Sean PennBefore we get started on the Mega Oscar Diary, let's go to a few random ramblings from the cadre of pre-shows around the dial:

-Philip Seymour Hoffman's hat probably came with a matching set of fingerless gloves.

-Those who were unable to see the Los Angeles CW affiliate's pre-show missed this exchange.

-The CW's Female Host: What is the role you'd love to do next. If you could do anything following 'The Wrestler' what would it be?

-Mickey Rourke: (Slowly eyes her up from head to toe with a knowing smile and walks off.)

-I know a lot of people care about fashion, but the 20-minute examination of earrings from Randolph Duke is the biggest waste of airtime since "Inside Schwartz" got cancelled.

-I successfully avoided all things Ben Lyons for the first Oscars in a long while. Happy Day!

-Watching the stars pose for the army of photogs at the last stop before the Kodak makes me wonder how everybody in Hollywood isn't blind by the time they turn 40.

-It seems like everybody in Hollywood has a hatred of Ryan Seacrest broiling underneath their smiles. All the stars seem like they can't leave quickly enough.

-Finally, after watching interviews with Amanda Seyfried on both the TV Guide Network and the local CW affiliate - I now have the absolute biggest celebrity crush of my career. I know she was gorgeous, 'Big Love' told me she's a brilliant actress, but now it turns out she also may be the coolest chick on the planet. So please Amanda, I hope you have your Google reader running in full force - E-Mail me at OverratedorUnderrated@gmail.com.

Now that we've gotten my personal matchmaking service out of the way, on with the Mega Oscar Diary. Starting off with the official ABC pre-show.

4:59 - Quick commercial note on "Angels and Demons." Robert Langdon really seems like such an ideal movie character. I wonder how quickly it will take them to write movies that aren't based on any books.

Zac Efron & Vanessa Hudgens5:00 - Who's wearing more makeup? Zac Efron or Vanessa Hudgens?

5:00 - ABC is really pulling out the Big Gunns for fashion commentary this year (cue the rimshot!)

5:01 - I think everyone agrees with Kate Winslet's son about cutting down on the crying. Please listen, Kate. Please listen - kids are wiser than you think.

5:02 - If Josh Brolin just arrived why did I see him on E! 90 minutes ago? I smell a conspiracy.

5:02 - Maybe that's the first time anybody's every called Josh Brolin "Oscar's good luck charm" because it's an absolutely stupid thing to say. Where are all the nominations for "W."? Hm? Hm?

5:03 - Tim Gunn to Amy Adams, "No one can look more fabulous than you." Agreed, Tim. Agreed.

5:04 - Sadly, it looks like Sarah Jessica Parker has entered the plastic surgery realm.

5:04 - After seeing Taraji P. Henson on several pre-shows, all I can say is that I want here to be my best friend.

5:05 - Wow! Could Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt have wanted to speak with Tim Gunn any less? That made people with cell phone cameras chasing David Spade down the street look like an hourlong sit-down with Charlie Rose by comparison.

5:10 - At this point, it really seems like the media is making Danny Boyle into the sort of savior of India. He just made a movie, people. He's not Gandhi!

5:12 - Loki = Oscar's greatest-ever dog.

5:12 - Anybody else think it seemed a bit arrogant of Zac Efron to refer to Dev Patel as "a great kid". I mean, you're next movie is called "17 Again", Zac. It's not like you're Jack Nicholson evaluating new stars.

5:13 - We may never forget Viola Davis' name now after "Doubt", but most of us may have forgotten she was in the movie, or not known at all if we went to the bathroom about 80 minutes and it took us more than 2 minutes to get back to our seats.

5:15 - I'm pretty certain that Miley Cyrus is the result of a bizarre scientific experiment in which they injected a 35-year-old's personality and maturity into a 16-year-old's body.

