This morning, I ran the Incline. Then I changed the oil in the trucks. Then I broke up some ice next to the garage with a pick axe. Then I lifted weights. And now I'm watching the Oscars.
Which one of these activities does not belong?
Trick question - None!
With "There Will Be Blood" and "No Country For Old Men," this may be the manliest Oscar ceremony in recent memory. Those movies have the body count of a Stallone flick.
Sure, there's chick-friendly fare like "Juno" on the block, but there's also the slasher-flick musical "Sweeney Todd - The Demon Barber of Fleet Street," bad to the bone gangsta flick "American Gangster," and Western muscle from "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford."
Bullets and blood are the theme this year, enough of each to satisfy even a Jet Li fan.
And on to the show...
Jon Stewart starts off with a writer's strike joke. And then another one. I think most TV fans are doing their best to forget the strike ever happened. Still, the "the fight is over, so welcome to the make-up sex" line was pretty good. And, "All I can say is, thank god for teen pregnancy."
"Even 'Norbit' got a nomination. Which I think is great. Too often, the Academy ignores movies that aren't good."
In recent years, the trend has been to start out with a sorta-major category, like supporting actor. This time, they go with costume design. Which is to say, they start off with a let-down. And, thinking back, last year, they had models wear the costume design nominees so viewers could see what they looked like in a real-worldish setting. Which was cool.
The Oscars' 80th retrospective was actually more restrained than I was expecting. There's nothing the Academy loves more than a retrospective, so I expected to see that go on for half an hour.
The Steve Carell-Anne Hathaway bit was funny... Carell going on about serious documentaries and Hathway going "Steve, we're doing best animated feature." I sorta wondered if "Persepolis" had a shot at that one, but of course anything by Pixar is going to be the overwhelming favorite.
Bird gives a nice speech, about advice from his guidance counselor - "What if movies didn't exist? I'd have to invent them. And it went on like this. And I only realized recently, he gave me the perfect training for the movie business."
Makeup. They're really stacking the early deck with the, um, less star-studded awards. And "La Vie En Rose" gets it. I've always thought there ought to be some way to differentiate the special effects-oriented makeup, like that in "Norbit," from the traditional makeup, like "Rose."
Amy Adams does the first best song nominee, "Happy Working Song." She sounds good, assuming she's not merely lip-synching, but there's no production to it at all. There's always a big production around the songs! Boo! And that song especially, called out for dudes in cockroach suits or something (if you saw "Enchanted," you're with me on this).
Stewart - "In case you're wondering what we all do here during commercials breaks, mostly we just sit around, making catty remarks about the outfits you're all wearing at home. That's right! It goes both ways people"
Why the hey is KRDO running weather alerts for the freakin' mountains? If you're in the mountains on the way back to the Springs, you know it's snowing.
Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson - Visual effects give the movies a sense of wonder and exhileration. They also provided nightmares for a certain 8-year-old little kid, who at the time thought the face-melting scene from "Raiders of the Lost Ark" was very real. He's over it now."
Actually, the joke was better with the delivery, but still a good line.
Visual effects - Golden Compass. Hah! Both Warren and Kimball got shot down on that one. I thought "Compass" looked a little cheap, although the ideas were dynamite.
Art direction - Still with the working man's awards. Really, I think they needed to throw an acting award in here. "Sweeney Todd." Because there can't be a Johnny Depp movie that goes Oscar-less.
Supporting actor - At last! Obviously, I spoke to quickly on the retrospective thing, apparently we'll get dozens of little retrospectives throughout the night. I do, though, like the Oscar memories thing with past winners. The Michael Douglas-Katherine Zeta-Jones one was pretty good. Jennifer Hudson presents, proving that she's not really an actor. I mean, really, she couldn't even read her line. That's horrible. She couldn't even pronounce Oscar.
Anyhoo, if Javier Bardem hadn't won that, it would have been the biggest upset of the night, guaranteed. I have no idea what he said, but I think it was sweet he dedicated it to his mom.
I really didn't want another writer's strike joke, but "Oscars Salute to Binoculars and Periscopes" was pretty funny. The bad dreams one, not as much.
Owen Wilson's presenting?! Whoa. Probably best that he doesn't stop to crack a joke at his own expense - anything he said would just be sad. Live action short - Does this mean there's going to be a run on French movies tonight? That would be an interesting trend. Or maybe the trend is acceptance speeches in foreign languages.
This will have to go under Least Welcome Animated Presenter: Jerry Seinfeld in his Bee Movie character. We got enough of that on NBC last fall. Gag me.
Supporting actress - Hey, there's an upset. Tilda Swinton. "Happy birthday man. I have an American agent who is the spitting image of this. Really truly, the same shaped head and it has to be said the buttocks." "George Clooney, the seriousness and the dedication to your art. Seeing you climb into that rubber batsuit from 'Batman and Robin.' The one with the nipples. On the set, off the set, hanging upside down at lunch. You rock, man."
That might win best speech in my book.
