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Fugging the Oscars


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For most of the red-carpet dog-and-pony show, we were perplexed by Jennifer Hudson’s froofy gold bolero made of alligator skin (or croc? snake? whatever — the point is, it was fashioned after the hide of something that would eat us if we gave it the chance). That is, until the ABC broadcast began, and deliciously flamboyant Vogue man-about-town André Leon Talley introduced a montage of his efforts at helping Hudson get a custom-made Oscar de la Renta. We should have known. From his fetish for reptilian textures to his recent penchant for tacky coats, Hudson’s hella-shiny jacket does scream A.L.T. more than anyone. Too bad for her that the Supporting Actor/Actress awards were moved to later in the ceremony; now she has to wait until much nearer to the end to exhale and get drunk.

Still, there’s plenty for us to write about, even if the early awards are probably the more boring ones. Without further ado, allow us bitches to bring you the blogged-up 79th Annual Academy Awards.

8:32 p.m. In the middle of a pretty charming opening piece in which the Oscar nominees talk about the experience of being nominated, we realize we’re already over Jennifer Hudson and she hasn’t even won yet.

8:36 p.m. We like Ellen’s red velvet tux, but we’re pretty sure Randy Quaid gave those shiny white shoes to Chevy Chase’s character in National Lampoon’s Vacation. Which isn’t a compliment, even though that movie brought us so many wonderful memories of … well, we’re sure there are some.

8:42 p.m. Ellen’s monologue is surprisingly stale. She relaxes us — she’s like the Xanax of Oscar hosts — and she’s delivering it well, but Al Gore–election jokes are kinda 2004. And we’re sort of over all the “Forget being nominated, everyone wants to win” cracks. Sorry, Ellen. But hey, at least we know she’s not going to do anything that 

8:42:30 p.m. Sweet GOD, she has a tambourine.

8:43 p.m. Oh, Ellen. Musical interaction with the audience is so Billy Crystal. You’re better than that.

8:45 p.m. The first award is Art Direction, which the Pan’s Labyrinth crew wins. It’s already a sad night when the pirate movie loses first. Not that we don’t love labyrinths, or pans, but we love pirates.

8:49 p.m. HEATHER: Oh, my GOD, it’s interpretive dance. JESSICA: OH, MY GOD. HEATHER: It’s the Oscars as styled by Grey Ant. JESSICA: OH, MY GOD, it’s INTERPRETIVE DANCE where the people TURNED THEMSELVES INTO AN OSCAR. HEATHER: Who knew this was a horror-themed awards show?

8:50 p.m. We head into the first commercial break of the night with a shot of the announcer dudes backstage. Remember the year that they had Peter Coyote chained back there? We’re glad he doesn’t have to do that anymore.

8:54 p.m. People think we hate everything, but we love Will Ferrell, even with that weird curly hairdo that’s one laurel wreath away from being Roman. His number with Jack Black and John C. Reilly about how they plan to beat the crap out of all the nominees, take Helen Mirren home for some sweet loving, and then transform themselves into “serious actors” playing such roles as an armless, legless man who teaches gangbanger Hamlet, was pretty funny. We take back some of what we said about musical numbers. Evidently our major problem with them is just when they involve Billy Crystal. And, hey, Helen Mirren’s happy — she was beaming, all, “Hey, everyone wants to get into my pants!”

8:57: p.m. Best Makeup. Pan’s Labyrinth is our only winner so far, having swept the first two, and the orchestra responded to the touching cascades of tears from the honorees by playing them off-stage — our first booting of the night. Those guys should watch out, though, because the Pan’s Labyrinth crew can send untold nightmares their way. Have you seen the thing with the eyeball palms?

9:00 p.m. The entire auditorium, and the living room in which we’re devouring pretzels, melts at the sight of Abigail Breslin and Jaden Smith presenting an award together. A million biological clocks start ticking in fast-forward. They’re giving out the prize for Best Animated Short, ushering in the part of the evening where we have no idea what should win, or will win. If there’s anything with Nazis, that will win — the Academy loves it some Nazis — or maybe The Little Matchgirl will take it, since young people die in that one and it looks hugely depressing. But then, up comes No Time for Nuts, and if that wins, it’s a crime — there is ALWAYS time for nuts, people. Don’t send the wrong message. Think of the children.

