It’s time again for Hollywood’s leading purveyors of glitz and/or glamour to convene at the Dolby Theatre and fetishize statuettes of naked swordsmen for a few hours. In an Oscar year marred by controversy, the greatest anticipation centers not on the Best Picture award at the end of the show but rather on the beginning, as we wait to see how host Chris Rock will respond to all-white slate of acting nominees that gave rise to the #OscarsSoWhite hashtag.
Even if the show is likely to hit its climax early, A.V. Club staffers will be watching the pageant for the duration—plus the pre-show red carpet broadcast—and we’ll update this post throughout the night with our reactions and observations. (Yes, it’s an old-fashioned liveblog, because nobody liked that homely CoverItLive chat widget we’ve used in the past.) If you’d like to bring your own witty bons mots to our attention for potential inclusion in the liveblog, post them on Twitter with the hashtag #avcoscars—a tribute to our first Academy Awards correspondent, the late A.V. Coscars. This one’s for you, Ms. Coscars.
Nick Wanserski: Wow. The Fury Road of journalism won. Just one long chase scene. Chasing a story!
Marah Eakin: I wonder if this was one of those split votes.
Josh Modell: Now perhaps the journalism business will see the error of its ways and fund lots of in-depth, important reporting. (Goes back to Facebook, clicks on goats that yell like humans.)
A.A. Dowd: Spotlight was always a possibility. I just didn’t think it would happen in the end. Spotlight won the SAG, and it shouldn’t be forgotten that actors make up the largest branch of the Academy.
Erik Adams: And with that, Michael Keaton becomes a Best Picture Good Luck Charm. Best of luck, Prospective Beetlejuice Sequel!
Ignatiy Vishnevetsky: Is Michael Keaton still chewing that gum from last year?
Nick Wanserski: It was still under his seat.
A.A. Dowd: Has an honest-to-God procedural ever won Best Picture before now?
Josh Modell: Sure, Ben-Hur.
Ignatiy Vishnevetsky: Depends on how you qualify that, Alex. Not one this no-frills.
Gwen Ihnat: Morgan Freeman and Michael Keaton grabbing Girl Scout Trefoils for the win.
John Teti: Closing thoughts on the show? [Editor’s note: Sorry for the gibberish that was on this section for a bit, folks—my fault! And apologies also for not including more of your tweets. Got a little too busy here.]
Gwen Ihnat: Well-run. Very little filler as in past years. Said some things that needed to be said. B+.
A.A. Dowd: I thought this was a pretty excellent show, all things taken into account. Loved Rock’s performance. The presentation of the categories was clever. The speeches were mostly inspired. And I can live with most of the winners.
Ignatiy Vishnevetsky: I think it was one of the tightest ceremonies in recent memory, but also very low on drama. Some deserving winners, only one surprise (albeit a big one), and well presented.
A.A. Dowd: Two surprises: Ex Machina for effects, too.
Gwen Ihnat: I would also say Best Supporting Actor instead of Stallone.
Josh Modell: John, this was an awards show, in which some films were honored while others, though also very good, were not.
Erik Adams: For once, the ceremony itself had a sense of energy and surprise.
Ignatiy Vishnevetsky: I feel like I’m reviewing an okay restaurant in talking about it. Everything came on time, the decor was clean, etc.
Josh Modell: In sum, I’d like to watch Sicario again.
Actor In A Leading Role: Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant
A.A. Dowd: Eddie Redmayne wins Best Actor, whoooo! Just kidding, it’s DiCaprio, of course. For Best Devouring Of A Bison Liver.
Marah Eakin: You knew he would win. He’s not my choice, and I think it’s a bit of a legacy/“look at those tough times” award, but it is what it is.
Ignatiy Vishnevetsky: Leonardo DiCaprio has finally won an Oscar, so we can stop hearing about how he hasn’t.
Josh Modell: Hmm. Looks like all you Revenant haters who wanted to tar and feather me earlier are eating some Revenant-flavored crow. Or not.
A.A. Dowd: Josh, the night is only going to get better for you.
Josh Modell: I don’t know if I can stay awake.
Marah Eakin: Have you guys read the actual Hugh Glass story? The Revenant actually kind of tamps it down a bit, plus adds a whole dumb love story that doesn’t make much sense. The real Hugh Glass didn’t have a kid, and so I always felt like the changes they added to make the movie more “dramatic” made it less impressive.
Erik Adams: So do we chalk this one up as compensation for past awards lost, or is he that good in The Revenant?
Ignatiy Vishnevetsky: I think Tom Hardy is much better than DiCaprio. DiCaprio sure crawls a lot and was probably miserable, but he doesn’t play a person. I’m not sure he’s supposed to. Anyway, classy speech from DiCaprio. And now Morgan Freeman is here to sonorously read us to sleep.
Actress In A Leading Role: Brie Larson, Room
Gwen Ihnat: That gimme-five between Brie Larson and Jacob Tremblay was everything.
Ignatiy Vishnevetsky: Brie Larson wins for Room, and Andy Serkis—seated right behind her—claps like she’s his favorite niece.
Marah Eakin: This speech from Brie Larson feels like she knew she was going to win. And came prepared.
