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The Oscars: Tonight starting at 7 p.m. On ABC

6:30 pm: Good Evening Ladies and Gentlemen! I’m Mike Tyminski, and I’m back to live blog this years Oscars. The Oscars always tend to be the apex of awards season, and there are a number of intriguing questions that go along with this years ceremony.

Source: Wikipedia
Source: Wikipedia

First and foremost on many viewers minds: Who is going to pick up the Oscar for Best Picture? We have a diverse group of films here, ranging from musical classics (Les Miserables) to historical period pieces (Lincoln) to contemporary action dramas (Zero Dark Thirty) to foreign artsy flicks (Amour). The real question here though is, can this award season’s juggernaut Argo, be stopped (it did seem to be the most snubbed of the Best Picture contenders)? Will early favorite Lincoln recapture its’ luster in the eyes of voters? Will Quentin Tarentino finally get some respect for Django Unchained? Or will it go to a dark horse like Life of Pi, Silver Linings Playbook, or Beasts of the Southern Wild?

The most hotly contested category this year, however, is for Best Supporting Actor. With five former Oscar winners in Alan Arkin (Argo), Robert DeNiro (Silver Linings Playbook), Tommy Lee Jones (Lincoln), Philip Seymour Hoffman (The Master), and Christoph Waltz (Django Unchained), each of whom turned in stellar performances in their respective films. While I’m personally pulling for Waltz, I could get behind any of the candidates winning.

As with the Grammys, my primary focus will again be on the presentation. We have a controversial host choice this year in Seth McFarlane. The question is, which Seth McFarlane will we get? Will we get the man who has a clear reverence for the golden ages of film and TV to the extent that he made six homages to the “Road To…” series in his hit series Family Guy, or will we the get the man whose also responsible for some of the most line-obliterating jokes on broadcast TV? It should be interesting to see the mix, and whether he will go in the pantheon of great hosts like Billy Crystal in the mid 90’s, or the pantheon of awful hosts like David Letterman. I’m personally cautiously optimistic here, and I can’t wait to see how the show itself turns out.

Jessica Chastain on the Red Carpet -- Source: Yahoo!
Jessica Chastain on the Red Carpet — Source: Yahoo!

6:55 pm: Some news and opinions from the red carpet.

We will see a number of medleys tonight, including one from Les Miserables and another involving past Oscar winners singing hits from their respective films (including Catherine Zeta-Jones singing a number from Chicago and Jennifer Hudson singing a song from Dreamgirls).

The red carpet seemed to move at a considerably slower pace than the Grammys with only a handful of stars arriving as of 6:40 pm. Most of the early arrivals have been fashion successes with no real fashion nightmares along the lines of Adele’s from two weeks ago.

On the red carpet front, Jessica Chastain is looking amazing in an elegant coral dress that works despite all of the potential pitfalls that could have came with that dress. In terms of more edgy outfits, Samantha Barks succeeded with a cute black dress with a plunging neckline.

I’m a little torn on Zoe Saldana’s dress, which has a feathered top leading to a sleek, multi-shaded bottom the split up the leg that Angelina Jolie, popularized last year. While I’m not a huge fan of feathering or overly busy top, as your eye moves towards the legs, the dress picks up in elegance.

My highlight of the Red Carpet so far?: Jennifer Lawrence lamenting the lack of food before the show mentioning that the show is “way too long”.

It’s 7pm, time to switch over to the ABC feed.

I've spent an hour of my life determining whether or not this dress is a winner...final verdict? It is. (source: Yahoo!)
I’ve spent an hour of my life determining whether or not this dress is a winner…final verdict? It is. (source: Yahoo!)

7:30 pm: Some more news from the red carpet…

In terms of fashion, I’m slowly finding that most of the looks that are not clicking with me seem to be isolated to ABC’s red carpet coverage team. Neither Kristin Chenowith nor Kelly Rowland’s looks are particularly resonating with me, with Kelly’s looking awkward due to the way the wrap up top feels around her bodice. Anne Hathaway’s dress is failing with me similarly, as the cut feels very awkward and more like an apron than a classy dress on what has to be the classiest fashion night of the year.

