Oscars: Even more bloated than ‘Idol’

by By Dave White /  / Updated  / Source: msnbc.com contributor

Get the latest from TODAY

Sign up for our newsletter

I live in Los Angeles and trust me, you don’t want to be here for this. The traffic is a nightmare, even on the little side streets. You’re better off being far away from it all. To that end, I’m happily in the San Fernando Valley on a friends’ big soft couch and there is some amazing shepherd’s pie and chicken casserole in the oven as I write this.

It’s the only thing I can really focus on right now because all they have on E!’s  red carpet coverage right now are the loser we-screwed-up-and-showed-up-first celebrities. For the record, that would be James McAvoy (the goat-man or whatever he was in “Narnia”) and then Peter Sarsgaard and Maggie Gyllenhaal. Maggie is presenting, but seriously, why is she there so early? OK, that’s all I have to say until the show starts...

8:13 pm ET
You know, I thought they were going to start this show right on time but ABC thinks they’re going to be as crazy as Ryan Seacrest showing everyone his underwear on E! And yes, he totally did that. Classing things up is just his job.

8:22 pm
Andre Leon Talley is the greatest red carpet host ever. All he wants is to talk about and love clothes. Right now he’s gushing about Cate Blanchett’s history of belt-wearing.

This is much more interesting than anything Ryan Seacrest has said in the last 120 minutes.

And that purple jacket is knocking me off my chair.

I just got an instant message from a friend who’s watching this show at a nudist party. I want to know if the naked people care about the outfits as much as I do. Probably not.

8:24 pm

Kate Winslet is mere steps away from Beard Papa, the awesome Japanese cream puff chain of shops. They have one at the Hollywood and Highland complex where the Kodak Theater is. That’s where the “American Idol” finale goes down too. Dang, I want one of those cream puffs now. I have no idea what Kate Winslet just said...

8:28 pm
Okay it's over, that boring red carpet crud. On to the show. I'm going to miss you, Andre Leon Talley.

8:30 pm
It starts with a clip show of nominees being “natural” and “off the cuff” and, of course, the tech people are the coolest ones. The stars aren’t used to being human beings anymore.

Philip Glass says nothing: he’s minimalist!

8:40 pm
Ellen looks cool. I like that velvet tux. She looks like a magician. 

I want her to start pulling out rabbits, pouring milk into her fist, sawing Portia in half. That would be fun. She’s saying funny stuff, which is her job of course, so it’s good that she’s doing her job. Seriously, though, nice outfit.

Now she’s introducing the nominees, the youngest and the oldest, Abigail Breslin and Peter O’Toole. She points out Jennifer Hudson, who has taken off the metallic crisping envelope she wore to the show. I hope you got a chance to see it on the red carpet. It was like if Labelle were being slow-roasted to golden brown goodness on the outside and moist and flavorful inside.

Ellen says if there were no blacks, Jews and gays there would be no Oscars. Cameras cut to some blacks, Jews and gays. Someone hands Ellen a tamborine and suddenly a gospel choir is making things awesome. I want a choir to follow me around all the time...

8:47 pm
Time for the first award. Mutually gorgeous people Daniel Craig and Nicole Kidman are presenting for something. I have no idea what. I can’t stop looking at both of them. Nicole looks like the coolest Christmas present ever. Oh, awesome,  “Pan’s Labyrinth” just won for Art Direction. Now I know what the award is for. It took me a second to catch up…

8:55 pm
Will Ferrell is singing! So is Jack Black!

Cut to Peter O’Toole, who has no idea who these cats are, even though they just called him out from the stage. Oh good, John C. Reilly has made it a trio of decent. And now that they’re done singing, it’s time to give “Pan’s Labyrinth” the makeup award...

And I was right. I’m amazing at predicting EVERYTHING.

So now the score is Mexico: 2, America: 0

9:03 pm
Abigail Breslin and Will Smith’s kid with the incredibly long name present for Best Animated Short. Get it? Because they’re animated? And they’re short?