Gwen Ihnat: Congrats, Brie Larson, but we knew your greatness all the way back to Envy Adams.
A.A. Dowd: Larson is excellent in Room. Actually, this whole category is strong. I’d had gone with Charlotte Rampling, personally, but it’s not easy to basically carry the entire first half of a film acting against a 7-year-old, which Larson does with grace.
Marah Eakin: Brie Larson certainly has one of the widest histories of some of the younger actors nominated. She was in 13 Going On 30, Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World, Kroll Show, and United States Of Tara, to name a few. She seems cool, and thus I approve this choice.
Josh Modell: I’m glad to see Room get some love, and Larson was pretty incredible in its very different halves. Not easy material, even if people seem to think it’s a little manipulative.
Directing: Alejandro G. Iñárritu, The Revenant
A.A. Dowd: Oh wow, we’re at Directing. Think it will be Iñárritu, but my heart is with George Miller.
Ignatiy Vishnevetsky: Goddamnit, not Iñárritu again. He seems to have expended all of his awards acceptance speech energy last year. I’d prefer to have seen George Miller win. And a whole lot of other folks at least get nominated.
George Miller didn’t win. Entire ceremony invalidated. #AVCOscars
— Les Chappell (@Lesismore9o9) February 29, 2016
Marah Eakin: He’s certainly talented, but at this point it feels like he’s the token obvious “artistic” choice. He’s the one we’ve decided to adorn.
A.A. Dowd: Iñárritu is the first person in 66 years to win Best Director two years in a row, proving that Oscar bloggers care more about that kind of precedent than Oscar voters do.
Gwen Ihnat: Iñárritu is not afraid of those Valkyries, that’s for sure.
Original Song: Jimmy Napes and Sam Smith, “Writing’s On The Wall”; Spectre
A.A. Dowd: Cool, so that dull Spectre theme just won Original Song. John, as a Bond fanatic, what do you think of it?
John Teti: Not much. One of the most unmemorable Bond themes, wouldn’t you say? Why do you think it won?
A.A. Dowd: I think it won because Smith is huge, I guess? And there’s a history of Bond songs doing well?
Marah Eakin: It was certainly the most boring of the boring choices. But maybe it split the vote somehow? Who knows. I think people just really like to award Sam Smith.
Gwen Ihnat: The only other Oscar-winning Bond theme: Skyfall.
A.A. Dowd: Oh, so I’m just talking out my ass.
Ignatiy Vishnevetsky: Sacha Baron Cohen comes out as Ali G and drops yet another Asian joke. A thousand think-piece ledes being written right now about this disconnect in the ceremony’s writing and humor.
Marah Eakin: The Oscars have had a couple of Asian jabs tonight, and people on Twitter are noticing, especially Asian bloggers and advocates. I don’t know that I would notice it as much in a normally tone-deaf year when it would just be par for the course, but this year I think it stands out a bit. And having Ali G introduce Room is one of the stranger choices so far this evening.
Erik Adams: I wish Sacha Baron Cohen would retire his tiresome Sacha Baron Cohen persona.
Marah Eakin: Brie Larson hugged every single assault survivor leaving the stage after Gaga’s song:
Marah Eakin: And Lady Gaga is talking to droids:
Original Score: Ennio Morricone, The Hateful Eight
A.A. Dowd: This is my category of the night. I really want Carter Burwell’s Carol score to win.
Marah Eakin: Carter Burwell, composer of the score for the Twilight films. That is how I choose to know him. And only that way.
Ignatiy Vishnevetsky: Ennio Morricone, who has one of the greatest and most diverse bodies of work of any film composer, wins his first ever competitive Oscar, having received an honorary Award years ago. As before, he gives his speech in Italian with an interpreter. Wish he had brought along Clint Eastwood again.
A.A. Dowd: Nice to see Morricone honored, though I’d argue—and have before—that his cool work on The Hateful Eight is so sparingly employed that I think the movie could survive without it.
Marah Eakin: As people on Twitter are noting, that is the last award of the night that Star Wars could have won.
Erik Adams: Too bad they’re never going to make another one of those Star Wars movies…
Nick Wanserski: Morricone did call out John Williams specifically in his speech.
Ignatiy Vishnevetsky: I know that one’s gotta sting, Alex. At least you got Son Of Saul, bro.
A.A. Dowd: True. And the overall Mad Max love.
Marah Eakin: Maybe Morricone won a legacy award. Though if he did, I’m not mad at it.
Best Original Song nominee performance: “Til It Happens To You” from The Hunting Ground
Ignatiy Vishnevetsky: Lazlo Nemes, winner for Son Of Saul, is played off with the Raiders Of The Lost Ark theme, which introduces… Joe Biden?
A.A. Dowd: Wow, weirdness. Joe Biden introduces Lady Gaga’s performance’s of “Til It Happens To You” with a heartfelt plea for speaking out against sexual assault.
Marah Eakin: Will Lady Gaga EGOT? What do you guys think?
Ignatiy Vishnevetsky: For what it’s worth, Gaga is the only performer that is treating this as the Oscars, rather than some mid-tier awards gig.
