Fan Fare @ the Oscars: Our Live Blog

February 23, 2009

OSCARS/ ***Veteran showman Hugh Jackman pulled out all the stops in his first stint as Oscar host, gamely singing and dancing his way through the night’s five best picture nominees with rarely seen Broadway flair.

In the musical number that traditionally kicks off the awards ceremony, Jackman — deadpanning that the Academy had cut back on the glitz this year because of the recession — pranced between cut-outs illustrating the reverse-aging of Benjamin Button; sat at a bare-bones set of the fictional quiz show in “Slumdog Millionaire”; roped in an ostensibly bemused Anne Hathaway to recreate the “Frost/Nixon” interview; stood on a “soapbox” Milk-crate; and, finally, stood on the top ropes of a make-shift wrestling rink as paper Oscars unfurled on either side.

“Because of the recession, everything is being downsized. Next year I’ll be starring in a movie called ‘New Zealand’,” the “Australia” actor remarked just before breaking into song.

Pundits had been undecided on Jackman before the show, given the Academy’s decision not to go with a comedian. But if the standing ovation and raucous applause from his toughest critics — the royalty of Hollywood seated in the front rows — were any indication, Jackman may just pull it off.

***Ben Stiller got laughs onstage and backstage for his riff on former Oscar nominee Joaquin Phoenix, who is giving up acting to for rapping and should get an online Oscar for his portrayal of the “Unibomber” on David Letterman.  Natalie Portman should get a prize for keeping a straight face.

***Heath Ledger, the evening’s shoo-in, won a posthumous Oscar for his depiction of The Joker inOSCARS/ “The Dark Knight.”

Backstage, Ledger’s mom, Sally Bell, said he would have been “quietly pleased” with the award.

“Heath was never one to be over-the-top with anything,” she said.

Ledger’s award is destined for his daughter, Matilda, but it will have to be put in a trust until she can sign for it when she is 18, dad Kim Ledger said.

Matilda, who is the daughter of actress Michelle Williams, is “totally like her daddy,” Bell said. “She has the same mannerisms, I really feel like he’s in her.”

***Danny Boyle wins Best Director prize for “Slumdog Millionaire,” the night’s big winner.

***Kate Winslet takes home the Best Actress award for “The Reader” — finally an Oscar win for her after five previous nominations.

oscarwinsletwin1“I want to acknowlege my fellow nominees,” Winslet said. “These goddesses. I think we all can’t believe we were in the category with Meryl Streep at all. I’m sorry, Meryl, but you just have to suck that up.”

***Sean Penn picks up the Best Actor prize for “Milk,” saying “You commie, homo-loving sons of guns.” It’s his second Oscar.

***”Slumdog Millionaire” proves it’s top dog with Best Picture Oscar and 8 awards overall. Aren’t those kids adorable?

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(Written by Edwin Chan, Nichola Groom and Lisa Baertlein)


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boring,zzzzzzz, they seemed to no cohesion,the common factor that has kept them glued to gether in recent years ,the hatered of the nafarious bush,now that he is gone they have no one driving force.the support for the gay issue is only lame because no one goes to see the movies,so as a nemesis this as weak as the appluse that charlton heston got as they celibrated their fallen heros.

Posted by brian lee | Report as abusive

Jackman was so earnest and sincere – you gotta love the guy. The stage direction was messy however, which made his dance numbers seem less than stellar. Little too much reliance on some presenters. The audience wants to see more gowns – so more presenters. Loved the actor presentations with the past winners. Most of those genuine.

Posted by s. daniels | Report as abusive

Well done to Slumdog Millionaire. It reminds me of a saying:

We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars. Oscar Wilde.

Posted by bulletfish | Report as abusive

Why did they do away with announcing how many times each winner had been nominated in the past, and how many previous wins each winner had.??

They eliminated all the interesting information! Did they not do their homework??

Bring that feature back!

Hugh Jackman did a good job . .the best new feature of Oscars were five previous presenters talking directly to nominees.

Posted by jreader | Report as abusive

This was the most entertaining Oscar since Billy Crystal and thank heavens they brought in Hugh who can really bring entertainment back. Music, dancing singing, it was great. I loved the fact that they brought in old stars to give out new awards. I’d like to see more of it. All in all if I had to give a rating 1-10 10 being the highest-10!

Posted by Lynda | Report as abusive

Again, it’s the likes (actors, actresses, directors..etc.) of Sean Penn that relentlessly find it necessary to use the acceptance speech to spout their political views and attempting to “shame” people. He might as well have been one of the sign carrying people that were seen on the entrance to the awards but, at least, the media didn’t give them coverage. Since Sean had his, then its only fair the sign carrying should now get theirs.


Posted by Rory O | Report as abusive

I thought Hugh Jackman did a good job, although, for me, the whole “the musical is back” Baz Luhrman thing fell flat. I usually like that kind of thing, but for some reason it didn’t work for me. I loved Tina Fey and Steve Martin and I liked Ben Stiller & Natalie Portman. I never saw Pineapple Express, but loved Franco & Rogen in their spot. I liked how they did the awards in order of how a movie is made, and for the most part, I liked seeing the legends present the acting awards. I felt that, in many cases, was so intimate. However, I do think that some of those people (it seemed to be mostly the male actors) could have memorized their short paragraphs so they weren’t looking into the teleprompter instead of looking at the actor they were addressing. It made it feel insincere.

All in all I enjoyed it a great deal.

Posted by Jomalew | Report as abusive

Kate Winslet looked Amazing (she deserves the best dressed award too) and I am sooo happy she beat out Angelina!!!

Posted by zankatz | Report as abusive