On the star front, the stars are trickling in at a faster rate, Catherine Zeta-Jones is looking fabulous in an ornate gold dress. Naomi Watts has a modern Silver Sparkled number that looks classy even with an open shoulder and a clawlike cut.

In an update, having gotten to see a wider shot, Zoe Saldana’s dress has officially won me over.

8:00 PM: With only one network showing live Red Carpet coverage from here on out (ABC), I’m going to take a minute to pop out some quick pre show predictions:

Best Picture: Lincoln (I think Argo doing as well as it did everywhere else was as much a response to the Academy keeping Ben Affleck out of the race for best director).

Best Actor: Daniel Day-Lewis (Less a prediction, more an inevitability)

Best Actress in a supporting role: Anne Hathaway (See Above)

Best Director: Michael Haneke (This could really be anyone BUT Ang Lee, my inner geek demands payback for the 2003 Hulk movie, I feel like Amour needs a nod in a major category somewhere and here seems to be the best place).

Best Supporting Actor: Robert DeNiro (Silver Linings Playbook  needs a little love somewhere along the way).

In red carpet news, Charlize Theron looks magnificent in a very modern (almost futuristic) looking white Dior dress. I’m also pretty fond of the Black and Gold sparkly dress that Nicole Kidman is rocking tonight. Lots of black, white, and gold tonight on the red carpet, but I feel that’s standard issue for the Oscars.

In what has to be a redemption for her from two weeks ago, Adele is wearing a black dress that seems miles better from the flower print disaster she wore two weeks ago.

This may be me, but I feel like there’s a small trend of people bringing their mothers to the show, as both Bradley Cooper and Chris Evans have brought their mothers to the show tonight.

Charlize Theron's futuristic dress from tonight's Oscars (source: Yahoo!)
Charlize Theron’s futuristic dress from tonight’s Oscars (source: Yahoo!)

8:25 PM: One last batch of updates before we go inside for the show:

The quote of the Red Carpet so far: “Win or lose, I’ll be drinking” – George Clooney

It was teased tonight that we should be getting some kind of Bond tribute in an interview between Robin Roberts and Halle Berry. Speaking of Ms. Berry…those shoulder pads are killing me and really need to be left in the 1980’s where they belong.

Jennifer Aniston is rocking a dress that feels like a tale of two dresses: From the waist up it’s a dress that looks classy, elegant and timeless, that train however, doesn’t seem to flow naturally from the material itself, and as a result gives off an unflattering vibe.

One final spoiler, Kristin Chenowith is somehow involved with the finale of the show.

On that note…the show’s about to start, be back with more after the first commercial break and keep checking in throughout the night for more opinions and news!

8:55 PM: We open to Seth McFarlane walking out to the usual fanfare and a brief introduction. McFarlane opens with “the quest to make Tommy Lee Jones laugh begins now”. McFarlane’s speech so far seems to be tacking closer to reverence for the classics than the irreverent side that people dreaded we would see from him. Seth announces this year has a theme for the first time in “Music in Film”.

 

We get a cameo from William Shatner trying to stop Seth McFarlane from singing a number titled “We Saw Your Boobs” (backed up by the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles). This leads into Seth McFarlane singing “Just the Way you Look Tonight” backed up by Charlize Theron and Channing Tatum. Shatner also tries to prevent McFarlane from re-enacting the film flight with sock puppets. This leads to another song and dance number with Daniel Radcliffe and Joseph Gordon-Levitt. William Shatner only then finally upgrades it to mediocre, only for Seth to find out he offends and takes home Sally Field after he fawns over her role in the flying nun. He amends that by singing “Be Our Guest”

This leads to Seth McFarlane bringing out Octavia Spencer for our slugfest of the night: Best Supporting Actor.

Our nominees are: Alan Arkin (Argo), Robert DeNiro (Silver Linings Playbook), Philip Seymour Hoffman (The Master), Tommy Lee Jones (Lincoln), Christoph Waltz (Django Unchained).

