Electric Shadows Oscars 2017 Blog-along

01.31 – Welcome to the first Electric Shadows Oscars blog-along.  A stream of consciousness over the next 4hrs+ at the spectacle of Hollywood’s biggest night.  Currently Justin Timberlake is singing a selection of songs and celebs are looking awkward (see: Dev Patel, Nicole Kidman).  Interesting start… should have been The Lonely Island doing Humble or Incredible Thoughts.

01.36 – First political joke.  Jimmy Kimmell says we are being watched by hundreds of countries that now hate us. Funny joke about Mel Gibson, “you’re looking great, I think the Scientology is working.”  Reference to Matt Damon passing up Manchester by the Sea to star in his “Chinese ponytail film” The Great Wall, a film which went on to lose $80m dollars.

Kimmell’s opening monologue genuinely funny. Swipes at Amazon, Trump and the usual roast of nominees. To Isabelle Huppert – “I’m glad Homeland Security let you in tonight.”

Running joke seems to be all the big films haven’t actually been watched by anyone. Including Viggo Mortensen in Captain Fantastic (we saw it and liked it).  Meryl Streep gamely taking a ribbing on her 20th Oscar nomination. Meryl is the queen of Hollywood, the “highly overrated” Meryl Streep.  Just been asked if she’s wearing an Ivanka.

01.46 – Okay, first up is Best Supporting Actor. Mahershala Ali is the favourite here, having won multiple awards already for his performance in Moonlight. Ali was good, Lucas Hedges great in Manchester by the Sea, Dev Patel looking good in Lion and Michael Shannon was top in Nocturnal Animals.  It’s gonna be Ali…

01.49 – It’s Ali for the win. I liked Moonlight, but was surprised that Ali got some much praise for the role.  Thought the three actors playing the central character deserved recognition more. But, a gracious speech is being made and I my first point won in the office Oscars quiz. So, a good start!

01.53 – Bob Hope said the Oscars was 1hr of great entertainment crammed into 4.  We’ll see.  Kimmell asking any press outlet with Times in the title to leave.  Even the Medieaval Times.

01.56 – Kate McKinnon and Jason Bateman presenting Achievement in Make-Up and Hairstyling. A bizarre trio – A Man Called Ove, Suicide Squad and Star Trek Beyond.  Suicide Squads wins. Hmmm – Suicide Squad is now an Oscar winning film and I didn’t pick it in the office sweepstake. Not happy.

Costume Design next.  Come on Jackie! It’s gonna be La La Land. Nope, Colleen Atwood for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Her fourth Oscar win in the category.  Thoroughly deserved and that office sweepstake win is looking more remote now than Mel Gibson winning Best Director.

And I’m still getting over Suicide Squad winning an Oscar. Nice to know the Academy doesn’t just recognise good films though. Quality equal opportunities!

02.04 – Alex Zane on Sky Cinema Oscars points out Suicide Squad is an Oscar winner, a claim The Shawshank Redemption cannot make.

02.07 – Jimmy Kimmell running through the superheroes. Hidden Figures trio – Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monae – now presenting Best Documentary. Katherine Henson – the main figure from Hidden Figures – brought on stage as a real life hero. One of those Oscar moments nice in thought, odd in execution.

We chose O.J. – Made in America for the Documentary, and it has won. Deserving winner, it’s an incredible, epic dissection of celebrity culture, police racism and a legal system in sway to wealth. The only thing that could be said is that O.J. is an 8 TV series, rather than an “unusual film”.

02.15 – Dwayne Johnson now on, introducing Moana song. Lin-Mandel Miranda doing the prologue and Auli’i Cravalho singing “How Far I’ll Go”.  This is what the Oscars does well, big stars and nice staging of decent songs. Cravalho has a great song and professionally ignored being clouted in the head by a cloth wave being swung around by backing dancers.

02.19 – announcer has just said there is performance by Sting to look forward to. That will just add to the running time!  Speaking of running time, O.J. – Made in America is the longest film ever to win an Oscar. Mainly because it’s a TV series.

02.25 – Okay, flagging now so Rob Wallis and I are chowing down on Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. And we’re into Best Sound Editing.  It’s Arrival for the win with Sylvain Bellemare getting the award. Nice short speech, and I think I got Arrival in the office sweepstake, so all good.