9:01 p.m. Jaden Smith reads the wrong line off the TelePrompTer and shrugs it off with the kind of charisma that makes it clear Will Smith is absolutely responsible for half his DNA. Our wombs ping again. The winner, though, is The Danish Poet, which … we’re sure it’s very good, and at least it’s not the one with the anti-nut title.

9:04 p.m. Best Live Action Short time! We are all pulling for West Bank Story, the one that looks like it’s some kind of Israeli Bollywood musical, which looks awesome. For once, we get our wish. Also, the winner, Ari Sandel, is pretty cute.

9:04 p.m. STOP THE PRESSES. WHY IS JACK NICHOLSON BALD? Seatmate Djimon Hounsou is clearly trying not to look, staring as resolutely forward as possible, as if to camouflage his thoughts: “Don’t look at him. Don’t LOOK AT HIM.” Nice try. Seriously, Jack is as smooth as a cue ball. Is he playing Mr. Clean in an upcoming biopic The Dirt in the Corners, about life, love, and lemon-fresh antiseptic cleaning fluid?

9:11 p.m. As much as we’d like to make fun of the choir of Foley artists “singing” the sound effects that belong in mute clips, we can’t knock them. These people never get any face time, and what they do — and are doing onstage here — is amazing. Plus, when they simulate wind, we can make all kind of immature, “This choir BLOWS!” jokes.

9:13 p.m. Steve Carrell and Greg Kinnear present the Sound-Effects Editing award, complete with masturbation jokes. Yes, masturbation jokes. The mustached team from Letters From Iwo Jima wins. But we have no idea what they say because the next category is so full of pressure 

9:17 p.m. It’s here! The sound-mixing category is here! And no, we’re not being facetious. Nominee Kevin O’Connell, one of the Apocalypto mixers, is the Susan Lucci of the Oscars with eighteen nominations and zero wins. We don’t even care about Jessica Biel’s tight dress, nor James McAvoy’s bedhead. We just want to KNOW.

9:19 p.m. And … denied. Dreamgirls snatches it from O’Connell’s hungry hands. Even the orchestra is steamed, because they play off the sound-mixing guys.

9:21 p.m. Best Supporting Actor. Eddie Murphy looks nervous. Mark Wahlberg looks hot. What? It’s true. We’re just thrilled to see someone who once had a Funky Bunch doing so well for himself.

9:23 p.m. Eddie Murphy — and our living room — can’t believe it when Alan Arkin takes it! The Norbit curse strikes for the first, and likely not the last, time! Arkin’s apparently an optimist, because he actually has a speech prepared. We review the loser’s reactions in slo-mo and Murphy looks peeved (Alan, be warned: Do not accept any free beverages from strangers at the after-parties.) Wahlberg still looks hot.

9:25 p.m. Ellen takes to the audience and chats up a very cheery Martin Scorsese, handing him a script to review. AND THEN THEY RUIN THE MOMENT WITH MORE INTERPRETIVE DANCE. Did we learn NOTHING from that time Rob Lowe danced with Snow White? Don’t dance! We know we’re supposed to be amazed when the dance troupe turns their bodies into little penguins, but it kind of freaks us out. Make the dancing stop.

9:30 p.m. Two notes into James Taylor’s song and we already want to bash our heads against the wall. Well, some of us do; a friend of ours is busy reminiscing about a synchronized swimming routine she once performed to “Whenever I See Your Smiling Face.” It’s like we don’t even know her.

9:31 p.m. Is anyone still awake? Aside from James Taylor? Even Randy Newman on the piano seems to be nodding off a tad.

9:33 p.m. Melissa Etheridge hears our call, apparently. Her song from An Inconvenient Truth is called “I Need to Wake Up.” We miss “It’s Hard Out There for a Pimp,” though; that’s a message that will never stop being important. Everyone in the audience puts on their Serious, Concerned About the Environment faces.

9:36 p.m. Al Gore comes out with Leonard DiCaprio. They go on for quite a while about how they want us to recycle. Thanks. We’re then treated to some long shtick where Al Gore announcing his candidacy for president is cut off by the impatient orchestra. It’s kind of amusing but would be MORE amusing if they hadn’t already actually done that to a bunch of tech dudes.

9:44 p.m. Best Animated Feature goes to Happy Feet. We didn’t think we were going to have anything to say about that, but George Miller, the producer, accepts the award in white tie with a smashing white ascot and tiny round glasses. We’re suckers for oddballs.