Marah Eakin: Lady Gaga just brought out a bunch of sexual assault survivors, and the audience appears incredibly affected, understandably so.
Laura M. Browning: Please tell me I’m not the only one crying right now.
A.A. Dowd: You are not.
Ignatiy Vishnevetsky: I think it was very heartfelt. A tonic to follow The Weeknd’s sleepy candelabra/fetish shrug and Sam Smith’s string-drenched screensaver.
Marah Eakin: Imagine if Anohni had performed. It feels a little shameful to allow the commercial successful Gaga to have a place to say something like that, but ignore other performers who might not have sold as many records. As much as I liked that. The Oscars definitely picks and chooses its issues.
Foreign Language Film: Son Of Saul
A.A. Dowd: Foreign Language Film goes to a deserved (if controversial) winner: the holocaust drama Son Of Saul.
Ignatiy Vishnevetsky: Son Of Saul is a good movie, but it should be pointed out that there were some very deserving films that didn’t get nominated, including The Assassin and Phoenix. The latter was my (and Alex’s) favorite film of the last year.
Live Action Short Film: Stutterer
A.A. Dowd: Stutterer wins Best Live-Action Short over the tense-as-hell (and better) Everything Will Be Okay. This one is definitely more the Academy’s flavor.
Marah Eakin: People replying to our tweets are kicking in other people who were missing from the tribute: Andrew Lesnie, “Rowdy” Roddy Piper, Glenn Frey, and Setsuko Hara. Those middle two can probably be skipped in film recognition, but FWIW.
Erik Adams: Dave Grohl, coming from his first guitar lesson, is here to play “Blackbird” under the In Memoriam.
Nick Wanserski: Oh man. You got Grohl in my sentiment.
Josh Modell: What, was McCartney not around? He’s everywhere else.
Marah Eakin: According to a copy of the Enquirer that I saw at the grocery store today, Josh, Paul McCartney has Alzheimers now and “can’t even remember Ringo!”
Gwen Ihnat: Christopher Lee: “To us, Mr. Bond. We are the best.” Alex Rocco: “I buy you out; you don’t buy me out.”
A.A. Dowd: And Leonard Nimoy gets the final one.
Gwen Ihnat: No Abe Vigoda? OUTRAGE.
Josh Modell: #OscarsNoAbe
Gwen Ihnat: SHOCKED that David Bowie was not last.
Erik Adams: Bowie from Zoolander? Not The Man Who Fell To Earth? Or Labyrinth?
A.A. Dowd: Oof, you’re right, Ignatiy. “Old foreign dudes? Who cares!” Cool to see Wes Craven up front, though the Academy wouldn’t touch his work with a 10-foot pole.
Nick Wanserski: Why did they give the final tribute to the one person who might be regrowing back to life on a distant planet as we speak?
Marah Eakin: Mindy Kaling tweets her Girl Scout cookies:
Josh Modell: Samoas = #1
Documentary Feature: Amy
Ignatiy Vishnevetsky: Amy wins. The expected favorite for Best Documentary. I’m not alone in wishing it was The Look Of Silence.
Josh Modell: You’re not alone. Amy was good, but ultimately didn’t feel all that important. The Look Of Silence, on the other hand…
Marah Eakin: I thought Amy was just okay. It felt a little like “here’s a documentary about something you know about,” so that’s why it won.
A.A. Dowd: The Look Of Silence is not just a great film, but one that is legitimately making a difference.
Josh Modell: And honestly, the Amy director taking a shot at tabloids rings a little hollow. It was certainly more tasteful than TMZ, but as exploitive in its way.
Josh Modell: Oh, that little kid missing his mark was adorable.
John Teti: That Samsung ad running right after Rock’s “these kids made your phone” joke was a funny accident. (Accident?)
Ignatiy Vishnevetsky: Arnold Schwarzenegger offers his condolences to Stallone:
Marah Eakin: A note: If that cookie money thing is real, it’s more money than they’ve raised for #WaterForFlint . I doubt it is, but yeah.
A.A. Dowd: Really cool to see Spike Lee get an Oscar, even just an honorary one. Would have liked if they made it part of the ceremony proper, of course.
A.A. Dowd: Did Rock get Louis CK this gig?
Ignatiy Vishnevetsky: “You know our next presenter from his show Horace & Pete… and his Emmy-winning work on the The Chris Rock Show!” Rock introduces Louis CK, who gives a surprisingly good (and funny) introduction for Documentary Short Film.
Marah Eakin: Louis CK is wearing a tuxedo jacket with a regular tie. Not into it. I feel like there are a lot more comedian actors presenting this year. Like, why did Sarah Silverman get to intro Sam Smith?
A.A. Dowd: Louis CK notes that Documentary Short is the one category where the award actually matters. “This Oscar is going to be the nicest thing they own in their life. It’s going to give them anxiety to have it in their crappy apartment.”
Erik Adams: Louis CK opens the Documentary Short envelope: “And the Oscar goes to… Mad Max?” Funny, but not funny, considering the general state of affairs in this garbage world.
A.A. Dowd: Documentary Short goes to A Girl In The River: The Price Of Forgiveness. I haven’t seen it, unfortunately.
