2012 Academy Awards Live Blog

The 84th Annual Academy Awards are live from Hollywood Sunday and the questions are endless. Well, actually, the main question is can anything beat the runaway train known as The Artist? Michel Hazanavicius’s black and white silent film has been the juggernaut of this awards season and is poised to take at least three of the major awards of the evening. Beyond that, how will Billy Crystal do? Will Sacha Baron Cohen do anything out of the ordinary ? (Edit: He did. Watch the video below.) And will we fall asleep due to boredom?

Keep up with all the events at this year’s Oscars – including the winners – after the jump.

Here’s the latest:

Best Picture

  • The Artist
  • The Descendants
  • Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close
  • The Help
  • Hugo
  • Midnight in Paris
  • Moneyball
  • The Tree of Life
  • War Horse

Thoughts: Congrats Harvey, you grabbed another one. But, to be honest, the fact that a black and white silent film won Best Picture against such a star-studded line up is pretty extraordinary.

Best Actress in a Leading Role

  • Glenn Close, Albert Nobbs
  • Viola Davis, The Help
  • Rooney Mara, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
  • Meryl Streep, The Iron Lady
  • Michelle Williams, My Week With Marilyn

Thoughts: Wait, what? Um. Are you serious? The biggest surprise is recent Oscar memory!!!

Best Actor in a Leading Role

  • Demian Bichir, A Better Life
  • George Clooney, The Descendants
  • Jean Dujardin, The Artist
  • Gary Oldman, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
  • Brad Pitt, Moneyball

Thoughts: Predictable. But great. At least he didn’t run across the seats in the auditorium.

8:17 p.m. – Natalie Portman is presenting Best Actor. I’m loving how the presenter talked to each nominee almost on a personal level. Very cool.

8:07 p.m. – Elizabeth Taylor headlines the In Memoriam. Fade to black.

7:57 p.m. – I totally understand giving James Earl Jones an honorary Oscar, but Oprah Winfrey? She’s a great, selfless humanitarian but is that Oscar-worthy? I’m slightly confused. Oh well. Three more majors to go.

Best Director

  • Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist
  • Alexdander Payne, The Descendants
  • Martin Scorsese, Hugo
  • Woody Allen, Midnight in Paris
  • Terrence Malick, The Tree of Life

Thoughts: No surprise here. Was kind of hoping for an upset but, oh well.

7:48 p.m. – About 40 minutes and only four awards left. Plus the death segment and lifetime achievement.

Short Film (Animated)

  • Dimanche/Sunday, Patrick Doyon
  • The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore, William Joyce and Brandon Oldenburg
  • La Luna, Enrico Casarosa
  • A Morning Stroll, Grant Orchard and Sue Goffe
  • Wild Life, Amanda Forbis and Wendy Tilby

Thoughts: Yeah, that one looks pretty cool.

Documentary Short

  • The Barber of Birmingham: Foot Soldier of the Civil Rights Movement, Robin Fryday and Gail Dolgin
  • God is the Bigger Elvis, Rebecca Cammisa and Julie Anderson
  • Incident in New Baghdad, James Spione
  • Saving Face, Daniel Junge and Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy
  • The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom, Lucy Walker and Kira Carstensen

Thoughts: Martin Scorsese didn’t get the fact that the Bridesmaids cast made a joke of the fact that his name is part of a drinking game.

Short Film (Live Action)

  • Pentecost, Peter McDonald and Eimear O’Kane
  • Raju, Max Zähle and Stefan Gieren
  • The Shore, Terry George and Oorlagh George
  • Time Freak, Andrew Bowler and Gigi Causey
  • Tuba Atlantic, Hallvar Witzø

Thoughts: It’s that time in the show when we blow through the short awards. Here’s where all your Oscar pools are won and lost.

Writing (Original Screenplay)

  • The Artist, Written by Michel Hazanavicius
  • Bridesmaids, Written by Annie Mumolo & Kristen Wiig
  • Margin Call, Written by J.C. Chandor
  • Midnight in Paris, Written by Woody Allen
  • A Separation, Written by Asghar Farhadi

Thoughts: Woody Allen. So cool, he doesn’t need to show up to the Oscars. He’s probably watching the NBA All-Star Game. Oh, speaking of which…

Writing (Adapted Screenplay)

  • The Descendants, Screenplay by Alexander Payne and Nat Faxon & Jim Rash
  • Hugo, Screenplay by John Logan
  • The Ides of March, Screenplay by George Clooney & Grant Heslov and Beau Willimon
  • Moneyball, Screenplay by Steven Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin.  Story by Stan Chervin
  • Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Screenplay by Bridget O’Connor & Peter Straughan

Thoughts: My favorite movie of the year so I’m very pleased with this one.

