Kathryn Bigelow nabbed a historic Oscar for Best Director, and the war film picked up six Academy Awards, four more than Avatar. Choire Sicha on the big night.
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It was an evening of firsts for the big winners at the 82nd Annual Academy Awards—Kathryn Bigelow became the first woman to win the Oscar for Best Director for The Hurt Locker, which also took home the award for Best Picture in addition to four other awards. "I'd like to dedicate this to the women and men in the military who risk their lives on a daily basis in Iraq and Afghanistan and around the world and may they come home safe," Bigelow told the audience. Sandra Bullock and Jeff Bridges won their first Academy Awards for Best Actress and Actor respectively. While Bullock thanked "moms who take care of the babies and the children no matter where they come from," Bridges dedicated his award to his parents "for turning me onto such a groovy profession." Behind The Hurt Locker’s six Oscars, Avatar earned three Oscars, Precious won two—for Best Adapted Screenplay and Mo’Nique for Best Supporting Actress. As expected, Christoph Waltz won for Best Supporting Actor in Inglorious Basterds and Up earned the award for Best Animated Feature Film. View the complete list of winners here.
12:00 a.m.—It was... an honor. Have you ever heard the word "honored" used so much in one night? Yes, Hollywood people. You are receiving an honor. You will feel a sense of honor. And then the very last moment of this long bizarre evening came--with a weird spasm of drama, Tom Hanks rushing the award, Bigelow backstage, with flashbulbs going off in the dark in the wings, and the adorable Jeremy Renner rushing the stage, who we hope has quit smoking. One moment of Oscar excitement! And it only took us four hours to make some movie magic.
Click the Image to View the Best of the Red Carpet at the Oscars
11:58 p.m.— The Hurt Locker wins best picture.
11:56 p.m.—It was not the worst year in movies, by any stretch, but it surely was the worst year in movie awards shows. And then, as along came the midnight hour, and then there was Barbra Streisand, and James Cameron gave his ex-wife a standing ovation, and, Barbra Streisand was still there, chatting away and stealing K-Bigs' speech-making time away from her, and there's not nearly enough drinking in the world to get one through this. What can you say about this Oscars? Mostly "thank God Up in the Air didn't win Best Director." And now Barbra is off to throw a DNC fundraiser at her house.
11:55 p.m.—Kathryn Bigelow wins best director for The Hurt Locker.
11:53 p.m.—I'm sorry! I keep trying to say something and then there is NOTHING.
11:48 p.m.—Sandra Bullock wins best actress for The Blind Slide
11:32 p.m.—Jeff Bridges wins best actor for Crazy Heart.
11:28 p.m.—Then they gave us the producorial curve ball: a crowd of actors, giving unparseable testimonies! And ah yes, Julianne Moore and Colin Farrell, together again for the very first time. It's like toffee candy with nice hot salmon. In other news, the Twitter Rage-o-Meter is hitting like a 7.7 at this point. Twitmerica is unhappy with these Oscars!
11:17 p.m.— El Secreto de Sus Ojos, from Argentina, has won best foreign film.
11:16 p.m.—That Quentin Tarantino said "It's really great to meet you" to Pedro Almodovar is sort of mind-blowing. How have they never met? Well: quite easily, apparently. They never wanted to meet, I would imagine, and this terrible Oscars, an Oscars in which Spain hosed Almodovar and didn't even put him in the running, has brought them unnecessarily together in an unhappy encounter. So sad. So brief! But still so sad. And we aren't even going to be shaken back awake by a Michael Haneke speech because everyone is still mad at him over Funny Games so, boo.
11:07 p.m.— The Hurt Locker wins best editing.
11:06 p.m.—Tyler Perry jokes that he'll never hear his name again at the Oscars. That's not true! (Death montage. Kidding) But he knows that even though he'll never get the respect, that he's going to make more money this year than 99% of the people in that audience. (Except Meryl.)
11:02 p.m.—A thorough review of blogs, Twitter, Tumblr and Google News reveals that Oscar co-producer Adam Shankman might be looking for a job at an Orange Julius franchise after tonight's Oscars.
11:04 p.m.— The Cove wins best documentary.
10:58 p.m.—Have you noticed that no one talks about Joel Moore, AKA the poor man's Matthew Lillard, who played the sidekick in Avatar? Where is he? Is he at some Oscar party somewhere in Chatsworth? Is he just home reading pilots? What's up with that guy anyway?
10:56 p.m.— Avatar wins for best visual effects.
10:53 p.m.—Michael Giacchino wins best score for Up.
10:47 p.m.—Sorry, looks like no more liveblogging, the rather mediocre interpretative dance to the unrousing works of Hans Zimmer et al made my TV too sad to show any more of the Oscars. Here's what people like watching: Anything That is Not Interpretative Dance.