AND THE WINNER IS: Christoph Waltz! He’s 2 for 2 (his prior win for Inglorious Basterds).

Waltz has a very grateful tone, thanking Quentin Tarantino and his fellow costars.

Overall I thought this opening was stellar. McFarlane was funny except for one misplaced jab at Mel Gibson, the musical numbers were on point, and opening on the biggest bloodbath of the night has already given this night a sense of importance. We seem to be getting more of class Seth than crass Seth and if that’s the case this should be a very enjoyable three hours.

9:12 PM: Seth calls out Paul Rudd and Melissa McCarthy to present the award for Best Animated Short Film

The Nominees Are: Paper Man, Maggie’s Longest Day Care, Adam and Dog, Fresh Guacamole, and Head Over Heels.

The Winner is: Paper Man, John Kahrs.

They also present the best Animated Film:

The Nominees are: Brave, The Pirates, Frankenweenie, Paranorman and Wreck It Ralph.

The Winner is: Brave

Mark Andrews walks up rocking a kilt. He gives a quick set of thank yous.

Reese Witherspoon is out to highlight three of our Best Picture nominees: Les Miserables, Beasts of the Southern Wild, and The Life of Pi. Clips of all three of those movies are played.

We then get a quick cut back to Seth McFarlane, who gives credit to Quezevahne Wallisfor scoring a Best Actress nod at the tender young age of nine.

Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Samuel L. Jackson, Mark Ruffalo, and Jeremy Renner are out to present the award for Best Cinematography.

The Nominees are: Anna Karenina, Life of Pi, Django Unchained, Lincoln, and Skyfall

The Winner is: Claudio Miranda of Life of Pi.

Robert Downey Jr. and Sam Jackson then get into a mock argument after Sam skips most of the introduction for Best Visual Effects (and then fails to get the envelope open).

The Hobbit, The Life of Pi, The Avengers, Prometheus, Snow White and the Huntsman.

The Winner is: The Life of Pi. (and thankfully NOT Snow White and the Huntsman).

The Jaws theme cuts off the Visual Effects speech, proving that the guys in the back don’t really get that much respect.

That segment moved at a fever pitch, going through four awards in about 12 minutes, hopefully the show gives it’s segments a little more time to breathe from here on out.

9:27 pm: We return to Seth McFarlane, who introduces Channing Tatum and Jennifer Aniston, who come out to announce the awards for Achievement in Costume Design:

The Nominees Are: Anna Karenina, Les Miserable, Lincoln, Mirror Mirror, Snow White and the Huntsman

The Winner is: Jacqueline Durran (Anna Karenina).

They then announce the Nominees for Achievement in Makeup and Hair Stiling

The Nominees Are: Hitchcock, The Hobbit, Les Miserables.

The Winner is: Les Miserables.

Seth McFarlane then introduces Halle Berry, whom then introduces a tribute to the fiftieth anniversary of James Bond in film. Halle Berry stumbles a little on the teleprompter, before a montage with the Bond Theme, Live and Let Die. The montage then seamlessly integrates into a live performance of “Goldfinger” by Dame Shirley Bassey. It seemed like a solid tribute if you’re sort of person whose into the 007 films (which admittedly, I am not).

9:46 pm: Jamie Foxx and Kerry Washington come out to announce the award for best short film.

The Nominees are: Curfew, Death of A Shadow, Assad, Bukhazhi Boys, and Henry.

The winner is: Curfew

They also present the award for best short documentary film.

The nominees are: Kings Point, Open Heart, Inocente, Monday’s At Racine, Redemption

The award goes to: Inocente.

The documentary’s producers, Sean and Andrea Nix Fine then take the opportunity to request for increased funding for the arts, noting the change for the subject in their documentary from homeless to artist in one short year.

Sean then introduces Liam Neeson, whom introduces three more best picture nominees: Argo, Lincoln, and Zero Dark Thirty. It seems particularly interesting that the three most America-centric movies are grouped together.