Music (Original Song)

  • “Man or Muppet” from The Muppets, Music and Lyric by Bret McKenzie
  • “Real in Rio” from Rio, Music by Sergio Mendes and Carlinhos Brown, Lyric by Siedah Garrett

Thoughts: YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES! I love this song and this was literally the only category I cared about and I’m so happy. Here’s my interview with now Oscar-winner Bret McKenzie from a few weeks ago.

7:16 p.m. – Haha – Will Ferrell and Zack Galifianakis slam cymbals in front of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. These two are great. I can’t wait for their movie.

Music (Original Score)

  • The Adventures of Tintin, John Williams
  • The Artist, Ludovic Bource
  • Hugo, Howard Shore
  • Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Alberto Iglesias
  • War Horse, John Williams

Thoughts: It’s almost unfair that this wins. Totally worthy, but the score is as important – if not more so – than the screenplay in The Artist.

7:11 p.m. – Crystal is doing really well tonight. His last two bits made me laugh, I hate to admit it.

Best Actor In a Supporting Role

  • Kenneth Branagh, My Week With Marilyn
  • Jonah Hill, Moneyball
  • Nick Nolte, Warrior
  • Christopher Plummer, Beginners
  • Max von Sydow, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close

Thoughts: Predictable? Yes. Deserved? Yes. Record-setting? Yes. At 82 Christopher Plummer is the oldest actor to ever win an Oscar.

Visual Effects

  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, Tim Burke, David Vickery, Greg Butler and John Richardson
  • Hugo, Rob Legato, Joss Williams, Ben Grossman and Alex Henning
  • Real Steel, Erik Nash, John Rosengrant, Dan Taylor and Swen Gillberg
  • Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Joe Letteri, Dan Lemmon, R. Christopher White and Daniel Barrett
  • Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Dan Glass, Brad Friedman, Douglas Trumbull and Michael Fink

Thoughts: Rise of the Planet of the Apes obviously deserved to win, but Hugo is on a technical tear.

6:54 p.m. – Emma Stone does the 2nd best presenting job so far with her hilarious perky bit. Jonah Hill’s insert shot made me howl.

6:50 p.m. – We’re about half way though and, I have to admit, this hasn’t been as bad as anticipated. The little touches here and there have been tasteful and fun, they just played an awesome Brave commercial, Melissa McCarthy did a fun bit and there’s even been a minor upset or two. We’ll see how the rest of this goes.

Animated Feature Film

  • A Cat in Paris, Alain Gagnol and Jean-Loup Felicioli
  • Chico & Rita, Fernando Trueba and Javier Mariscal
  • Kung Fu Panda 2, Jennifer Yuh Nelson
  • Puss in Boots, Chris Miller
  • Rango, Gore Verbinski

Thoughts: I thought Chico & Rita might pull the upset but, nope, it’s Rango. Congrats to Gore Verbinski for grabbing an Oscar.

Documentary Feature

  • Hell and Back Again
  • If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front
  • Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory
  • Pina
  • Undefeated

Thoughts: As a sports movie fan, I’m so mad that I have not seen the movie. Congrats to Undefeated. Though their mikes got cut off.

6:41 p.m. – Robert Downey Jr.’s presenting is another highlight. He had a camera crew on stage with him saying he was filming doc called The Presenter. Gwyneth Paltrow messed with him. Really funny.

6:38 p.m. – That was a fun, welcome change from the regular Oscar crap. But…wouldn’t you just have rather heard Man or Muppet, one of the Oscar-nominees.

6:34 p.m. – The Muppets!!! Introducing a brand new segment from the Cirque du Soleil show Iris, which usually occupies the Kodak Theater when it’s not Oscar season. By the way, this has more movie imagery then the entire show actually has.

Sound Mixing

  • The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, David Parker, Michael Semanick, Ren Klyce and Bo Persson
  • Hugo, Tom Fleischman and John Midgley
  • Moneyball, Deb Adair, Ron Bochar, Dave Giammarco and Ed Novick
  • Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Greg P. Russell, Gary Summers, Jeffrey J. Haboush and Peter J. Devlin
  • War Horse, Gary Rydstrom, Andy Nelson, Tom Johnson and Stuart Wilson

Thoughts: And the Hugo‘s just keep on coming. I’m enjoying how pleased Scorsese is of all his people winning awards.

Sound Editing

  • Drive, Lon Bender and Victor Ray Ennis
  • The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Ren Klyce
  • Hugo, Philip Stockton and Eugene Gearty
  • Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Ethan Van der Ryn and Erik Aadahl
  • War Horse, Richard Hymns and Gary Rydstrom

Thoughts: Another technical award for Hugo.

