11:39 p.m. ET: It’s finally here, the moment we’ve all been waiting for — best picture. And it comes a few short minutes past the scheduled end of the show. Hey, in Oscar terms, that’s practically early.
Ready for a big shock? Hope not, because as just about everyone predicted, “The King’s Speech” took the top honors.
That’s a wrap!
11:29 p.m. ET: “I have a feeling my career’s just peaked,” Colin Firth quipped as he claimed a well-deserved best actor Oscar.
Firth topped that line on his way off the stage.
“Now if you’ll excuse me I have some impulses I need to tend to backstage.”
11:20 p.m. ET: And the next leading lady to fall victim of the best actress curse is…
Natalie Portman! (OK, Benjamin Millepied, you’d better not go anywhere.)
Portman told the crowd, “I truly wish the prize tonight was to get to work with my fellow nominees.”
Me, too. I know I’d totally watch a film starring Portman, Nicole Kidman, Jennifer Lawrence and Michelle Williams. Somebody make that happen.
11:08 p.m. ET: We’re on to the biggies now!
Actress Hillary Swank and last year’s best director winner Kathryn Bigelow revealed this year’s best director — Tom Hopper for “The King’s Speech.”
Hopper pretty much gave his mom credit for the whole shebang. Got to love that.
11:00 p.m. ET: Did everyone have their hankies at the ready for the annual In Memoriam montage? Celine Dion belted out “Smile” while photos of Hollywood’s faves-gone-by filled the screen, including Jill Clayburgh, Tony Curtis, Lynn Redgrave, Leslie Nielson and Lena Horne.
But I have ask: where was Corey Haim? Sure, he wasn’t a legend, but he was worth a mention.
10:50 p.m. ET: Here’s guessing Dido won’t bow out of another Academy Awards performance, if she ever gets the chance. Florence Welch (of Florence and the Machine fame) absolutely owned her version of “If I Rise” from “127 Hours” with A.R. Rahman. Sorry, Dido.
The less said about Gwyneth Paltrow’s “Coming Home” performance the better.
As for the top honor in the best original song bunch, that went to sentimental favorite Randy Newman for his final musical installment to the “Toy Story” trilogy, “We Belong Together.”
10:40 p.m. ET: Billy Crystal is in the house! Not my house, obviously — how cool would that be? — but he is on stage at the Kodak Theatre. Oh, why won’t he agree to come back full-time and do that big song and dance and genuinely funny routine that he did so well back in the day? These young’uns have nothing on you, Billy.
I could watch Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law mock insult each other about fake indiscretions all night. Can we get these guys to host next year? The “Sherlock Holmes” co-stars put Franco and Hathaway to shame in their brief intro for the best visual effects award alone.
That one went to frequent-snagger “Inception,” by the way.
Best film editing went to Angus Wall and Kirk Baxter for “The Social Network,” which, of course, means that it didn’t go to my pick, “The King’s Speech.”
Someone’s Oscar scorecard needs a little love.
10:27 p.m. ET: For the five or six of you who watched last year’s documentary short subject and live action short film contenders, you’ll be thrilled to know “Strangers No More” and “God of Love” won their respective categories. Woot!
For the rest of us, well, I suppose that Auto-tune movie music mess that followed was meant to entertain us. Meh. It seriously needed a dose of Antoine Dodson.
Oprah Winfrey joined the crowd at the Kodak Theatre to present the award for documentaries a few more of us are familiar with — the feature length variety.
I’ll admit I was rooting for “Waste Land” or “Exit Through the Gift Shop,” but there’s no complaining about a win for “Inside Job.”
10:06 p.m. ET: Thanks to the best makeup category, “The Wolfman” is an Academy Award-winning motion picture.
The widely panned “Alice in Wonderland” won the Oscar for best costume design — the film’s second golden guy of the night.
Somewhere, genuinely good films are shaking their heads in disbelief.
9:54 p.m. ET: Matthew McConaughey and Scarlett Johansson informed us that “Inception’s” Lora Hirshberg and co. won the Oscar for best sound mixing and “Inception’s” Richard King won for best sound editing.
