Oscar Gold 2020 – Live Diary

We come to the moment at last! After weeks of scrambling, search, reviewing, analyzing, and occasionally shitting on a slew of potential winners and nominees, it’s finally time for the Academy Awards! And right here is where you can join me for live commentary and reactions. I’ll be updating this blog in real time, basically whenever anything catches my attention, as well as for any category wins and performances.

As always, I’ll time stamp every update in Pacific Standard Time, as I’m on the west coast. I will also ignore all red carpet bullshit, as well as any advertising, as those fuckers aren’t paying me, unless I really feel compelled to say something.

Keep it locked here and let’s enjoy the show!

5:00 – And we’re off with Janelle Monáe singing the Mr. Rogers theme song! This would be so much more awesome if a) Tom Hanks had a chance to win, or b) if Monáe were actually hosting. Still cool, though.

5:02 – The rest of the opening number features background dancers dressed like characters from Queen & SlimDolemite is My Name, and Midsommar, all of which were ignored by the academy. Billy porter joins to give an Elton John reference in honor of his movie which was also ignored (save one token Song nomination).

5:04 – Monáe says we’re here to honor female directors, and that she’s here as a black, queer artist. She must be at the wrong ceremony, because we’re literally honoring none of that this time.

5:06 – We honor diversity… by putting the camera on every white person in the audience after the number’s over.

5:06 – Steve Martin and Chris Rock are the first presenters. Why the hell aren’t they HOSTING? Why is NO ONE HOSTING again?

5:07 – They’re monologuing! They’re doing jokes! JUST MAKE THEM HOSTS!

5:08 – WHY IS JEFF BEZOS HERE?

5:09 – Chris Rock said “vagina.” The right-wing media will NOT STAND FOR THIS ATTACK ON THE FAMILY!

5:11 – Per tradition, last year’s Supporting Actress winner, Regina King, is on to present Supporting Actor. She asks how we measure the success of a film. Well, given that Disney keeps doing remakes, it’s obviously not quality or respect for nostalgia.

5:15 – Brad Pitt gets his long overdue acting Oscar! The only real suspense is if we’re going to do two-minute montages for each category, because we definitely can’t finish under three hours, no sir! Also, Joe Pesci and Anthony Hopkins didn’t even bother to show up. That’s how much of a done deal this year’s major categories are.

5:16 – And we’re off and running with the politics, as Brad Pitt invokes the sham impeachment trial, and suggests a Quentin Tarantino movie with an alternate ending where people do the right thing. One can dream. Outside of the political arena, Pitt makes the case to finally include stunt coordinators and casts in this process. Hear, hear!

5:22 – So in lieu of a host we’re bringing out people to introduce other people? WHY?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?! Beanie Feldstein is utterly wasted in favor of Mindy Kaling.

5:23 – Animated Feature, one of the few undecided categories, goes to Toy Story 4! A genuine shock, but you just can’t keep Pixar down!

5:25 – Another upset as Animated Short goes to Hair Love! I figured it had a shot despite Kitbull being the favorite, because like Janelle Monáe’s opening, the lack of diversity is so glaring that there was a chance that the larger Academy would do anything possible to highlight what little representation there is.

5:27 – The acceptance speech dedicates the award to the late Kobe Bryant, who won two years ago, and to support the Crown Act, which would make it illegal to discriminate against people because of their hairstyle, like the case I mentioned in the category breakdown.

5:28 – Josh Gad presents Idina Menzel and “Into the Unknown,” which would have been a wasted opportunity had he not pointed out that Menzel’s name is pronounced exactly as it’s spelled. That said, while I like the idea of an international performance by multiple Elsas, if anyone deserves a solo spotlight, it’s Menzel.

5:36 – Rose from Star Wars just made a dick joke about Keanu Reeves. So… that’s where we’re at right now.

5:38 – Are we really invoking Something’s Gotta Give to talk about quality scripts?

5:39 – I do miss reading the stage directions from the screenplays. Keanu Reeves reading Korean names is way funnier than it should be.

5:39 – And Parasite gets on the board! Maybe it’s a sign it’ll win Best Picture! I won’t get my hopes up.

5:40 – Bong Joon-ho uses up all of his English! Also, thank goodness they didn’t play the “get off the stage” music during the translations!