Anne Hathaway5:16 - Thank God they gave us the inset of Anne Hathaway's past dresses. All I could think when I saw the girl who gave the best leading performance in any film of 2008 was, "What the hell did she wear last year?"

5:17 - The Oscar pigout has officially begun at Casa de Payne. First on the menu - TGI Friday's Potato skins. If you're not yet a believer - go to the store, buy a box, and make them in the microwave. They're better there than in the oven, and even better than at the actual restaurant. Trust me.

5:19 - Playing "The Accountacy Shanty" from "The Crimson Permanent Assurance" - Excellent, excellent, excellent. Must watch "Monty Python's Meaning of Life" now this week.

5:20 - Now's a good time to point out that somebody on the local ABC pre-show referred to Meryl Streep's daughter as Evan Rachel Wood. Fwuh?

5:21 - I don't know what Penelope Cruz was saying about her dress and I really don't care. It didn't seem like she did either.

5:22 - Robin Roberts to Richard Jenkins' wife, "I'm sure he's wonderful to live with." That could have been the most awkward Red Carpet statement in history.

5:23 - Until EW's managing editor attempted to talk to Jack Black in the bar. Why did that moment exist?

5:23 - I concur with Mickey Rourke on how he likes to see Marisa Tomei in the nude.

5:24 - "If there was an Earthquake at the Kodak who would you save?" How are these people allowed to host this pre-show? Would a kid working for a high school TV station ask a question that stupid? Absolutely not. And we wonder why stars always seem so put off by the press.

5:25 - Okay, Oscar producers: The Golden Globes is a party, The Oscars is a show. Get that through your heads. Of course, you could prove me wrong in about ten minutes, but I really doubt that, especially since your plan involves "Moon River" in any way whatsoever.

5:27 - With another horrible Oscar pre-show in the books, I've come to the conclusion that I'll always watch it, but always hate it.

5:29 - Okay you twins on the T-Mobile commercial. I've seen this commercial about fourteen times already tonight and I'll tell you the answer. No! You do not have the same fingerprints! Stop asking in unison already!

5:33 - Is it just me, or does Hugh Jackman seem a little embarrassed to be doing this?

5:34 - Okay, Billy Crystal never had THOSE moves.

5:34 - I would like to thank whoever wrote that Benjamin Button bit for perfectly ripping the movie apart right on the Oscars broadcast.

5:36 - So do we put Hugh and Anne in a musical together right now or wait until the ceremony is over?

5:37 - I don't know if anybody noticed, but Mike Myers was actually one of the dancers on that German Sprockets interpretation of "The Reader." I guess that's what happens when you make "The Love Guru". Okay, I'm kidding - he didn't pass the audition.

5:38 - My review of the opening number? One word - Meh.

5:40 - This lowered stage is already reminding me of that Emmys in the round hosted by Ryan Seacrest two years ago. Except even more awkward.

5:41 - It's a good thing that curtain opened right up. It would really be a shame if you couldn't see the beginning of this montage that looks like it was cut together in four minutes by a first-year film student using Final Cut Pro for the first time.

5:43 - Having five people present an Oscar at the same time is really just about the worst idea in the history of mankind. Everybody already hates watching this ridiculous patter leading up to the envelope's being opened - and now we have to suffer through five different sets of patter? This is ridiculous - I'm sure we'd much rather skip it so we could, y'know, see the winner actually speak.

5:45 - At this rate, we'll know who wins the March Madness Tournament before we know who wins Best Supporting Actress.

5:46 - At this point I really feel awful for all the nominees. They're probably not even nervous anymore, just annoyed.
Penelope Cruz
5:47 - Penelope Cruz wins four minutes after the presenters go onstage. She was the favorite, but I went with the upset pick of Taraji P. Henson (My Predictions: 0/1), but I did say that Penelope Cruz deserved to win. Que Fantastico!

5:48 - So it's the producers' grand idea to give the presenters four-five minutes to speak about nothing, and the winners 45 seconds. Doesn't that seem backwards?