Ignatiy Vishnevetsky: Same here.
Actor In A Supporting Role: Mark Rylance, Bridge Of Spies
A.A. Dowd: Time for Supporting Actor. Sly’s night?
Ignatiy Vishnevetsky: I feel like they picked the most intelligible clip for Tom Hardy in The Revenant, and you still can’t understand 50 percent of what he’s saying. Lovely performance, though.
A.A. Dowd: Bale’s performance clip should be: “I like your haircut. Did you do it yourself?” And of course, Mark Ruffalo’s clip is the only big speech in Spotlight.
Josh Modell: Tom Hardy shouldn’t win, because he stole his voice from Jame Gumb.
Marah Eakin: I would like Tom Hardy to get onstage and then dedicate his award to his love of dogs.
Ignatiy Vishnevetsky: And the winner is Mark Rylance. My personal favorite of the nominees. An understated, deftly shaded performance.
Gwen Ihnat: Upset!
A.A. Dowd: Rylance calls Steven Spielberg “one of the greatest storytellers of our time.” I can’t disagree. Seeing Stallone win would have been sweet, but Rylance is better.
Marah Eakin: Was Stallone great in Creed? Tell someone who hasn’t seen it. As someone who has no idea, I felt a bit like that was a legacy nod.
A.A. Dowd: Stallone is quite affecting in Creed, though part of that is that, for once, Rocky’s dialogue wasn’t written by Stallone.
Ignatiy Vishnevetsky: Rylance, who’s done surprisingly little film work, gives one of the most concise acceptance speeches I’ve seen from an actor in a long time.
Erik Adams: If it isn’t too impudent for TV to butt in: Rylance also gave one of The A.V. Club’s favorite television performances last year, as Thomas Cromwell in Wolf Hall.
A.A. Dowd: SHUT UP, TV. WHO ASKED YOU.
Erik Adams: “TV: You’re watching it right now!”
A.A. Dowd: Oof, got me there.
Erik Adams: On Fuller House weekend, gotta take my victories where I can find them.
A.A. Dowd: Chris Rock interviews black moviegoers in Compton about the big Oscar nominees. I loved Rock’s man-on-the-street bit the last time he hosted. I like it again now.
Ignatiy Vishnevetsky: I like the tightness of this ceremony, but it’s missing a certain element of craziness. Needs an injection of Frenzied Acceptance Speech, stat.
Marah Eakin: As one of the very few people who watched Why? With Hannibal Buress, there were a couple very similar “We talked to people on the streets in Compton” bits on that show.
Best Original Song nominee performance: “Earned It,” from Fifty Shades Of Grey
Josh Modell: Somebody tell The Weeknd there’s an intruder just above his head.
Erik Adams: “And now, here’s The Weeknd, to play the second of tonight’s nominated James Bond themes.”
A.A. Dowd: Here’s a reminder that we will not be seeing five performances tonight.
Marah Eakin: This is very true:
Ignatiy Vishnevetsky: Re: Bear Story:
Marah Eakin: I like the idea that Dave Chappelle is just hanging out backstage at the Oscars, looking super cool:
Animated Feature Film: Inside Out
A.A. Dowd: Inside Out wins Animated Feature, surprising no one. I’m not complaining; it’s Pixar’s best since Up. Gwen, you’re happy, right?
Gwen Ihnat: Super-happy! My favorite win of the night.
Erik Adams: Love Pete Docter’s boutonnière, a flower whose petals correspond to the colors of the Inside Out emotions.
Josh Modell: “Make films. Draw. Write. It’ll make a world of difference.” Good on ya, Docter.
Ignatiy Vishnevetsky: We’re all rooting for World Of Tomorrow, right?
Josh Modell: I thought Fury Road was a lock for best animated short. There goes my pool.
Ignatiy Vishnevetsky: Chris Rock is currently doing an DeGeneres-esque Girl Scout cookie bit, and God do I hope it has some kind of punchline.
Gwen Ihnat: Girl Scout cookies! Very similar to the Onion office on Friday.
Erik Adams: Selling Girl Scout cookies at the Oscars is a weird way to find out which celebrities still travel with cash.
Josh Modell: Or at the very least a nearby assistant with cash.
Marah Eakin: Of course Myles would notice that.
Ignatiy Vishnevetsky: (And the punchline is that we are now watching the Minions presenting an award.)
Visual Effects: Andrew Whitehurst, Paul Norris, Mark Ardington & Sara Bennett; Ex Machina
A.A. Dowd: Visual Effects is a strong category this year. Could make a case for all of them.
Ignatiy Vishnevetsky: Again, this ceremony is doing a very good job at visualizing what goes into each category. Visual Effects is presented in peeled back layers, revealing wireframes, blue screens, composites, etc.
Marah Eakin: My friend just said Andy Serkis’ fly was down. Did anyone catch that?
A.A. Dowd: First major surprise of the night: Ex Machina wins Visual Effects.
Ignatiy Vishnevetsky: Ex Machina’s special effects are much more subtle, but just as integral. Is this the lowest budgeted Effects winner since…? Or the one with the presumably lowest effects budget? This is a category dominated by $150 million productions. Ex Machina was made for $15 million.