Seth gives a little bit of an Oscar tidbit mentioning that Daniel Day-Lewis was the second actor to be nominated for playing Lincoln (Raymond Massey was the first), before pitching it to Ben Affleck (after making sure to bring up Gigli, of course).

Ben Affleck is out to present the award for Best Documentary Feature, getting a jab back at McFarlane stating “I thought this show was going well, but there’s still time for you to turn it around”.

The nominees are: The Gatekeepers, How to survive a plague, The Invisible War, Searching for Sugar Man, and Five Broken Cameras.

The winner is: Searching for Sugar Man.

This may be me, but using the Jaws music as the “Speed up, your speech is too long” music feels pretty tasteless.

10:05 PM: Seth brings out Jennifer Garner and Jessica Chastain, whom are both here to present the award for Best Foriegn Language Film.

The Nominees Are: Amour, Kontiki, No, A Royal Affair, War Witch.

The winner is: Amour (did you really expect anything else? It is nominated for best picture).

Seth then introduces John Travolta who then introduces a medley of the finest tracks from Les Miserables, Chicago, and Dreamgirls. It opens with Catherine Zeta-Jones performing “All That Jazz” before segueing into Jennifer Hudson performing “I’m telling you, I’m not going”. This then merged into a track from Les Miserables, with a large segment of the cast performing “One Day More”.

Something seemed off with Zeta-Jones’s performance (there were parts where it seemed like either her sound cut off or she was off lipsync), but I thought Jennifer Hudson did an excellent job on her song, bringing the power that a song like “I’m telling you” needs. On the Les Miserables portion, both Hugh Jackman and Samantha Barks stood out the most, as they seemed to be strongest singers in the ensemble.

10:25 pm: We return to Chris Pine and Zoe Saldana, whom are out to present the awards for the scientific and technical awards.

After the quick montage, we return to Seth McFarlane, who busts out a little self-deprecation about Ted before introducing both Mark Wahlberg and the Titular bear of his movie, Ted. They present the award for best sound mixing:

The nominees are: Argo, Les Miserables, Lincoln, Skyfall, and The Life of Pi.

The winner is: Les Miserables.

They also are presenting the award for Best Sound Editing. We finally get some of McFarlane’s line crossing humor, as Ted is trying to explain to Mark that you have to be Jewish to work in Hollywood.

The Nominees Are: Argo, Django Unchained, The Life of Pi, Skyfall and Zero Dark Thirty.

The Winners Are: (a tie) Zero Dark Thirty and Skyfall.

Seth then introduces the next presenter, who were the Von Trapp family singers (with a joke where where a Nazi storms in and screams, “They’re gone!”), before turning it over to Christopher Plummer, whom presents the award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role.

The Nominees are: Amy Adams (The Master), Sally Field (Lincoln), Anne Hathaway (Les Miserables), Helen Hunt (The Sessions), Jacki Weaver (Silver Linings Playbook).

And the winner is: Anne Hathaway (shocker, I know). She gives a seemingly interminable speech but doesn’t get the Jaws music (also a shocker, I know).

10:40 PM:  Hawk Koch, president of the Academy of Film Arts and Sciences, announces the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, it will show how movies are made and announces the winners of a program where a number of young filmmakers whom won the right to hand the Oscars to the presenters tonight.

Seth then kicks it to Sandra Bullock, whom presents the award for Best Film Editing.

The Nominees are Argo, Zero Dark Thirty, Life of Pi, Lincoln and Silver Linings Playbook.

And the winner is: Argo.

Jennifer Lawrence is out to introduce the theme from Skyfall as performed by Adele. The performance is everything you’d expect from Adele with tons of movements from a single arm, and her killer pipes doing most of the work. If you saw her Grammy performance last year, it basically is the same but with a different song, but i’m perfectly fine with that, as it’s become an Adele trademark at this point.

10:53 PM: Nicole Kidman is out to present the last three nominees for best picture: Silver Linings Playbook, Django Unchained, and Amour. We see trailers of all three.