10:45 p.m.—Also have I seriously not heard about Haiti yet? Did I miss something? Also what is the new AIDS this year? Are we just having an issue-free Oscars? This is very unsatisfying. What is the point of being self-serious and in a tuxedo if you can't put it all in service of a "cause"?
10:42 p.m.—I am extremely displeased that they have altered the traditional trajectory of the death montage! You are supposed to go along from least to most famous, with some surprises in the order. That was just odd, beginning with Patrick Swayze and then (sorry!) petering out. With just a little shot of Brittany Murphy waving? This was extremely unsatisfying, even as it was more dignified and appropriate. But this is the Oscars! We do not want appropriate.
10:36 p.m.— Avatar wins best cinematography.
10:35 p.m.—The Oscars are really flying by in a mix of confusion and halfhearted interest, right? But the Avatar smackdown that seemed to be brewing is now not so much. Cinematography is Avatar though! Surely this was a technically insanely difficult job, but also, taken as actual cinematography, well, this is the topic for a PhD dissertation in some very conceptual field, don't you think?
10:27 p.m.—Do we all see an Avatar beatdown brewing? Is this what's going on? Yes, that is what's going on.
10:27 p.m.— The Hurt Locker wins best sound mixing.
10:23 p.m.—Hey, thanks Oscars, I just watched 1.4 seconds of 18 of my favorite horror movies, though I don't really know why.
10:25 p.m.— The Hurt Locker wins best sound editing.
10:13 p.m.—Remember when Three 6 Mafia won an Oscar? Do you know what they're up to these days? Yes, just hanging with Wolfgang Puck.
10:11 p.m.—Sandy Powell is a GENIUS. She looked impeccable. The hat; the hair; the swooping back of the dress; the walk; the lift of the skirt for the stairs? HEAVEN. And the speech? Fantastic! That people are already blowing up the Twitter hating on her is insane. Sandy Powell is a real genius, at the very top of her game. The woman did the clothes for Far from Heaven, for crying out loud. And Hillary and Jackie! Um, Gangs of New York? Her speech was hilarious, except apparently to tone-deaf Americans, she looked amazing and she's more talented than 95% of the people in that room. (Just not Meryl probably.)
10:10 p.m—Sandy Powell wins best costume design for The Young Victoria.
10:08 p.m—This is an unsurprising travesty, the art direction award for Avatar. The thing is, Cameron (and Cameron's brother!) are so extremely, awesomely comprehensive in the scope of the things they make. (By which I mean: the way Avatar even worked out the way training videos would be shown in the future. Incredible!) And yet, Young Victoria? Astounding, perfection, incredible. And the historical usage of—OMG EXCUSE ME TOM FORD, BACK LATER, OH MY GOD HIS LAPELS.
10:07 p.m.— Avatar wins for best art direction.
10:00 p.m.—Mo'Nique wins best supporting actress.
9:59 p.m.—Okay, supporting actress. Quiet! This was intense. SERIOUS BUSINESS. And how nuts, right? Look at Penelope Cruz, killing it in that terrible movie! And Vera Farmiga, goat-lover and farm girl and the actress who wasn't supposed to be famous and now is, deservedly. And Maggie G. and Anna Kendrick and well HELLOOO Mo'Nique, with gardenias in her hair! I mean, oof! She should have gotten this Academy Award for letting her skin get that crazy for the part. Charlize Theron never did that. Baltimore! Baltimore represent.
9:48 p.m.— Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire, specifically Geoffrey Fletcher, wins best adapted screenplay.
9:45 p.m.—It's always the makeup people winning Oscars that you're like, good for us, good for you and good for America. They look so happy! And then people gotta be like this: "Oof. This makeup guy in the Kangol is really sweating. And he should be — rough getup." That's Esquire magazine, by the way! Esquire: the new home of drive-by snark.
9:41 p.m.— Star Trek won for best makeup.
9:36 p.m.— The New Tenants won best live action short.
9:35 p.m.—Elinor Burkett! In the hot purple! Co-winning an Oscar for short doc! This is amazing. She wrote a fantastic book with Frank Bruni about the coverup of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, long before that was a hot topic. And also she wrote one of the best books about AIDS ever, The Gravest Show On Earth. Go read them both! They're terrific. Also she is a nut, clearly.
9:34 p.m.— Music by Prudence wins best documentary short.
9:32 p.m.— Logorama wins best animated short.
9:30 p.m.—The great thing about the Internet is that everyone has a place to share her opinion! What's that, Jackie Collins? "John houghs tribute very touching"
9:23 p.m.—Or, another country heard from! What's that, Sandra Bernhard? "jesus no wonder john hughes died he saw all the actors he used to work with and dropped over from the shock of it all"
Oh Sandy no!
9:22 p.m.—Here's what happened in my IM windows when the entire cast of every John Hughes movie was brought out: SCREAMS. SCREAMING. EVERYONE IS SCREAMING. SCREAMING OUT LOUD.