5:49 - Well tonight, those people in your hometown are going to stay up until June at the rate this show is going.

5:49 - I speak very little Spanish, but I believe there was something to the effect of, "This isn't just my moment, it's all of your moment as well" somewhere in there.

5:53 - Once again neither Tina Fey nor Steve Martin can do any wrong. Well, except for "The Pink Panther 2".

5:54 - Nice half-lit shot of Sopia Loren kind of reacting to the jokes.

5:55 - I would just like to point out that writing the stage direction "Lila and Ray look at each other" is a very, very lame thing to do.

5:56 - Dustin Lance Black wins after the rare bit of presenter patter that you actually wanted to go on longer, just as I said he would (My predictions: 1/2).

5:57 - Uh-oh Dustin went political, but in a classy way. So I guess it's okay.

6:00 - I don't mean to rock a spoiler here - but can I just say that the moment they just showed in "The Reader" I'd already known for about 20 minutes that Kate Winslet's character couldn't read - and that part was kind of the confirmation. Then, about an hour later, it is "shockingly revealed" that she indeed is illiterate. Ho-hum.

6:01 - To the surprise of nobody at all - Simon Beaufoy wins for "Slumdog Millionaire" (My predictions: 2/3).

6:04 - Will they show a clip from "Delgo" in this animation yearbook? If so, it will be the only time anybody's ever seen it.

6:05 - No, they did not. Probably out of fear everybody would laugh AT it.

6:06 - Wow, Jack Black was really trying as hard as he could not to be biased as he read those nominees. I was afraid his eyes might burst out from restraint.

6:07 - In the lock of the year - Wall-E wins for Best Animated Feature (My predictions: 3/4).

6:09 - Is it a requirement that half the Animated Short nominees always look like a fourth-grader made them?

6:09 - Well, I missed La Maison en Petit Cubes winning. Didn't think there was a shot that a movie on before Wall-E would lose. (My predictions: 3/5)

6:10 - "Domo Arigato, Mr. Roboto"! What? WHAT!? Guarantee that will be the funniest moment of the night.

6:15 - This idea about ordering the show in a way similar to how a movie is made is about as interesting as a documentary about stacking bricks. This really isn't adding anything to the show except length and something to make fun of.

6:17 - Apparently, nowadays CGI = Art Direction as "Benjamin Button" wins (My predictions: 4/6).

6:18 - Did you know after you build the set you design the costumes? Wow! I really don't care. If they were really doing this in order, they'd do Best Picture after the screenplays since that award goes to the producers and they hire everybody to do all this design work. Also, the actors are usually cast before any of this other work begins, so really we should get all the acting awards and Best Picture out of the way first, right? But then nobody would watch, so we can't do that.

6:20 - Remember, more is more when awarding Costume design so "The Duchess" wins tonight as expected (My predictions: 5/7).

6:23 - And now CGI = Make-up as "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" wins Best Makeup. Kind of sad that "Hellboy" which achieved its effects almost entirely with makeup loses to a movie that used CGI to avoid makeup whenever possible, though it was expected. (My predictions: 6/8)

6:24 - The makeup artist for "Benjamin Button" really seemed like he had a bit of a case of indigestion.

6:25 - Here's how little I care about "Twilight." I had no idea that this vampire kid was Australian. No idea whatsoever.

6:28 - I don't know which movie was more unexpected to see in this romance montage - "The Incredible Hulk" or "The Dark Knight", but neither really made any sense.

6:32 - It truly seems like half the audience doesn't get the Joaquin Phoenix joke, which is AMAZING.

6:34 - "Slumdog" wins for Best Cinematography and its cinematographer wins for best impersonation of Javier Bardem's hair from "No Country For Old Men". (My predictions: 7/9)

6:39 - Ed Catmull - The most impressive person you've never heard of.