9:49 p.m. A cranky-looking Ben Affleck introduces a montage about writers — the Neurotic Stress-Case Montage, if you will (not nearly as affecting as the Dead Person’s Montage, though, which we’re still eagerly awaiting). Après-montage, Helen Mirren and Tom Hanks present Best Adapted Screenplay, which goes to The Departed. It’s nice to see the award go to one of the films that was written by only one person, rather than a whole committee.

9:52 p.m. It strikes us during William Monahan’s rather dull speech that maybe Jack is bald to support Britney Spears. To which we say, thanks for the thought, Jack, but where were you when she needed her wedding to K-Fed called off? Or when she decided to sell her home movies? Or when she licked Snoop Dogg’s tongue in that one video? WHERE?!?

10:00 p.m. Best Costume is presented by Anne Hathaway and Emily Blunt, who go through some yadda yadda in which they pretend they are still working for a devilish Meryl Streep. Although this sort of scripted shtick can be painful, a stony Streep manages to sell it. In a change from the usual routine, the costumes are worn onstage by extras. It’s a very strong category, full of wigs, spangles, petticoats, and hats that look like ships. We’ll take one of everything, please. Marie Antoinette wins it, and the designer gives a charming, French-accented speech in which she thanked “everybody who had anything to do with this movie.” We’re pleased with her efficiency.

10:05 p.m. Oh, my God, Tom Cruise has finally cut his bangs! He looks good. And short, when he presents the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award to Sherry Lansing, who looks lovely in a black and red gown — and edges Cruise out in the height category. As he hands her the award and whispers in her ear, we can only imagine that he was gruffly informing her that this is her first high-heel warning, and for the next offense she’ll have to take three Scientology classes.

10:10 p.m. Martin Scorsese is in a GREAT mood, laughing jovially during a bit where Clint Eastwood rags on Ellen for handing Marty a script and not him. Spielberg then snaps a pic of Clint and Ellen “for [her] MySpace page,” and Dina Eastwood couldn’t be more excited about leaning into the frame to look at it. She looks great, and she’s belly-laughing like crazy. Maybe she and Marty were pre-partying at the same bar.

10:12 p.m. As we engage in a rousing chorus of, “Gwyneth, GET YOUR HAIR OUT OF YOUR FACE,” Ms. Paltrow obliges. We knew it! They can hear us through the TV. She dishes out the Best Cinematography Oscar to Guillermo Navarro for Pan’s Labyrinth, while David Bowie puts in a call to his manager to organize a rerelease of his Labyrinth, in the hope that confused Oscar watchers will cause a massive spike in residuals.

10:15 p.m. The Inanimate Object Dancers made a minivan, à la Little Miss Sunshine. Our question is, how do you figure out that your great talent is a combination of writhing and shadow puppetry?

10:21 p.m. Robert Downey, Jr. and a resplendently pregnant Naomi Watts present the Visual Effects Oscar. We are desperately hoping the rogue wave from Poseidon will take it home, because that movie is unmatched in brilliant awfulness, but the Pirates of the Caribbean people win it. We have to be okay with that, despite the very awkward joke the designated speaker makes about “four blind kids from the Bronx” making it in visual effects. You want to dish out blind jokes, sir? Then talk about Cameron Diaz’s dress.

10:23 p.m. Catherine Deneuve and Ken Watanabe introduce a montage celebrating foreign films, because the Academy likes to be very literal. But we admit we completely zoned out during their intro — it went on forever, although that did give us plenty of time to dream of aging as gracefully as she has. We come back from the montage to the dreamy duo of Clive Owen and Cate Blanchett, who give Best Foreign Film to The Lives of Others, this year’s German entry. They’re very pretty together, but it’s a bit of a waste of Deneuve and Watanabe.

10:33 p.m. Glorious George Clooney glides out on a cloud of deliciousness to present Best Supporting Actress. Abigail Breslin and her stuffed Curious George look so excited, Jennifer Hudson looks like she might vomit, and Rinko Kikuchi just seems happy to be there. Hudson not only wins but gets to TOUCH George Clooney, and they cut away from the hug between her and Beyoncé — presumably just in case Miss B. clawed out her kidneys. Mercifully, she has shed the gold jacket; the dress is better, but we’re still just blown away that someone from American Idol has an Oscar. Next up: Paula Abdul. The militant orchestra starts tickling the ivories to rush Hudson off, and she hurriedly spits out the name of iconic Broadway star Jennifer Holliday — who created the part of Effie — and then walks RIGHT PAST CLOONEY without even breathing in his suave, tasty air. Fortunately she corrected that error a minute later, but not in time to stop us all from wailing loud, violent complaints about her common sense.