02.30 – Hacksaw Ridge wins for Best Sound Mixing. Kevin O’Connell is that guy who held the record for most nominations with zero wins. 21st time lucky.  Nice one Kev!

02.33 – Alex Zane on Sky Cinema Oscars says La La Land can no longer tie with Ben Hur, Titanic and Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King and win 11 Oscars. So far, the hot favourite hasn’t picked up an award yet.

02.38 – Vince Vaughn’s ribbing of Jackie Chan winning an honorary Oscar falls flat. Chan’s Oscar is long overdue and he should have been up for Best Director on many occasions.

02.40 – Mark Rylance on stage to present Best Supporting Actress. Rylance won Best Supporting Actor last year for Bridge of Spies. Giving us another opportunity to say, it should have been Sly Stallone for Creed!

02.43 – Viola Davis wins for Fences – third time lucky after nomiations for Doubt and The Help. Viola’s speech ties into the ordinary people of Fences, but with her wish to exhume those in the graveyards and tell their stories, she seems to have pitched The Walking Dead from the zombies’ points of view. It’s getting late, I’m getting punchy.

02.51 – Just been informed Mahershala Ali is the first Muslim actor to win an Oscar. Wonder how Trump’s party is getting on?

02.53 – Jimmy Kimmell tells the audience Viola Davis’ speech has just been nominated for an Emmy.

02.55 – Charlize Theron talks about how much she loves Shirley MacLaine in The Apartment. Good taste. And now they’re presenting together, which is lovely. Best Foreign Film is next. Toni Erdmann is the favourite (Jack Nicholson’s already up for the remake).

But, The Salesman wins! Asghar Farhadi has elected not to attend out of respect for those cannot enter the US due to Trump’s Muslim ban. A powerful moment.

03.01 – Sting now on. Let’s get this done.

03.08 – Best Animated Short yet. AKA – the films you’re most likely to be able to watch on YouTube without fear of infringing copyright. Goes to Piper, the Finding Dory support film.

03.11 – Best Animated Feature goes to Zootopia. Good stuff – a story about tolerance and looking past physical differences. Good when political filmmaking and kids films blend so well.

03.13 – Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson on to present Proudction Design award. La La Land wins its first award of the night and first nomination and win for David Wasco and Sandy-Reynolds Wasco. Think I chose Fantastic Beasts in the office sweepstake. Damn.

Also, Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson looked awkward – have they ever met before?

03.17 – no “real people” are meeting the celebs.  This is awkward, weird, patronising and just ain’t working. Denzel Washington didn’t look happy officiating a wedding. Rob Wallis is saying it’s making parts of him retreating into other parts. Wow, this is amazing – it’s like performance art. Conceptually nice, in reality it’s a slow motion car crash.

03.27 – That said, a Celebrity Zoo is not a bad idea. There’s a short story in there somewhere. Watching a softly sobbing Nicole Kidman make toast and coffee in one pen while Mel Gibson has to read the collected works of Woody Allen out loud.. to Woody Allen.

03.31 – The Jungle Book wins Best Visual Effects. Not surprising, it was a real achievement. But, does mean that Doctor Strange lost, so it’s DCVerse 1 and Marvel Cinematic Universe 0 in the Oscars race.

03.34 – Seth Rogen and Michael J. Fox now on to present Achievement in Film Editing. Fox is a genuine legend, no cynicism here. Oscar goes to Hacksaw Ridge. Battle scenes well done, the opening hour was pretty standard though.

03.41 – It’s at this point of the Oscars that it all starts seeming like a weird fever dream where the ego has run amok. It is 3.41am though.

03.44 – The White Helmets wins Best Documentary Short Subject. Good win for an important must-see short.

03.47 – Next up, Live Action Short Film. Shame the shorts rarely ever get shown anywhere. Sing wins. Here’s the official website – ha, the site has reached it’s resource limit!  I think it may have just had a spike in traffic. Ah, it’s up now – http://www.singshortfilm.com/.

03.51 – John Cho and Leslie Mann now doing a schtick on special effects and films not being real. Not really working. Dev Patel’s polite smile says it all.

