Oscars Running Diary

Over on Blinded Trials, Russell has put together the exchange him and I shared during our Oscar “viewing party”.  Here is a running diary of notes I took during the thing to help me make semi-meaningful contributions to our conversation.  If you are curious to read the unfiltered ramblings of someone watching the show for the first tiem, click through.  Otherwise, just ignore this…

8:30  The Oscars are starting!!!  Alright, Seth, BE FUNNY!  Zazzy:  “Red velvet… Samuel L… you are awesome.”  Who had Tommy Lee Jones in the “First to be Razzed” pool?

8:30  My first Oscars is the first one with a theme?  Coincidence?  Probably.

8:33  Can people stop talking about just how well DDL nailed the Lincoln character?  For all we know Lincoln spoke with a high pitched whine.  WE HAVE NO IDEA WHAT LINCOLN WAS ACTUALLY LIKE, PEOPLE!  HE DIED 150 YEARS AGO!

8:34  Wow… Seth going for big shots with a Mel Gibson joke.  Loved that.

8:35  Shatner?  Doing Trek shit?  Really?  Do they want people my age to not watch it?

8:38  Was Charlize’s reaction to the “Boob” song legit?  She did not look pleased.  Though perhaps that was intentional?

8:39 Zazzy: He (McFarlane) has a really good voice.

8:40  Was Channing Tatum ‘Magic Mike’?  If so, this could get awkward…

8:41  The sock puppets in the dryer bit has thus far gotten the best laugh out of Zazzy and I.

8:42  JGG… Our boy!

8:43  This bit is now on it’s 8th minute and is really getting tired.  Do they not trust McFarlane?  Is it usually a true monologue or is there always some sort of bit?

8:44  The Flying Nun?  They have officially punted the under-35 demographic.

8:47  First award!  Best supporting actor!  An Eagles reference… I like that.

8:49  Philip Seymour Hoffman’s kid looks just like him… for better or worse.

8:50  I’m betting on DeNiro.  But this really was a super impressive crew of nominees.  And Waltz takes it!  Wow.  I like this guy… I’ve heard him in some interviews and he seems to really get what he’s doing.  I haven’t seen any of these performances other than Arkin so I can’t comment on who should have won, but Waltz is talented… that’s for damn sure.  And he seems genuinely pleased and honored to win… a nice thing to see.

8:55  Zazzy: Look at him (Paul Rudd)… he looks like you!  Me: Thanks?

8:56  I didn’t know that Animated Short was a real category.  That seems highly specialized, no?

8:59  That guy had a kilt on!  That’s awesome!

9:02  Based on what little I know about “Les Mis”, that little montage seemed to undermine the musical accomplishment.  Didn’t they all sing live on camera?

9:02  Not seeing “Life of Pi”, a book I really enjoyed, is still a big regret.  I don’t know how well the story would have translated to film, but the visuals looked amazing and worthy of an IMax screening.

9:03  “Beasts” was a movie I didn’t really get… the story was lacking, but the performances were amazing, especially the little girl.  I’ve read that the three leads were all amateurs.  Seriously impressive.

9:04  The little girl (whose name I can’t remember and who is not quite as little as she was during filming) is still adorable.  I hope she’s enjoying the show.

9:05  Clooney actually seems ready to drink the Nip.  Nice.

9:05  Is uniting the cast of “The Avengers” really special?  It’s not like they reincarnated all the dead Beatles for a reunion tour.

9:06 “They’re all so short!” – Zazzy

9:06  Cinematography… I’m curious what this really means.  I want to say “Life of Pi” should win just because it looked visually awesome, which I assume this award is about.  And I’m right!

9:07  Zazzy: “What are you typing?  Are you typing anything I’m saying?  I’m not prepared!  I haven’t said anything witty! Are you writing what I’m saying as I’m saying it?  Every time I talk you’re typing!”

9:09  Boooooo… teleprompter humor.  “Life of Pi” should win again, right?  Do digital films get nominated for this?  Seems like they should.  Oh… wait, Prometheus was also awesome on that front.  Hm…  Life of Pi again!  Zazzy and I further regret having not seen it.  Ugh.