9:18 p.m.—"Do you take advantage of the new freedoms," from A Serious Man, was my favorite movie line of 2009, so it's very wonderful to hear it recognized at the Oscars. Even if the perfectly fine script of Hurt Locker won instead, even though it is a piece of FICTION which is often presented confusingly by its author, since he WAS a reporter, and DID indeed go overseas, and wrote nonfiction about the war, and then also he came home and wrote FICTION. Hey, no one cares about that but me I think. OK let's move on! Ooh, Molly Ringwald, yays! Love her.
9:15 p.m.—Mark Boal won best original screenplay for The Hurt Locker.
9:11 p.m.—Also, it's worth not missing this handy photo gallery of George Clooney's best and worst (and identical) Oscar faces.
9:09 p.m.—Here is the greatest Oscar party that you're not at: they have a spread that includes "peanuts and pretzels ( Up in the Air), cake in the shape of a house ( Up), shrimp ( District 9), KFC ( Precious), knishes ( A Serious Man), bananas ( An Education), potato bombs ( Hurt Locker), sliders ( The Blind Side), scallops ( Inglourious Basterds), and … Avatarts." That gets an A+ for effort!
9:04 p.m.—"The Weary Kind" from Crazy Heart won for best original song.
9:02 p.m.—Amanda Seyfried looks so lovely and innocent! That is, if you haven't yet seen the new Atom Egoyan movie, Chloe, which opens in two weeks, and which will make you fear her. You guys! So scary!
8:57 p.m.—You know what gets me most about the relationship between Los Angeles, a city that is 50% natively Spanish-speaking, and Hollywood? It's that pretty much every year, Cameron Diaz is the only thing close to a Mexican-American on stage and she's actually CUBAN ANYWAY.
8:59 p.m.— Up just won best animated feature.
8:49 p.m.—Shaggy Clooney is something new and exciting! The thing about Clooney is his consistency—and who knew that if he let his hair grow 3/4 of an inch, he'd be remarkably transformed—into a cross between a stunning, sex-eyed basset hound and Christoph Waltz!? Who now has an OSCAR, which is INCREDIBLE. Maybe tonight will be a night of magic and surprise and wonder after all!!! Can people please put him in movies? Hoorah!
8:41 p.m.—So this Oscars is pretty much just the world's least vulgar Friars' Club roast. If only Lisa Lampanelli would come out and say something insanely off-color. Steve Martin's sleeves are cut wrong—they're too long and frankly I find it extremely distracting! But Mr. Martin's also looking very trim and handsome. Soon they'll be done reviewing the ENTIRE CROWD and lightly poking fun at them. With slight CGI assistance--and moderate laughter from the audience.
8:33 p.m.—That was a "classy" open... for the first 90 seconds, with the brief introduction of acting nominees. Now that Neil Patrick Harris is trying to out-Jackman Hugh Jackman, it's definitely slightly... less... well, it's still better than "Nine"!
8:27 p.m.—Annnnd everyone just lost their mind when they realized Meryl Streep is wearing a dress made by Chris March from Season 4 of Project Runway. AND we are OFF!
8:16 p.m.—While we wait out the pre-show, let's liveblog the livebloggers!
Dana Stevens notes an exceptional moment: "As Meryl busted Seacrest's chops for openly rooting for Sandra, she mock-maternally brushed lint off his suit. That alone deserves an Oscar." Truth!
The Fug Girls notice ABC getting perhaps a bit cheap
And Katie Baker understands the hard choices of the night: "It was really hard to navigate away from Johnny Weir on E! so I could watch Kathy Ireland on ABC."
Come on people, we have several more minutes left of these Oscars to get through!
8:03 p.m.—So the official ABC pre-show red carpet has adapted the idea of the panel of nominees from that weird Oscars, remember that? So they all have to stand together. Weirdsies! Do you think Mo'Nique and Maggie Gyllenhaal have much of anything to discuss? Actually yes! In that way that all mothers do. Like last time I saw Maggie Gyllenhaal I was with a friend with a baby so Maggie was all "oh hey, how old is that baby?" and then it was endless minutes of chit-chat about diapers. So they totally will hang! It's Penelope Cruz who's going to be all "Where are the fun gay guys?"
7:45p.m.—Four Important Red Carpet Notes:
1. George Clooney stepped on Queen Latifah's train (this is not a metaphor) and everyone was like OH NO UH UH.
2. Also Lucy Liu was spotted in the background of the red carpet, which seems improbable. God bless! Love her, wish she worked more!
3. Gabourey Sidibe: amazingly fun and hilarious. We say: FOR PRESIDENT!
4. Ryan Seacrest spent most of the night on the red carpet hinting about the Oscar program and disclaiming about how he isn't supposed to tell us what's going to happen but HE knows and hinty hinty hint. This is the most annoying high school behavior ever.
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Choire Sicha is co-proprietor of The Awl and is at work on a nonfiction book for HarperStudio.