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Oscar blog: A blow-by-blow of the night’s action

Helen A.S. Popkin will blog the Academy Awards as they happen, with all the glamour, glitz and the inevitable goofs.
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9:11 p.m PST: How you like me now?

"The Hurt Locker" takes both best director and Best Picture. Why?

As one Oscar party representative matter o' factly stated: "I think in the end ‘Avatar’ just wasn't a very good movie."

Yes, there's that.

The only thing that could've ruined this moment was the fact that the academy did its best to set women back 30 years by playing "I Am Woman" after Bigelow's Director win. (See, she's the first woman to win Best Director. Get it now? GET IT?) 

On both the Best Director and Best Picture acceptance speeches, Bigelow seems to be hyperventilating, but does OK ... even after Alec Baldwin slaps her behind.

What could've made it better for me, Helen A.S. Popkin, you ask? A nice "In your face" to Cameron would've been awesome ... but probably not very classy.

Well, as I've already seen "The Hurt Locker" like, 9 million times, I believe I will now go home and watch "Point Break," which, BTW, Bigelow also directed.

8:55 p.m. PST: Here we go again. Best Actress.

A svelte Forest Whitaker talks about directing Sandy Bullock in "Hope Floats." Michael Sheen (Tony Blair in "The Queen") talks about Helen Mirren's hot spiderweb tattoo. Peter Sarsgaard apologizes to his baby co-star Carey Mulligan from "An Education" for not telling her he was married. Oprah Winfrey busts Gabourey Sidibe for skipping school to audition for "Precious." (Meanwhile, there's Gabourey in the audience, wiping her tears.) Stanley Tucci says he's been in love with Meryl Streep for years. What is up with the TMI, guys? Sort yourselves out!

Sean Penn, in his tradmark skinny tie, blathers incoherently Spicoli-style and announces the one everyone expected, Sandra Bullock, as winner. "Did I really earn this or did I just wear y'all down?" she says. Um. ... Then she goes on to flatter her competitors ("Meryl ... you are such a great kisser") and thanking the family "The Blind Side" is based on (also in the audience). Of course, we don't get out of this speech without the tiniest reference of how she didn't always get the respect in Hollywood she deserved (just the paycheck). Sandy pulls it out in the end with a touching and tearful thank you to her mother for, among her wonderful parenting, not letting her ride in cars with boys until she was 18.

Sandy, I think you should know, "Practical Magic" is a great movie. I watch it every time it comes on cable. And it's always on cable.

8:40 p.m. PST: In a call back from last year's major Oscar misstep, five famous actors take the stage, each providing a testimonial for one of the Best Actor nominees. 

Michelle Pfeiffer blathers on about Jeff Bridges. Julianne Moore goes blah blah blah about Colin Firth.

That lady who played George Clooney's romantic interest in "Up In the Air" goes on and on about George Clooney being hot. Tim Robbins recalls his time with Morgan Freeman filming "Shawshank Redemption." Colin Farrell talks about that time he can't remember when he and Jeremy Renner went to Mexico after filming "SWAT."

Jeff Bridges, of course, wins. His speech would make "The Big Lebowski's" Dude proud. He says "man" like, a jillion times, giggles ... references his dad  Lloyd Bridges' TV show "Sea Hunt" and goes on and on to thank everyone on the planet. (He's not acting, he IS the Dude!) Anyhoo ... even with all the blathering, Bridges' speech isn't half as long or rambling as the testimonials that introduced this category.

Just sayin'.

8:22 p.m. PST: Pedro Almodóvar and Quentin Tarantino announce the winner of Best Foreign Language Film: "The Secret in Their Eyes" (Argentina).

Director Juan Jose Campanella thanks the academy for not considering "Na'vi" a foreign language.

Na'vi is the native language of Pandora. Pandora is that planet the blue people live on in "Avatar."

"Avatar" is the movie that is not going to win Best Picture.


8:13 p.m. PST: Matt Damon announces Best Documentary Feature winner, "The Cove," a documentary about dolphin slaughter in Japan. Fisher Stevens, who you remember as that creepy guy from that one thing (and also from cheating on Michelle Pfeiffer) gives the thank you speech. The group is rapidly played off stage after flashing a sign with a text number to help dolphins. So fast, I missed it.

Anyway, in a year with so many documentaries about human suffering, get ready for the obligatory "but what about the humans?" Blah blah blah.