5:42 – Timothée Chalamet and Natalie Portman out to present Adapted Screenplay. Is it weird that I ship the two of them right now?

5:43 – Can Greta Gerwig pull an upset and get her due?

5:44 – Nope! Taika Waititi gets the win! There’s almost a weird, giddy poetic justice in having Natalie Portman announce a man winning.

5:45 – I love that Waititi thanks his mother first and dedicates the win to indigenous children.

5:46 – PEANUT BUTTER FALCON! I’m so glad Zack Gottsagen is getting his moment on the big stage.

5:47 – And Live Action Short goes to The Neighbors’ Window! It wasn’t my first choice, but I absolutely loved it.

5:53 – Maya Rudolph and Kristen Wiig are here now, making me wonder once again why no one is hosting this thing! That said, I wish this fake anger/audition bit would just end already!

5:55 – Oh, I get it! The gag is that no one actually cares about Production Design! MOVE ON!

5:56 – To the surprise of none, Once Upon a Time… In Hollywood gets Production Design. As previously mentioned, most Academy voters live here in Los Angeles, and they saw first-hand how the film transformed downtown.

5:57 – At the hour mark of the ceremony, I’m getting the impression that the theme here will be to rebuke the Academy. We all know 1917 is going to win Best Picture, so either this hour is to get everything not WWI-related out of the way, or it’s to show that the film doesn’t really have an artistic case to be made to win.

5:59 – Okay, the costume song montage can end any time now.

6:00 – And Little Women gets Costume Design! This will likely be the only award for my Best Picture preference, so I shall savor the moment, and continue to rue the Academy’s bias against Greta Gerwig.

6:01 – Chrissy Metz is on to perform “I’m Standing with You” from Jesus Undrowned My Baby, er, I mean, Breakthrough. Unlike Idina Menzel, she gets no introduction, just the lifting of a scrim. That’s about the level of fanfare this song, and movie, deserves.

6:03 – Are you seriously singing a song called “I’m Standing with You” with a background singer stuck in a wheelchair? OPTICS, PEOPLE!

6:07 – GRETA THUNBERG! An interesting opening montage to the Documentary categories. But why are they showing a montage of films that the Documentary Branch dedicated themselves to NOT NOMINATING?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!

6:08 – Please let For Sama win. Please let For Sama win. Please let For Sama win. Especially since Mark Ruffalo made a point of mentioning female directors.

6:10 – Documentary Feature goes to American Factory. No matter what Ruffalo says about women, the only woman that had anything to do with this win was Michelle Obama. It ranked 8th out of 15 in the overall shortlist, right in the middle for me. Still a good film, but now we’re doomed to next year having the entire category be Syria documentaries. The branch will not rest until the Academy at large pretends to care about Syria, dammit!

6:13 – And I go 1-for-3 on the Shorts! Documentary Short goes to Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (If You’re a Girl)!

6:18 – At least all the Supporting Actress nominees showed up! Still, might as well have stayed home, because Laura Dern wins! Honestly, at this point the acting winners should just join the presenter on stage as they read the envelopes.

6:20 – I know it’s celebrity worship, but that was super cool for Dern to mention her spectacular parents, Diane Ladd and Bruce Dern. Legends in their own right!

6:25 – Anthony Ramos gets to introduce Lin-Manuel Miranda… for some reason. This is just awkward.

6:26 – Lin-Manuel Miranda introduces a montage of noteworthy songs in movies, and it’s… really poorly edited. I hope he’s not about to award Sound Editing. Even weirder, most of these songs are catalog tracks, not Originals that got nominated and/or won. There are few, certainly, but most are just really good songs that we associate with movies, rather than great songs written for movies.

6:30 – And it was all to introduce Eminem to perform “Lose Yourself,” which ironically he didn’t perform in 2003 when he actually won the Oscar for it.

6:30 – HAHAHAHAHA! Idina Menzel’s face as she tries to keep up with rap. Priceless!

6:31 – I don’t know if they’re muting swear words or if the microphone just keeps cutting out randomly.

6:32 – The camera keeps desperately trying to find minorities singing along. This is your representation, everyone!

