February 24, 2019


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Written by: Mitch Salem
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Movie audiences can’t get enough of watching things blow up, and tonight’s ACADEMY AWARDS has the potential to explode before our very eyes.  Everyone knows the litany of what’s gone awry along the way, from the host/no-host mess, to the Most Popular Film Oscar that never was, to the foiled attempt to hold the telecast to 3 hours (enabling ABC’s “sneak preview” of its new WHISKEY CAVALIER to begin on time) by relegating 4 awards to commercial breaks.  On top of all that, this has been the most contentious and polarized Oscars in years, pitting GREEN BOOK partisans against ROMA fans against a rising tide of BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY supporters, among others.  If ROMA does win, it will make history as the first foreign-language film ever to take Best Picture, as well as the first winner produced primarily for a streaming services (however much Netflix may want to pretend it’s provided a genuine theatrical release).  Will all of this translate to a compelling telecast, or are (more than) 3 hours of tedium on the way?  We’ll be live-blogging here at SHOWBUZZDAILY, so we’ll all find out together soon enough.

All times are Pacific.

5PM:  No host means no host sketch to lead off the show, so instead we have the Adam Lambert-led version of Queen performing Bohemian Rhapsody. 

5:02PM:  Welcome to the Grammys!  Oh, wait…

5:05PM:  It may be crucial for the show to end on time, but there’s always time for a montage.

5:07PM:  The number of people who are now tweeting “Why couldn’t they really host?” could form their own nation. 

5:08PM:  Every year, there’s enough time at the start for clips from all the Supporting performances, and by the end, they play off the Best Picture winner in seconds. 

5:10PM:  We begin with a favorite, Regina King for IF BEALE STREET COULD TALK.

5:14PM:  If Julie Andrews can be a sea monster in AQUAMAN, why not Helen Mirren in the sequel?

5:16PM:  Documentary goes to FREE SOLO, the most visually cinematic of the nominees. 

5:17PM:  First bleep of the night!

5:22:  That rumble is Stanley Kubrick spinning in his grave upon realizing 2001 is in a Google commercial. 

5:23PM:  Is the Ryan Reynolds Deadpool part of the ad meta-meta, or meta-meta-meta?

5:24PM:  Did you know WHISKEY CAVALIER is airing after the Oscars?

5:26PM:  VICE, as expected, takes Make-Up.  That may be its only win of the night.

5:29PM:  The bunny puppet a nod to McCarthy’s Razzie award winning flop?

5:30PM:  Costumes goes to BLACK PANTHER, which may or may not seem meaningful as the night goes on.

5:35PM:  A real effort this year to make the commercials movie-centric. 

5:38PM:  Production Design goes to BLACK PANTHER too.  Below-the-line support for such a big hit is important. 

5:43PM:  So far a very businesslike telecast.

5:45PM:  Tyler Perry gives the Academy a jab for proposing that Cinematography be given out off-screen.

5:45PM:  ROMA is on the board and so is Alfonso Cuaron. 

5:47PM:  RBG may have lost Documentary, but it still has a chance (theoretically) for Song. 

5:54PM:  Sound Editing, the category that makes everyone ask why there are 2 Sound categories.

5:55PM:  BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY is now an Academy Award winner, and will almost certainly pick up the next one as well.  Will the winners thank Bryan Singer?

5:56PM:  BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY, the film without a director.

5:59PM:  Yep, 2 for 2 in the sound categories. 

6:03PM:  ABC gives the Serious Event promo treatment to The Fix. 

6:05PM:  Foreign Language Film goes to ROMA, which at the very least avoids the double-whammy of losing Picture and then Foreign Film because its supporters thought it would win Picture. 

6:08PM:  It’s Keegan Michael Key as Pink!

6:11PM:  When the original movie singer of a song doesn’t get the Oscar gig, one always wonders who made the call.  If Emily Blunt had gotten one of the nominations for acting she was in the mix for, would it have been her?

6:16PM:  They’re making an effort tonight to bring in unexpected figures to present the clips from Best Picture nominees, with Trevor Noah on hand for BLACK PANTHER.

6:17PM:  There’s a backstory to BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY winning Editing.  When Bryan Singer was fired from the film, editor John Ottman had to assemble the footage without directoral guidance, more responsibility than Editor normally has. 