Seth then kicks it to Daniel Radcliffe and Kristen Stewart, whom are out to present the award for Achievement in Production Design. Kristen sounds either high, sick, awkward, or disinterested…I can’t tell which but it seemed like she was ill at ease up on stage.

Anna Karenina, The Hobbit, Les Miserables, Life of Pi, or Lincoln.

And the winner is: Lincoln.

Seth then introduces Selma Hayek discusses Governor’s and Humanitarian awards. D.A. Pennebaker, George Stevens Jr., and Hal Needham. Jeffrey Katzenberg won the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award.

11:05 PM: George Clooney is out to introduce the “In Memoriam” segment of the Oscars. Amongst those that passed in the movie industry in calendar year 2012 are: Ernest Borgnine, Eiko Ishioka, Ralph McQuarrie, Jack Klugman, Celeste Holm, Adam Yauch, Michael Clarke Duncan, Charles Durning, Carlo Rambaldi, Erland Josephson, Richard Robbins, Stephen Frankfurt, Harris Savides, Tonino Guerra, Ulu Grosbard, Herbort Lom, Bruce Surtees, Andrew Sarris, George A. Bowers, Tony Scott, Theodore Soderberg, Lois Smith, Geoffrey Ammer, Neal Travis, Mike Hopkins, John Lowry, Hal Davis, Nora Ephron, Charles Rosen, Jake Eberts, Mike Kohut, Frank Pierson, Chris Marker, Charles Washburn, Ray Bradbury, Richard Rodney Nennett, Roger Sherman, Richard Zanuck, Matthew Yuricich,  and Marvin Hamlisch.

The in memoriam then led to a Musical number by none other than Barbara Streisand, who sang “The Way We Were” in tribute to Marvin Hamlisch.

11:18 PM: Seth introduces the stars of Chicago, Richard Gere, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Renee Zellweger, and Queen Latifah to introduce the award for Best Movie Score:

And the nominees are: Anna Karenina, Argo, Life of Pi, Skyfall, and Lincoln.

And the winner is: Life of Pi! (real shocker!, but that’s because as anyone whose ever taken a music of film course in college, it’s instinctive to assume that John Williams wins any score award in the history of everything ever, so seeing John Williams (Lincoln) not win is a mild upset by default).

They also presented the awards for Best Original Song:

“Suddenly” (Les Miserables), “Skyfall”(Skyfall), “Before My Time” (Chasing Ice), “Pi’s Lullaby” (The Life of Pi), “Everyone Needs a Best Friend” (Ted).

And the award goes to: “Skyfall” (Skyfall). Adele gives a short tear laden speech before passing it over to Paul Epworth, whom gives the short generic “Thank You” speech we’ve seen 100 times already tonight.

11:29 PM: After a very brief introduction, Charlize Theron and Dustin Hoffman appear to announce the awards for Best Screenplay (Adapted). Charlize and Dustin get in a great dig, with Charlize saying “A great screenplay comes from an inner light, or an inner darkness”, with Dustin finishing the sentence saying “or a writer who needs work.”

And the nominees for Best Adapted Screenplay: Argo, Beasts of the Southern Wild, The Life of Pi, Lincoln, Silver Linings Playbook.

And the winner is: Argo. Suddenly it seems like Argo has a real shot at taking home the big prize tonight.

They also present the award for Best Original Screenplay.

Original: Amour, Django Unchained, Flight, Moonrise Kingdom, and Zero Dark Thirty.

And the Winner is: Django Unchained. Quentin looks disheveled, but thanks his cast, cuts off the music, and then fawns over the competition in the writing category saying “This will be the writers year”.

And on that note if my count is right, we’re down to the two big acting awards, the award for Best Director and the Award for best film.

11:37 pm: Seth introduces Jane Fonda and Michael Doglas, who walk out through a background of glass flower like objects to present the award for Best Director.

And the Nominees Are: “Michael Haneke (Amour), Benh Zaitlan (Beasts of the Southern Wild), Ang Lee (Life of Pi), Steven Spielberg (Lincoln), David O. Russell (Silver Linings).

