Roger L. Simon

Live Blogging Oscar... for now..

Okay, I’m weak. I just said I wouldn’t live-blog the Oscars and here I am staring like an idiot at my new plasma screen at 4:24 in the afternoon, watching an event that is taking place literally within five minutes drive from my house at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood…. five minutes on a normal day anyway because today half the streets are tied up, making it more like fifteen… the duration of a brisk walk downhill from my house.

I’m listening to Roger Ebert interview Johnny Depp now. I wonder how he (Ebert) does it year after year… the same dull questions. I love movies but talking about them always seems somewhat dumb. I mean what is there to say, really? It’s only a movie. Some are good, most bad. Well, there’s a lot to say, but it’s not the kind of thing you would talk about at the Oscars.

So far the most interesting figure to me is Hilary Swank, because she looks like a real person, not a STAR, but she really is in the deepest sense.

People have asked me what it was like when I was nominated. I barely remember and not because it was 15 years ago. The amount of hype and glitz is just so overwhelming you can’t process it. And, as a writer, the media is not that interested in you anyway, so you bob down the red carpet in a semi-conscious condition hardly able to realize you are there. I never expected to win that evening (and I didn’t), so I wasn’t especially tense, but it was kind out of body experience.

5:16 = It hasn’t even started yet and already it feels like a long evening. Does anybody really care who wins these awards, other than the nominees themselves and their friends and family? But it is nice to see Don Cheadle there. I am always pleased to see people you would never expect to see nominated for Oscars, but who deserve them, like Cheadle.

As for the dresses, my six and a half year old daughter Madeleine says “They look pretty but they don’t look comfortable.”

Wolfgang Puck’s “smoked salmon Oscar” looks pretty good.

Chris Rock is bombing. He’s not funny and he doesn’t understand movies….

Oprah is not laughing. I don’t blame her. This is endless and stupid.

Beyonce is singing quite well. ANd she looks great. Don’t know if this is the same as when I was nominated, but when the camera is off the audience, people are being marched around and seated in different seats.

I didn’t vote in the best song category, but I must say the French song sounded better than most. It’s been a long time since the movies had great music that was original. Ray obviously has great music but it sure ain’t new.

One of the reasons I don’t like Rock is the “black thang” as he does it sounds so old. Pryor did this shtick much better twenty-five years ago. Enough already. The movie business is filled with terrific black talent and has been for years. Rock acts like there is still something controversial about all this. What, exactly?

I love the Edith HEad character from The Incredibles doing the costume design award. I voted for Lemony Snicket in this as well. As I said earlier, LS had great “tech credits” as they say in the business. But as predicted The Aviator won this category. Great job too.

I am writing right now, before the award is given, that Blanchett will win for The Aviator, just to risk making an ass of myself, although I voted for Sophie Okenedo.

Well, risk rewarded, I suppose. She’s a terrific actress and did a good job. Kudos to Tim Robbins for keeping his mouth shut about politics. Is there a new worry abroad in Hollywood that they could be alienating people? Don’t know, kemosabe.

Dinner time. I don’t wwant to spill my chicken all over the computer. There are others doing this, I understand. I’m out of this for now. Will say the editing award should have gone to Collateral. But, as predicted, it went to The Aviator, which was a half hour too long. But, hey, in the end, it’s all about opinions. Ciao.

Back: Just wanted to say Taylor and Payne seem like nice guys. As predicted, they won for Sideways. I voted for Million Dollar Baby. Spider-Man 2 deserved to be nominated in the writing category, even though it won in visual effects (hey, another one I actually voted for –it’s been a while, although I started out well.)

Hooray for Sidney Lumet – an OScar well deserved and a speech well delivered. Some wonderful acting in his movies. Didn’t Newman look great in that clip from The Verdict?

Jeremy Irons is actually funnier than Rock, never thought I’d say that.

For those who don’t know, the whole Academy does not vote for Best Live Action Short, only those who show up for the nominee screening. That would be (guessing here) about five percent of the membership.

Kate Winslet is my favorite actress of the moment – a glorious performer and glorious looking. The cinematography award for The Aviator was inevitable. Robert Richardson made Oliver Stone’s career years ago. Scorsese obviously didn’t need as much help. But Richardson is a great DP and one can only say – great hair!

Hayek and Cruz together. I prefer Hayek on all levels. Ray gets a sound award? Okay, that’s a surprise. I don’t get it.

Santana in a cornball Che t-shirt. So far, I like the French song best. This is dull schmaltzy fare. If Che hadn’t died young, people wouldn’t worship him so blindly and we wouldn’t have to listen to this sentimental crap. Deep down the whole Che cult is just about looks. Can you imagine people still running around in Che t-shirts if he had just been some ordinary looking guy?

Finding Neverland, a movie I could barely sit through, wins for best score. I think I predicted that (it’s getting late). Met the guy who won at a dinner party. He was interesting. This is the kind of film where you remember the score because the movie was tedious.

AM I wrong or was that a much shorter number of movie industry dead this year? No Theo VAn Gogh, of course, but his contribution to the cinema was certainly not on the level of the others cited,not by a long shot. Still, a short list and I found the Yoyo Ma addition slightly pretentious for the occasion.

Prince gives the best song. Well, no “Singin’ in the Rains” here. They gave the Oscar to the song from The Motorcycles Dairies. The composer sang his own song a lot better than the others. I saw him smirking during the Santana performance.

Sean Penn takes on Chris Rock for his snide and dumb comments about other actors at the beginning.

Best actress: I thought both Swank and Winslett were great. I voted for Swank but could have gone the other way. Liked both movies a lot. Swank is fascinating person. I think she will be moving us in films for decades to come. She has really got it. Special kudos to her for thanking the writer Paul Haggis. Swank reminds me of some of the great actresses of the forties. It’s not about looks.

ANother great younger talent just been honored. Charlie Kaufman. He is the most original voice in American film now, bar none. Malkovich, Adaptation, now Mind. THAT is impressive. What’s next? Directing, I know. Let’s hope Kaufman is smart enough to give himself as good a script as he gave other directors.

Has Clint just gotten started? His mother’s 96. What genes. This victory for this incredible man has one simple message: never think about retiring.

The amazing thing about Million Dollar Baby is that it was made in 37 days. Some people wouldn’t make the movie if offered only that much time.

Big Winner tonight: Clint Eastwood. Big loser: Chris Rock.

And hey, it didn’t run too late.