Sunday, February 26, 2017



Welcome, friends, Twitter followers, Instagram stalkers, my mom, and anyone else who may have stumbled upon my 12th annual LIVE, moment-by-moment, stream-of-consciousness Oscar commentary! What’s that? You thought I was retiring from this foolishness after last year? Well, yes, I did say that… but dammit, I just can’t stay away. Two-thousand and sixteen may have been a dumpster fire in most aspects of the world, but it happened to be a truly great year for movies. Between the quality of the nominees and swirling controversy of all kinds, it should be a fun and interesting night, to say the least!

Although my personal #1 movie of the year (SING STREET) was sadly overlooked, four of the nine Best Picture nominees were in my Top 10 of the year. Not only that, but in a rare alignment, I didn’t actively dislike ANY of the nominees! They’re all really good in their own rights, and in some cases, may have been the favorite in past years. This year, however, it’s pretty much a two-horse race between LA LA LAND and MOONLIGHT. I loved both movies but I’ll be on the side of the fools who dream tonight. LA LA LAND received 14 nominations and should (deservedly) win most of them -- but it would not at all surprise me to see MOONLIGHT (deservedly) snag a few, including the big prize.

On the acting side, the only 100% lock is Viola Davis for Supporting Actress. Other than that, anything can happen. I’ll be rooting for Casey Affleck for Best Actor because (personal controversy aside) his performance is by far the most potently nuanced -- but don’t count out Denzel and his over-the-top screen presence. With all due respect to the great Streep and her record-breaking 20th nomination, it looks like a close race between luminous Emma Stone and legendary Isabelle Huppert for Best Actress, but personally, I’d love to see the wonderful Ruth Negga pull off an upset. (Of course, the real best performance by an actress in 2016 -- Amy Adams in ARRIVAL -- was this year’s most egregious acting snub. Boo.) I think Supporting Actor has to go to MOONLIGHT’s Mahershala Ali, but how cool would it be to see the great Michael Shannon finally get some long overdue kudos? Best Director, too, should be a close contest between Damien Chazelle and Barry Jenkins… but man, imagine the universal outrage that would erupt if, say, Mel Gibson were to win.

Meanwhile, I would love love love to see MOANA overcome some serious competition from not one but TWO LA LA LAND tunes to win Best Song, thus securing an EGOT for Lin-Manuel Miranda -- history has its eyes on you, Academy! Disney gave us a double-dose of greatness in 2016 with MOANA and ZOOTOPIA, the latter of which appears to be the one to beat for Animated Feature -- unless Laika’s KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS pulls off a stunning upset (I hope not). TONI ERDMANN is by far the best of the Foreign Film contenders and should get the gold. Documentary Feature is a strong category full of important, must-watch films, but I gotta go with the incredible and immersive O.J.: MADE IN AMERICA. And if anyone needs some short film advice, I’ve got JOE’S VIOLIN (Documentary), PEARL (Animated), and THE WOMAN AND THE TGV (Live Action) marked on my ballot. Incidentally, it’s worth noting that for only the third time ever, I’ve seen EVERY Oscar nominee in EVERY category! So you can expect all of my insight and snark to be well-educated tonight

Of course, the socio-political commentary should be even more heated and rampant than usual. Does the #OscarsSoWhite hashtag still apply or will diversity reign? How many acceptance speeches will rail against our orange-faced, thin-skinned, tiny-handed president?? WHAT WILL MERYL STREEP SAY??? My LIVE running commentary will begin with Red Carpet Madness at 7 p.m. EST sharp, followed by the 89th Academy Awards at 8:30. I’ll be updating this blog every few minutes with my play-by-play, observations, predictions, reactions, rants, and musings. (And yes, I’ll be drinking heavily, but my drink of choice is to be determined – I’m currently leaning towards a steady diet of Manhattans but we’ll see what happens.) Feel free to bookmark this page and check back often... or keep your browser right here and click “refresh” over and over and over and over and over and over and over again. I’ll also be tweeting @BenLikesMovies, so by all means follow me there, too. ‘Til later... the Force is with me and I am one with the Force....


7:00 – Okay, gang, let’s jump right into this because I’ve been watching this stuff all day and am already one Manhattan in. So far, I’ve seen Taraji P. Henson’s banging curves and Lin-Manuel Miranda cry, so we’re off to a good start!

7:03 – Andrew Garfield is speaking about his movie, HACKSAW RIDGE, which was good and he was the best thing about it… but it could be argued that he should’ve been nominated for Scorsese’s SILENCE instead. Of course, someday, he will probably be nominated again for playing the title role in a biopic about British tennis star Andy Murray.