Tyler Perry arrives to announce Best Film Editing and makes a joke about this being the only time they say his name at the Oscars (after Mo'Nique's shout out, anyway). Quick shot backstage to co-hosts Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin sharing a super-sized Snuggie! Product placement FTW!

"The Hurt Locker" wins (in your face, "Avatar!") and totally adorable couple Bob Murawski and Chris Innis accept. Enter Keanu Reeves, sounding weird and introducing an odd choice of a clip from "The Hurt Locker."

"The Hurt Locker" is going to win y'all ... unless it's "Precious." Either way, it's cool as long as it's not "Avatar."

7:58 p.m. PST: Anyway, "Up" won for Original Score. Whatever. One of the attendees at Oscar Party Caliente totally just fell asleep during the interpretive dance sequence.

OMG! Gerard Butler and Bradley Cooper just introduced Best Visual Effects! Awkward! They both totally went out with Jennifer Aniston! Allegedly!

Oh, and "Avatar" won. Shocking.

OMG! Best director is just like the Democratic presidential candidate election!

7:50 p.m. PST: Sam Worthington! Spit out the gum! Seriously, they totally need a gum wrangler up in that dump! Robert Downey Jr., Morgan Freeman, WTF? Did you bring enough for everyone in the academy?

I get that you don't get to smoke in the auditorium, but maybe try a Nicorette patch next time, huh. President Obama apparently smokes like a chimney, but you never see it nor do you ever see him chompin' away during the State of the Union, or whatever.

Sorry to rant, but I needed something to do with my hands during the interpretive dance portion of the Best Original Score. Now would be a good time to bring back Doogie Howser ... just sayin'.

(P.S. Hands up! Before he opened his gum-chompin' mouth, who thought Sam Worthington was totally Justin Timberlake?!)

7:43 p.m. PST: Demi Moore introduced James Taylor to play the Beatles' "In My Life" through the montage of those who passed in 2009. That's all I got.

7:35 p.m. PST:Elizabeth Banks is wearing a tiara.

John Travolta just introduced the "Inglourious Basterds" review ... with director Quentin Tarantino pumping his fist in the air as the camera pans across the audience to reveal "Basterds" co-star (and "Hostel" director) Eli Roth, in a tux, with a crazy Nazi-killin' look in his eye!

Which reminds me, where IS Brad Pitt? He and Angelina Jolie are totally AWOL. Is it Jennifer Aniston's turn to attend the Oscars, because we haven't seen her either.

P.S. Bad news, everybody! According to this here commercial, they're forcing "V" back on us again. Cablevision, if you're going to dump ABC again, well ...

Sandra Bullock used the word "mishagos" before announcing "Avatar" as the winner for Cinematography.

7:28 p.m. PST: Morgan Freeman just schooled the Oscar audience on sound editing and mixing by narrating scenes from "The Dark Knight," making us all sad about Heath Ledger.

And oh snap, Cameron! I told you your ex was going to put a "Hurt Locker" on you. That movie just beat out "Avatar" for Sound Editing AND Sound Mixing!

Score: "The Hurt Locker": 3 "Avatar: 1"

This better not mean "The Hurt Locker" is shut out from Best Picture or Best Director or I swear I will get on a plane and fly straight to Los Angeles ...

7:23 p.m. PST: Kristen Stewart! Stand up straight! And we totally know you were smoking a cigarette before you hit the stage with Wolf Boy to introduce that tribute to horror movies.

That said, here at the Oscar Party Caliente, we all wonder if "Jaws" can really be classified as a horror movie. Same goes for "Misery" and maybe "What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?" (More of a psychological thriller we're thinking.)

And "Beetlejuice"?! "Little Shop of Horrors"? "Edward Scissorhands"?! One is just a shout out to co-host Steve Martin, the other two ... well, they're just messing with Tim Burton!

"Twilight" may be a horror film ... but not in the way they mean it.

7:17 p.m. PST: Big upset! "The Young Victoria" takes Best Costume Design and not "Coco before Chanel," a movie about ... clothing!

Winner Sandy Powell (heretofore known as "Inglourious Basterd" for that acceptance speech) looks fabulous in a sequined number, and somewhat bored over her third win. (The other wins are from "The Aviator" and "Shakespeare in Love.") Powell totally kicked it old school and basically thanked all the little people.