Erik Adams: Money well spent to make it look like Oscar Isaac is the world’s greatest dancer.
A.A. Dowd: I wouldn’t describe them as “subtle,” but it is certainly the least effects of all the nominees, right?
Josh Modell: “This is massively unexpected.” Yeah, for you and everybody else, pal.
A.A. Dowd: Josh, some films run the table in the tech categories, but do nothing in the major categories. I sadly suspect that will be Mad Max’s fate. But I’d love to be proven wrong!
A.A. Dowd: Update: My wife’s favorite part of the Oscar telecast just arrived. It involves droids.
Becca James: Jacob Tremblay being excited about Star Wars is so damn cute.
Marah Eakin: C-3PO just said the Oscar statue is “quite handsome,” opening up a whole new world of ‘shipping.
Josh Modell: Umm, why doesn’t C-3PO have his red replacement arm? WHERE’S THE CONTINUITY, OSCAR?
A.A. Dowd: From Chris Rock’s pointed jokes to the category presentation to the dominance of Mad Max, this has been a good Oscars so far. But I shouldn’t speak too soon. Adam McKay could still win Best Director…
Sound Mixing: Chris Jenkins, Gregg Rudloff & Ben Osmo; Mad Max: Fury Road
A.A. Dowd: Fury Road wins Sound Mixing. It’s generally believed that most people don’t understand the difference between these two categories; the presentation helps clarify that one is about the created sounds, the other the overall mix.
Ignatiy Vishnevetsky: Let me say this: I think this is one of the tightest and clearest ceremonies in recent memory.
Sound Editing: Mark Manini and David White, Mad Max: Fury Road
Becca James: This is a fun little montage. All the sounds are cool.
Ignatiy Vishnevetsky: I like the aggressive editing of these Sound Editing montages. Generally, they’ve been very smart about how they’re presented technical categories this year.
Gwen Ihnat: I truly have a new appreciation for Sound Editing now.
Ignatiy Vishnevetsky: This is another one for Mad Max: Fury Road. Ironically, the sound just cut out on my broadcast. (Were they bleeped?)
John Teti: Yeah, I’m pretty sure they were bleeped, Ignatiy.
Josh Modell: Anybody here going to bat for Bridge Of Spies in any way, shape, or form?
Gwen Ihnat: Not when Mad Max is in the mix.
A.A. Dowd: Bridge Of Spies is pretty excellent, but I prefer Mad Max.
Josh Modell: Guess I need that second viewing, then, Alex. Because I’m lukewarm as hell.
Film Editing: Margaret Sixel, Mad Max: Fury Road
A.A. Dowd: Cool way to visualize Editing, too, showing us the editing timeline.
Gwen Ihnat: I like how they’re plowing through all these categories with a minimum of bullshit montages (only two so far).
A.A. Dowd: Max Max: Fury Road takes another deserved award for its film editing. Couldn’t have been easy to make all that awe-inspiring vehicular chaos coherent. A lot of stuff happening in that movie. The editor kept it easy to follow. There are often five different vehicles racing through the frame, each with a different group of characters within them. Look at that final battle. Guns, wheels, explosions, fist-fights—yeah, I think there’s a lot happening.
Ignatiy Vishnevetsky: I like Fury Road’s editing, but if you wanna see some great piece-by-piece construction, check out Miller’s original Mad Max.
Erik Adams: Another great pre-taped comedy bit: Angela Bassett sets up a “Black History Month” salute that appears to be about Will Smith—posters for Enemy Of The State and Shark Tale, mentions of a musical career as part of a duo—that turns out to be about Jack Black. And if you’re wondering why these pre-taped bits have a bit of Comedy Bang! Bang! flavor to them…
Cinematography: Emmanuel Lubezki, The Revenant
A.A. Dowd: Emmanuel Lubezki becomes the first person ever to win three consecutive Best Cinematography Oscars.
Ignatiy Vishnevetsky: Lubezki now well on his way to becoming overrated. I would have preferred to see Ed Lachman win for Carol. An underrated cinematographer, and the use of Super 16mm in the film is unconventional, giving a fuzzy tactile quality to what are often fairly clinical, chilly compositions. Nails the balance of the sensual and the analytical better than the narrative does, in my opinion.
Makeup & Hairstyling: Lesley Vanderwalt, Elka Wardega, and Damian Martin; Mad Max: Fury Road
Marah Eakin: Margot Robbie and “Oscar-winner Jared Leto” take a casual stroll through the world of makeup.
Josh Modell: Jared Leto wins the award for bringing humorlessness to humor.
Ignatiy Vishnevetsky: Mad Max: Fury Road wins its third (very deserved) technical award.
Josh Modell: Seriously though, The Revenant is a way better film than Fury Road, right?
A.A. Dowd: Nobody tar and feather Josh at once, everyone.
Marah Eakin: Whoa, Josh, I disagree. I did not like The Revenant at all. I thought it was a total bro-deo. It felt like one of those films guys like because they think they that, in a different world, they’d be able to live alone in the wilderness. (See: Into The Wild.)