7:05 – Wait, John Legend is performing the LA LA LAND songs tonight? What, are Ryan and Emma too busy? Too bad. But at least Legend’s presence gives us a reason to hear Crissy Teigen potentially say something funny. And there it is! SHUT UP, MICHAEL!

7:09 – Major update from the live-blog headquarters, where my girlfriend, Kristin, and I have completed out Oscar ballots and they are wildly different ! For one thing, she picked MOONLIGHT for Best Picture, whereas I am decidedly #TeamLaLaLand. This is gonna be good, folks!

7:11 – Dev Patel is cool. But if I’m giving kudos to an actor from Lion, I gotta go with Sunny Pawar, who commanded the first half of that film (and has been commanding the red carpet) like a champ. (For what it’s worth, the second half almost lost me until the ending won me back. Solid film.)

7:13 – And now here’s everyone’s favorite Asian action hero, Matt Damon! Why is he there? Oh, he’s a producer of MANCHESTER BY THE SEA. God that movie was sad. On the right side of the screen is lovely Teresa Palmer, and now the cast of MOONLIGHT looking dapper.

7:16 – EVERYONE SHUT UP, RUTH NEGGA IS BACK ON MY TV SCREEN. She looks like a classic Hollywood photograph brought to life. She probably has little chance of winning Best Actress tonight, but this is my #1 most-wanted upset. LOVING is a wonderful film and she is wonderful in it.

7:17 – Isabelle Huppert, meanwhile, commands every camera that focuses on her. She is a legend and could easily win tonight, which would be interesting because on one hand, everyone loves her, but on the other hand, ELLE is a very divisive film.

7:23 – I just saw Janelle Monae, who looks like a magnificent statue that should be on display in a museum dedicated to Janelle Monae. Yowza. And now here’s Sting, who is cool because he named himself a verb. (He isn’t winning an Oscar tonight, but that James Foley movie is very good.)

7:24 – Isabelle Huppert is back and I pity the foolish red carpet interviewer who asks her something stupid. As of now, she is showing tremendous patience with this ridiculous American nonsense, but really, she could destroy us all at any moment.

7:30 – I appreciate Jessica Biel’s trash talk on behalf of Justin Timberlake, but let’s be real – if he wins for that bullshit TROLLS song, it would be one of the biggest potential travesties of the night.

7:33 – Holy Halle Berry’s hair! Does it have its own Twitter account yet? Pretty sure it has its own zip code. By the way, remember that time Halle Berry won an Oscar?

7:35 – Lin-Manuel and his mom are back! Lin’s favorite Oscar moment was the performance of “Under the Sea” from THE LITTLE MERMAID, which was also the year of the Billy Crystal / Jack Palance jokes, which was also the year I first really got into the Oscars! UPTOWN NEIGHBORS UNITE!

7:39 – Wait, actually, Lin-Manuel got that wrong. The Jack Palance jokes occurred in the 1992 show. He must have been mixing up THE LITTLE MERMAID and BEAUTY AND THE BEAST. But that’s okay! We can still hang out in the neighborhood!

7:42 – First glimpse of Emma Stone and she looks luminous. And now here’s Octavia Spencer, who will be playing God in some upcoming Christian movie. I will not see that because I hate those Christian propaganda movies, but I do like the idea of Octavia playing God in, say, another BRUCE ALMIGHTY-type comedy.

7:45 – Viola Davis the the one and only 100% surefire lock among the acting awards. If she did not win, the world would probably implode. Meanwhile, Kirsten Dunst is here, and Kristin just pointed out that she looks like a Barbie doll. It is kind of disconcerting.

7:48 – The red carpet action is fast and furious and I can’t keep up! It doesn’t help that I’m eating Domino’s pizza with extra sauce! (Yeah, that’s right!)

7:52 – Now here’s Ryan Gosling looking extra-dapper (is his tux wool?) and making all of us dudes feel bad about ourselves. I don’t THINK he will win tonight, but it could happen in the event of complete LA LA LAND domination. Of course, even if he loses, he’s still Ryan Gosling, so he wins and we lose.

7:54 – Nice to see Casey Affleck get a haircut and trim his beard for the occasion. Look, I realize that there’s a whirlwind of controversy surrounding this guy, but the fact is that his performance is the best, most nuanced, and most heart-wrenching of all the nominated actors.

7:55 – Remember when Nicole Kidman looked like an alien for a while and it was scary? Well, she no longer looks like an alien and it’s a relief. She looks great. Maybe it took a few years for the Scientology to purge itself from her system.