Oh, and "Avatar" won for Art Direction. Enjoy it now, Cameron, because your ex-wife Kathryn Bigelow is going to put a "Hurt Locker" on you! (Unless "Precious" upsets, which it might.)

7:09 p.m. PST: Best Supporting Actress: I Told You So!


And the winner for Best Speech of the Night! Mo'Nique!

"Performance and not the politics," she says, before thanking Hattie McDaniel "for enduring everything she had to." McDaniel was the first African-American to win an Oscar. (She won Best Supporting Actress in 1940 for her role as Mammy in "Gone With the Wind.")

She also thanked Tyler Perry and Oprah Winfrey, as well as ... um... her attorney Ricky Anderson, her BET family and "my amazing husband, Sidney," for telling her that "sometimes you have to forgo doing what's popular for doing what's right."

Top that, Jeff Bridges, when you win Best Actor! (Which he will.)

Hey look! Keanu Reeves!

6:48 p.m. PST: Best Adapted Screenplay: "Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire."

First Academy Award and nomination for Geoffrey Fletcher, who can hardly breathe he's so overcome as he thanks each member of his family. Iconic moment. Cough-drop-in-the-mouth kinda feel.

"I wrote that speech for him," Steve Martin says, bringing us all back.

Find out what inspired the designers of’s favorite Academy Awards gowns.

Queen Latifah introduces the Governor Awards winners montage. Two of the winners, Roger Corman and Lauren Bacall, receive a standing ovation.

6:48 p.m. PST: ... And the winner for Best Makeup is ... "Star Trek"!

'Cause why?

Spock's ears, I guess. And aliens. Lots of aliens.

Guess Ben Stiller, in his "Avatar" makeup and tail, called it.

Up next: Mo'Nique wins Best Supporting Actress for "Precious" ... mark my words.

(Is it me, or is this thing flying by?)

P.S. Did I mention Cablevision ever so kindly switched ABC back on after the ceremony started? I guess Sen. John Kerry's nagging can really get to you after a while. (Am I right or am I right?)

6:41 p.m. PST: Let's be honest here. Nobody's seen Best Animated Short or Documentary Short Film or Live Action Short Film. That's why they had to distract us by showing some scenes from famous films from directors who previously won Best Animated Short or something.

The winner for Best Animated Short is "Logorama" by French director Nicholas Schmerkin. "It took me six years to make a 16-minute film. I hope to be back with a feature-length film in 36 years."

"Music of Prudence" wins Documentary Short Film, with most awkward acceptance speech! Ever! Filmmaker Roger Ross Williams talks about getting on the plane to Zimbabwe when Elinor Burkett butts him out of the way to go blah blah blah until the music pushes them off stage.

"The New Tenants" take it for best Live Action Short Film ... but only one of the two winners gets a chance to speak because one of them pauses too long and they cut the mike.

And then Ben Stiller in "Avatar" makeup ... he said it was between that or a Nazi uniform. He's presenting for Best Makeup. He says he shoulda worn his Spock ears, but "that would've been too nerdy." Oh snap! He's even wearing a tail!

6:28 p.m. PST: Who isn't crying? Well, you're a liar! It's the John Hughes Memorial Tribute (1950-2009) introduced by Molly Ringwald and Matthew Broderick. And the audience gasps as we are treated to John Hughes' movie scenes featuring the young Broderick, Ringwald, Robert Downey Jr., even Alec Baldwin (from "Ferris Bueller's Day Off," "Sixteen Candles," "Weird Science" and "She's Having a Baby").

Following the movie montage, the former kids came out: Jon Cryer, Ally Sheedy, Macaulay Culkin, Judd Nelson and Anthony Michael Hall, join Molly and Matthew.

"When you get older, your heart dies," Ally said.

And this just in: Cablevision just switched ABC back on for its 3.1 million subscribers in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut soon after the telecast began. What-Ever!

6:11 p.m. PST: Ryan Bingham and T. Bone Burnett win for Best Original Song for "The Weary Kind (Theme from "Crazy Heart")." Most humble speech ever. T. Bone said nothing. Just scratched his ear. He's very tall.

Who didn't see that coming? Randy Newman, probably.

(He was up for not one, but two songs from Disney's "The Princess and the Frog.")

6:02: p.m. PST: Squirrel!

