Johanna and I are sitting here in a nearly empty apartment. This is our last night in our current place, and all of our possessions, other than our larger pieces of furniture, are already over at the new digs. Even the dog is gone; we’re boarding him for the night so he won’t be underfoot tomorrow when we’re trying to load up the U-Haul. It’s the first night I’ve spent apart from him.
Moving is never fun, especially for a couple of worriers like Johanna and me. There are always a thousand things to stress about, and the worst always seems to happen for us. This time we’re particularly bothered by the fact that it seems like someone is planning on paving our dirt road tomorrow, which could make it difficult to get the truck in and out.
Anyway, because of all of this, I was particularly looking forward to the Oscars tonight. We’ve ordered a pizza, I’ve poured a scotch, and I’m just going to relax and fantasize about being settled in at the new place.
If you read my Grammy or Golden Globe entries, you know that Johanna and I like to fill out ballots beforehand and compete in a winner-picking contest. Johanna snuck out a victory in the last category of the night in the Golden Globes, and I pulled off an untelevised category win in the Grammys, so we’re currently tied, one to one. Nothing like the Academy Awards to settle things for us. Unfortunately, we both read the same predictions online, so we’re either going to tie, or one of us will win based on our short documentary pick. Let’s get this started. Categories and winners in bold. I’ll add some video later if I can find it.
8:00 – We have a weird opening here as all of the best actor and actress nominees stroll out together. That was odd and masturbatory, but those two words describe a lot about the Oscars.
8:02 – Now here comes Neil Patrick Harris to sing a song for no reason. God, Hollywood loves this guy. So do I, though, so it’s cool. But shouldn’t we be opening with the hosts?
8:04 – I’m a huge fan of both Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin, and I’m sure they’ll be funny. I’m going to go out on a limb here, though, and say that at the end of the night I’m probably going to feel like it would have been better if the Academy had just picked one of them and ran with it.
8:07 – Mostly good jokes here. I enjoyed the Meryl Streep “most losses” line and “Damn Helen Mirren,” but my favorite so far has been Baldwin saying that Martin liked Invictus because it combined his two favorite things, rugby and tension between blacks and whites.
8:11 – I know they supposedly get along well, but how sick are James Cameron and Kathryn Bigelow of hearing about how they used to be married? And they have to sit right next to each other?
8:14 – Well, it looks like they’re starting the night with the only category that I really, really care about. Penelope Cruz is out to present Best Supporting Actor. If Christoph Waltz doesn’t win this, I think I might turn the show off. He deserves the award for the opening scene alone. Johanna and I both picked Waltz, as did basically everyone on the internet. He wins, thankfully. Everything from here on is gravy for me.
8:21 – Ryan Reynolds out to introduce our first Best Picture nominee, The Blind Side. The clip looks really bad. Am I missing something here? Is there any chance this is good?
8:23 – During the commercial break there’s an ad for the new movie The Bounty Hunter, and Johanna mentions how bad it looks. It seriously seems like Jennifer Aniston picks movies how she picks men. She needs an intervention.
8:28 – Cameron Diaz and Steve Carrell presenting Best Animated Feature. Johanna and I both went with the consensus choice, Up, but Johanna is now feeling like she should have gone with The Fantastic Mr. Fox. Let’s see if she’s right.
Up wins, and we’re starting to think both the awards and our competition are going to be really boring. Good for Up, though; awesome movie. We’re tied 2-2.
8:31 – OK, they’re both young, but that is all that Amanda Seyfried and Miley Cyrus have in common.
They’re presenting Best Original Song. Johanna and I both picked the Crazy Heart song, and I’m starting to worry that our ballots are exactly the same. I’ve never heard this song and haven’t seen the movie, and doubt I would like it. I had no idea Colin Farrell was in it, and I can’t decide if that makes me want to see it more or less. Anyway, it wins, and we’re tied, 3-3. T-Bone Burnett (in the sunglasses) doesn’t speak and looks like a muppet.
8:35 – Captain Kirk is here to present our second nominee for Best Picture, District 9. A great movie. This is a good group of nominees. Of the ten, I’ve seen six, and I would be OK with five of them winning. The odd movie out is A Serious Man, which I enjoyed, but it was really too bizarre for me to completely get into it.
8:42 – I say that I think Tina Fey’s hair looks like a mullet, and Johanna counters by saying that her face doesn’t look very good either. Harsh. Also, Robert Downey, Jr. has got to be kidding with the sunglasses and bowtie.
They’re presenting Best Original Screenplay. Johanna and I have the following exchange:
Her: “This is where I went outside of the box.”
Me: “What did you go with?”
Her: “Inglourious Basterds.”
Me: “Me too.
This is going to be a long night.
