Hey gang! Kyle Tyler Brent here for Media Spasm, the arts and culture blog for 23- to 26-year-olds. I’m standing right outside the Kodak Theatre in beautiful Hollywood, California for the 83rd Annual Academy Awards. I’ll be here all night in the thick of it, blogging my little fingers raw, to give you the full scoop from beginning to end. They just cut the ribbon on the red carpet, and Melissa Rivers is unrolling it as we speak, so I think we’re about to start. Ready? Let’s go!
6:30 - No stars yet. But there are a ton of people here. I’m near the back of the crowd, standing on a box of Oscar ballots to get a better view.
6:33 - I see Academy President Tom Sherak standing by the theatre entrance. He does one final dust check by wiping his finger across Jeffrey Katzenberg’s brow, and they open the doors.
6:38 - I realize I’m standing right next to Terry Gross, host of NPR’s Fresh Air. I ask her what she’s doing here. (I assumed she’d send a correspondent instead.) “For the shwag,” she tells me. I bet her a ham sandwich Restrepo wins “Best Documentary Feature.”
6:45 - The first limo arrives! Wait, it’s just a freight limo with an extra shipment of crushed ice and shrimp for the urinals.
7:00 - Russell Brand arrives! So the stars can’t be far behind.
7:01 - The stars arrive!
7:02 - Jeff Bridges is first, as usual. He tells Giuliana Rancic how humbled and honored he is to be here. And he says that if people plan for heavy traffic like he did, then no one else would be late like they always are.
7:09 - Natalie Portman arrives. In further evidence that she wants to shed her “good girl” image, it appears that Portman has pierced her baby bump. Nice try, Natalie! You’re still as radiant as ever.
7:11 - Sylvester Stallone quickly compares himself to Mickey Rourke before running inside.
7:16 - Lindsay Lohan and Miley Cyrus approach one another, all smiles. It looks like they want to high five each other, as they’re both going “up high,” but … oh! Lindsay was “too slow.” Miley mimes combing her own hair.
7:38 - Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes share a loving embrace for the cameras. They speak with Ryan Seacrest about the joys of parenthood and are very excited about a new type of kissing they’ve invented, which they promise to debut in Fall of 2012.
7:47 - CNN’s Camille Grammar asks Johnny Depp what he’s wearing before showing off her own touch-screen-inspired Valentino dress.
7:55 - Jason Clingerman proudly accepts the honor of checking John Travolta’s coat.
8:00 - It’s showtime! Now, I’m not actually allowed inside the Kodak Theatre, so I quickly make my way to Press Tent 3B in the parking lot across the street. Steve Martin is the only other person in there with me. Sure, it’s not as good as seeing the show in person, but I’d like to note that the video feed to our TV monitor comes, ahem, sans seven-second delay.
8:02 - The show opens with a fairly restrained Grease medley starring our hosts, Anne Hathaway and James Franco, which then leads into a three-minute guitar solo by Slash. Robert Duvall then rises from the back of the stage in a giant glass birdcage to lead the audience through a prayer for our troops. So far, so good!
8:11 - A bleary-eyed James Franco takes the stage. He jokes that hosting the Oscars is all part of his dissertation at Yale. He follows up that joke with a 45-minute PowerPoint presentation on coastal Carolina marsh preserves.
8:57 - Anne Hathaway completely nails Darren Aronofsky with a really terrific zinger in true Hathaway fashion.
9:00 - Michelle Williams wins “Best Actress” for Blue Valentine! So, so excited for her! I never saw the film, per se, because I heard it’s devastating. But I’m so, so happy those crotchety old Academy voters actually voted for a challenging, devastating film. It’s truly devastating how happy I am right now!
9:10 - Steve Martin leaps up and pulls a microphone from his pocket when he sees Anne Hathaway snag her dress on the proscenium and wobble a little bit. Fortunately, she’s fine. And Steve Martin is at rest.
9:12 - These HD cameras really bring Haley Joel Osment’s plastic surgery scars into clear focus.
9:13 - Ben Stiller presents the award for “Sound Design” while dressed like a meth addict from Winter’s Bone.
9:19 - James Cameron is sitting right behind Leonardo DiCaprio. And this is the second time I’ve noticed Cameron trying to massage Leo’s shoulders during a video presentation. Leo leans forward in his seat and stays there.
9: 31 - Geoffrey Rush clearly wants to pick his nose. Steve Martin agrees.
9:33 - That girl from Whale Rider presents the award for “Art Direction,” loudly brushes her hands clean, and starts taking down her hair as she leaves the stage.
9:40 - Jack Nicholson continues to live for this shit.