6:36 – So Salma Hayek hyphenates her name now? I guess she didn’t want to drag her spouse’s name through the mud by including it on her credit for Like a Boss. That said, the Oscar joke with Oscar Isaac was cute.

6:37 – Sound category time. Will 1917 take both Editing and Mixing, or will Ford v Ferrari get one token win?

6:38 – Ford v Ferrari takes Sound Editing. I was hesitant to pick a Sound split, because it only happens about 1/3 of the time. Still, a deserved win, and kudos to the winner for calling out the Disney buyout of Fox. Surprising corporate shaming that will assuredly prevent him from getting work for the next five years.

6:40 – Sound Mixing goes to 1917, as expected. This is the first win for the presumptive Best Picture winner, and it’s likely only going to win two others before the big one. More importantly, there is talk in Academy circles about combining the two Sound categories next year. Hopefully this result stands as proof that they shouldn’t. Editing and Mixing are two distinct disciplines, and it doesn’t take much work to understand the difference. I hope they stay as separate categories.

6:42 – A literal toy box of Toy Story characters introduces Randy Newman. It looks like we put way more effort into the montages than the actual performers and presenters.

6:43 – We’re three songs in, and I have to say, I am glad that they truncated Eminem in favor of letting the nominees actually perform their songs in their entirety. And this is nothing against Eminem. I love him. He just dropped a new album. It’s dope as hell. He’s one of the few artists that I automatically buy. But here, the priority should be on the nominees, and it seems like this is at least one choice the Academy did right.

6:49 – Yeah, now we’re getting ridiculous. Did we really need a rap recap of the first hour and forty-five minutes? And did we really need it to introduce the stars of the critically-panned Downhill?

6:50 – Really? We’re pretending to confuse the Cinematographer with the Caterer and Cast Wrangler? I mean, at this point we’ve firmly begun the coronation for 1917, so I guess we have to make each of its remaining wins seem interesting.

6:52 – As expected, Roger Deakins gets his second Oscar in as many nominations for 1917, after having to wait decades for his first win. What can I say? The one-shot format still wows audiences, even though it’s been done plenty of times.

6:54 – So, to speed things along to make time for other random bullshit, we’re having every presenter give out two awards and do terrible jokes in between. Oy.

6:56 – It’s an underrated aspect of the ceremony, but I dig presenting the technical nominees with graphics that reflect their field, as well as wiping to the nominees with a shot of the broadcast rundown. I work in TV, so this is inside baseball, but I love it.

6:57 – And we have an upset! Ford v Ferrari wins for Film Editing despite Jojo Rabbit and Parasite winning at the Eddies! I think that can all but end Parasite‘s long shot hopes for Best Picture. Still, Ford v Ferrari is a worthy winner for this award. I absolutely loved the way they blended the live action and CGI shots.

6:58 – David Rubin is out to once again plug the new Academy museum, just like he did last year. Also, here’s Otm Shank (he’s India’s answer to Brian Dennehy) to also plug the museum, instead of actually presenting an award. And for all this nonsense, the museum still isn’t opening until December.

7:00 – The only interesting part of that entire bit was Tom Hanks saying, “I’m Spartacus!” Given the timing, is there a chance that Kirk Douglas gets left out of the In Memoriam rollout?

7:03 – Zazie Beetz is the latest to report from the aisle (it’s just like Cats, only not terrible!), and introduce Cynthia Erivo doing “Stand Up.” If she pulls the upset, she’ll be the youngest EGOT winner ever! Even if she doesn’t, this song is amazing, and her voice is otherworldly. I want her and Idina Menzel to do a duet SO BAD!

7:12 – Hey, you know what we should do next? Let’s bring out two people who did a terrible job on the worst movie of the year, in costume! And let’s have them present the award that WASN’T EVEN FINISHED WHEN THEIR TERRIBLE MOVIE CAME OUT! I’m glad they can laugh at their failure, but STILL! For the love of God…

7:14 – Another upset! 1917 wins for Visual Effects! This means that barring some amazing upset yet to come, The Irishman will be completely shut out despite 10 nominations! At least the Lion King cartoon didn’t win, which would have rendered the entire category fraudulent.

7:16 – They’re playing “Live and Let Die,” which tells me we’re about to hear the latest Bond theme courtesy of a mumbling teenager. But no, it’s time for Makeup. Mixed signals, people!