8:45 – The Hurt Locker wins, and Johanna says “Why DO I even BOTHER not choosing the favorites?!” This movie was outstanding, but to me it was the acting and filmmaking more than the screenplay. Inglourious Basterds, now that is writing. We’re still tied 3-3.
8:47 – Molly Ringwald looks like she’s wearing a wig, and Matthew Broderick looks like a young Paul McCartney, if Paul McCartney were a funeral director. They’re here to talk about John Hughes. Johanna: “Is he dead?”
8:50 – This montage is great. These movies, for the most part, don’t hold up, although they all have their good parts. Other than The Breakfast Club. That movie is terrible. Weird Science is great, though; Anthony Michael Hall is hilarious.
Johanna is shocked by his adult appearance, and accuses him of ‘roiding.
I’m more shocked by the adult Judd Nelson and his ridiculous get-up.
8:53 – Morgan Freeman introducing the next Best Picture nominee, Up. I’m just happy to get to hear Dug say “Hi there!” again.
8:58 – A Na’vi and the short-haired girl from the movie I haven’t seen are here to present Best Animated Short Film.
Johanna went with The Lady and the Reaper, and I went with A Matter of Loaf and Death. Finally, we didn’t pick the same thing! Unless we’re both wrong, someone is going to take the lead. When we see that my choice is a Wallace & Grommit flick, I’m feeling cocky. Obviously, Logorama wins, and we remain deadlocked, 3-3.
Now, Best Documentary Short. We both chose China’s Unnatural Disaster. This is seriously getting ridiculous. Music by Prudence wins, and Johanna says “Had I known that was about a deformed African kid, I probably would have chosen it.” A gentleman starts giving a speech, and then a crazy lady in a blue shawl bumrushes the stage and almost knocks the microphone over.
Best Live Action Short Film. I went with The New Tenants. Johanna chose Kavi. The New Tenants wins! Finally, someone is winning. 4-3, me.
9:08 – I see Ben Stiller walking out with a blue tail and immediately say “Oh, Christ.” The crowd is obviously loving this stale bit. I should admit to laughing out loud when I first saw his face, though. He’s presenting Best Makeup, and we both went with Star Trek. It wins, so it’s 5-4 me.
9:13 – Jeff Bridges is introducing our next Best Picture nominee, A Serious Man. Like I said, I liked this movie, and the clips here are reminding me of what I liked about it. But I’m not really sure what the point of it was. Certainly not the best movie of the year.
9:17 – Rachel McAdams and Jake Gyllenhaal out to present Best Adapted Screenplay. Johanna mentions that she wants to rewatch Donnie Darko because she has it listed as a favorite movie on Facebook and hasn’t seen it since college. I tell her that I almost guarantee that it does not hold up, and she gives herself a 5% chance of still loving it.
Anyway, we both went with Up in the Air here. Precious wins, which seems appropriate, considering it’s Based on the Novel “Push” by Sapphire. I haven’t seen it yet, so let me take this opportunity to plug another, lesser-known nominee in this category, In the Loop. A political satire that isn’t too heavy-handed, it’s definitely worth a rental. Still 5-4 me.
9:22 – Queen Latifah is here to talk about The Governor’s Awards. I don’t know what that is, but the clip makes it seem like you have to grow a white beard to attend. I think it’s great that Queen Latifah stuck with her stage name when she started doing movies, unlike Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Chris “Ludacris” Bridges.
9:25 – Robin Williams comes out looking like an aging beatnik to present Best Supporting Actress.
We both went with Mo’Nique because everybody said she was amazing and will definitely win. The SNL sketch last night got me excited to see her acceptance speech.
She wins! 6-5, me. Here she comes.
That was relatively restrained, but I’m not sure what she meant by the “performance not politics” thing. Samuel L. Jackson seems relieved that she kept it pretty simple.
9:31 – Colin Firth here to introduce our next Best Picture nomine, An Education. I like Peter Sarsgaard, but this really looks like a movie I have no interest in.
9:35 – Hey, it’s Jamie Lee Curtis! [Edit: OK, so obviously that’s actually Sigourney Weaver. I know this. And I stand by what I say.] What a coincidence, Johanna and I were just talking about how bad an actress she is earlier today!
She’s presenting Best Art Direction. We both went with Avatar, and it wins. It would have been awkward if she had to announce someone else’s movie. 7-6 me. I know for a fact that we picked different Best Pictures. This could be end up being a nailbiter.
9:36 – I ate too much pizza. I feel disgusting. It’s a good thing our new apartment is right next to our gym. I guess I can take some solace in the fact that I got a little bit of a workout carrying all of our books up a flight of stairs.