9:50 - James Cameron leans forward to whisper something into Leonardo DiCaprio’s ear that Leo clearly doesn’t like. Leo stands to leave, but Cameron pushes him back down. They bicker during the entire “Best Foreign Language Film” presentation. At last, I see Leo mouth the word “fine” and put on the pair of RealD glasses Cameron gave him.
10:00 - Exit Through the Gift Shop wins “Best Documentary Feature,” not Restrepo as I had bet with Terry Gross.
10:01 - Terry Gross runs into our tent, panting, ready to collect her ham sandwich. I tell her to chill out. Steve Martin backs me up. Terry stands in the corner for awhile before disappearing into the parking lot.
10:07 - James Franco lets his eyes do the talking for awhile.
10:12 - The orchestra plays off Scarlett Johansson before she gets a single word in. The “Best Costume Design” nominees go unannounced.
10:16 - Mark Ruffalo accepts the award for “Best Supporting Actor” for his role as a sperm donor in The Kids Are All Right. He talks about the importance of sperm donations in his acceptance speech. Tom Cruise interrupts the speech with a single, piercing guffaw, followed by a coughing fit.
10:20 - I catch an anonymous seat filler crossing his fingers before an award was announced for the ninth time in a row.
10:29 - I swear to God, Geoffrey Rush’s right index finger is the very hungry caterpillar, inching its way towards his nose. Is no one else seeing this?
10:32 - I have to go to the bathroom. I pass Jason Clingerman at the coat check. He’s worried about tips because John Travolta was the only person to check a coat.
10:40 - Talking to Jason has made me miss Amy Adams’ acceptance speech for “Best Supporting Actress.”
10:50 - Anne Hathaway mentions that she’s the youngest host in Oscar history. She asks all the young people in the audience to stand and take a bow. She then asks all the women in the audience to stand and take a bow. She then asks all the men to stand and take a bow. James Franco then gets on his hands and knees so Anne can stand high on his back and take a bow. Anne then allows James to stand on her back and take a bow. Anne asks the audience to follow her in one more big, collective bow. She then asks all the young people to take one more big bow, but like they really mean it this time.
11:00 - Quentin Tarantino pats Betty White on the back after the “People We Lost” montage.
11:02 - Steve Martin leans over to give me a tip, should I ever find myself hosting the Oscars: save all the really good dick jokes for the commercial breaks to keep the crowd really pumped up.
11:15 - Jesse Eisenberg apologizes profusely for winning “Best Actor.”
11:21 - George Clooney reminds the audience that the advent of film would have never been possible if doorknobs hadn’t come first. He then introduces a montage of films that feature doorknobs in them.
11:29 - David Fincher wins “Best Director” for The Social Network. And someone, somewhere whispers the word MySpace for the last time in human history.
11:36 - The King’s Speech wins “Best Film.” Okay. That’s fine. It’s just a shame your victory was marred this evening when Geoffrey Rush, your “Best Supporting Actor” nominee, clearly wanted to pick his nose throughout the entire ceremony! Ask Steve Martin. He saw it.
11:40 - It’s over. Steve Martin and I rush over to the theatre to watch everyone come out.
11:44 - They gave me a gift bag! Let’s see what I got: one small black comb, Silly Bands in the shapes of all the “Best Supporting Actor” nominees’ faces, a Givenchy necklace made of iPhones, one leather-bound mug, a bunch of pomaisins (pomegranate raisins), Beyonce-brand smelling salts, a 2011 Hyundai Sonata, and a Wilco CD.
11:45 - John Travolta is furious that Jason Clingerman lost his coat.
11:47 - Amy Adams can’t say anything but “fuck yeah!” as she karate-kicks her way out of the theatre.
11:50 - Jacki Weaver, “Best Supporting Actress” nominee for Animal Kingdom, storms off into the hot L.A. night.
11:56 - It looks like most of the stars are on their way to after-parties. I ask Steve Martin if he knows of any. He says he’ll take me where the “real action” is. He’s got an extra leather jacket I can wear, and we both hop on his moped.
11:57 - I catch a glimpse of Jason Clingerman being dragged off behind the loading dock by Travolta’s goons. I feel sorry I couldn’t help him.
11:58 - I hear someone yell my name. It’s Terry Gross! She wants that ham sandwich and makes a bee-line sprint for me. “Step on it!” I yell. Steve Martin guns it, and before Terry can crawl her way out of our dust, Steve Martin and I are ten blocks down the Sunset Strip, cruisin’ on to our next great adventure.
All in all, it was a pretty fun night! Until next year, this is Kyle Tyler Brent for Media Spasm signing off!