6:41 - After seeing an ad for "The Soloist" it occurs to me to mention that this is the first year The Oscars is allowing movie preview commercials to run on its air. It's kind of silly really - shouldn't they always have done this? What better spot to showcase the upcoming summer releases than at the Oscars? It could almost be like the Super Bowl with its funny commercials - you make the ads an event in themselves. Make it the movie ad event that everybody gets excited for each year, as it's the first place they'll be able to see trailers for that year's summer movies. I know that will work.

6:43 - I don't think I need to say it, but this comedy short film by Judd Apatow is absolutely boffo. Actually, it's better than "The Pineapple Express." Much Better.

6:46 - "Suck on that, Anthony Dod Mantle" just gave "Domo Arigato Mr. Roboto" a run for its funny money.

6:47 - A movie that I'm not even going to try to spell just won Best Live Action Short. Worst of all, I picked the wrong movie that I couldn't spell (My predictions: 7/10)

6:56 - I'm glad I woke up in time to see Amanda Seyfried in the middle of this torpid and irrelevant musical montage/dance number. Did I mention I have a crush on her?

6:57 - Oscar conspiracy theory. Its producers, Bill Condon and Laurence Mark (best known for making "Chicago" and "Dreamgirls") put on this overlong and tedious number proclaiming the musical is back simply so they could get more work. I'll have to see if Matt Drudge has any inside scoop.

6:58 - Oscar pigout update: Trader Joe's Chicken Shu Mai - mediocre at best.

6:59 - "The Proposal" - I liked it much better when it had Gerard Depardieu and Andie Macdowell and was called "Green Card."

7:02 - I'm almost going to forgive this Oscar five-pack since the lineup (including Kevin Kline who won for my favorite performance ever in my favorite movie ever, "A Fish Called Wanda") is at least a little star-studded. Unfortunately, they're still going to read the same hogwash.

7:04 - Didn't anybody ever tell Phillip Seymour Hoffman it's rude to wear a hat indoors? I hope this is isn't for some sort of medical condition, though I don't know what that would be.

7:04 - Where is Javier Bardem anyway? I hope he refused to come after hearing how they planned to present the awards this year. I would gain immeasurable respect for him were that true.

7:05 - Has anybody ever wasted an Oscar win more than Cuba Gooding Jr.? It's a close call between him and Mira Sorvino.

7:06 - Oh my God! Michael Shannon is Christopher Walken's illegitimate son! You heard it here first, gang.

Heath Ledger's family7:07 - Heath Ledger wins! And with his family's accepting it's going to be a bit hard to keep the eyes dry. (My predictions: 8/11)

7:09 - So it's clear that the directors are concerned with nothing more right now than trying to catch a shot of a movie star crying and surprisingly they were unable to do that. Thankfully, that exploitation was overwhelmed by a lovely speech.

7:13 - I'm pretty sure that if somebody asked Bill Maher who he was wearing his answer would be "Michelin".

7:15 - And "Man on Wire" wins! (My predictions: 9/12) I'm surprised Bill Maher didn't run off with the Oscar asker that Kanye West-ian bloviating.

7:16 - In a night where we've seen so much amateurish production Philippe Petit (The man on wire from the title of the film) balancing an Oscar on his chin and making a coin disappear seems right at home.

7:17 - It's hard to say there's such a thing as an upset in the short subject categories, but everybody thought the MLK assassination short "Witness" was going to win, so "Smile Pinki" is as close as it gets in this category to a shock. (My predictions: 9/13)

7:24 - Wow, Hollywood could single-handedly save Detroit just by smashing their cars in movies it seems.

7:26 - I wonder if everybody in the Kodak Theater is looking at Will Smith and thinking, "I'm not as big a star as him." Because they'd be right. All of them.

7:27 - If there's one Oscar "Button" deserved it's for Visual Effects - they were astounding. (My predictions: 10/14). By the way, we still have ten categories left, and we're currently sitting at just under two hours. Not looking good for that three hour promise the producers made.

