February 24, 2013


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Written by: Mitch Salem
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Welcome to SHOWBUZZDAILY‘s Academy Awards live blog.  Let’s take a moment to consider the world if America’s two great spectacles–the Super Bowl and the Oscars–swapped pre-event broadcasts.  3 hours of athletes and sportscasters being asked who they’re wearing for one; 7 hours of predictions, clips and pre-show concerts for the other.  Maybe one day…

5:35PM:  Seth McFarlane’s monologue mostly proves he could be a second-rate lounge comic in Vegas if the animation thing doesn’t work out, although a crowd that gasps at a Chris Brown/Rihanna joke isn’t exactly edgy.

5:40PM:  The fact that the boobs musical number was presented as a meta-joke about how bad MacFarlane’s hosting is doesn’t make it good hosting.

5:45PM:  They’re going to give out an award at some point, right?

5:48PM:  No, seriously–could Tina and Amy please host?

5:50PM:  Waltz isn’t exactly an upset–the buzz was going in his direction for the past couple of weeks–but still a surprise.  If momentum is going to be key tonight, Emmanuelle Riva could have a good night.  Waltz will now appear in every Quentin Tarantino ever.

5:58PM:  If Paul Rudd and Melissa McCarthy are going to be excruciatingly unfunny tonight, it’s going to be a long evening.  But Paperman is lovely, and deserves its win.

6PM:  Never bet against Pixar.  And hey, how about that kilt?

6:02PM:  It’s actually a good idea to get the clips of the Best Picture nominees done as efficiently as possible, especially with 9 of them, so doing 3 at once is fine.  After months in theaters and weeks of Oscar campaigning, we kinda know who’s nominated already.

6:05PM:  Um, wasn’t Scarlet Johansson one of the Avengers?  And Mark Ruffalo?

6:07PM:  Life of Pi wins the Pretty Pictures Cinematography Oscar.

6:10PM:  On a serious note, the imagery in Life of Pi so enmeshes cinematography with CG effects that presenting both awards together makes a lot of sense.  (Although it also makes it seem like someone knew Pi was going to win both.)  That’s going to be the case more and more as digital technology becomes as important to movies as the camera.

6:12PM:  If the Pi guy had kept talking, an actual shark was going to eat him.  Possibly the one Seth MacFarlane has been jumping.

6:17PM:  Anna Karenina picks up Costume Design, Les Miserables Make-Up.  Neither a surprise, especially the latter.

6:20PM:  The tribute to Bond begins, which means here come Adele and Shirley Bassey–potentially the first great moment of tonight’s show.

6:25PM:  According to IMDB, Bassey is 76 years old, and she’s still bringing it.

6:28PM:  One imagines Adele backstage, yelling “Screw it, I’m not following  THAT!”  In any case, the Skyfall song isn’t part of the Bond salute, because that would have made too much sense.

6:30PM:  And a little credit to ABC Marketing for the Bond-ian Scandal promo.  Nice job, folks.

6:35PM:  The Live Action Short award to LCurfew marks 8 awards (of 24) given out in just over an hour, so at least the show is moving along.

6:W37PM:  That joke about Harvey Weinstein and teen girls was more puzzling than offensive–the audience just sat there.  Meanwhile, it’s a nice sort-of in-joke that Liam Neeson, who was originally supposed to play Lincoln for Spielberg before production got pushed and Day-Lewis took over, is presenting the clip.

6:43PM:  It would be better for everyone if MacFarlane just stuck to ushering people on and off.  Although what appeared to be Ben Affleck taking a shot at him fell just as flat.

6:45PM:  Searching For Sugar Man is so good, it broke past the Documentary branch’s usual insistence on picking something “important.”

6:50PM:  Least surprising award of the night:  Foreign Film to Amour.  The question is whether it’ll win anything else.

6:55PM:  The salute to musicals could have gotten off to a better start than Catherine Zeta-Jones lip-synching.

7PM:  Ms. Hudson, on the other hand, did not lip-synch.

7:05PM:  Can the cast of Les Miserables take over as hosts?  Even Russell Crowe, god bless him, showed up to sing.  Live.  A tremendous Oscar moment.

7:07PM:  Without the need for editing and intercutting, “One Day More” actually worked better on stage than in the movie.  Oh wait, that’s because it was written for the stage.

7:10PM:  That live on-set singing pretty much guaranteed Les Miserables the Sound Mixing award.

7:15PM:  It would have been tempting to say MacFarlane should have hosted as Ted, but this isn’t going too well either.  Hey, Jews control Hollywood jokes!  Edgy!