7:17 – Barely any applause register for Maleficent 2. Let this be a lesson. Stop nominating terrible films! It doesn’t matter what they show you in the “Bake-Off.” If the movie sucks, don’t nominate it!

7:18 – Kazu Hiro gets his second Oscar for Bombshell! Tyler Perry is probably off somewhere wondering why his films can’t win for sticking guys in fat suits.

7:20 – We’ve got 40 minutes left in the scheduled time. Yeah, that’s not happening. I predicted (as an Oscar pool tiebreaker) that we’d go 12 minutes over. At this rate, given that we have seven categories, two songs, and the In Memoriam montage left to go, we’re probably going over by at least half an hour.

7:23 – Oh shit, it just occurred to me. Billie Eilish is doing the next Bond theme, for No Time to Die. Are we really going to try to present this ironically and have her “sing” over the In Memoriam roll? Are we really going to use an 18-year-old to commemorate the dead? Please, dear God, don’t let this happen.

7:24 – Penelope Cruz just narrated a montage for International Feature, and she stars in Pain and Glory. Weird to have her announce a winner other than her movie.

7:25 – And International Feature goes to Parasite! God I hope this opens the door for more Korean cinema to get recognized. Bong Joon-ho gets a standing ovation! Well deserved! Truly a masterwork.

7:27 – Well-earned shoutout to the Parasite cast! Also, Bong Joon-ho is ready to get drunk all night. We saw that in the movie. It didn’t end well. Be careful Joon-ho!

7:28 – The last Original Song nominee isn’t introduced, but he’s the one who doesn’t need one. ELTON!

7:29 – I was hoping Taron Egerton would show up to sing his verse and recreate the duet, but I guess we’re not going to get that lucky. I don’t blame him. The fact that Jonathan Pryce got nominated for Best Actor over him still feels so wrong.

7:36 – Taika Waititi recaps the Governor’s Awards, and introduces three ladies who get to present an actual live award.

7:38 – It’s weird to have all these jokes about representation when almost none of the awards and nominations reflect it. We’re even shoehorning in a woman to conduct the Original Score nominee snippets. It’s like the Academy wants to have it both ways, and it doesn’t work like that. Either nominate women and minorities or don’t, but don’t act like you’re woke because you write PG-rated jokes about your own issues for the broadcast.

7:43 – Hildur Guðnadóttir wins Original Score for Joker. This explains why we brought out three women who’ve played kick-ass heroes to introduce it. Her win has been relatively in the bag for quite a long time, so they weren’t going to risk bringing out three women to give the award to a man.

7:46 – ELTON AND BERNIE FINALLY WIN TOGETHER! I’m crying right now! Not only did I pick this to win, but it and “Stand Up” both made my annual year-end CD as being among the best music for all of 2019.

7:48 – I love that Taron got a shout out, and I also love that no one’s been played off the stage tonight. It only took 92 years for the Academy to get the note.

7:50 – We’re 10 minutes away from going over. We still have four awards plus In Memoriam, and yet we somehow have time for sponsored content in the form of yet another ad for Rolex (they’ve been playing all night in the normal commercial breaks), because every viewer tonight can totally afford a $30,000+ watch. You want to know why people think the Academy is out of touch? This. This right here.

7:51 – Spike Lee is decked out in a Kobe tuxedo to hand out Best Director. I like it.

7:52 – BONG JOON-HO WINS BEST DIRECTOR! OH MY GOD! OH MY GOD!

7:53 – I’m floored! I can’t believe it! Every directing award went to Sam Mendes! This was a lock! It seems that every year we get one genuine upset where the deserved winner ekes out the victory over the presumed winner. Last year it was Olivia Colman. This year, it’s Bong!

7:54 – And in truly class fashion, Bong calls for a standing ovation for Martin Scorsese, the greatest living filmmaker. Marty’s about to cry as much as I am!

7:54 – And now he’s acknowledging Tarantino for being a voice for Asian cinema. This is awesome!

7: 55 – Okay, NOW it’s drinking time!