Film Editing

  • The Artist, Anne-Sophie Bion and Michel Hazanavicius
  • The Descendants, Kevin Tent
  • The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Kirk Baxter and Angus Wall
  • Hugo, Thelma Schoonmaker
  • Moneyball, Christopher Tellefsen

Thoughts: Whoa – that just screwed up a few Oscar pools.

6:18 p.m. – Oh my god! Christopher Guest’s players doing a skit on a focus group reaction for The Wizard of Oz. Hilarious!! Highlight of the show so far.

Best Actress in a Supporting Role

  • Bérénice Bejo, The Artist
  • Jessica Chastain, The Help
  • Melissa McCarthy, Bridesmaids
  • Janet McTeer, Albert Nobbs
  • Octavia Spencer, The Help
Thoughts: And so the predictable major categories begin. Spencer is great in The Help but Chastain is better. Chastain, however, will have many more chances. Congrats to Spencer though. You could tell by her tearful, rambling acceptance speech that it meant a lot to her.

Foreign Language Film

  • Belgium, “Bullhead”, Michael R. Roskam, director
  • Canada, “Monsieur Lazhar”, Philippe Falardeau, director
  • Iran, “A Separation”, Asghar Farhadi, director
  • Israel, “Footnote”, Joseph Cedar, director
  • Poland, “In Darkness”, Agnieszka Holland, director

Thoughts: No surprise here. A Separation is widely regarded to be the best foreign film of the year. Oh, and it’s the first film ever from Iran to win this award. That’s cool.

6 p.m. – We can plainly see what producer Brian Grazer is going for here, trying to remind us why we love the movies. The next piece is a bunch of monster celebrities – Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt, Helen Mirren, Reese Witherspoon, etc – talking about their early memories at the movies. It’s pretty solid.

Makeup

  • Albert Nobbs, Martial Corneville, Lynn Johnston and Matthew W. Mungle
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, Nick Dudman, Amanda Knight and Lisa Tomblin
  • The Iron Lady, Mark Coulier and J. Roy Helland

Thoughts: This win was overshadowed by presenters Jennifer Lopez and Cameron Diaz opening the envelope with their butts towards the camera.

Costume Design

  • Anonymous, Lisy Christl
  • The Artist, Mark Bridges
  • Hugo, Sandy Powell
  • Jane Eyre, Michael O’Connor
  • W.E., Arianne Phillips

Thoughts: I thought Hugo was going to continue winning tech awards but, here’s the first – of many – for The Artist.

5:51 p.m. – Some kind of montage about the magic of cinema. They should call this “Five Minutes of Movies Way Better Than Anything Released This Year.”

Art Direction

  • The Artist: Laurence Bennett (Production Design); Robert Gould (Set Decoration)
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2: Stuart Craig (Production Design); Stephenie McMillan (Set Decoration)
  • Hugo: Dante Ferretti (Production Design); Francesca Lo Schiavo (Set Decoration)
  • War Horse: Rick Carter (Production Design); Lee Sandales (Set Decoration)

Thoughts: After Hugo won the previous award, this kind of made sense. And, frankly, it had the best Art Direction out of the bunch. Are we looking at a Hugo upset this evening?

Cinematography

  • The Artist, Guillaume Schiffman
  • The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, Jeff Cronenweth
  • Hugo, Robert Richardson
  • The Tree of Life, Emmanuel Lubezki
  • War Horse, Janusz Kaminski

Thoughts: I thought Hugo looked great, but this has to be considered a bit of a surprise. Plus cinematography first was kind of weird. So far, so good.

5:41 p.m. – The updates will slow down considerably once the awards start but people were curious about Crystal, right? Well he’s doing the patented musical medley. It’s exactly like every other year, meaning, it’s pretty good.

5:36 p.m. – That started off very strong and went downhill quickly. I don’t think the image of Crystal as Tintin will ever leave my mind.

5:31 p.m. – Okay, that’s more like it. Billy Crystal best picture montage. All pretty clever. Justin Bieber, Batman & Robin reference.

5:30 p.m. – Morgan Freeman is hosting? I’m confused. Oh, he’s just introducing. That’s different.

5:25 p.m. – I’ve spent the last hour trying to keep bootleg versions of the Sacha Baron Cohen/Ryan Seacrest clips below live but, alas, I think E! has finally removed every single version of it.(EDIT – The official one is now below). Also, that search was more exciting than the Red Carpet coverage. It’s time to get the show on the road.

4:18 p.m. – I don’t like to do a lot of red carpet coverage but Sacha Baron Cohen showed up as The Dictator, talked to Ryan Seacrest of E! and “mistakenly” dumped the ashes of his “good friend” Kim Jong-il all over him. Here’s the video.

What are your thoughts?

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