Erik Adams: Considering Mad Max: Fury Road’s water-hoarding plot point, I approve ABC’s decision to follow up three consecutive Fury Road wins with two ads that are all about water.
Josh Modell: I meant to put “film” in scare quotes. But I did, in fact, enjoy The Rev as much or more than Fury Road. I liked them both quite a bit. What do I know? I’d take either Room or Brooklyn over either of them.
Production Design: Colin Gibson (production design), Lisa Thompson (set decoration); Mad Max: Fury Road
Ignatiy Vishnevetsky: Another win for Mad Max: Fury Road, for Colin Gibson’s production design.
A.A. Dowd: Hard to argue with this one either, even if a lot of the movie takes place inside cars in the middle of the desert.
Erik Adams: I don’t want to jinx it two awards in, but Alex’s prophesied Mad Max technical sweep just might happen!
Ignatiy Vishnevetsky: Note: Gibson also art directed George Miller’s Babe: Pig In The City.
Josh Modell: Whoever went to Vegas a few years ago and put their life savings on a) another Mad Max movie happening and b) it winning multiple Oscars just won 10,000,000 times their money.
Costume Design: Jenny Beavan, Mad Max: Fury Road
Ignatiy Vishnevetsky: Jenny Beavan wins a very well deserved Oscar for designing Fury Road’s costumes.
A.A. Dowd: I prefer Carol’s more conventional duds, but I can’t argue with Mad Max. Was sure this would be Cinderella, because it’s not usually smart to bet against the most elaborate dresses. But I guess Mad Max’s technical sweep begins here.
Nick Wanserski: The Matisse-like sketches for the Danish Girl costumes were lovely.
Erik Adams: Anybody get a screenshot of the back of Beavan’s jacket?
Gwen Ihnat: “What another lovely day” is an excellent speech kickoff for Jenny Beavan. Ends on apocalypse.
Actress In A Supporting Role: Alicia Vikander, The Danish Girl
A.A. Dowd: Even if it balloons the telecast length a little, glad they’re giving each Best Picture nominee its own clip. Mashing them into two-or-three-film collections never made a ton of sense.
Erik Adams: So far, both of the Carol clips have only made Todd Haynes’ Best Director snub look all the more egregious.
A.A. Dowd: It is, Erik.
Ignatiy Vishnevetsky: Alicia Vikander wins Best Supporting Actress for The Danish Girl, capping off a very abrupt rise to prominence.
A.A. Dowd: Sometimes, Supporting Actress especially serves as a coronation of a new star. She was in six movies last year. This is her breakout moment.
Ignatiy Vishnevetsky: I think she had more interesting performances this year, too. Ex Machina, for example.
A.A. Dowd: Agreed, Ignatiy. I think they really only went for The Danish Girl because it’s more their speed, generally speaking.
Erik Adams: And though nobody in the world is ever going to agree with me on this, she’s a big part of why The Man From U.N.C.L.E. was so damn entertaining. #JusticeForTheManFromUNCLE
Ignatiy Vishnevetsky: I like that, much like the Globes, the Oscars seem to have a thing for cutting to Stallone talking to other guests during the bumpers. Seems like he just walks around these things saying, “Hi.”
Best Original Song nominee performance: “Writing’s On The Wall” from Spectre
Ignatiy Vishnevestky: Sarah Silverman introduces “Writing’s On The Wall,” first of the Best Original Song nominees being performed. Feels like schtick compared to Rock’s very pointed (if inconsistent) appearances tonight.
A.A. Dowd: All the Best Song nominees, including this forgettable Bond theme, are ballads, right? This category could use an “Everything Is Awesome.”
Erik Adams: Returning to the stage, Rock comments on the lack of black acting nominees, then adds that it’s hard enough for black actors to find roles, period. Cut to: the host, Leslie Jones, Whoopi Goldberg, and Tracy Morgan green-screened into nominated films The Martian, The Revenant, Joy, and The Danish Girl. The premise is strong, the execution even stronger. I haven’t seen The Revenant, but I would see the version presented here, where the bear that causes Leonardo DiCaprio such grief is replaced by Jones. And the Oscar for best pun goes to: “I’m a Danish Girl!” —Tracy Morgan, shortly before biting into a pastry.
Marah Eakin: Leslie Jones is cast perfectly as the bear in The Revenant, and Tracy Morgan as The Danish Girl? I die.
Marah Eakin: Oh God, Stacey Dash. That was the most awkward thing I’ve ever seen.
Adapted Screenplay: Charles Randolph and Adam McKay, The Big Short
A.A. Dowd: I really, really like the way they’re presenting the script nominees. A little cheesy, but nice to actually put the focus on the written words.
John Teti: I agree, Alex. There’s no way around the cheesiness, but sometimes I like to visualize the screenplay page as I watch the dialogue/action on screen. I think this is a cool presentation, if inevitably a bit obvious.
Ignatiy Vishnevetsky: The Big Short wins for the two-foot laundry pile that is its screenplay.
A.A. Dowd: Yeah, Most Screenplay is more like it. These two screenplay winners are the biggest threat to The Revenant in Best Picture, and they both now have Oscars.
Erik Adams: As far as “wrap it up” music goes, “Ride Of The Valkyries” is a liiiiiiiiiittle kinder than the Jaws theme.
