The 88th Academy Awards are nearly underway. And what a year it has been: a year that finds one of the most aggressively contested Best Picture line-ups in many a moon (who will win, no one is certain) and a year underlined by controversy in the Academy and the film industry as a whole over the lack of diversity within. It’s been a contentious, and at times frustrating year. But it’s also Oscar night, a grand and glorious Hollywood tradition. Stay with us all night long for the highlights, the lowlights and everything in between.
4:57PM (PST): Who will win Best Picture? It’s a legitimate three-way race between The Big Short, Spotlight and The Revenant. The pundits are stumped and know one has any real idea what’s going to end up winning at the end of the night. That’s not the eagerest event of the evening, however, as host Chris Rock has the daunting challenge of trying to set the mood for what’s been a controversial Oscar season. For the second year in a row, the Oscar acting line-up didn’t include a performer of color. With diversity the running message in Hollywood- and a comedian front and center who makes no bones about talking about topical issues like racial inequity- Rock is put to the difficult task to not only address the situation but also set a respectful tone for the evening. And be really funny at once. Half hour to go.
— Chris Rock (@chrisrock) February 29, 2016
5:05PM (PST): Best Actor frontrunner Leonardo DiCaprio (The Revenant) has arrived and is doing his pressly duties…which is exactly what he has been doing all season long. Is there any way DiCaprio loses tonight? He has six career Oscar nominations- 1994’s What’s Eating Gilbert Grape? (still his best performance, yep!), 2004’s The Aviator, 2006’s Blood Diamond and acting and producer nods for 2013’s The Wolf of Wall Street. Caveat – can DiCaprio’s expected stronghold tonight carry over onto The Revenant Best Supporting Actor nominee Tom Hardy? Or more importantly, his Titanic love Kate Winslet, nominated for Steve Jobs?
5:15PM (PST): Not interested in fashion – don’t care, so don’t expect any coverage here about who wore what and whose dress was the tightest. However, for those inclined, here’s a few red carpet snaps. Look at all the purdy people.
5:22PM (PST): Less than ten minutes before the show starts. So exciting! I know the Oscars aren’t “cool” but I have been watching and obsessing the Academy Awards since I was six years old. I love the Oscars; let’s geek out together!
5:30PM (PST): Showtime!
5:33PM (PST): Opening montage or: see they were black people in Hollywood movies last year- Chris Rock counts at least 15!
5:38PM (PST): The most anticipated Oscar opening monologue in some time. Rock is up to the task to settle a nervous audience, win over an audience of millions at home, address diversity in Hollywood and respectfully pay tribute to the last year of cinema. Along came with a bit of Oscar education (#OscarSoWhite is not a new thing throughout the 88 year history of the Oscars) and a few smacks at Kevin Hart and Jada Pinkett Smith. What did you think? It’s going to some time to truly parse through.
5:44PM (PST): And were off…Best Original Screenplay is up first. I’m predicting Spotlight. It would be awfully funny if Straight Outta Compton (and it’s white screenwriters take it) and rather wonderful if Inside Out surprised…what originality there.
And the Oscar goes to…Spotlight!
Trivia note: Tom McCarthy (Spotlight) was previously nominated for co-writing the Pixar animated feature Up.
5:49PM (PST): Best Adapted Screenplay is next…The Big Short is probably going to win. However, this is a great category (Carol, Brooklyn, Room, The Martian)…as I will likely stress throughout the night, Carol is the best movie of last year!
And the Oscar goes to…The Big Short – written by Charles Randolph and Adam McKay. McKay (also nominated for directing The Big Short previously directed Anchorman and Step Brothers (neither of which earned Oscar nominations. McKay went political right away (appropriate for a movie with such a fervent Bernie Sanders-like message). Two of the easiest calls of the night are already out. How are you doing on your predictions? It only gets harder from this point forward.
5:58PM (PST): Chris Rock wants to remind us yet again that for the second year in a row, no people of color were nominated for acting Oscars and opportunities are harder for black performers. Cue the clips; this may be iffy. The Leslie Jones riff on The Revenant is capital “A” awesome, though. A big no to the Stacey Dash cameo, however. Hideously tacky. Wonder if she will badmouth the Oscar telecast on Fox News again like she did last year.
6:02PM (PST): Sarah Silverman introduces Sam Smith’s performance for Spectre‘s nominated song “Writings on the Wall.” But not before she detours on a weird tangent on having sex with James Bond.
6:06PM (PST): Kerry Washington and Henry Cavill (the 5th actor to portray Superman in a film, according to those damned scrolls) on hand to do the first Best Picture package. Covered: The Martian (with proper Bowie accompaniment, awesome) and Oscar winner The Big Short (scored to Nirvana, pretty appropriate actually).
6:09PM (PST): Best Supporting Actress…the hardest acting category to predict. Will it be Alicia Vikander (The Danish Girl) or Kate Winslet (Steve Jobs)? I’m guessing Vikander but one never knows. By the way, Carol was the best movie of 2015 and Rooney Mara is sublime in her lead turn in that exquisite duet.