Winner, read by Abigail Breslin because she can actually read, is...

“The Danish Poet.”

The winner is very happy.

And they keep the kids on stage to give the award for Best Live Action Short. One of them has some guys making out in it, from the looks of it. The one about the singing/dancing Jews and Palestinians wins!

9:08 pm
Commercials are happening. While they are happening I want to say that I love the practice of cutting to random celebrities while nobodies win awards for best short this or that. Like just now they cut to Gwyneth Paltrow while somebody Not Famous won and you could see the “I don’t care about you” look on her face...

9:18 pm
I’m really into the Salute to Sound Effects choir. I want these people to be the ones who interrupt the winners who go long, like with thundering hooves and the sound of bees buzzing. Beyoncé likes it too, says the cutaway. And I like Beyoncé’s dress, all covered in Green Giant peas and beans and grapes.

Now the award for Sound Editing, presented by Greg Kinnear and Steve Carell. And the “Pirates of the Caribbean” shut-out starts here. They’re boring, of course. But I’d rather hear them talk for an hour than listen to the voiceover woman who gives out the pop-up video factoids as people walk down the aisle. The sound effects guy’s dad survived Iwo Jima. I’m glad about that, but...

Oh, now here’s Jessica Biel and the guy from “Narnia.” More sound awards I think. Jessica Biel can’t believe she’s here. Yes, Sound Mixing. “Dreamgirls” wins. Cut to Jennifer Hudson, who wants to jump out of her seat everytime someone says that movie’s title.

9:25 pm
Rachel Weisz is here to tell you about the trials of each of these brave, brave best supporting actor nominees. Djimon Hounsou spent weeks under the hot sun in Africa. Eddie Murphy didn’t wear latex! He actually overdosed! Jackie Earle Haley actually castrated himself.

How these men even made it here alive is a testament to their integrity.

Alan Arkin wins. As he walks to the podium, the camera pans past Beyoncé and you CAN SEE RIGHT UP HER DRESS! WHOO HOO! Then he reads The Gettysburg Address.

9:35 pm
Things no one in this particular house cares about:

1. The dancers making shapes of things.

2. Randy Newman. And now, by extension, James Taylor. But minus Randy Newman we all agree that James Taylor is awesome. Okay, wait, now we’re all arguing about who is boring and who is rad. And it’s a draw.

3. Melissa Etheridge and PSA song about the environment. My friend Dennis just told me that he saw Etheridge in concert this past summer and she was lobbying Academy voters in the audience even then, like, “Provided the world doesn’t flood before February of ’07, I would like an Oscar.”

9:40 pm
Al Gore and Leo!

Leo wants to know if Al has something to announce.

Al says, “Yes, I want to announce that my face is huge.” Okay, just kidding. He announces that he is grateful to Hollywood. Jerry Seinfeld is making a freaky face in the audience.

Well played, camera operators. Now Leo is talking about how the show is now “green” and everyone is applauding how incredible they all are for minimizing this year’s show’s methane emissions.

9:45 pm
My friend at the nudist party hasn’t phoned, hasn’t IM’d, nothing. My naked friends are completely unreliable. I have to know what the nude people think about this amazing green show! They’re so selfish, those nudists. Cameron Diaz is here, presenting for Best Animated Feature. The winner is “Happy Feet,” the weirdest animated film of the year definitely. But it wasn’t as cool as “Monster House.”And now Oscar-winning screenwriter Ben Affleck (yeah, he does, remember?) presents a montage tribute to writers, from writer-director Nancy Meyers, who writes awful, awful movies. So that’s appropriate.

9:55 pm
Tom Hanks and Helen Mirren present for Best Adapted Screenplay. God I hope “Borat” wins. It must. Or there’s no sense in going on with life...

“The Departed” wins. Whatever. Man, Crispin Glover has really let himself go...

Writer makes speech, speech, speech... Jack Nicholson is asleep, Peter O’Toole can’t figure out why all these people are talking...