10:42 p.m. Eva Green and Gael García Bernal present documentary short subject. As usual, Green looks like she’s about to eat our face off. The Oscar goes to The Blood of Yingzhou District, which we’re sure is just hilarious. However, the Thomas Lennon who won is not, in fact, the same Thomas Lennon from Reno: 911. Which means there are probably substantially fewer fart jokes in this film, and that can only be considered a compliment.

10:45 p.m. Jerry Seinfeld is presenting the award for the best feature-length documentary. We’re fairly certain he wrote his own spiel, as he’s actually making us laugh with his cracks about movie concessions and littering, and also, he’s talking as long as he damn well pleases. Jack Nicholson is immensely amused, but maybe he’s just looking at his own reflection. Anyway, the award — almost an afterthought, really — goes to An Inconvenient Truth, which is great and all, but we were really rooting for Jesus Camp. Synchronized dance to Jesus-themed rap songs? We’re in!

10:50 p.m. Clint Eastwood begins a salute to Ennio Morricone. Bad sign: Morricone looks bored already. The audience applauds for the memorable The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly theme, among others.

10:54 p.m. Wow, lots of others.

10:55 p.m. Bulworth? Wonder if he wanted to be remembered for that one.

10:56 p.m. Oh, this is why Celine Dion is here — she’s singing a world premiere of a song Morricone wrote for an upcoming movie, and wow, he could not look less excited about it. If you snapped your fingers in front of his face, he wouldn’t even blink. Ennio, we’re a little over Celine also, but look alive, okay? And, we have to hand it to her — she can still move her facial muscles (take a note, Nicole Kidman).

10:58 p.m. We have reached the point in the show where we feel like it’s never going to end. Morricone finally gets to speak, eight minutes into his tribute. We’re hoping he’ll just be all, “Thanks,” and walk off stage, but instead he delivers an Italian speech that is apparently very touching, because he is crying. Clint reads the translation off the TelePrompTer, unless he’s fluent in Italian, which he might well be — the guy is talented. Everyone else in the audience is watching him with either a furrowed brow or a very encouraging expression, as if giving him all the silent hug vibes in the world will make him spit it out a bit faster.

11:02 p.m. Penélope Cruz and Hugh Jackman present Best Original Score to the folks from Babel. The Academy announcers provide a fun fact, telling us that the winner’s main goal was for his score not to sound like a National Geographic documentary. The documentarians in the house are pissed.

11:10 p.m. Ellen DeGeneres dares the president of the Academy to tell us everything he wants to about the loveliness of his organization in 60 seconds or less. He responds with a pre-taped piece that’s clearly been sped-up, and despite being interesting and a bit funny, it makes him a big old cheater. For SHAME, Bearded Academy President.

11:11 p.m. Former couple Kirsten Dunst and Tobey Maguire join forces to present the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay. The air is fraught with sexual tension, although maybe that’s just left over from when George Clooney was on. Dunst hands the trophy to Little Miss Sunshine’s screenwriter Michael Arndt. Star Alan Arkin seems sort of tired, and unless Abigail Breslin has aged and sprouted a mustache, she’s in the bathroom.

11:15 p.m. The dancers are getting tired — the Devil Wears Prada shoe with the trident as a heel doesn’t quite work. Somebody give them some Red Bull.

11:20 p.m. Bitch fight song-off! The Dreamgirls cast sings selections from the movie, and we sense a bit of mutual animosity between Beyoncé and Jennifer Hudson, although it’s probably just because we think that’d be some nice, juicy gossip and also because everyone knows that girls can’t work together without wanting to claw each other’s eyes out. Style notes: Jennifer Hudson is working it in a red sparkly number that we wish she’d worn for the ceremony, though her boob is kind of popping out — in fact, at the end of the second number, we think it did — and Beyoncé’s wig is of particularly fine quality tonight. Forgotten Dreamgirl Anika Noni Rose likewise is working it in a strapless red number, prompting people all over America to say, “Was that pretty girl in the movie, too?”