7:56 – Emma Stone kind of looks like a mini Oscar, if Oscar statues had frills around the legs. Point being, Emma rules. I hope she and Ryan Gosling continue to make movies together until the day they die (ideally together in a suicide pact so one of them isn’t left alone).

8:00 – Oh, it’s 8:00. I’m actually going to sign off for a half-hour to eat more pizza and make another drink and get ready for the big show. But first, I must point out that I just spied Brie Larson and she may be winning the red carpet with her elegant black number. Holy moley. Be back soon!


8:30 – Aaaaaaand we’re off! And it’s Justin Timberlake kicking things off with what will surely be a rousing performance of the shitty song from TROLLS! He’s making his way through the aisles and Jeff Bridges and Charlize Theron love it! Okay, this song is catchy, I have to admit. But the movie sucked and this song better not even sniff at the possibility of winning.

8:33 – The song is still happening and everyone is having a great time. Nicole Kidman is rocking out and Justin calls out Denzel. Dev Patel’s mom is having fun, and I think I just saw Meryl Streep. Michael Shannon doesn’t really know what the hell is going on!! Hahaha! I’m gonna need a GIF of that to use regularly.

8:35 – Okay, that performance was better than the song itself. And now here’s Jimmy Kimmel, who I think should do a good job tonight. Haha, Jimmy Kimmel cannot unite us – there’s only one Braveheart in the room and he’s not going to unite us, either! And now Jimmy is going to bury the hatchet with his old nemesis, Matt Damon. This is good! Jimmy wants to say thank you to President Trump – remember last year when it seemed like the Oscars were racist?? Meanwhile, this year, black people saved NASA and white people saved Jazz… that’s progress!

8:39 – Amazon produced MANCHESTER BY THE SEA, which is a fun movie. Lots of sad nominees this year… the only happy ending is the one in the middle of MOONLIGHT! HAHAHAHA! It’s true… bleak world begets bleak movies. Jimmy is glad that homeland security let Isabelle Huppert into the show tonight. Lots of jokes about little-seen movies, including Viggo’s CAPTAIN FANTASTIC. And heeeere’s the uninspiring and overrated Meryl Streep! She has phoned it in for over 50 films -- get her out of there! And now a standing ovation for no discernible reason! GO MERYL! Jimmy Kimmel has officially killed this monologue.

8:44 – Kicking off the award portion of the evening with a montage of Supporting Actor winners, ahhh, there’s the aforementioned Jack Palance! And so many other greats I couldn’t possibly up. Alicia Vikander now walks out to “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” for some reason and here come the nominees. Mahershala Ali was amazing in MOONLIGHT and should be the favorite here. Can’t count out the Dude, who commanded the exceptional modern western, HELL OR HIGH WATER. Lucas Hedges held his own and then some in the brutal MANCHESTER BY THE SEA (side note: Kristin picked him on her ballot!). Dev Patel was great in LION but, as mentioned, was kind of overshadowed by the little kid. Michael Shannon has been one of our best actors for a long time and it would be pretty great to see him steal one here. And the Oscar goes to… MAHERSHALA ALI! Very cool and well deserved – if the three generations of the main character were the heart of MOONLIGHT, he was definitely the soul. Emotional speech. His wife just had a baby four days ago! D’awwwww.

8:55 – “Everything in Awesome” as the show comes back from commercial, and indeed, we’re off to an awesome start. Did Jeff Bridges bring his vape pen, Jimmy Kimmel wants to know? And now he’s kicking out any media outlets with the word “Times” in their names – including Medieval Times. And now here come two funny people, Kate McKinnon and Jason Bateman, to present some awards. Kate’s gonna set it up and Jason’s gonna spike it! First, Best Makeup/Hairstyling. Meh to the MAN CALLED OVE. STAR TREK is the best of these by default. SUICIDE SQUAD, also kind of meh. And the Oscar goes to SUICIDE SQUAD! Color me surprised! The D.C. fanboys and girls are going to revel in this for a long time.

9:00 – And now the achievement for Costume Design! ALLIED was a good-looking, if somewhat unmemorable, film. I really loved FANTASTIC BEASTS and it looked great. FLORENCE FOSTER JENKINS, meh. JACKIE has a good shot. But I think this is going to be the first of many trophies for LA LA LAND. And the Oscar goes to… FANTASTIC BEASTS!! WOW! I seriously can’t believe it. FANTASTIC BEASTS was so good and helped ease our Election Night pain in much the same way that the first POTTER film helped ease our post-9/11 pain. Plus, the costumes were on point (or maybe the Oscar voters just missed the sight of Hogwarts scarves as much as we did). First round at the wizard speakeasy is on me after the show!