And the winner is: Ang Lee (for the Life of Pi and ruining the Hulk so badly they had to make a remake three years later…no i’m not still bitter he took my nine dollars and two hours of my life).

12:04 pm: Seth introduces last years best actor winner, Jean Dujardin, to present the award for Best Actress.

The Nominees Are: Jessica Chastain (Zero Dark Thirty), Jennifer Lawrence (Silver Linings Playbook), Emanuelle Riva (Amour), Qevenzhane Wallis (Beasts of the Southern Wild), and Naomi Watts (The Impossible).

And the winner is: Jennifer Lawrence (Silver Linings Playbook).

Jennifer nearly trips on her dress on the way to the stage, she gives what feels particularly like a heartfelt speech that leaves Jennifer on the verge of tears. Oddly enough ABC cuts to a shot of Robert Deniro falling asleep on his shoulder.

Seth then gives no introduction to Meryl Streep (his exact words, “our next presenter needs no introduction), whom is out to present the award for Best Actor.

The Nominees are: Bradley Cooper (Silver Linings Playbook), Daniel Day-Lewis (Lincoln), Hugh Jackman (Les Miserables), Jaoquin Pheonix (The Master), and Denzel Washington (Flight).

And the winner is: Daniel Day-Lewis (Lincoln). Daniel Day-Lewis is the first actor to win three Oscars in the best actor category.

Daniel Day Lewis gets in a quick joke about being committed to play Margaret Thatcher, while Meryl Streep was Spielberg’s first choice for Lincoln. He gives a humble, endearing, and funny speech in which he thanks his wife for putting up for his method acting.

Finally, Seth introduces Jack Nicholson to announce the award for Best Picture. His copresenter is First Lady, Michelle Obama.

And the nominees are: Argo, Zero Dark Thirty, Django Unchained, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Amour, Lincoln, Silver Linings Playbook, The Life of Pi, and Les Miserables.

And the winner is: Argo!

Ben Affleck is up to accept the award for Best Picture for Argo. In a touch of class, the producer who isn’t Ben Affleck or George Clooney gets the first crack at the speech, and immediately thanks…George Clooney. Affleck acknowledges the other 8 great films in a very rapid fire speech, eventually thanking everyone ever even remotely affiliated on this movie including his wife (Jennifer Garner) whom “he dosen’t associate with Iran”.

Finally, everything moves back to Seth, whom moves to the plugs segment, where all the major fee plugs of the show were given. Seth then brings out Kristin Chenowith, whom then perform a musical number dedicated to the losers, including Lincoln and Amour.

I will be back in a few minutes with a wrap-up and final verdict.

The Final Verdict: While I’m steamed about Ang Lee winning, by award shows standards this show worked. The gimmick of making McFarlane as McFarlane being mostly classy with some affectionate parody to old hollywood while hiding McFarlane’s more brusque jokes in a Teddy Bear or behind the whims of William Shatner seemed to strike the perfect compromise between the two aspects of McFarlane’s humor, and he totally deserves a second go (though like all of us, we wouldn’t mind getting a year of Fey and Poehler also). Seth was also particularly strong once the show hit hurry up mode (and his introductions were reduced to 15 words or less) around 11ish.

The presentation generally worked with the few performances involved generally hitting (Catherine Zeta-Jones was the only one who felt particularly off). For a show that was supposed to be all about “Music in Film” though, there seemed to be very little music within the show itself, with only three or four notable performances.

If I will dig at ABC for one thing, it’s the fairly misleading advertising. They advertised a 7 pm start time online, only for those who tuned in to find out that they were instead giving you a 90 minute (of strictly worse than E!’s) Red Carpet Show.

For those looking for more Oscar coverage, stay tuned to Manhattan Digest as our movie experts break down the show. Additionally, my other gig (The Mike Staub Pod Show, find us on Facebook) will be putting out an Oscar themed show later in the week where some of our actor friends put in their two cents on the show.

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