I wanted "A Serious Man." The acceptance speech is anti-Iraq-war, btw.
11. Molly Ringwald and Matthew Broderick introduce a tribute to John Hughes (who died in the past year). "Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it." Beautifully done. Genuinely touching. That made the argument that pop culture is, in fact, deep.
8c. "Precious" for adapted screenplay.
8d. Best Supporting Actress, Mo'Nique. Predicted. But she says something interesting and unexpected: "It can be about the performance, and not the politics."
8e. Art Direction, "Avatar."
12. The tribute to horror movies ends with a cut to Quentin Tarantino loving it all. Nice. As for the clip show, I think it was argued that the 2 greatest horror flicks of all time are "Psycho" and "The Shining"... with music from "Psycho."
13. Sound editing... does anyone care? Did I mention costumes earlier? No. Then, mindcrushingly, sound mixing, a separate award. "Hurt Locker" with its amorphous, ponderous music, wins both. [NEXT MORNING CLARIFICATION: I know this award isn't about the music. I'm just complaining about the theme music the band played for this movie.]
8f. "Avatar" wins Visual Effects. Whoever this guy is who accepts the award says the movie is a film about "learning to see the world in new ways" and that sets me off cursing incoherently.
14. In Memoriam, with James Taylor singing "In My Life." They gave Karl Malden the final spot, and that was not predicted. People thought it would be either Patrick Swayze (who was put first) or Natasha Richardson (who was tucked in the middle). Only one choked me up, Brittany Murphy. She was so young. Malden was 97. Nothing to be sad about. It's not, then, what's saddest. It's a tribute to life. "In My Life," not in my death.
15. I'm recording this with my DVR and pausing, then fast-forwarding. Otherwise it would be intolerable. Right now there's a dance routine (that's supposed to showcase the scores). It's ghastly. I watched a second, sped ahead, watched a second, cursed, paused, and am now waiting for enough time to pass for more fast-forwarding. Why must they waste our time with this musical crap?
16. I love film documentaries, but I don't care about any of these nominees. What the hell happened to this category?
17. "The White Ribbon" doesn't win best foreign film. I was all ready to do an "8g" entry. Wow. Thrilling. Hell. Get me out of here.
18. Wait. A good joke! "I want to thank the Academy for not considering Na'vi a foreign language."
8g. Come on, give Jeff Bridges the Best Actor award and get me out of here. Oh! The blather, praising each of the nominees. There's an insipid reference to "courage." I scream. Ah, finally, Kate Winslet comes out, in a dress made of steel — or fabric that looks like it — and she gives the award, of course, to Jeff Bridges. He whoops. He looks heavenward and addresses his parents. He says "groovy." He's going on too long. I groan. Meade says "He's The Dude."
8h. Another predictable one: Sandra Bullock gets Best Actress. She's wearing bright red lipstick and a pretty dress, beaded and sparkling. She rattles off a prepared speech. She chokes up and cries appropriately when she gets to the part about not thanking her mother.
19. "Oh, no!" "Why? Why?!" — another Meadhouse dialogue... as Barbra Streisand takes the stage. She's giving the Best Director award (for some reason). I guess this one isn't predictable, other than that it's one of 2, James Cameron or Kathryn Bigelow. "Well, the time has come," Barbra says, meaning that for the first time, a woman has won Best Director. It's Kathryn Bigelow.
20. The band plays her off the stage with "I Am Woman." Gag.
21. Tom Hanks does his part to nail the time. With 2 minutes left to go to the top of the hour, he blurts out "The Hurt Locker."
22. For all this honoring of "The Hurt Locker," did anyone say anything valuable and worthy about the war in Iraq? Bigelow praised the troops and wished for their safe return, but that's not what I mean. There's a lot of talk about the bravery of the filmmakers making the film. There was never anything said in support of the fighting in Iraq, but, to be fair, there was never any opposition to it expressed. In fact, I don't think there were any political statements tonight at all, unless you count Mo'nique's anti-political statement: "It can be about the performance, and not the politics." So: modesty. It's film art. Art, not politics.
MONDAY MORNING UPDATE: Wow. I did not enjoy that show at all. Surely, nothing made me want to go see a movie — or even look for it to come up on my cable Video on Demand. The actresses with their hard, frozen faces and their sinewy bodies encased in lavishly ruffled dresses showed that movies are no longer a source of fresh inspiration about beauty, femininity and womanhood. And frankly, I'm not sure what Mo'nique meant by "It can be about the performance, and not the politics." Maybe she just meant that she totally deserved the award on merit, and there were no "political" considerations in the sense of how career and business interests weigh into people's decisions. At the time, I thought that she meant that voters were able to appreciate the artistic value of the movie "Precious" instead of rejecting it because it isn't politically correct to depict black people as lowlifes. That was the only memorable thing that anyone said last night, and it's just a Rorschach test.