Marah Eakin: Aw, Adam McKay and Charles Randolph thanked “the late, great Del Close.”
A.A. Dowd: The question with Adapted Screenplay is always “Is it the best screenplay that happens to be adapted?” or “the best act of adaptation?” By the latter criteria, I suppose I could make a case for The Big Short. But that’s as far as I’ll go.
Original Screenplay: Josh Singer & Tom McCarthy, Spotlight
A.A. Dowd: As expected, Spotlight wins Original Screenplay. It’s not the best film of the year (though it could win that), but it’s an excellent script—organizing a lot of information in an accessible way.
Becca James: Fuck yeah to journalists for continuing to hold people accountable. So glad to see Spotlight get some love right off the bat.
Ignatiy Vishnevetsky: Note the “special thanks to” chyron. I think it’s pretty neat. And yet Josh Singer goes ahead and still thanks a bunch of people…
Marah Eakin: I get that ABC is owned by Disney, but this opening sequence is really heavy-handed. The Charlie And The Chocolate Factory blend of “passion” and “drama,” and then all this shit about “what it means to be human, to be alive?” We all get it. Film is powerful.
A.A. Dowd: I’ll admit to being a sucker for these (very loose) clip montages, honestly. Even when half the films featured are not even nominated, and they do lean on the sentimentality really hard.
Marah Eakin: I was going to say. What movie was that where Will Ferrell hit the girl in the head with a basketball? Was that Daddy’s Home?
Gwen Ihnat: Kind of glad they’re focusing just on this year’s movies and not those Gone With The Wind clips or whatever.
Ignatiy Vishnevetsky: “…otherwise known as the White People’s Choice Awards.” Rock brings up the (white) elephant in the room right off the bat.
Marah Eakin: Coming out to “Fight The Power” let you know things were on right away.
A.A. Dowd: This is pretty on-point.
Ignatiy Vishnevetsky: I like that they keep cutting to archetypal neurotic white man David O. Russell.
John Teti: “This year, in the ‘in memoriam’ package, it’s just going to be black people who were shot by the police.” The crowd took a few seconds to warm up to this one. Everybody was looking around to figure out whether it was okay to laugh.
Marah Eakin: Reporters inside the auditorium are tweeting that things are tense as hell:
John Teti: What did people expect? This monologue is absolutely necessary to clear the air (as much as Rock can, at least).
Ignatiy Vishnevetsky: Rock’s monologue is all over the place, but it’s the moments of nerve that people will remember.
Gwen Ihnat: “We want opportunity. We want the black actors to get the same opportunities. That’s it!” Amen, Chris Rock. I’m glad he’s taking advantage of the soapbox opportunity. It all needs to be said.
John Teti: I thought the monologue was very good on the whole. Some sharp jabs but also an underlying spirit of “Well, we still have to get on with the show.”
Marah Eakin: Chris Rock asserting that reporters only ask women what they’re wearing because they’re all wearing different things is a real bummer to me after such a bang-on monologue. He went so deep on one topic and then just crapped out on an “Oh, women want too much” joke.
Gwen Ihnat: Charlize Theron has officially won the red carpet. She’s never looked better, and that’s really saying something.
John Teti: I associate Strahan and Ruffalo’s style of blue tux jacket with the ’90s. Am I out of touch? (No, it’s the children who are wrong.)
Marah Eakin: From what I found out shopping for my friend’s wedding tux all day yesterday, blue is so hot right now. Or, rather, it was “really hot” in wedding fashion shows last year, meaning it’s trickling down to the masses now. And that is what eight hours of suit shopping will get you.
John Teti: Eight hours???
Marah Eakin: And we have to go again next week! I also learned what “half canvas” and “full canvas” means.
Erik Adams: Talking to Robin Roberts, Mark Ruffalo brings up #OscarsSoWhite—then makes the fatal mistake of saying “these people.” And if you saw his face after the interview concluded, it seemed clear he knew he chose his words poorly.
Marah Eakin: From the LA Times’ Amy Kaufman:
Erik Adams: “Don’t you dare touch our precious movie trophy with your grubby TV fingers, Mr. Morning Show Man!” —The Academy
Marah Eakin: Brie Larson “burst into tears” at rehearsal because she saw the Star Wars bots? I guess that means we’ll see them in the telecast.
Erik Adams: I can guarantee that Twitter is not excited about the “bots” from Star Wars.
Marah Eakin: I have seen zero about that on my feed.
Gwen Ihnat: Robin Roberts >>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Ryan Seacrest.
Marah Eakin: Robin Roberts has a very tough job, but she is not good at improvising small talk. Michael Strahan is marginally better, but I liked that he said the backstage was “bustling” and then just gestured at people standing stoically in rows against a wall.
Marah Eakin: Whoa, Batman commercial! Paid for by Turkish Airlines? Okay.
Erik Adams: Thank goodness. It’s been so hard to find direct flights from Gotham to Istanbul in the past.
Danette Chavez: Is that Batman V. Superman commercial better or worse than that Forbes profile of Lex Luthor?
Gwen Ihnat: I am the only person I know who’s super-excited for Batman V. Superman.