And the Oscars goes to…Alicia Vikander (The Danish Girl). Vikander starred in five million movies in 2015 including Ex Machina, Testament of Youth, The Seventh Son, The Man From U.N.C.L.E. and probably everything else that opened on screens last year.
6:18PM (PST): The goddess Cate Blanchett is on hand to present Best Costume Design. I’m guessing Mad Max: Fury Road, but this category is hard, hard, hard!
And the Oscar goes to…Mad Max: Fury Road – Jenny Beaven. Fun note: Beaven, an esteemed costume designer previously won the Oscar for the very prim A Room with a View. The corset queen, Beaven has also designed The King’s Speech, The Bostonians and The Remains of the Day. So happy I got this right.
6:22PM (PST): Zipping along, Tina Fey and Steve Carell are on hand to present Best Production Design. I’m guessing Mad Max: Fury Road can’t lose. Tina Fey is a treasure: The Revenant…”Where a bear lives.”
And the Oscar goes to…Mad Max: Fury Road. This is why the Oscars can rock!
6:26PM (PST): Make-Up and Hairstyling is next…I’m thinking another one for Mad Max: Fury Road.
And the Oscar goes to…Mad Max: Fury Road takes home its second Oscar in less than five minutes. How much farther can this George Miller masterpiece go? (Wishfully ponders!)
6:30PM (PST): The bear from The Revenant makes an appearance, probably to clear her good name…she did not rape Leonardo DiCaprio.
6:35PM (PST): May be laying it on a little thick, Mr. Rock (don’t hate me.) Best Cinematography is up next. The Revenant is taking this home, bar none.
And the Oscar goes to…The Revenant. History nerds: Emmanuel Lubezki has now won three consecutive Oscars (previously for Gravity and Birdman). I’m going to go cry in a corner since Carol has just lost its third chance at an Oscar- gosh, that movie is beyond gorgeous.
6:39PM (PST): Best Film Editing is next…an important category. I’m guessing Mad Max: Fury Road. Keep an eye out for The Big Short.
And the Oscar goes to…Mad Max: Fury Road. Diversity alert: Margaret Sixel won the prize, is a woman (diversity is not binary). She is also the likely awesome wife to awesome director George Miller. Third win for Mad Max. She would like to remind us that Fury Road was the best reviewed film of 2015.
6:42PM (PST): Black History Month clip show where Angela Bassett (former Oscar nominee for her staggeringly good performance in What’s Love Got To Do With It?) pays tribute to Jack Black! Oscars, stray quickly, this isn’t working anymore. Also, a quick note to bum everyone out, but diversity in Hollywood doesn’t merely consist of a black/white issue. What about the Latino community, the Asian community, the LGBT community, women, older artists, artists who don’t wear a size zero. As the goddess Cate Blanchett so eloquently stated a few years ago on this same telecast, “The world is round people.” It’s important that the Oscars address their sins but it’s also important to be even-handed about it and respectfully honor the people in the room. Done bumming you out.
6:48PM (PST): Onward…to the Sound awards which are impossible. Will it go to Mad Max: Fury Road or The Revenant? Will they will split or win both.
And the Oscar for Sound Editing goes to…Mad Max: Fury Road.
And the Oscar for Sound Mixing goes to…Mad Max: Fury Road. The makes for five Oscars for Mad Max: Fury Road.
6:54PM (PST): Best Visual Effects is next. Motion capture whiz Andy Serkis is on hand to present. I’m guessing Star Wars: The Force Awakens takes home the Oscar but this is a hard category to predict.
And the Oscar goes to…Ex Machina. The biggest shocker of the evening so far. Wowza! Oscars hardly ever nominate smaller films with supporting visual effects for this category. There’s love for Alex Garland’s nifty science fiction ditty. Plus additional love for Alicia Vikander, who memorably played android Ava in the film.
7:00PM (PST): Star Wars hasn’t won anything but audience don’t fret…C-P30, R2D2 and BB8 are here. See, the Oscars pay attention to blockbusters. They get it.
7:07PM (PST): Best Animated Short Film is next as presented by the Minions…and the Oscar goes to Bear Story. While the incredible World of Tomorrow (nominated) didn’t pick a prize, it’s incredible, transcendent and beautifully made…and streaming on Netflix. Get to it. Bear Story, from Chilé, saves the diversity angle of the show. Winners Gabriel Osorio and Pato Escala have given the best speech so far of the evening.
7:11PM (PST): Toy Story is twenty years old…damn, we’re all getting old. In other news, as widely expected Inside Out triumphs in the Best Animated Feature category. Seventh time that Pixar Animations Studios has claimed this prize.
7:13PM (PST): Next years’ host Kevin Hart on hand because…well, I’m not exactly sure. But now it’s time for The Weekend to perform the nominated song “Earned It” from Fifty Shades of Grey. Yes, multiple Razzie Award winner Fifty Shades of Grey is up for an Academy Award. Nothing for Beasts of No Nation, Tangerine, Love & Mercy, or Mistress America but thankfully Fifty Shades of Grey didn’t get the shaft.
7:28PM (PST): Best Supporting Actor is up. Can anyone beat Sylvester Stallone?