7:28 - Nice "Boom Goes the Dynamite" reference, Will. See, Stars are just like us - they watch YouTube!

7:30 - Could I run the effects categories? I'm two for two with this "Dark Knight" win. Nice to see it's going to win more than one Oscar this year. (My predictions: 11/15)

7:31 - And the effects streak dies as "Slumdog" beats "The Dark Knight" for Best Sound Mixing. Why oh why did I pick against "Slumdog"? Why? (My predictions: 11/16)

7:35 - "Slumdog" wins for Best Film Editing. (My predictions: 12/17). Spoiler alert - Best Film Editing is a better predictor of Best Picture than any other category, even Best Director. So let the celebration in Mumbai begin!

7:39 - "In The Motherhood" - I'll follow anything with Cheryl Hines, but the whole "Real Stories from Real Mothers" gimmick seems a bit lame.

7:41 - I wonder if every time Eddie Murphy hears himself referred to simply as an Oscar nominee he curses the day he made "Norbit".

7:45 - A lot of people have been mocking the fact that Jerry Lewis is going to get an Oscar this year, but can anybody really deny the selfless work he's been doing? Just because he's always been a bit of a clown doesn't mean he doesn't deserve this honor - it's really very lame that he's been the target of ridicule this week. Plus, he gave a very short speech - maybe his finest humanitarian effort yet.

7:49 - Oscar pigout update: The Trader Joe's Southwest Chicken Quesadillas are a bit of a gooey mess, but still pretty tasty.

7:50 - Memo to Nathan Fillion fans - You know "Castle" is going to get cancelled after about six episodes right?

7:51 - A good decision from the producers at last! This is absolutely the best way to present the nominated scores - some clips, a bit of music - move on. I was really fearing the revival of the Debbie Allen interpretive dance numbers.

7:54 - What has more makeup on it? Alicia Keys eyes or the Clinique counter at Macy's?

7:54 - Wow, A.R. Rahman looks like he's about 15 years old. If he's anyway near as young as he looks he's got a real shot at outselling the Beatles. He's already sold about 300 million albums worldwide. (My predictions: 13/18)

7:55 - Ah, now it's time for the highly controversial Best Song montage that left Peter Gabriel bitter and in his seat.

7:57 - Looks like M.I.A. won't make a post-baby appearance. This is lesser for it.

7:58 - Oscar Conspiracy Theory #2 - Did the producers insist their only be three Best Original Song nominees because Bruce Springsteen's introspective "The Wrestler" and Clint Eastwood's majestic "Gran Torino" wouldn't fit in with their incredibly moronic idea of selection-laden musical number for the nominees. This is one of the worst and borderline insulting things I've ever seen. Imagine if Glen Hansard and Marketa Herglova would have been forced to play 90 seconds of "Falling Slowly" in the same manner? What a joke.

7:58 - Wow, "Down to Earth" is a much better song than I gave it credit for. I'm rooting for that now.

8:01 - The song from this year's biggest dance number, "Jai Ho", takes home the Best Original Song prize (My predictions: 14/19)

8:04 - My crack research assistant, Google Search, has told me that A.R. Rahman is, in fact, 42-years-old. What's his secret?

8:05 - "Brothers And Sisters" - So now we're calling 2-hour episodes movie events? Don't think so.

8:06 - This is a very close race - "The Class" and "Waltz with Bashir" are almost even. The tension is mounting.

8:06 - Whoa! Whoa, whoa, whoa. That is a tremendous upset. Absolutely unbelievable. Nobody saw this one coming at all. Needless to say, I missed this one. (My predictions: 14/20)

8:11 - Now that we know the producers are NOT going to mute the audience (as they said) my money on Paul Newman to win the Death Applause Prize.

8:15 - And, I was right - even before his own special clip. Michael Crichton, Sydney Pollack and Isaac Hayes were pretty close though.