9:12  Jaws music to chase folks off stage?

9:16  I’ve never been a fan of Jennifer Aniston, but she does clean up well.  She might be sexier now than when she was younger.

9:17  Costumes…  Certainly something very important to filmmaking… but not something I could even force myself to care about.  Zazzy:  “You’d think someone who won for costumes would dress better.  Is her jacket made out of jeans?” [Editors Note: Zazzy made several comments to this effect about the Costume/Hair/Makeup people… all on point, but I didn’t jot them all down]

9:18  Makeup and hairstyling… same response as costumes… hugely important, but just can’t bring myself to care.  I don’t mean to imply that these people shouldn’t be honored for their work, since otherwise we’d never know the names of people who do it.  But I think awards like this, given to people I’ve never heard of and whose names I’ll immediately forget, for aspects of movies I likely only notice if they are done poorly, are reasons I folks like myself might not tune in regularly.  Cut these out and bring the show down to 2 hours and maybe I tune in.  But, again, that shortchanges people who ultimately are integral to the process.

9:21  Halle Berry… damn.  But does she look even skinnier than usual?  Or is it the dress?

9:22  Bond films… never really got into them.  Saw one or two of the Daniel Craig ones, which I enjoyed, but I think growing up with the Pierce Brosnan ones might have contributed to a lack of interest.  Still, a series worthy of recognition I gather, even if it isn’t anything special by the measures the Oscars seek to recognize.

9:24  Who?  Lotta boobies on her for an old gal, no?  I’m assuming she sung this song for the original Bond film of the same name, which makes sense given the “theme”.  Zazzy predicts Adele is coming out.  I would not hate that.  Though this lady is really giving it her all… and I am also not hating this.  I’m a sucker for singers with big pipes.  And she gets a standing O!

9:36  I’m curious why they break up movies based on length.  What is the cutoff point for a short and long movie?  Can a short movie be nominated for Best Picture and other big awards?  Does anyone wonder these things but me?  If anyone was sitting next to me and I was asking these questions, would I ruin their viewing?  Is anyone still reading this…

9:37  “Argo”!  I saw that.  Loved it.  Surprisingly, though, it doesn’t stand out to me as the sort of movie that should win “Best Picture”.  It seemed to do everything well… good story, good performances, well done film… but didn’t really stand out.  And once you peel back how manufactured the drama was, I’d be surprise if it ultimately wins.  But what the F do I know?

9:39  Was TLJ’s hair supposed to look ridiculous in “Lincoln”?

9:40  I “saw” ZD30… and by ‘saw’, I mean ‘slept through most of’.  Unfortunately.  I liked what I saw, but really didn’t see enough to comment.

9:41  I can’t tell if McFarlane went off-script in his “too soon” joke about Lincoln and Wilkes-Boothe.  I like his humor when he does things like that, but understand if that is not typical and/or appreciate by the average viewer.  I did not get the Kardashian/Affleck joke.  Should have cut that as Seth stated he thought it should have been.

9:43 Seems like all but one of the documentary noms is a highly political film… and they all lose.  Curious.  Zazzy has the same immediate reaction:  “All those deep films… and that one wins.”  We didn’t see any, and it may be wholly deserved, but that is how we both responded, for what it’s worth.

9:49  I don’t know why, but I always find it odd when a nominee is also presenting.  That probably makes me wrong but, hey, its how I feel.  Zazzy: “Ugh!  Look at those skinny bitches!”  She’s pregnant, in case you didn’t know.

9:50 “Amour”’s presence here and in the BP nomination tells me that my prior wondering about nominees in specialized categories being relegated to only those categories is wrong.  Then again, was there any chance “Amour” didn’t win?  If it somehow didn’t, wouldn’t that then mean whatever did beat it also deserved a BP nod?

9:52  We’re only halfway through?  I’m losing steam.

9:54  Sasha Baron Cohen was in “Les Mis”?  Who knew!