9:07 – We’re back and Jimmy points out that it’s been a great year for superheroes – Doctor Strange was nominated for Best Visual Effects AND named Director of Housing and Urban Development! nd now here come the awesome ladies of HIDDEN FIGURES looking like like they should be epic monuments atop grandiose buildings. Or something, I don’t know, just work with me here. They bring out one of the actual Hidden Figures, Katherine Johnson, and this is very cool. They are also introducing the nominees for Best Documentary Feature. FIRE AT SEA is a powerful film about refugees. I AM NOT YOUR NEGRO, about race relations. LIFE, ANIMATED is a wonderful film about an autistic kid who learns to communicate via the power of Disney animation. The seven-hour O.J. doc is incredible and speaks for itself. And 13th is powerful and must be seen. And the Oscar goes to O.J.: MADE IN THE AMERICA. That was my pick because it was just so well done but I wasn’t sure it would actually win. Man, between this and THE PEOPLE vs. O.J. SIMPSON, what a year it was for that slice of mid-‘90s history (and let’s face it – heavy nostalgia because I remember watching that shit like it was yesterday).

9:13 – Hahahaha, even Mel Gibson couldn’t deal with that O.J. joke. And now here’s the Rock, who is NOT here to sing his song from MOANA, but to introduce one of the most-anticipated moments of the show! It’s Lin-Manuel Miranda rapping an introduction for the young actress who plays MOANA and sings this excellent song! If my niece was watching the Oscars right now, she would be singing along doing an interpretative dance and it would be awesome. Please, God, let this song win tonight and secure Lin-Manuel’s EGOT (or EPGOT, if you count the Pulitzer!). On another note, I’m going to need a GIF of Auli'i Cravalho getting hit in the head with one of those blue curtain props (but kudos to her for not missing a beat – major poise!).

9:24 – The president of the Academy is here to talk about diversity and the power of art and the magic of movies. Meanwhile, the President of the United States is probably looking at his tiny hands in the mirror and trying to convince himself that they’re normal sized. And now candy is falling from the ceiling! “Next year, we should give out the awards this way,” Jimmy says. That would actually be cool. And now here’s Chris Evans and, um, someone named Sophia presenting the awards for Best Sound Editing. ARRIVAL, DEEPWATER HORIZION, HACKSAW RIDGE, LA LA LAND, and SULLY, but I think the LA LA train begins now. And the Oscar goes to ARRIVAL!! Wow… LA LA hasn’t won anything yet! I’m shocked. But if this opens the door for ARRIVAL to steal a few more, it won’t be so bad!

9:29 – Sound Mixing next ! ARRIVAL again… HACKSAW RIDGE… LA LA LAND… ROGUE ONE, hey, that’d be cool… and 13 HOURS… and the Oscar goes to HACKSAW RIDGE, holy shit!! This is amazing because (a) LA LA lost again, and (b) the sound mixer for this movie has finally won for the first time in 21 tries! Go sound mixer guy! That guy is cool but I think there’s some definite LA LA backlash rearing its head here. Fasten your seatbelts – it’s going to be a bumpy night!

9:37 – Sorry, I got sidetracked gazing upon my adorable little kitten who is snuggled up in the blankets behind me. Vince Vaughn is here and I think he’s talking about the Governor’s Awards? Yeah, he is. Frederick Wiseman is good at documentaries and Jackie Chan is good at martial arts. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to quickly pour myself another Manhattan!

9:39 – No, wait, just kidding, my drink can wait! Hattie McDaniel just popped up on the screen and I think this is a Best Supporting Actress montage. So many great moments there and now here’s Mark Rylance to present the award. He’s wearing a hat and is owning it – maybe he could play the Peddler in my long-gestating adaptation of the children’s book CAPS FOR SALE. Anyway, this category is full of strong contenders but Viola Davis is going to win so I’m not going to bother going through them all. (That said, Naomie Harris could be a sleeper threat.) Ah, I knew they were going to use that scene for Michelle Williams. And the Oscar goes to VIOLA DAVIS, Rylance says casually, because obviously. Viola is going to lay the smackdown on the world with her words right now. Pretty sure she is going to win an Emmy for this speech… powerful stuff. Go Viola!