Now, we could all pretend we really care about the sound editing and sound mixing awards or we could take the time this award lull affords us and reflect on something really important — ScarJo’s dress. Did everyone get a gander at that overly-lacy and somewhat see-through getup? It’s bound to show up on tomorrow morning’s "worst dressed" lists and yet…I think I kind of like it.
9:45 p.m. ET: Hollywood’s favorite Aussies, Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman, took the stage to present the Academy Award for best original score.
This would be a good time to mention I’ve dumped my aforementioned imaginary Oscar arm candy, Javier Bardem, so I’m free to imaginary date Hugh Jackman. Rwoar.
The award? Oh, yeah. That went to Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross for the smooth sounds of “The Social Network.”
9:37 p.m. ET: No surprise in the best supporting actor category. This one has been a lock for Christian Bale since before his nomination was announced.
“I’m not going to drop the F-bomb (like Melissa Leo did),” Bale said. “I’ve done that plenty.”
Then Bale went all weepy when he mentioned his wife and daughter. It was almost enough to offset the creepy vibe coming from his pasty-skin-and-barely-groomed-beard look. Almost.
Here is an interview TODAY's Janet Shamlian did with the real Dicky Eklund.
9:31 p.m. ET: “In a Better World” won best foreign language film. Still, if you haven’t seen “Biutiful,” starring my imaginary Oscar date Javier Bardem, do so immediately.
9:25 p.m. ET: The awards for original screen play and adapted screenplay were presented by Josh Brolin and Javier Bardem (who can present my category anytime, if you know what I mean).
Aaron Sorkin nabbed best adapted screenplay and kicked off the long and drawn out thank you speech portion of the show. At least he ended on a high note. After thanking everyone he ever met, he added, “Roxy Sorkin, your father just won the Academy Award. I’m going to have to insist on some respect from your guinea pig.”
And “The King’s Speech” landed the first of what's likely to be many awards, as best original screenplay wentto David Seidler.
“I believe I’m the oldest person to win this award,” Seidler began. “I hope that record is broken quickly and often.”
9:07 p.m. ET: I wish every single nominee could take home a gold-dipped something in the next two categories. There isn’t a loser among them. OK, in Oscar terms, there happen to be several losers. But…
Best animated short film goes to “The Lost Thing.” Not bad, voting body. I would have also accepted “Day & Night,” “The Gruffalo” or “Let’s Pollute.”
As for best animated feature, that one belongs to “Toy Story 3.” There’s a great, big shout out to our lost childhoods. The mega-hit beat out “How to Train Your Dragon” and “The Illusionist.”
9:01 p.m. ET: Hey, Kirk Douglas! The fantastic and fragile screen legend was on-hand to crack wise and present the award for best supporting actress. He dragged out the announcement to the biggest laughs the ceremony has seen so far.
That’s right, make ‘em squirm Mr. Douglas.
Eventually he announced the winner — Melissa Leo for her role in “The Fighter. Half-way through her rambling acceptance speech, Leo drops a well-bleeped f-bomb.
Bet that wouldn’t have happened if that adorable Hailee Steinfeld won. Just sayin'.
8:49 p.m. ET: The shiny gold guys make their first appearance of the night when Hollywood’s most likeable man, Tom Hanks, presents the premiere honors.
The award for best art direction goes to Robert Stromberg for “Alice in Wonderland,” and Wally Pfister takes the gold in cinematography for “Inception.”
That means “The King’s Speech” is 0/12 so far.
And not that it was really a contender , but I feel that I should point out that “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1” is 0/2 so far. Yes, it only snagged two noms, one of which was for art direction. Of course, it would have bagged many more accolades had both middle-schoolers and fully-grown nerds, such as myself, had a say.
8:39 p.m. ET: And we’re off! Hosts James Franco and Anne Hathaway warmed up the crowd with the now-traditional, stick-the-hosts-in-all-the-best-movies montage. Funny, but not an absolute knee-slapper in the Billy Crystal tradition. He’ll forever own this gag.
Still, kudos for filling the gag with past Oscar co-host Alec Baldwin.