10:10 pm
It has just been announced, for no good reason, from one gay in the room with me, “I LOVE ANNE HATHAWAY!”

Heroic feats of modeling are taking place as living costume dioramas are brought out on stage. And “Marie Antoinette” just won! I loved that movie. Almost no else did. Oh look, I had no idea that Georges Sand was also a costume designer. And still alive.

It would be funny if all the models from losing movies stomped off the stage or started fighting.

OK, next it’s Crazy in 3... 2... 1...

Crazy is here. Tom Cruise is presenting the humanitarian award to Sherry Lansing, rolling off a list of selfless acts committed by the woman. But why does everything Tom Cruise says sound like a lie? He could be reciting the Periodic Table and you’d think he was making it all up. But apparently Sherry Lansing is the new Mother Teresa. My friend Dennis, in the midst of the litany of her amazing accomplishments, says, “What’s going on with her lips?”

Lansing emerges in a whoosh of gorgeous dress and bones. I know one humanitarian who hasn’t eaten in three weeks.

10:20 pm
Gwyneth “Kidman” Paltrow is here to present the award for cinematography. Little known fact: her dress is made entirely of lox!

Oh, right on, more awards for “Pan’s Labyrinth”! That movie is so good. If you haven’t seen it then you’re one of those doofusses who probably spent money on a ticket to “Norbit.” Stop doing that!

I just figured out that the orchestra is playing “So Long, Farewell” from “The Sound of Music” to get these boring winners off the stage. I approve.

10:30 pm
Robert Downey, Jr. is making a drug joke about himself. Good one, William S Burroughs. Naomi Watts, his co-presenter in the visual effects award, is officially afraid and/or annoyed by him now. 

“Pirates” wins instead of whoever made the gay-looking computer Superman. Cut to Beyoncé again. She smiles. She is programmed to smile at all times.

Next up is Catherine Deneuve and Ken Watanabe. I can barely understand a word Watanabe is saying. Does that make me a bad person?

I suppose it does. They’re talking about foreign language films, so why aren’t they subtitled? They run a montage of movies most of you haven’t seen. I think that makes you the bad people, frankly.

Now Clive Owen and Cate Blanchett present the Best Foreign Language Film Award. It better be “Pan’s Labyrinth”... And it’s not. “The Lives of Others” takes it. It’s fine, I guess. 

The director has a great name though: Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck.

WHOA, JOCELYN WILDENSTEIN IS IN THE AUDIENCE! Oh wait, it’s Faye Dunaway.

10:40 pmGeorge Clooney is here to give Jennifer Hudson her Oscar.

The roomful of gays I’m with are sure of it...

Okay, other names, other names, JENNIFER HUDSON, other names...

Cut to Jennifer Hudson, whose face is always like, “Wow, I’m in a movie!”

And the winner is JENNIFER HUDSON, WHO I LOVE. She’s crying, she just hugged Beyoncé, she’s crying some more, thanks her Grandma and Bill Condon and JENNIFER HOLLIDAY. Good thing you did that, honey, because she was waiting outside with a rifle if you didn’t. And why did they just orchestra her off stage? Why do they think people even watch this stupid show? We want to see the beloved nominee cry.

10:50 pm
Gael Garcia Bernal and Eva Green are presenting for Best Documentary Short. I saw Gael Garcia Bernal and Natalie Portman at my local Whole Foods this morning, cutely rumpled together and shopping for pastries. I know, who cares? Then the movie about AIDS in China wins. One of the gays in the room says that if you’re gay you can’t adopt a baby in China. 

I believe that. We wonder how they know you’re gay? Do they ask you trick questions? Like “What did you think of ‘Dreamgirls’?” And then if you gasp and go, “Ohmigod, I LOVE ‘Dreamgirls’!” then you don’t get your Chinese baby.

Here comes Jerry Seinfeld to present for Best Documentary. They cut to George Lucas, who is SO RICH YOU CAN’T EVEN BELIEVE IT.