As much as I would have loved a Neil Gaiman win (he wrote the original "Coraline"), there's no beating a talking dog. "Up" wins for Best Animated Feature Film.

As an intro to the category, Barbara Walters "interviewed" the animated stars. The talking dog saw the "camera" and licked it after announcing, "What is this? I will explore it!" Well, there was really no question.

That almost makes up for the fact that my Oscar ballot is now 1:1.

5:56 p.m. PST: Yes! Christoph Waltz is Best Supporting Actor for his role as a scary Nazi from "Inglourious Basterds"! In your face! My Oscar ballot is one-for-one tonight.

Penelope Cruz announces the winner! "Oscar and Penelope, that's an uber-bingo!"

Christoph totally deserved it. I still have nightmares about that opening scene from "Inglourious Basterds." Rah!

Which reminds me, where's Brad Pitt? Couldn't get a baby sitter? What?

P.S. Isn't it enough to pit "Hurt Locker" and "Avatar" against each other in every other category? Why did they sit the formerly married directors so close together? (Man, I really hope Kathryn Bigelow takes everything! In your FACE, James Cameron!)

5:48 p.m. PST: And the Oscar for best double-host intro goes to: Doogie ... er ... Neil Patrick Harris! A super glam Busby Berkeley number, apparently titled "No One Wants To Do It Alone," is the harbinger for hosts Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin descending to the blingified stage on a "Wicked"-style bubble.

The audience is then treated to a barrage of hit-and-miss jokes as Steve and Alec tick off Hollywood in-jokes to the various nominees in the audience, including the obligatory Woody Harrelson is "so high" and Meryl Streep holds most nominations for an actress ... or, as Steve likes to say, the "most losses."

Best running gag: Alec Baldwin's long, resentful staring matches with George Clooney.

5:28 p.m. PST: Red carpet interviews, Part III:

Kate Winslet just referred to acting as "The Craft."

Gabourey Sidibe just called Oscars the "Prom Night for Hollywood."

Taylor Lautner doesn't seem too sad about Taylor whats-her-head.

Meryl Streep: Looks forward to "getting off the Jimmy Choos."

Finally! This red carpet intro is over! What time does this party start, anyway? It's a school night!

5:17 p.m. PST: Red carpet interviews, Part II:

Matt Damon: He seems nice.

Helen Mirren and Christopher Plummer: Are they dating?

Morgan Freeman: Spit out that gum!

Jennifer Lopez: Where's her husband, "The Ice Truck Killer"? (Marc Anthony looks JUST LIKE the Ice Truck Killer from the first season of "Dexter." Am I right or am I right?

Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick: Dang, Carrie! That spray-on tan makes your husband look really pasty.

Cameron Diaz: Here for some reason.

5:09 p.m. PST: Red carpet interviews: Blah blah blah.

George Clooney is totally climbing a chainlink fence ... gasp. Asked: "What made you pick this role?" Um ... money. George's date apparently doesn't speak.

What will Sandra Bullock eat post Oscars?: "Nice juicy burger."

Zac Ephron: Feels like he "snuck in."

Jake Gyllenhaal, thanked for his "powerful performance in "Brothers."

Robert Downey Jr.: Forgot to bring me as his date. ... Again!

4:57 p.m. PST: Burritos here! Let the Oscars begin!

4:51 p.m. PST: Here in New York City, Oscar night means taco night! Or so it would seem. The impromptu Oscar Party Caliente I’m attending is getting nothing but busy signals and infinite hold times from the burrito joint down the street. We hope the wait pays off with burritos wrapped in gold, or at the very least, delivered tension-building envelopes. And the Seitan Chimichanga goes to …

Me! Helen A.S. Popkin, in the category of Forcing My Friends With an Antenna to Host Last Minute Academy Awards Shindig. Courtesy of the kerfuffle between Cablevision and Disney, ABC’s parent company, I’m not the only New Yorker scrambling for alternate Oscar viewing plans.

The two titans couldn’t get it together regarding money manners, and ABC went dark this morning at  12:01 a.m. ET. Luckily, the promise of free Mexican food secured my place on the couch a cable-free home with one of those DIY antennas.  Alas, cable-free means no E! Red Carpet snarking … just Barbara Walters in what she promises to be her last Oscars interview show. Ever.

(Fingers crossed!)

You're all invited to Helen A.S. Popkin's Oscar Afterparty that Never Ends when you follow her on  or friend her on