9:39 – Sarah Jessica Parker is having a flyaway issue with her hair, and Tom Ford is doing his French Stewart impression. Also, the set won’t stop rotating.
This is a mess; let’s get to the nominees for Best Costume Design. Johanna trusted Ebert and went with Coco before Chanel. I went with the pick of the more pedestrian Moviefone, The Young Victoria. I get the win, and pull ahead to a hopefully decisive 8-6 lead.
9:42 – Charlize Theron is here to present our next Best Picture nominee, Precious. I refuse to write out the entire title. And yes, I realize that it would have been shorter to just type the title than it was writing these two explanatory sentances. This movie looks good, I want to see it, but it’s obviously going to be depressing as shit. Johanna and I saw this trailer before some movie early in the year, before we had heard anything about it, and it didn’t even seem like a real movie.
9:48 – Kristen Stewart and Taylor Lautner are here to talk about horror movies. I don’t think these two ever hang out in real life. She’s so dour and serious, and he’s such a ridiculous cheeseball.
Johanna asks me what my favorite horror movie is, and I can’t think of one. I haven’t seen hardly any of the ones from these clips. Also, half of these aren’t even horror movies. Twilight? Edward Scissorhands? She offers up The Shining and The Others as her favorites. We then start talking about Signs, a movie she hates because of the admittedly bad ending, but I love because of all the great super-tense moments, half of which end in something scary and half of which end in a laugh.
9:52 – Zac Effron and Anna Kendrick are out to present Best Sound Editing. I have absolutely nothing to say about these two.
I went with Avatar, but Johanna swoops in and picks up a point with The Hurt Locker. It’s now 8-7 me. A ghoul comes onstage to accept the award.
9:56 – The same two presenting Best Sound Mixing. As with all of the technical awards, I went with Avatar. Johanna went with the somewhat random Inglourious Basterds. We’re both wrong; The Hurt Locker takes it. Here’s that ghoul again. Momentum seems to be swinging to The Hurt Locker. Spoiler Alert: that’s good for Johanna and bad for me.
9:58 – Elizabeth Banks is out to talk about the technical awards. I like the technical awards, because I always look forward to seeing what hot young actress they send to titillate the nerds and make up for the fact that their awards aren’t on TV. Elizabeth Banks isn’t exactly young, but I like her a lot. Good for her.
9:59 – John Travolta is here to talk about our next Best Picture nominee, Inglourious Basterds. I loved this movie to death; it was definitely my favorite movie of the year. It’s not going to win, though, and I’m at peace with that. As I’ve said, I like a lot of the other nominees, too. As long as The Blind Side doesn’t win, I’m cool. (Johanna jokes that she hopes people weren’t voting based on what would make the cheesiest pun headline the next day. “The Best Picture winner Blind Sides the competition!”)
10:05 – Speaking of The Blind Side, here’s Sandra Bullock! She’s presenting Best Cinematography. In an interesting twist, I went with The Hurt Locker, and Johanna went with Avatar.
No! I should have just picked Avatar or The Hurt Locker and picked it across the board. I’m like the Academy with Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin. I just couldn’t decide! Johanna ties it, 8-8.
10:07 – Here come Demi Moore. Just as I was thinking “When was the last time she did anything?” Johanna says “Remember when Demi Moore was a person people cared about? What was the last thing she did, Charlie’s Angels?”
She’s introducing the Dead Person Montage, which makes me think of several bad jokes about her dead career. But those jokes would be both inaccurate and in poor taste. So let’s just sit back and enjoy my favorite part of the show. Will they show M.J.? Let’s find out!
There he is! I forgot about The Wiz.
And here’s just one of the reasons that I’m never going skiing again:
Another reason is that I’m terrible at skiing.
10:15 – The announcer introduces Jennifer Lopez and Sam Worthington, and Johanna says “The guy from Jurassic Park?” “No, that’s Sam Neill,” responds Wikipedia.
They’re introducing Best Original Score. Johanna and I both went with Up. I’m starting to think this tie is going to last until Best Picture, and I’m starting to regret my pick. They’re doing some interpretive popping and locking for this instrumental stuff, and Johanna predicts that this might be something we make fun of, as a society, in ten or fifteen years.
When we get to the Up music in this medley, I’m happy about my pick. This is good stuff, and deserves to win. It does, and we’re still tied, 9-9.
10:24 – Gerard Butler and Bradley Cooper out to present Best Visual Effects. Johanna mentions that Butler seems smaller than usual, and I point out to her that most of 300 was actually CGI.
I feel pretty strongly about this. We both picked Avatar, and say what you want about it, but it definitely deserves this category. And it wins. We’re tied 10-10.