A.A. Dowd: Does perverse fascination count as “excited”? (Hi, everyone.)
Gwen Ihnat: Leo! “Do you think you have a chance of winning?”
Ignatiy Vishnevetsky: The order of awards. Useful info for y’all.
A.A. Dowd: Yeah, they’re kicking it off with a screenplay. That’s a change.
Nick Wanserski: My kid: “Is it called the red carpet because it’s a red carpet?” E!, I think I’ve found your next correspondent!
John Teti: Nick, your child is going to have to do better than that to beat Ignatiy’s kid in the cute-offspring-Oscar-commentary sweepstakes.
Marah Eakin: Is it possible for an actress to wear a big yellow dress without everyone thinking she looks like Belle from Beauty And The Beast? Or is it just Alicia Vikander’s dress?
Erik Adams: Why has the last 20 minutes of E!’s live red-carpet coverage featured no live coverage of the red carpet? Have they gotten through all of the arrivals already?
Marah Eakin: E! commentary on Rachel MacAdams includes: “She looks like she’s been working out.” “The leg is a big trend this year.” “I love a little sideboob on the red carpet.”
Gwen Ihnat: Apparently that Angelina Jolie right leg from a few years back is making a comeback with Rachel McAdams.
Marah Eakin: Jared Leto alert!
Marah Eakin: @KidFury’s tweets are the best right now, by the way. They’re all slightly off and hilarious.
Erik Adams: My guess is he’s riffing off the Oprah/Whoopi gaffe?
Marah Eakin: I totally agree with this:
It’s like the dress that the contestant who’s “really gifted at draping” would make.
Gwen Ihnat: E! is sucking so badly, should we switch to ABC?
Marah Eakin: I think E!’s not allowed to do live red carpet right now.
Gwen Ihnat: Let’s switch!
Danette Chavez: Heidi Klum looks like a bridesmaid from the ’70s.
Marah Eakin: Right, Danette? I hate Heidi’s dress. I have no idea why E! is so up her taffeta ass.
Gwen Ihnat: She looks like she used some leftover crepe paper from the Homecoming float.
Danette Chavez: I’m glad we’re all in agreement.
John Teti: Not me. I love it.
Marah Eakin: This is cute:
Marah Eakin: Also adorable:
Marah Eakin: This one’s just for Teti:
Marah Eakin: I hate whenever the E! women have the “OMG I just love eating” chats. Giuliana is eating sweet potato fries off-camera! And Kris Jenner says Giuliana eats more than her! It’s the TV equivalent of the “models eating” Instagram meme.
Nick Wanserski: My daughter loves all the fashion, but yeah, for most little boys this would be a visit to Jo-Ann Fabrics of entertainment.
Marah Eakin: Oh shit—E! just said this was Tilda Swinton:
That’s the trouble with the “from behind” shots E! is using. This is just embarrassing.
Nick Wanserski: Kerry Washington is rocking an amazing gladiator cuirass dress. A tasteful understated monochrome warrior-queen number.
Danette Chavez: “It’s Gucci, it’s blue; there you go.” —Ryan Seacrest has gotten really succinct.
John Teti: An important service for color-blind members of the audience. The NFL could learn a thing or two from thoughtful Ryan Seacrest.
— Tom + Lorenzo® (@tomandlorenzo) February 29, 2016
Danette Chavez: Aww, Jennifer Jason Leigh’s ready for prom.
Gwen Ihnat: If you need a tissue, Jennifer Jason Leigh has some on her dress.
Seacrest to Jennifer Jason Leigh: “May you have another glass soon!” Probably not going to be a problem, Seacrest.
Marah Eakin: Ryan Seacrest does a fairly good job of both sort of seeming to know what people are up to (#AskHerMore) and asking what someone is wearing, to his credit. Giuliana Rancic, on the other hand, is the worst. All that being said, this is mind-numbing.
Marah Eakin: Ryan Seacrest seems to know a lot about gyms. Bryan Cranston, that is not how you wear a tuxedo. What is that thing, satin? Leather?
Danette Chavez: I was just wondering that, Marah! Way too shiny. The sheen in Cranston’s tux just emphasizes the wrinkles.
Marah Eakin: Margot Robbie is wearing the dress equivalent of those internet frenzy “mermaid pillows.”
John Teti: Seacrest: “Have we ever seen the diamond belly? I guess we probably have.” Ryan was over this dress before the camera even got to the knees.
Danette Chavez: Even though her dress is green and sparkly, Saoirse Ronan’s having a Jennifer Lawrence moment in her Calvin Klein dress.
Gwen Ihnat: Now THAT’s how you wear a tux, Seacrest. Just take some fashion advice from Common.
John Teti: I really like Ryan’s gray tux. But yeah, it’s hard to beat Common’s Dolce & Gabbana. You’ve pretty much got the rainbow of possible tasteful tux choices in that screenshot.
Gwen Ihnat: I think for me wth Seacrest it’s the combo of gray tux and puffy hair upsweep. He’s like a Branson headliner.
John Teti: Who tuxed it better? Ryan Seacrest or Eddie Redmayne? (Or Common?)