And the Oscar goes to…Mark Rylance for Bridge of Spies goes in an upset. Rylance previously won the BAFTA award but this is a huge surprise. The Tony winning stage vet recently re-teamed with director Steven Spielberg on the upcoming film The BFG. Quite gracious on stage…they really aren’t letting anyone talk this year.
7:37PM (PST): Louis C.K. on hand to present Best Documentary Short Film. Nice jab on the Oscar social class – “This Oscar is going home in a Honda Civic.” And the Oscar goes to A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness.
7:41PM (PST): Best Documentary Feature is next. Amy is the frontrunner but The Look of Silence is earth-shattering and deserves to win for the sake of humanity. And the Oscar goes to…Amy because well, that’s just the way the Oscars work. Who’s protesting this?
7:55PM (PST): In Memorian. Let’s all get sad now!
8:03PM (PST): Child prodigies Jacob Tremblay (Room) and Abbraham Attah (Beasts of No Nation) on hand to present Best Live-Action Short- cute bit with Rock bringing out a block for Tremblay to step on. And the Oscar goes to…Stutterer. All I see are beards.
8:07PM (PST): Next up is Best Foreign Language Film. Likely going to Son of Saul (as it should) but watch out for Mustang.
And the Oscar goes to…Son of Saul (YAY!) Perhaps too enthusiastic a reaction for such a grim movie, but it’s so strong. Go see it.
8:09PM (PST): Vice President Joe Biden is here and gets an incredibly awkward standing ovation (wow, the alleged liberal Hollywood). He’s introducing Lady Gaga who will perform nominated song “Til It Happens to You” from the campus rape documentary The Hunting Ground. A Biden salute is big build-up. This song has the biggest production values thus far…the producers must think it will win. Gaga is actually pretty much rocking this (despite the song only being alright)…R.I.P. the performances of the two remaining Best Song nominees- Racing Extinction‘s “Manta Ray” and Youth‘s “Simple Song #3.”
8:19PM (PST): Best Score and Best Song are up next. I’m guessing The Hateful Eight takes Score and The Hunting Ground‘s “Til It Happens to You” takes Song. Yep, Lady Gaga may soon be an Oscar winner. Legend Ennio Morricone’s take it for his The Hateful Eight score- his first competitive Academy Award. He was previously nominated for Days of Heaven, The Mission, The Untouchables, Bugsy and Malena. Wonderful for cinephiles…too bad The Hateful Eight is no bueno. Carol was robbed.
8:25PM (PST): Common and John Legend won Best Original Song last year for Selma; they present. What a weird category. And the Oscar goes to…in a surprise (and an unpleasant one at that)…”Writing’s on the Wall” for Spectre. Guess the thought of Oscar winner Lady Gaga was just too much for some Academy members. Then again, the openly gay Sam Smith just made a wonderful moment on the Oscar speech in this awkward night of tolerance. This marks only the second time a Bond song has won the Oscar- the first being Adele’s Skyfall theme.
8:30PM (PST): This is such a tonally strange Oscars. Take the Sasha Baron Cohen presentation of Best Picture nominee Room. What a crass, weird, inscrutable way to present a delicate, lovely (albeit very small) movie that few have seen and some may be avoiding due difficult subject matter.
8:35PM (PST): Holy crap, we’re almost done. Time for Best Director. I’m thinking Alejandro González Iñárritu for The Revenant. However, I’m hoping it’s George Miller for Mad Max: Fury Road.
And the Oscars goes to…Alejandro González Iñárritu for The Revenant. I’ll be re-filling my drink. Alejandro González Iñárritu joins the ranks of legends John Ford and Joseph L. Mankiewicz as the only filmmakers to ever win Best Director two years in a row…will Best Picture follow. We shall see.
8:43PM (PST): Best Actress is next. What a strong category. Brie Larson (Room) is a shoo-in but this category is gangbusters. So the winner is really us.
And the Oscar goes to…of course it’s Brie. Go seem Room peeps! Also check out Larson’s performance in 2013’s wonderful Short Term 12. Bottom line is Brie Larson is terrific.
8:51PM (PST): The sublime Julianne Moore is presenting Best Actor. Leonardo DiCaprio is such a heavy frontrunner, it’s imaginable someone else takes it…but how sweet would it be if Michael Fassbender (Steve Jobs) eked a shocker? But of course, it’s DiCaprio. Don’t want to rain on his parade, so I shall let it be. The Revenant now has three Oscars; Mad Max: Fury Road has five.
8:58PM (PST): Damn, Leo is a great movie star though….but now it’s time for Best Picture. Good luck all!
And the Oscar goes to…Spotlight. Oscar nerds: Spotlight took home only two Academy Awards. No Best Picture winner has won so few actual trophies since Cecil B. DeMille’s The Greatest Show on Earth back in 1952. Earlier Best Picture winners Rebecca (1940) and All Quiet on the Western Front (1930) also only won two Oscars. The only film to win Best Picture and nothing else was Grand Hotel (1932). So, numbers don’t mean much of anything and Spotlight is still a pretty darn terrific film.
That’s our show, folks! Have a good night.