6:20PM:  And still Singer’s name goes unmentioned. 

6:21PM:  GREEN BOOK takes its one sure-thing award, with Mahershala Ali as Supporting Actor. 

6:27PM:  There are more award-winning filmmakers behind the commercials tonight than the animated films. 

6:30PM:  Animated Film goes to SPIDER-MAN: INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE, the biggest Oscar (as of this moment) that Marvel has ever won.

6:38PM:  Netflix’s first promo for its Gangster Movie Hall of Fame film THE IRISHMAN is careful to give a full screen to “In Theaters” before reminding us that it will be on the service too.  If ROMA doesn’t win tonight, that’s Round 2 in their assault on the Oscars.

6:41PM:  Can’t really argue with having Garth & Wayne present BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY.

6:43PM:  We’re now in the land of the Shorts.  The Oscars version of the Super Bowl halftime show.

6:45PM:  Pixar gets the Animation consolation prize for BAO.

6:46PM:  Documentary Short goes to the favorite in the category, PERIOD END OF SENTENCE.  The opening of the winner’s speech will certainly go viral.

6:52PM:  When Disney isn’t taking your money for Marvel, Star Wars and Pixar blockbusters, they’ll be happy to take another billion or so for THE LION KING.

6:56PM:  Visual Effects goes to FIRST MAN, the last crumb of the awards bonanza that film was once expected to win. 

7PM:  Here comes “Shallow.” 

7:01PM:  This is so not the Grammys version of the song.

7:08PM:  Live Action Short goes to SKIN, which is scheduled for a full-length remake. 

7:09PM:  By Fox Searchlight, if you couldn’t tell.

7:10PM:  GREEN BOOK wins Original Script, and is now the favorite for Picture.

7:15PM:  It’s that kind of year:  the Screenplay awards are split between GREEN BOOK and BLACK KLANSMAN. 

7:18PM:  Spike begins his first-ever Oscar acceptance speech with a bleep. 

7:18PM:  After that, he doesn’t disappoint, and gets a standing ovation even as the orchestra plays him off.  (A little quick to do so.)

7:23PM:  BLACK PANTHER takes Original Score, a bit of a surprise.

7:25PM:  A STAR IS BORN has its (probably only) moment of Oscar glory.

7:31PM:  Let’s hope they scrambled to get Stanley Donen into the In Memorium montage.  One of the all-time greats. 

7:36PM:  They did not.

7:40PM:  Streisand presents BLACK KLANSMAN, not A STAR IS BORN.  OK…

7:41PM:  But yes, she and Spike do have Brooklyn.

7:42PM:  We’ve arrived at the Big 4 categories, and there’s still 17 minutes left before the scheduled end of the show!  If this isn’t a first, it’s certainly the first in some time.  Guess airing all the awards on-air wasn’t such a catastrophe. 

7:45PM:  Rami Malek wins the Oscar for Best Actor. 

7:47PM:  In case anyone was wondering how committed Malek is to his co-star/romantic partner…

7:51PM:  The next 2 awards may tell us very little about Picture, assuming Glenn Close and Cuaron win.

7:54PM:  Having John Lewis co-introduce the clip from GREEN BOOK is a coup.

7:56PM:  It’s coronation time. 

7:58PM:  For everyone who was waiting for a WTF moment, here it is:  Olivia Colman, your Academy Award winner for Best Actress.

8PM:  Someone keep sharp objects from Glenn Close.

8:03PM:  Colman’s speech was everything one could want, heartfelt and funny.  Lady Gaga, who wasn’t going to win, seems genuinely delighted for her. 

8:08PM:  Alfonso Cuaron, however, didn’t have to sweat the upset.  His buddy del Toro gives him the Oscar for Director.

8:13PM:  Julia Roberts, who should have been nominated for BEN IS BACK, is nevertheless Hollywood royalty, and gets the plum Best Picture presenter spot.

8:14PM:  The Academy Award for Best Picture goes to GREEN BOOK, a choice that will be much-debated in coming days/weeks/months. 

In sum, the experiment of a host-less Oscars worked out pretty well.  (The 3:20 runtime is mostly due to the show applying the brakes in the last 45 minutes, no longer in a rush.)  As for some of the awards, well, that’s another story.  But not a new one.  Get ready for Netflix’s campaign for THE IRISHMAN, which should begin any minute now.








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."