9:54  This little number has the potential to really impress me… I hope it delivers.

9:55 Zazzy points out CZJ has no microphone.  She must be lip syncing, yes?  Grumblegrumblegrumble

9:57 Jennifer Hudson… yes sir.

9:59 YES SIR!!!

10:00  Another standing O.

10:00  Zazzy: “Now you’ll see all the actors in “Les Mis” and be the last person in America to know who was in it.”  This is in reference to my earlier surprise to learn that Hathaway was in it.  I guess I thought she was nominated for Batman?  I’m a moron.

10:02  More singers without mics.  What’s going on?

10:04  Meh… more JHud, please!

10:09  A Fast and Furious reference!  YESSSSSSSS!

10:10  Are the audience members just looking at Marky Mark and a chair?  Are they having flashbacks of the RNC?  Actually, the lack of wide shots makes me think this is all happening on the big screen… no one is actually on stage.

10:12  “Les Mis” has to win sound editing, right?  How do they even choose this award?

10:14  Jewish jokes.  Are these as common as gay jokes, which Russ indicates are the norm?

10:15  A tie???  Can that happen?

10:17  Zazzy believes hair length is part of the judging process for this award.

10:18  I still don’t know what the difference is between sound mixing or sound editing.  I don’t think anyone does.

10:24  Seconds before the announcement, Zazzy asked for my prediction.  I called Hathaway, for no good reason.  I’m getting good at this.

10:29  Had we not returned to the major awards, Zazzy and I were fully prepared to switch to “Community” on the big screen and moving the Oscars to the laptop.  Anne Hathaway to the rescue… JUST LIKE BATMAN!

10:29  Who IS the Academy, exactly?

10:30  I thought this little project with the up and coming filmmakers was a nice idea.  I see no downside… unless the usual stage ushers are union.

10:33 Film Editing…  How do you even judge that?  Wouldn’t you have to see raw cuts?  Am I ruining this for everyone?

10:35  Wahoo!  Adele!  Zazzy: [mid-sentence commenting on JLaw]  “Adele!  Shush!  … I just shushed myself.”

10:35  I like Adele’s hair here.  At some other performance they gave her big, ugly hair which was just really unflattering.  Much nicer look here.

10:36  What did I just write?!?!  The pageantry is getting to me.

10:44  JLaw looks good with dark hair, but otherwise, she just doesn’t do it for me.  I’m generally not big into blondes.  I don’t think she’s ugly… just not my type.

10:45 Zazzy: “Remember when you thought “SLP” was about the Eagles?”  Me:  “Yes.  Assholes.”

10:47  Going out on a limb perhaps, but how similar is “Amour” to the opening of “Up”?

10:48 I feel like Kristen Stewart could be attractive if she wasn’t absolutely terrible about everything.  Not just her personality, either… she seems to be going for some sort of heroin chic look.  Bleh.

10:49  Production design???  That’s a thing?!?!

10:50  Javier Barden is attractive?

10:51  Clips from other awards shows?  What is an honorary Oscar?  If they show you holding an Oscar during the Oscars, just call it an Oscar already!  Why not just award these here?  Zazzy sums it up thusly: “Honory Oscar?  What the fuck does that mean?  Just give them an Oscar.”  Did I mention she’s pregnant?

10:57  If you told me George Clooney died his hair and beard gray, I would not call you a liar.

10:58  How do they make the call on who gets featured in the tribute?  Also, in addition to being a sucker for singers with big pipes, I’m a sucker for montages.  “One Shining Moment” is always a battle for me.

11:00  ROBOCOP!

11:01  That’s Barbara Streisand, right?  I didn’t know she was a singer until just the other day when it came up randomly in a convo with Zazzy.  Oops.

11:06  “Splash” commercial has me Googling Katherine Webb.  I feel like I recognize the name but can’t place it… [Googles]  Oh yea.. her…

11:22  I love her with long hair, but Charlize can pull off short hair well.