9:54 – First of all, Jimmy Kimmel just totally stole the Viola Davis / Emmy award speech that I made a few minutes ago. FUCK YOU, KIMMEL. And now something weird is happening with a tour bus outside? I don’t know. And now Charlize Theron is talking about how much she loves THE APARTMENT. This is kind of cool. I want to know what Sunny Pawar’s favorite movie is next. Ah, and now Charlize comes out with Shirley Maclaine to complete the segment. It’s the loudest reception Shirley has had in 250,000 years! They are presenting the award for Best Foreign Film. Strong category here, starting with Denmark’s LAND OF MINE (the weakest of the bunch). A MAN CALLED OVE is good. Australia’s TANNA is a remarkable achievement. Germany’s TONI ERDMANN is amazing and there’s already a remake planned starring Kristen Wiig and Jack Nicholson. And THE SALESMAN, which is great, but I think will only win if they want to turn this into a political statement. And the Oscar goes to THE SALESMAN!! Oh shit, here we go. Asghar Farhadi is boycotting the show and a statement is being read in his stead. I have mixed feelings about this because I’d rather give the award to the actual best nominee, which is TONI ERDMANN by a long shot, but can’t argue with the huge middle finger to our orange asshole of a President.

10:02 – I missed the entire Sting segment because I was looking at my ballot, but there was a statement at the end about the power of journalism, which is important! Fun fact: I was a journalism major in college. I did not go into the heart of ISIS but I did write an article about the opening of the Greenwich Village K-Mart in 1998. Hey, it was controversial at the time! Um, let’s move on.

10:07 – This tour bus thing is stupid but it IS potentially better than the running briefcase joke that bombed for Neil Patrick Harris a few years ago. Hailee Steinfield has true grit and she is here with Gael Garcia Bernal to present Animated Short Film! These are generally solid but I really loved PEARL, which filled me with melancholic and nostalgic goodness. Can’t count out Pixar’s PIPER, though. And the Oscar goes to… PIPER. Okay, fine, it was freaking adorable.

10:10 – Gael condemns the concept of walls and now it’s time for Best Animated Feature! Disney gave us a double-dose of greatness last year and one of them will surely win. KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS could be a contender, though. And the Oscar goes to ZOOTOPIA!! I tend to lean towards MOANA, myself, but cannot argue with this one. ZOOTOPIA is great and smart and timely. The New Golden Age of Disney lives on!

10:13 – Oh God, Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan are here to present an award. Dakota is great and deserves better in this world, but Jamie needs to be swept under the rug forever after the FIFTY SHADES films are mercifully over. They are presenting Best Production Design, which may now go to FANTASTIC BEASTS following its shocking Costume Design win?? I don’t know what to think anymore… as long as PASSENGERS doesn’t win, that stinking misogynist piece of shit. And the Oscar goes to LA LA LAND!! Well, hello there stranger! First win of the night for the odds-on favorite. Will this kick-start some momentum or nah??

10:16 – Okay, so, the tour bus riders are apparently here now. They’re gonna turn the lights off, and when the tourists walk in, they’re going to turn the lights on and yell, “MAHERSHALA!” Umm, this is weird. Don’t look into Ryan Gosling’s eyes! Hahahaha, Denzel just pronounced this dude and his fiancĂ©e as husband and wife. Jennifer Aniston gave away her sunglasses. Casey Affleck is not a vagrant! Um, I kind of can’t believe this is still going on? This is kind of terrible, like, maybe one of the worst bits in Oscar history? And yet strangely compelling? Nah, seriously, let’s get back to the awards.

10:28 – We’re back with a segment of international folks talking about their favorite American movies. THE GRADUATE, E.T., ANNIE HALL, YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN, THE BIG LEBOWSKI, CITZEN KANE, and more are represented. “Cinema is art.” “Movies are a universal language… it’s magic and magic is universal.” This segment is so much better than the tour bus nonsense because it’s actually, y’know, about movies.

10:30 – Jyn Erso and, uh, the character played by Riz Ahmed (whose name I still can’t remember… damn ROGUE ONE and its unmemorable characters) are here to present Best Visual Effects. I picked DOCTOR STRANGE for this because that shit was trippy. I actually DON’T want Star Wars to win because the CGI Tarkin was one of the worst abominations in the history of special effects. KUBO would be an interesting choice, but the Oscar goes to THE JUNGLE BOOK! This was a solid live-action remake and it sure did look good.