11:28 p.m. The Best Song Oscar goes to Melissa Etheridge, and our hearts melted when wife Tammy Lynn Michaels looked at her adoringly. It almost — almost — made up for how annoying we find it when Tammy Lynn complains about not being able to shop on Montana Avenue anymore without the paparazzi taking her picture. Suck it up, girl.

11:35 p.m. We’re officially five minutes past the projected end time. AND WE HAVEN’T EVEN GOTTEN TO THE DEAD PERSON’S MONTAGE YET. We’ve decided to switch the time stamps to a nice cranky red color, just so the producers are aware they’re on notice. Because at this point, it’s entirely possible they’re surfing the Internet instead of monitoring the fatness of their program.

11:40 p.m. We’re only at Best Film Editing. We’re all about giving the behind-the-scenes dudes some on-camera love, but HOW ARE WE ONLY AT BEST FILM EDITING? Even Kate Winslet, who presents the award to Thelma Schoonmaker, the editor of The Departed, looks desperate to head over to the Governor’s Ball for a cocktail. Marty Scorsese looks moved. Maybe he also wants a drink.

11:44 p.m. Thank GOD. Jodie Foster finally presents the Dead Person’s Montage, which is secretly everyone’s favorite part of the awards. Cue choruses of “I forgot HE was dead!” Every year, we are relieved to find that Gene Wilder is not yet dead, because for some reason we can never remember.

11:51 p.m. The obligatory joke about running over time. Seriously, anyone who wanted to see the big awards could have just turned on the TV when the show was supposed to be over.

11:52 p.m. It appears that Philip Seymour Hoffman hasn’t showered in … say, four days. Nor has he brushed his hair. We hope he’s in the middle of making a movie about a shaggy homeless man and he’s just gotten REALLY into it. Surprising absolutely no one, Helen Mirren wins for The Queen. Mirren’s speech is a shorter version of all the other speeches she’s given so far this awards season, but hey: She’s terrific.

12:00 a.m. Half an hour late, they’re not cutting any of the shenanigans, including something where Ellen vacuums the carpet in front of Gwyneth Paltrow. This gives us time to wonder who the heck the woman next to Gwynnie is — the one with the ginormous sleeves. You could fit some serious mischief up there.

12:01 a.m. Reese Witherspoon looks skinnier than ever, and although she’s still lovely, her chin is starting to take over her face. Pasta can help with this, Reese. Ms. Witherspoon is onstage to present the Best Actor award. Peter O’Toole seems unclear where he is or what’s going on, which is just as well, because he loses to Forest Whitaker — yet another easy pick. Just like with Best Actress, all the losers (yes, losers) look thrilled for the winner, because none of them figured they’d upset. Luckily, after a few silent moments in which we feared Whitaker had not used his copious other wins for The Last King of Scotland to prepare for the inevitable, Forest whips out a piece of paper to forestall any other weird quiet moments like the ones he took at the Golden Globes.

12:06 a.m. Francis Ford Coppola, George Lucas, and Steven Spielberg all come out to present Best Director. One wonders, Would they be doing this if Martin Scorsese’s win was anything but a sure thing? The other directors must be wondering why they even got invited.

12:09 a.m. THANK GOD, MARTY FINALLY GOT ONE. Rightly, the audience gives him a lengthy standing ovation. Scorsese gives a gracious, funny acceptance speech in his customary quick patter. And, just because we may never have another chance to say this: His eyebrows are fascinating. But our unblinking stares may also have to do with how fatiguing this whole experience is. Seriously, we are running so very, very long.

12:14 a.m. Diane Keaton comes out with Jack Nicholson to present Best Picture, and as much as we’d like to wrap this up quickly, we need to take a sidebar to mention that she looks fantastic. Nary a strange glove in sight, and as a second sidebar, we’d like our first album to be called Strange Glove. Back to it: And the Oscar goes to … The Departed. Diane reacts to this with a delighted squeal. We suspect that she and Jack might have started partying early, and more power to them. They are holding each other up, it seems. And we’re about to go start drinking ourselves.

12:17 a.m.: And we’re DONE. The telecast was relatively light and humorous, if a bit replete with montages and interpretive dance that easily could have been cut to get this bloated show closer to time. Still, we’ve seen worse. And probably will again — after all, aren’t we due for a Billy Crystal redux before the end of the aughts?
The Fug Girls

Fugging the Oscars