11:24  I don’t know if it should have/will/did win anything, but I really enjoy the little theme song from “Beasts”…

11:26  Some of these awards simply seem too specific.  And others too broad.  Bah.

11:28  His actors seemed to respond really positively to QT.  Interesting.

11:33  Big award here!  I think Spielberg gets it.  But would love to see Zeitlin or Ang Lee win.

11:34  ANG LEE WINS!

11:41  Best actress… I think JLaw gets it.  And probably deserves it. Just give it to SOMEONE… PLEASE… AND QUICK!

11:42.  No.  Give it to Q.


11:46  Fair or not, Cooper’s too young/new and still remembered for “The Hangover”, so he won’t win, though he’s proving his chops as a legit leading man.  DDL will take this, even though I continue to object to anyone testifying to the accuracy of his portrayal of a man dead 150+ years.

11:48  Meryl knows what time it is.  Bangs out the announcement.  Either that or she’s just mad she didn’t win.

11:52  Is Nicholson even lucid?

11:52  Michele Obama?  What?  This is new, yes?



One man. Two boys. Twelve kids.


  1. Oh, there is SO MUCH IN HERE!

    A few scattered thoughts:

    I am totally sure Charlize Theron was in on the “boobs” joke. Her disgusted reaction (as were all of them) was prerecorded — her dress is different from both her red carpet and performance dresses.

    Paul Rudd is gorgeous. If you look like Paul Rudd, congratulations — you’re gorgeous.

    “Cinematography” is, in short, “how does the actual picture look.”

    I have seen every single Bond film. I love them, even the really embarrassingly crappy ones. (Exception — I hated Pierce Brosnan in the role.)

    MacFarlane seems to peddle in Jew jokes a lot. (See also: “Family Guy.”) He gets away with it, I guess, similar to Tarantino and “the n-word.”

    I cherish that you did not know that Streisand was a singer until very recently. It will make my utter, utter ignorance of everything related to basketball seem a little easier to admit when our roles are reversed.

    I haven’t seen “Amour,” but knowing what I know about the director, it would be like the beginning to “Up” if “Up” made you want to slit your wrists by the end.

    Did I mention how much fun I had with this? That I loved doing this with you? Because I did.

    • If I was confident that I could have had a cup of coffee without completely throwing off my sleep schedule, the second half would have mirrored the first half for content. But, man, that was exhausting! And a blast!

    • Basketball knowledge is easy to fake:

      * Use the numbers 1 to 5 a lot. “Look, he’s playing the 3!” Don’t go any higher, though.
      * Mix and match “high” and “low” with “post” and block”. “He needs to move to the low block!”
      * Complain that they’re not playing enough defense. This is always safe, because no team in the NBA plays enough defense.

  2. I thought the same thing about “Up”. Except it did things right by being tear-jerking but uplifting instead of terribly depressing. Should’ve won Best Picture *grumblegrumble*

    Agreed that the guy in the kilt for “Brave” was awesome.

    Adele was great and her hair is really pretty.

  3. His actors seemed to respond really positively to QT.

    QT is one of the few directors who will tell actors “I want you to give a three minute monologue in one take.”

    As frustrating as he can be when it comes to the stuff that has me yelling about how I wish he had something to say, I’m yelling that because he is one of the most skilled craftsmen out there when it comes to putting films together.

    I’m sure that working with QT is exceptionally rewarding for actors who care deeply about the craft of acting. You’re not just a movie star when you’re in one of his films. You’re a character. You get to actually *ACT*.

      • The actors who also do gravitate to him.

        In Django (minor spoiler coming) there is a very, very intense monologue given by Leonardo di Caprio . At one point, he pounds his fist on the table. His hand starts bleeding.

        I can see a lesser actor pounding his fist and saying “augh! I cut my hand! Where’s my assistant? I need a towel! I want the prop person fired for giving me a razor ring!” I can see a lesser director yelling “CUT! You’re bleeding. Get that fixed. We’ll shoot it again. Take 20, everybody!”