7:54 – It’s time for In Memoriam. Billie Eilish, fresh from recording the them to No Time to Dye My Hair, performs a mumbled whisper of the Beatles’ “Yesterday.” The piano her brother’s playing is at least 10 decibels louder because this girl refuses to actually sing. But I’ll keep my hating to a minimum in honor of the fallen. Salut!

8:00 – Appropriately, the montage is bookended by the two most recent passings, Kobe Bryant and Kirk Douglas. The biggest applause, also appropriate, was for Agnes Varda, John Singleton, and Peter Fonda. What was inappropriate, however, was ABC plugging Billie Eilish as some sort of marquis performance. Regardless of my feelings for her “music” (spoiler alert, it sucks), it’s not cool to advertise the solemn moment as a concert event. That’s just disrespectful to the dead. Honestly, I thought she’d be debuting the new Bond theme, and that would have also been wrong, as the Oscars are not supposed to promote new material, especially if it will submit for consideration next year.

8:03 – And now we have last year’s upset queen, Olivia Colman, to present Best Actor. God I love her. And her jokes are actually funny!

8:05 – Odd that they show the line from Pain and Glory where Antonio Banderas says that the better actor is one who holds back tears, when they’re giving the award to Joaquin Phoenix, who laughed and cried throughout Joker. Seems like a middle finger.

8:06 – As expected, Joaquin Phoenix finally gets his Oscar. I wouldn’t have voted for him, but I would have for so much of his other work that I can’t be angry about this.

8:08 – I’m loving Joaquin’s speech about unity in the face of injustice. An egocentric worldview is the core problem. I don’t agree with his crusade for cows, but otherwise, this is a very insightful bit of oration.

8:10 – Normally it’s Best Actress that has the most emotional speech, but Joaquin acknowledged his own faults and ended by quoting his late brother, River. Touching.

8:11 – Judy Garland never won a competitive Oscar, so instead we’re going to give Renée one for playing her. That totally makes up for it, right?

8:13 – Yup, Zellweger wins. This is my surprised voice, which, to be fair, I spent on Bong Joon-ho.

8:16 – This speech is pretty standard. But then, she’s won before, so she got to do her super-emotional, poignant speech the last time. Now she’s just stammering trying to sound like she’s saying something important, including invoking Harriet Tubman, even though she beat out the woman who played her.

8:17 – And now we bring it back to trying to justify this win as giving the real Judy Garland the Oscar she never got. God, Renée, you had two months to prepare this speech, and all you’re doing is stumbling through it and saying random words as if they’re entire sentences. Inclusion. Generations. Cap’N Crunch. It’s all meaningless. I’m glad no one got played off tonight, but this was the time to do it if they were going to do it at all.

8:20 – Okay, just the big one left. The prevailing wisdom was that 1917 would win Best Picture, but Parasite has peeled off wins for Screenplay and Directing, while 1917 has only won technical awards. Do we have one last upset left in us? Do we have history with the first ever foreign film to win? Roma almost pulled it off last year. Could it happen here? I’m guessing not, but the fact that there’s even a shred of doubt makes this last ad break exciting.

8:22 – Here we go. Jane Fonda to present Best Picture.

8:26 – PARASITE!

8:26 – I’m beside myself. I’m absolutely beside myself! I’ve never been happier to be wrong. Do you know how rare it is for your favorite film to actually win Best Picture? Even though I ranked Little Women ahead in my messed up production ranking system, I was so hoping this would pull it out!

8:28 – I never bet on the unprecedented, so there’s no way I could have picked Parasite to win, as no non-English film has ever won this award. Well history has been made, and I am utterly elated!

8:29 – I think someone just fell down, because the feed cut to Fonda, and then everyone chanted, “Up! Up! Up!”

8:31 – I don’t know who’s giving this speech, but I love it. I think she stumbled on her dress before speaking, hence the camera switch.

8:32 – Ladies and gentlemen, I could not have asked for a more surprising and more joyous result (excepting Greta Gerwig getting her due, of course). It’s nothing against 1917, but I just never believed the hype. It’s techincally well-made, but Parasite was art and cinema in its purest form. I haven’t been this happy at a Best Picture win since Spotlight. Thank you all for taking the ride with me tonight.

I need a nap.

No, I’m with Bong. I need a drink. Lots and lots of drinks.

Good night, everybody!

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