10:33 – Ooh, Seth Rogen is now talking about his favorite movie and it’s BACK TO THE FUTURE, the baseline of classic cinema! Cannot argue with that. HOLY SHIT, and now Seth is coming to the stage with the Delorean and freakin’ MICHAEL J. FOX! STANDING OVATION! Maybe some of the ovation was for Seth? Hehe, nahhh. Jesus fucking Christ, Seth and Michael J. Fox are singing HAMILTON. This is amazing and I’m crying because I love MJF so much. Ah, there’s also the little matter of the award for Best Editing. I’m going for LA LA LAND here. And the Oscar goes to… HACKSAW RIDGE!?!?!? Holy shit!!! This is the first legit mega shocker of the night. Where the hell did this come from?! Could this be a sign of a potential HACKSAW sweep and the full-fledged Mel Gibson comeback?! I don’t know what to think about anything anymore.

10:39 – Hahaha, Jimmy Kimmel just interviewed Sunny Pawar about candy and THE LION KING and it was pretty funny. That kid is gonna be a star. Unfortunately, I’m still reeling from HACKSAW RIDGE’s editing award to really enjoy anything. Not that it’s a bad movie, or a badly-edited movie… I just did not expect it to win anything. Literally anything can happen from here on out, folks!

10:43 – Well, damn, Salma Hayek has still got it and she is here (with David Oyelowo) to present Best Documentary Short. As always, these are bleak bunch. My favorite (and indeed, the only not-bleak one) is JOE’S VIOLIN, about a Holocaust survivor who donates his beloved violin to a school for underprivileged girls in the Bronx. But the Oscar goes to THE WHITE HELMENTS, which is about rescuers in war-torn Syria and is very powerful and remarkable. Plus, the cinematographer could not be there because of recent travel laws, so, again, it’s a major political statement. Can’t argue with it, though.

10:47 – And now it’s Live Action Short, which is a category I am majorly invested, because I reeeeeeeally loved THE WOMAN AND THE TGV! It is wonderful, whimsical, AMELIE-esque goodness. I also loved SING, which features one of the most despicable villains of the year. But really, they’re all solid, except for SILENT NIGHTS< which was a piece of shit. And the Oscar goes to SING!! Yay! That’s awesome! It was so good and ending is absolutely exultant! Seek it out ASAP!

10:49 – Hahaha, oh no, Jimmy Kimmel is about to tweet at Donald Trump because the President hasn’t tweeted once during the show and he’s starting to get worried. “Hey @realDonaldTrump, u up?” MERYL SAYS HI. The Snowflake-in-Chief is going to love this!

10:52 – John Cho and Leslie Mann are now here to explain the geekery of film science. For example, John Cho was in STAR TREK and he filmed the movie in a studio in front of a green wall, but then he saw the movie and had to wonder if he really WAS in space?? This is good stuff. Yay geeks!

10:56 – Javier Bardem really loves THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY an he’s going to tell us all about it… friendo. And now here he is, along with the GREAT STREEP! Ohhh shit, just give her the mic and let her rip with no time limit! Ah, nah, it looks like they’re just presenting the award for Best Cinematography. I’m actually pulling for ARRIVAL here, but I’m wondering what it means if LA LA LAND doesn’t win? Could be the beginning of the end, if so… but the Oscar goes to LA LA LAND and it’s not dead yet! In fact, this could be the spark it needs to steamroll through the rest of the show. We shall see!

11:01 – Mean Tweets Oscar Edition! Hehehe, this might be good. Samuel L. Jackson has resting fart face! Are we all just ignoring the fact that Felicity Jones and Eddie Redmayne have the same face? Emma Stone looks like a crack whore in every role she plays! Robert de Niro IS playing grandfather roles and soon he’s going to be playing great-grandfather roles and FUCK YOU! That was a funny bit. Now back to the movie awards!

11:04 – Everybody swooooooooon because here are the perfect combo of Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone. I believe they are going to present the nominated songs from LA LA LAND, which will be performed by John Legend. This will be cool even though I can’t root for either of these songs against MOANA and Lin-Manuel.

11:12 – Jimmy Kimmel is happy to see Lin-Manuel Miranda in a theatre without having to pay $10,000… or in my case, $10, since my girlfriend Kristin won the HAMILTON lottery a few weeks ago! (It was one of the great experiences of my life, FYI.) That was an awkward moment with Jimmy and Lin and Lin’s mom, by the way. Jimmy Kimmel is a weird mix of being funny sometimes and horribly suck-ass other times (which is still better than Jimmy Fallon, who sucks all the time.)

11:13 – And now here’s Samuel L. Jackson talking about the merits of movie scores. The nominees are a solid bunch, including the melodramatic LION, eerie JACKIE, sci-fi PASSENGERS, joyful LA LA LAND, and haunting MOONLIGHT. I have LA LA on my ballot but this could go in any number of directions. And the Oscar goes to LA LA LAND, which I think may signify the beginning of the end for all other contenders. And now this score will be stuck in my head (again) for the foreseeable future (as it has been for the past three months).