10:26 – I love the guy, but Jason Bateman doesn’t seem like a big enough name to be presenting our next Best Picture nominee, Up In the Air. I guess he’s in the movie? I have yet to see it.
10:31 – Matt Damon out to present Best Documentary. Johanna went with Food, Inc., and I went with The Cove. This could be a big category for our competition. I need this point.
The Cove wins! Huge for me. “I guess we care more about dolphins than people,” says Johanna angrily. I’m ahead 11-10.
10:35 – Tyler Perry out to present Best Film Editing. He makes a joke about how this might be the last time that his name is announced at the Oscars. Don’t kid yourself into thinking that it’s for any other reason than the fact that your movies suck, Tyler.
Johanna and I both went with The Hurt Locker. She’s mad that she doesn’t have a chance to tie me. She went out on a limb with her Best Actress pick, and is starting to sweat. We both pick up a point. 12-11 me
10:38 – Keanu Reeves and his overgrown beard are here to present our next Best Picture nominee, The Hurt Locker. I really liked this movie a lot. I thought Jeremy Renner was outstanding, and it was so tense and so well made. I would be really happy if it won. But I don’t think it was a capital-C-Classic or anything. And I don’t think it had all of the layers that some reviewers are sort of trying to pretend it did.
10:45 – Quentin Tarantino and Pedro Almodóvar waltz out looking weird to present Best Foreign Language Film. Considering how odd and creepy he seems, I can’t believe how talented Quentin Tarantino is. He looks skinnier than he did at the Golden Globes, at least.
We both went with The White Ribbon, so she misses out on another chance to tie me. El Secreto de Sus Ojos gets the surprise win, and the score remains 12-11. The charming, bald Argentinean guy makes a good joke, thanking the Academy for not considering Na’vi a foreign language, but for some reason the crowd refuses to laugh.
10:49 – Isn’t this delightfully random. Kathy Bates is out to present our next Best Picture nominee, Avatar. This is a movie where everything negative anyone has said about it is probably true, and everything positive anyone has said about it is probably true, too, and one’s opinion of it comes down to how much weight one gives to the different aspects of the movie. All I know is that, while I had some complaints, I went in expecting to hate it, and came out pretty pumped. If you see it in 3-D and have a pulse, you’re probably going to get into it. I saw better movies this year, but maybe not more important ones, and I can’t complain if it wins.
10:55 – Five people out to present the Best Actor nominees. Blah, blah, blah. As I’ve said, I loved Jeremy Renner in The Hurt Locker, and wish he would win here. I was thinking earlier, “Who is this guy? What else has he been in?” Luckily, Colin Farrell is here to remind me that Renner was his costar in S.W.A.T.!
11:02 – Kate Winslet is out to present the award itself. What did she win for last year, The Reader? That movie was terrible. It seemed like it didn’t have a director.
Johanna and I both went with Jeff Bridges, and he won, obvi. Is this year boring or what? I’m up, 13-12. Jeff Bridges says “man” thirty-seven times in his acceptance speech.
11:10 – Five more people out, this time to announce the nominees for Best Actress. Again, blah, blah, blah. Although I did at least learn that Forest Whitaker directed Hope Floats. That came as a bit as a surprise.
11:17 – Sean Penn here to give out the award.
I went with the favorite, Sandra Bullock, but I’m not proud of it. She seems like a very nice person, but she probably doesn’t deserve to win. I wanted to go with Meryl Streep. Johanna went with a ballsy pick, Gabourey Sidibe. If she gets this one right, she should win the whole thing.
11:19 – Sandra Bullock wins. She seems herself to be unsure she deserves it. A very gracious speech, though. I’m up, 14-12. I’m pretty sure Johanna can’t beat me, mathematically, at this point.
11:23 – Barbara Streisand, who has no business presenting in 2010, really, is out to present Best Director.
Johanna and I both went with Kathryn Bigelow here. I think she did an amazing job, and if she or Quentin Tarantino wins, I certainly can’t complain. But I agree with Television Without Pity here; James Cameron directed the HELL out of Avatar. He deserves this.
Kathryn Bigelow wins. Good for her. I’m glad that the first woman to win best director actually directed a hell of a movie, and didn’t just win a political vote. 15-13, me.
11:28 – We should just have Tom Hanks give out the Best Picture Oscar every year. I love this guy.
No delay here. The Hurt Locker wins. Johanna was correct, and Avatar and I are sitting in a corner by ourselves. Overall, though, it was too late. I win 15-14. A little too close for comfort, but I win the tiebreaker.
All I can think about after watching this is how fun a year for movies this was. I’m not sure we had a be all, end all masterpiece, but there was such a wide variety of great movies. Avatar, The Hurt Locker, Inglourious Basterds, District 9, Up, etc. Something for everyone.