Adapted screenplay - "No Country For Old Men." Start of a trend? Ethan (or maybe it's Joel?) Coen - "We, ah... thank you very much." That could be best speech, too.
This is weird. Now they're doing "That's How You Know," and this time, it's a big production number. With Kristin Chenoweth. So weird. Dammit, I demand my giant cockroaches! I drink your giant cockroach milkshake! I drink it up!
Nice to see "Bourne Ultimatum" win one. I think Matt Damon deserved at least a nom for that one. I think he deserved it at least as much as Johnny Depp or Tommy Lee Jones. Plus, it really wouldn't kill the Oscars to have a hit movie get nominated for something besides effects. What was that award for, anyway?
Sound mixing - "Bourne Ultimatum." Still, Matt. Yeah.
Best actress - I'm pulling for Ellen Page here. Only 'cause "Juno" was my favorite movie of the past year. But no, Marion Cotillard wins. Eh. Whatever.
Best song - Falling Slowly. I hadn't heard that song, but everybody's been talking about it like it's a mortal lock. Now that I have heard it, I have to say, eh. I mean, it's more serious than any of those from "Enchanted," but still, hardly immortal music.
Editing - "Bourne Ultimatum." Bourne is turning out to be the big winner tonight. That's kinda funny. Still, Matt. Yeah.
Stewart - "Film editing. Yeah. Someone just took the lead in their Oscar pool based on a guess."
Harsh, but true.
Foreign language film. It's odd, "The Counterfeiters" is the only one of these I've seen. I usually do better. It was, if you're wondering, just OK. Makes me wonder if the others were really mediocre, since it won.
Best song - "Falling Slowly." No surprise. "We shot this film two years ago. We shot it with two handicams. It cost $100,000. This is amazing. Make art." Pretty good speech, but leave two seconds for your partner, you know.
Stewart waving "Once's" Marketa Irglova back out so she could say thanks was maybe the nicest moment of the night.
Documentary short - "Freeheld." Hey, I've actually seen that one! It was at the Rocky Mountain Women's Film Festival. Pretty straight-up doc, but well done. The RMWFF has had a knack for picking Oscar winners recently. "Born into Brothels" showed their a couple years back.
Man, is Harrison Ford looking old. Doesn't bode well for "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of Metamucil," or whatever they're calling it.
Best actor - DDL. No surprise.
Best director - Coens. No surprise. Great speech by Joel, though: "I don't have anything to add to what I said earlier."
Best film - "No Country." That, by the way, gives Kimball Bayles the edge in his epic grudge match with Warren Epstein. It also means Warren will be cleaning the theaters sometime this week.
That was an anti-climatic finish - and 15 minutes early! Crazy, crazy stuff.
And Jon Karroll's not wearing a tux this year. Color me disappointed.
OK, now that I've asserted my testosterone quotient, some Oscar pre-game.
First off, I kind of expected TV Guide's coverage to be less cringe-worthy without Joan and Melissa Rivers. But NO, it's actually even worse. Completely unwatchable, in fact. I had to turn away after Lisa Rina made some ridiculous recovery after (incorrectly) saying that Amy Ryan is from Boston. "That's how good you were, I could have sworn you were from Boston."
Meanwhile, E! is actually pretty entertaining. Seacrest is showing what George Clooney, Daniel Day-Lewis and Helen Mirren would look like in Javier Bardem's bitchin' '70's 'do from "No Country." Made me laugh.
Also always worth watching, Jason Bateman:
"It's amazing how real it looks," Jason Bateman reacting to Ryan Seacrest gushing over George Clooney's hair.
"It's basically like watching inside except without the comfy socks." Also Bateman.
John Travolta... that's some creepy-ass hair. Why is The Rock there? And how did he steal Travolta's hair?
Seacrest comparing grocery lists with Steve Carell? That's a little strange.
Seacrest gets to the bottom of The Rock's presence - he's presenting. "As long as the material is good, I'm happy." Ooooookay then, Scorpion King.
Good Lord, who's that with Seth Rogen?
Amy Adams, Castle Rock's finest, is looking good, apparently presenting (maybe with The Rock).
Seacrest - "You know what's great about these shows, there's literally no plan, there's zero script and it's live so you can't go back and do it again." There's the sunny side of the street.
YAY! Gary Busey goes nuts and assaults Seacrest on live television. AWESOME! "You, yeah, you. I've been looking for you for years." I suppose this only proves Seacrest's point, but I'll still make fun of him.
"I've been in a lot of situations on live television. I don't even know how to explain what just happened. And the terror on Jennifer Garner's face. The interesting thing is that, as that went down, everyone was just milling around like nothing crazy was happening... I think that was an interesting, compelling exchange that will be replayed for quite awhile."
Not nearly in that league, but still funny - "I like you so much more now." - Keri Russell, to Seacrest after he spontaneously busts into Young MC's "Bust a Move."
Eh, nothing else struck me from the E! pre-game. We'll switch over to the official red carpet show now.