11:16 – My favorite anime character, Scarlett Johnansson, is looking amazing and she is here to present Best Song! Oh shit! “Audition” is the best of the LA LA LAND songs. Forget about the TROLLS song. The other LA LA LAND song is the likely favorite. Forget the Sting song. And yesssssss, MOANA! And the Oscar goes to… “City of Stars” from  LA LA LAND. Arghhhhhh, such huge mixed feelings here because I love the LA LA LAND soundtrack (indeed, playing it has been my #1 request to Alexa ever since I got my Amazon Echo Dot), but I really fucking wanted Lin-Manuel to get that EGOT!! Ah well… hopefully he’ll have an original song in MARY POPPINS RETURNS.

11:20 – Ah, shit, would you believe I almost forgot about the In Memoriam segment? Jennifer Aniston presents it, Sarah Barelleis is singing a Joni Mitchell ballad, and here we go. George Kennedy, Gene Wilder, damn. “We are the dreamers of dreams.” Michael Cimino. Patty Duke, Garry Marshall, Emmanuelle Riva. Anton Yelchin, what a terrible loss, so young. Mary Tyler Moore! Prince. Kenny Baker and I’m officially crying. Curtis Hanson, damn, forgot about him. Zsa Zsa Gabor. DEBBIE REYNOLDS. CARRIE FISHER, “May the Force be with you,” and that’s it and I’m a mess. Now, who did they leave out??

11:28 – Hahahahaha, Jimmy Kimmel is now reflecting on his favorite movie, Matt Damon’s WE BOUGHT A ZOO! This is great. “The thing about Matt is that you can see how hard he’s working… it’s so effortful.” And now here’s Ben Affleck and GUEST… who you may recognize as Matt Damon. They are presenting Best Original Screenplay and there are really great ones here. HELL OR HIGH WATER, such a good modern western. A LA LA LAND win here would be a major coup. THE LOBSTER is actually the most ORIGINAL screenplay but probably has no chance. I’ve actually got MANCHESTER BY THE SEA marked on my ballot because it was just so devastating. And 20th CENTURY WOMEN, arguably the most unsung movie of 2016. And the Oscar goes to Kenneth Lonergan for MANCHESTER BY THE SEA! Wow! That’s really cool! What a powerful, excruciating, brilliant movie. Well deserved, even if it does put another brake on LA LA’s momentum!

11:33 – And now here’s Amy Adams showing some the night’s most impressive cleavage (sorry not sorry) and presenting the award for Best Adapted Screenplay. ARRIVAL is great, FENCES probably works better on the stage, HIDDEN FIGURES is great, LION is very good, but I think this one has to go to MOONLIGHT and indeed, the Oscar goes to MOONLIGHT! Yay! Very cool.

11:40 – There was a cookie bit that I couldn’t be bothered to write about, but do yourself a favor and look up the Taraji P. Henson “are you sharing?” GIFs. You’re welcome. And now here’s Halle Berry’s hair to present Best Director! Business is about to pick up. Denis Villeneuve would be an inspired choice for ARRIVAL. Mel Gibson would be an insane choice. Damien Chazelle, come on! Kenneth Lonergan and Barry Jenkins, maybe… and the Oscar goes to DAMIEN CHAZELLE for LA LA LAND! Wow! So awesome, even though, at 32, he is the youngest Best Director winner ever and I am turning 40 in a few months. Ummmmmm anyway yeah, LA LA LAND is a perfectly-directed film and I am happy dammit!

11:47 – Best Actor montage! I really like these pre-award montages. And now here’s Captain Marvel herself, Brie Larson, last year’s Best Actress winner and still the realest and the best, to present the award. I’m still pulling for Casey Affleck here – his performance is the most nuanced and devastating. Andrew Garfield commands the screen in HACKSAW RIDGE but it’s arguably his second-best performance of 2016. Ryan Gosling is just plain great in LA LA LAND, and you can never go wrong with Viggo – CAPTAIN FANTASTIC is very good but hopefully someday he’ll be nominated in a year in which he has the slightest chance to win. And then, of course, Denzel – definitely can’t count him out. And the Oscar goes to.. CASEY AFFLECK! Yes! I didn’t think it would happen because controversy, but hey, the best performance is the best performance! Such powerful work and well deserved.