7:18PM:  Ties are always fun, even if they’re for Sound Editing.

7:25PM:  Anne Hathaway sings her way to an Oscar.

7:27PM:  Hathaway seemed like someone who could give us a memorable, wacky speech, but no–a routine laundry list of thank-yous.

7:30PM:  While the Academy tells everyone how wonderful it is, this is a good time to note that with the (very semi) exception of Waltz, we haven’t seen any upsets yet.

7:33PM:  Film Editing is the traditional bellwether category for Picture, and Argo just won it.  That probably means we’re not heading for any big surprises.

7:40PM:  The producers made two big decisions this year:  hiring MacFarlane and skewing the show to music.  As Adele just underlined, one of those decisions has worked out well.

7:47PM:  …and now we’re done with Best Picture clips.

7:50PM:  Lincoln picks up its first award for Production Design, a little bit of a surprise over Les Miserables and Life of Pi.

7:55PM:  Clips from the Governors Awards provided (depending on what coast you’re on) an opportunity for snacks or bathroom break.  Don’t remember hearing the Memorial montage promoted before.

8PM:  George Clooney has taken over from Nicholson as the honorary Mayor of Movieland.  The Memorial montage starts with Ernest Borgnine…

8:02PM:  Charles Durning ranks high on the list of He Really Never Won An Oscar? people.

8:03PM:  The montage ends with Marvin Hamlisch… saluted by a young unknown singer associated with some of his tunes.  The name’ll come to me.

8:05PM:  Say what you want, Streisand is still Streisand.

8:10PM:  And some more Chicago love.  Oh by the way, the producers of tonight’s Oscars produced Chicago.  Who would have guessed?

8:12PM:  Could Renee Zellweger not see without her glasses?  Weird moment when Gere gave her the card to read, and after a beat, Queen Latifah had to announce the winner.  Which was Life of Pi, quietly having a good night.

8:15PM:  Zellweger has to have Gere announce the Best Song winner–hope she makes it off stage without falling into the audience.  The winner of course is Skyfall, giving Adele an Oscar.

8:20PM:  The bad news:  it’s been 170 minutes, and there are still 6 awards to give out plus a closing musical number.  Good news:  all the categories left are big ones.

8:21PM:  A thought on MacFarlane.  It’s not that anything he’s said tonight has been particularly offensive, certainly nothing like the kind of humor he features in his shows.  It’s just his naturally snarky manner that makes them seem meanspirited.

8:25PM:  Argo takes Adapted Screenplay, and that pretty much wraps it up.  If Lincoln was going to make any kind of a run, Tony Kushner would have won.

8:28PM:  QT takes the Oscar for Original Script, and now we know Charlize Theron is his neighbor.  Zero Dark Thirty will likely go home empty-handed aside from the tie for Sound Editing.

8:30PM:  … and the show is now officially running over.  4 more awards plus Kristin Chenoweth’s song.

8:35PM:  Tonight Steven Spielberg could do the reverse of the Sally Field acceptance speech (you don’t like me… right now, you really don’t like me) as Ang Lee takes Director, meaning Lincoln couldn’t even take the also-ran award in what’s probably Argo’s year.  Ironically, Lee did it with the most traditionally Spielbergian job of directing of any of the nominees.

8:37PM:  Jennifer Lawrence should be very nervous right now, because late momentum seems to be making the difference tonight.

8:45PM:  You’ll be seeing Lawrence falling on the way to the podium for at least as long as there are Oscars.  She’s officially the star of her generation.

8:48PM:  Gosh, who’s going to win Best Actor?

8:50PM:  Daniel Day-Lewis and Meryl Streep standing together at the Oscar podium:  decades of motion picture history side by side.

8:52PM:  Perhaps the world’s greatest living actor, and he gives great speech, too.

8:53PM:  Jack Nicholson and Michelle Obama:  your next rom-com team.  (Kudos to the producers, though, for keeping this secret.)

8:57PM:  Ben Affleck to the Academy’s Directing branch:  How do you like them apples?

9PM:  Very heartfelt speech by Affleck.  Although Jennifer Garner might have preferred to be Chad Lowe by the time her husband was done.

9:02PM:  The final song is a pale attempt to echo what Neil Patrick Harris does at the end of the Emmys.  Which seems fitting.

9:04PM:  So… not a great show, a flat host, only the mildest of surprise winners.  On the other hand, for the most part the people who won were deserving, and isn’t that what’s supposed to matter?  Huh?  Isn’t it?  Let’s say it is, and get ready for the next Oscar season, which should get started in just about a week.

About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."