8:19 - Oh no! We didn't get to see five directors come out and stumble through patter on TelePrompTers? Damn. How will we get over this robbery?

8:20 - The locks keep on living up to their reputation as Danny Boyle takes home the statuette and does his best Tigger impression in the process. (My predictions: 15/21)

8:21 - At home, the show is messy and boring, Danny. It's messy and boring.

8:24 - These TrueNorth commercials make absolutely no sense. What does some lame snack food have to do with charity? Nothing, I'm assuming.

8:26 - Why did they stop at Shirley MacLaine and Sophia Loren? Couldn't we have gotten Cher and Elizabeth Taylor to complete the Crazy Past-Their-Prime Actresses top four?

8:27 - Is Anne Hathaway pledging allegiance to Shirley MacClaine?

8:28 - Marion Cotillard = the least famous Oscar winner ever, a year after her win.

8:30 - Wow, Sophia Loren sounds really REALLY excited. I know the plastic surgery takes away your ability to express yourself physically, but vocally too? I had no idea.

8:32 - Looks like favorites are going to rule the day as Kate Winslet wins here first of what are sure to be several Oscars. (My predictions: 15/22)

8:34 - Kate Winslet's dad = Mike Nichols with bad teeth and the craziest hat ever worn inside the Kodak Theater.

8:36 - Wow, remember when Nicolas Cage used to be a serious actor and movie star? Seems like a very long time ago indeed.

8:37 - Wow, Robert De Niro sure has changed. Who'd have ever thought we'd see him at an Awards show at which he wasn't forced to appear?

8:37 - I really thought we'd see Jack Nicholson on this roll call. He's been conspicuously absent from the entire telecast. I wonder what's going on, because he's the one certainty every year.

8:39 - "Being a movie star gets in the way of acting, but that's never been true for Sean". And that never used to be true for you either, Mr. De Niro. It never used to be true for you.

8:43 - This is the first major category upset we've seen tonight, though one that I called (My predictions: 16/23), Rourke was a slight favorite, but this is about as good as we're going to get for a surprise.

8:47 - And now it's time to honor "Slumdog Millionaire". Oh wait, there are four other nominees? I had no idea.

8:50 - Whatever happened to just showing clips of Best Picture nominees? Also, many of those thrown in bits for the montage didn't even win - seems weirdly out of place.

8:52 - Wait, "Slumdog" won? I didn't even know it was nominated! That leaves my predictions at a robust 17/24 - 71%. Not half bad, but that just shows how predictable this year was with only one real upset - "Departures" winning Best Foreign Language Film. Let's hope for closer races next year.

8:56 - This closing montage of 2009's films is kind of like what I was talking about with making the commercial breaks a showcase for summer films. I think my way would work better, but this is still a good touch.

8:57 - For those who did a double take when they saw Larry David in the closing movie montage, it's even better than you think. "Whatever Works" is the new Woody Allen movie starring the great LD - should be amazing.

Final thoughts. This show was incredibly uneven. Hugh Jackman was woefully underused, the lovefest where we had five actors come out and sing the praises of the nominees for fifteen minutes was a waste of time that added nothing, the musical numbers were unequivocally awful, especially the best song quagmire, and the audience interaction just felt uncomfortable and awkward.

There was some good stuff though. The way the presenters were able to have more fun on the smaller categories showed that it's possible for presenters to not come out and read corny jokes and actually be funny and entertaining, and the show's pace was thankfully brisk.

Also, if anybody ever decides to do the "Movie from start to finish" them again, they should be barred from producing any sort of show ever again.

Until next year, The Kodak is Dark, the Envelopes Closed, and this Oscar Fan has the longest possible wait till the best night of the year.

Cheers all.

Click here for the full list of Oscar winners!

Click here for Oscar red carpet fashion pictures!

Andrew Payne
Story by Andrew Payne

Starpulse contributing writer


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