11:54 – Hey, remember that time Leonardo DiCaprio won an Oscar?? It happened last year and now he’s here to present Best Actress following another great montage. Isabelle Huppert was tremendous in a very complex and controversial role. RUTH NEGGA, my sentimental favorite pick of the night, would be so amazing! Natalie Portman arguably gave her best-ever performance in JACKIE (I usually have nothing good to say about her acting so this is a big deal). Emma Stone has to be considered the odds-on favorite, and then of course there’s the great Streep, who, let’s face it, people may have voted for just so she’d be able to give a speech. And the Oscar goes to… EMMA STONE for LA LA LAND! Okay, I’ll allow it – she was luminous and wonderful and she’s giving a very humble and emotional speech and here’s to the fools who dream!

12:02 – “We’ve reached the halfway part of the show,” Jimmy Kimmel says as we pass the midnight hour. And here comes Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway to present the night’s final award! I have to say, at this point, I have no idea what’s going to win. Will it be LA LA LAND, which has picked up some momentum down the stretch? Will it be MOONLIGHT, which has scored some big wins? Will it be HACKSAW RIDGE, which has already won two more awards than expected? Maybe MANCHESTER? Or could FENCES or ARRIVAL shock the world? (Sorry, HIDDEN FIGURES, LION, and HELL OR HIGH WATER… no soup for you.) And the Oscar goes to… LA LA LAND! Ummmmmmmm… no, wait, it’s MOONLIGHT. Warren Beatty read the wrong winner! Or was given the wrong envelope or something. There was confusion and madness on the stage! This is literally the craziest thing I’ve ever seen, but indeed, MOONLIGHT is the Best Picture! I… don’t even know what to say about this but wow. Congrats, MOONLA LAND?!

Well… that was some craziness, wasn’t it? The show has been over for a while now, and like most people, I’m still trying to wrap my head around what happened. We’ve watched clips over and over again and it’s just crazy. It appears that there were TWO envelopes for Best Actress, one of which went to Emma Stone after she won, and one of which unfortunately wound up in Warren Beatty’s hands. And even though he clearly realized that something was awry, he went ahead and let Faye Dunaway read the incorrect winner. Which raises the question… why didn’t he say something?! He’s Warren Beatty! He could’ve easily stopped the proceedings and been like, “Ahem, something’s not right here,” and it would’ve been charming and heroic. Instead, Faye clearly thought he was just being a scamp, glanced at the card, read LA LA LAND, and the rest is history. That being said, it’s clearly the fault of the envelope handlers more than anyone else, and someone is getting fired. But then, even after the wrong winner was read aloud, for some reason, it took over five minutes and two and a half speeches by the LA LA LAND crew before the correction was made and MOONLIGHT was anointed Best Picture. Absolute insanity. But you know, if there have always been two envelopes floating around (per Academy policy), it’s amazing that this hasn’t happened before. It’s a recipe for disaster that has been brewing for 89 years and it finally happened! My guess is that next year, they move on to a one-envelope system. Anyway, congrats to MOONLIGHT, a truly tremendous and important film that absolutely deserves to win. It’s a shame, though, that its moment will always be overshadowed by the mishap (sorry, but it’s true – the mishap will forever be part of the trivia question).

As for the for the show as a whole… it was pretty solid. Jimmy Kimmel was very hit or miss with his jokes and bits, but fortunately, the hits and misses were just about equal. I’m happy about all four acting winners, three of which I chose correctly (Affleck, Ali and Davis; I voted for Negga but that was a silly wishful-thinking vote because I knew Stone was gonna win) and I correctly picked Director (Chazelle) and both screenplays (MANCHESTER and MOONLIGHT) on my ballot. In fact, I got 10 out of 24 categories right, which is actually quite high for me – my ballot is usually a disaster because I tend to vote with my heart and my heart has shit for brains. But this year, I guess my heart and brain were slightly more in sync than usual! There were some surprises, too, such as HACKSAW RIDGE picking up two wins, FANTASTIC BEASTS winning Costume Design, and the ARRIVAL sound editor winning for the first time after 21 nominations. No major disappointments for me – I wish Lin-Manuel could have snagged that EGOT tonight, but I’m sure his day will come. As always, I must rank my loveliest ladies of the evening, which include Brie Larson, Emma Stone, Janelle Monae, Amy Adams, Taraji P. Henson and ummmm no one else is jumping out at me at the moment. And now I’m going to call it a night and a year and maybe an Oscar live-blogging career, for real this time, because honestly, how are we ever gonna top this year’s madness? (Don’t hold me to that, though, because next year I might feel the siren call at the last minute once again. We shall see!) Goodnight, gang, and thanks for reading! ❤