        Now, this could just be one hell of an elaborate trick made by both Leo and QT but when Leo notices that he’s bleeding, he grabs a napkin in irritation and then he continues the monologue with the same amount of intensity… and the camera keeps rolling.

        And that was something.

        • Was Leo at the ceremony last night? I didn’t notice him.

          I’m curious… are there director’s of QT’s caliber that don’t do QT-style movies? It seems to me that as much, if not more, of his recognition comes from the content of his movies as it does from his talent and skill. If QT were to do more traditional dramas, would they be absurdly outstanding dramas? Or does part of his brilliance stem from the content? I guess what I’m asking is… Is Spielberg an equivalent talent to QT, just dealing with more traditional content and themes? I don’t know if I’m making much sense here…

          • Leo wasn’t there. He often doesn’t go, particularly when he’s not nominated.

            Part of what makes Tarantino Tarantino is that he has a very distinct style, such that when you see one of his movies you get a clear sense that it was one of his. There are a boatload of very talented directors whose work bears less of a clear fingerprint. You could, for example, cite Spielberg or Scorsese or Ang Lee. I’m a big fan of Sam Mendes.

          • Takashi Miike, Park Chanwook…oh, wait…who AREN’T like QT. Spielberg is incredibly talented as a director, I think. Scorsese. Kubrick. When Charlie Kaufman has more films under his belt as director, he will be considered one of the greats.

        • I feel like DiCaprio is still sort of looked at like an awkward teenager by the industry (don’t really know why I think that, it just feels that way), but in fact he’s one of the few talents working right now that can carry films of near-epic or actually epic scope all on the force of his own performances, like a latter-day Omar Sharif or Heston or someone*. He’s kind of a unique force in the biz right now IMHO.

          *Note that comparing him to such actors doesn’t imply that he delivers performances of exceptional subtlety or craft on a scene-to-scene basis. But he takes on roles of such size in movies of such size, (and with directors (Scorcese primarily) of such universally acknowledged accomplishment who seem to come back to him again and again for such roles…), that I don’t think at this point his body of work can be waived away as that of a pleasing-to-the-eye semi-amateur like I think he once was.

          • I used to feel that way about him. It was hard to look past him as the goofy kid from Titanic. Catch Me If You Can gave me pause about this perception and then The Departed brought home that he is a real talent who got unfortunately pigeonholed by a crappy role in one of history’s biggest movies.

          • Anyone who saw him in Gilbert Grape would realize this actor is a force to be reckoned with.

            A serious water-tower climbing force.

          • I’ve heard that. I was 10 when the movie came out, meaning most of my peers were too busy laughing at the name of the movie to actually see it and/or recognize it for what it was.

            My generation (in high school when Titanic came out) had a particular chip to get over with Leo, since basically every girl we knew at the time was in love with the guy.

          • Kazzy, when I was a teen, every girl was in love with David Cassidy, so I just don’t think ‘teen crush’ competition is a good metric for measuring acting chops.

          • Oh, that is entirely my point.

            What I meant was that guys my age looked at Leo as not only the goofy kid from that stupid love movie, but the goofy kid from that stupid love movie that every girl wanted and which none of us were. So we had a unique form of disdain for him. I think that made it harder for him to gain acceptance with my demographic, even though he rightfully deserved it. For many of us, it wasn’t until he did “The Departed” that we could fully embrace him. It wasn’t fair, or right… it just was.

            I mean, my first girlfriend had seen “Titanic” eight times in theaters. EIGHT TIMES! I didn’t stand a chance…

          • I’m beginning to suspect that the Tony Awards probably put on the best *SHOW*.

            Because of course they would.

    • That seems like a good way to put it… and what it seemed like he was trying to get at with his speech, though he focused more on what HE did than on what THEY did. And, yes, what HE did allowed THEM to do what THEY did, but it seemed he was looking in the wrong direction for an acceptance speech.

      That stood out to me because I know there is an ongoing dialogue in the black community about the value of his work, etc, etc, etc. Seeing Jamie Foxx and Kerry Washington really seeming to emote in a positive way over his win tells me just how complicated the responses are to him.

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