03.58 – Okay, it’s Meryl Streep and Javier Bardem presenting Best Cinematography. Goes to Swedish Linus Sandgren for La La Land. Jimmy Kimmell has just said how sorry he is for what happened last week in Sweden.

04.03 – Okay, Mean Tweets was good. Could watch half hour of that. But, Bobby De Niro – your grandpa role was Dirty Grandpa, where you played an overgrown teenager. Still, nice bit though.

04.08 – Say what you will about La La Land, City of Stars is a cracking song. John Legend gave a suitably classy rendition.

04.12 – Oscar has been on for almost three hours and I just realise I’ve been misspelling Jimmy Kimmel’s name. Not two “l”s, Rob! I was 181,000th-ish person to retweet his Trump message though.

04.14 – Next up, Best Score. Goes to Justin Hurwitz for La La Land. Not surprising, but it should have been Mica Levi for Jackie, which had an extraordinary score that matched the main character’s mindscape.

04.16 – Scarlett Johansson presents Best Song. If it’s not City of Stars, I think there will be a riot. It is the best song in the list though. Yep, it’s City of Stars. Proper earworm tune, nice one. And Justin Hurwitz is having a good few minutes of his life. Some nice shout out to mums as well.

04.20 – Jennifer Aniston hosting the In Memoriam section, with a mention to the much missed Bill Paxton. One final reminder of how awful 2016 was.

04.26 – Okay, we’re approaching the final hour. Dominos pizza and beer are providing fuel. We can do this!

04.27 – Right, shit just got real. Best Original Screenplay. Ben Affleck and Matt Damon here to present it. Because they wrote Good Will Hunting. They did!  I like it to go to Manchester by the Sea. And… it’s Kenneth Lonergan for Manchester by the Sea! Fantastic stuff – truly wonderful piece of writing.

04.34 – Moonlight wins Best Adapted Screenplay. Second win of the night. Now they question is, can it beat La La Land to Best Film? And a passionate, all-inclusive speech from Barry Jenkins and Tarell Alvin McCraney.

04.39 – Up next – Best Director. I’d like it to go to Denis Villeneuve for Arrival. But, it’s gonna be Mr Damien Chazelle for La La Land. Who is disgustingly talented, it must be said.

When they invent the cure for baldness, I’m going to have Halle Berry’s hair.

04.42 – It’s Damien for the win. He’s 32 years old – the youngest recipient of Best Director. I’m not bitter, despite being ten years older and not ever going to direct a movie. And of course, he’s being obscenely gracious in victory. And, while not as good as Whiplash, La La Land is a glorious confection.

04.46 – Next up, Best Actor. I would like it to be Casey Affleck, but have a feeling it’ll be Denzel Washington. Stop the press, it’s Casey Affleck. His performance in Manchester by the Sea is a sensational portrayal of grief and lost. Denzel didn’t look too happy though.

04.54 – Now it’s Leonardo DiCaprio to present Best Actress.  I half expected him to still be holding his Oscar. And I so want it to be Portman for Jackie.

04.57 – But, predictably it’s Emma Stone. Don’t really think it was the best performance (that would be Jackie), but better she gets it for this than Birdman. And Hollywood does like to reward movies about movies.

05.02 – Almost there, Best Picture. And Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway are here to present it. A nice reunion, not sure why they are here (Bonnie and Clyde didn’t win Best Picture) but nice to see them.

05.08 – La La Land gets the big prize of the night. Okay, they saved the biggest surprise for last. It’s Moonlight! And Warren Beatty’s comeback after Town and Country didn’t disappoint. Literally speechless. Although, it has overshadowed Moonlight’s win over La La Land. But, good grace on behalf of the La La Land team in handing over the golden guys. Wow. Jesus. And I thought the Celebrity Zoo section was the oddest moment of the night. Kudos to Jimmy Kimmel for handling it so well, treating it lightly but not as a joke. The guy who handed out the wrong envelope must be feeling so sick. There is a film to be made from this.

Wow, what drama. And Mr Robert Wallis and I will soon be talking the whole night, including that mad ending, on the Electric Shadows Podcast.

Rob Daniel

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