The docs are about how priests are raping your kids, how the world is coming to an end, how the Middle East is about to explode, how Christians want to brainwash your children before handing them over to the priests and how the Middle East is about to explode, part two. And the winner is... “The World Is Coming To An End.”

Accepting for “The World is Coming To And End” is Al Gore and the guy who directed the trashy fun Kate Hudson movie “Gossip.” Leo wants to kiss him so badly right now he’s sweating. Al Gore, that is, not the “Gossip” director.

10:59 pm
Clint Eastwood is here to present Ennio Morricone with the lifetime achievement award. Of course he deserves that. “The Good, The Bad & The Ugly,” “The Mission,” “Danger Diabolik,” “Exorcist 2: The Heretic”: he scored the sh-- out of those movies. That disco theme from “Exorcist 2” is especially why he’s here tonight. Now there’s a montage of his movies. All of them look regal. You can do that in a montage. 

You can make “Skatetown USA”  look important if you put it in a montage. And so anyway, OH DAMMIT IT’S CELINE DION. WHY?! 

She borrowed Gwyneth’s lox-dress to sing a song for us all tonight. Yawning now...

11:00 pm
We just paused the TiVo on Celine’s pursed lips. That made it all worthwhile. Someone in the room just yelled, “Sing ‘Titanic’!”

11:02 pmNow Ennio Morricone is speaking Italian. Cut to Quincy Jones, who’s wearing a jacket he bought at Zhang Ziyi’s garage sale yesterday. No one knows what’s happening. 

Clint is totally making up translation for Morricone.

11:20 pm
Penelope Cruz and Wolverine just gave “Babel” an award for something. Score, I think. That movie is bad.

Except Rinko Kikuchi. She was great. But everything else about it is crap. But it does prove that Mexican cinema is muy caliente now. It’s official.

Now Kirsten Dunst and Tobey Maguire. Her dress is dividing the room. 

It’s original screenplay time. “Little Miss Sunshine” just won. And the winner dude just used the word “funnest.”

And finally, here come the magic shadow dancing people who’ve been literally interpreting nominee titles all night. A guy comes out as The Devil, who will soon be wearing Prada, as soon as the other shadow dancing people come out to form a giant shoe around him. What can’t these movement artists do?

Everyone at our party is getting bored and tired...

11:32 pm
They’ve fixed Jennifer Lopez’s hair. She’s introducing the “Dreamgirls” songs. Here come the battling divas...

What I like about Beyoncé in this moment is that she’s like, “Oh yeah? Not gonna nominate me? I’ll show you all.” She’s gonna sing that song so hard her weave is gonna fly off her head.

And then comes Anika Noni Rose — who has a Tony Award already, by the way — to sing the song about how she’s in this movie, too, dammit.

My partner just said, “Now all of you get behind that scrim and make the shape of Iwo Jima!”

Queen Latifah and the toxic John Travolta and his freaky hairpiece give the best song to Melissa Etheridge and her barfy song. Suddenly the room is making lesbian sex jokes. I can’t repeat them here. But it’s okay because the room is about 90 percent homosexual.

11:50 pm
Kate Winslet in her amazing dress is presenting the editing award. It would be nice if “Children of Men” could win something. But Thelma Schoonmaker wins. She deserves it, too. She’s Michael Powell’s widow, in case you don’t know. And if you just said, “Who’s Michael Powell?” then you and me, we can’t be friends. The camera cuts to Nicholson standing up in the wings, on the nod.

I have no idea why.

Jodie’s here to present the dead people. Who gets the most applause? 

Let’s find out!

  • Glenn Ford
  • Bruno Kirby
  • Alida Valli
  • Betty Comden
  • Jane Wyatt
  • Don Knotts
  • Red Buttons
  • Gill Pontecorvo
  • Darren McGavin
  • Richard Fleischer
  • Sven Nykvist
  • Joe Barbera
  • Tamara Dobson
  • Gretchen Rau
  • June Allyson
  • Gordon Parks
  • Philippe Noiret
  • Maureen Stapleton
  • Jack Wild
  • Vincent Sherman
  • James Doohan
  • Shohei Inamura
  • Carlo Ponti
  • Peter Boyle
  • James Glennon
  • Sidney Sheldon
  • Jack Palance
  • Mako
  • Jack Warden
  • Basil Poledouris
  • Henry Bumstead
  • Jay Presson Allen
  • Robert Altman

Robert Altman got the most applause. And they left out Chris Penn. Why?

12:02 pmAnd oh yeah, what about indie actress and brutally murdered person Adrienne Shelly? What about her?

Okay, here’s Philip Seymour Hoffman and his gnarly hair. What is wrong with you, man? Fix that stuff. Borrow a comb from someone. Get it together. He’s presenting for Best Actress. Judi Dench isn’t here so they throw up a picture of her on a vacation in Santa Fe, drowning in turquoise necklaces. 

And the winner is Helen Mirren. Welcome to tonight’s foregone conclusion. She brings her purse onstage and unlike the ones every other actress in Hollywood, it’s a small bag that won’t fit several Oscars and pets. Her speech makes almost no sense, but then I’m kind of not paying attention anymore.

Now we’re back and backstage host Chris Connelly is jawing on and on about nothing. Philip Seymour Hoffman passes him and you can see the back of Hoffman’s head and there’s a huge bald patch in the back like an animal has gnawed a chunk out of his hair. Seriously, I don’t understand this at all. Who will win stuff? asks Connelly, as gloved white hands reach for a sample statuette and is dusting its groin. Things are spinning out of control

Then come some commercials and when we return Ellen is vacuuming the rug on the front row. Which celebs will play along? Ryan Gosling lifts his feet, as does Penelope Cruz. Guess who doesn’t? That’s right, that would be the annoying Gwyneth Paltrow.

12:13 pm
Best Actor time. Reese Witherspoon is here to give Forest Whitaker his award. And the winner is Forest Whitaker, making this the night’s second foregone conclusion.

Now he will cry. Watch...

Okay his wife is crying...

And Will Smith is crying...

And Peter O’Toole thinks he’s about to win...

Okay he didn’t cry like at the Globes. He started talking about the afterlife instead.

Now come Spielberg, Coppola and George Lucas, as the voiceover guy calls them “the original three amigos,” but he’s wrong: that was Steve Martin, Martin Short and Chevy Chase.

Martin Scorsese wins finally, after all these years, and the voiceover lady who talks people up the aisle prattles on about how Scorsese was going to go into seminary but then he “CHANNELED HIS PASSION INTO FILM!” Before, when Mirren won, she rapped about how once upon a time, a fortune teller told Dame Helen that her career would come together in her 40s. So now you know that fortune tellers are liars, and that this voiceover lady needs to get a new gig next year.

12:20 pm
Diane Keaton is presenting Best Picture with Jack Nicholson. He “lets” her read the nominees because he’s the laziest man on Earth. His job is simply to be a “presence” now. Keaton takes the ball. She looks pretty great, too, I must say. Then he takes his turn reading the winner.

And “Dreamgirls” wins!  I mean “The Departed.” So anyway, that’s all. I can stop typing. At least it wasn’t “Babel.” Producer Graham King accepts. That guy looks like he ate Matt Damon and Vera Farmiga, which explains their absence tonight. I get to make jokes like that because I’m a thickly set gentleman myself.

Go, Rochester Big & Tall!

Ellen says goodnight. Confetti rains down on everyone like they forgot this wasn’t the finale of “American Idol.”  Helen Mirren is about to start singing “A Moment Like This.”

And this ends the bloated endless awards season for another several months. Oh look, they’re showing recap clips of Jack Black, Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly singing. That was six hours ago....

Dave White is the film critic for Movies.com and the author of “Exile in Guyville.” Find more of him at .

Get the latest from TODAY

Sign up for our newsletter
MORE FROM today