Here's how it will work tonight: I'll be posting notes here while the Oscars telecasts are in progress. I'll take a break around 11 to write something for tomorrow's Beacon Journal, then return here until the telecast is over, when I'll have to write an update for the paper. Then I'll sum up here. So follow along, if you want, after the jump. ...
"The stars are arriving for a night to remember," announcer declares. Recap of best-pic nominees. Intro of host: Regis Philbin. With Shaun Robinson and Samantha Harris.
First interview: George Clooney. Clip from "Michael Clayton." The bride is grumbling about not seeing gowns. Mollified at seeing the outfit on Clooney's girlfriend. Regis sucks up to Clooney by reminding him of how he sucked up to him earlier. There is no point to any of this.
Clip of Marion Cotillard in "La Vie en Rose." Then interviewed by Robinson, who delights over her gown -- and reminds her that "Edith Piaf died (awkward pause) before you were even born." Cotillard's English is accented but OK. Robinson declares her "absolutely fantastic" in her movie.
Harris with John Travolta and wife Kelly Preston. Not nominated, but they chat about "Hairspray" anyway.
Laura Linney, best actress nominee, clip from "The Savages." She gets to talk to Regis. She's great, her movie's great, the rest of the cast is great, says Regis, and Linney gets about 10 words.
Javier Bardem, with Robinson. They talk hair. Bardem's Spanish accent pronounced, especially in comparison to the clip from "No Country." He gets to say hello to people in Spain.
Miley Cyrus. Again. She also got Walters, and she's not nominated for anything except A Way To Get Kids To Watch.
Shots: Mickey Rooney, Helen Mirren, Katherine Heigl, Faye Dunaway...
Harris with Jennifer Garner. After some chatter about "Juno," they talk about Garner's gown.
Regis with Mirren. He asks if she's seen the movies with the best-actor noms, since she's giving that award. She says "most of them," and indicates some unhappiness with the roles for women.
Robinson with Daniel Day-Lewis. The bride groans over Day-Lewis's wife's gown. "Everybody just loved your performance," Robinson says.
Regis with Cameron Diaz. She's excited to be there. Regis brings up her working with Day-Lewis on "Gangs of New York." She discusses. We're about 16 minutes into the pre-show and I am worn out, jaded, bored, impatient.
Harris with Amy Adams. Harris brings up that Adams will be performing for a billion people. "Trying to make me nervous?" she says. She seems very nice.
Regis with Sarah Golden, who has been in the bleachers for more than 20 years and knows how to talk. Regis talks with contest winners.
Shots: Tilda Swinton, Bardem, Steve Carell... Commercial.
More celeb shots. Robinson talks to Ellen Page. Nothing interesting. Harris with Hilary Swank. More gown talk. Regis backstage with singers and dancers from the "Enchanted" number. (At least he notes that it's a Disney movie.) He tries to terrify and inspire them.
Harris notes "the red carpet is beginning to thin out" then throws to Regis with Oscars musical director Bill Conti. Who, amusingly, launches into an extended anecdote that proves to be all he gets to say. The show keeps moving. Back to Robinson and Harris, who have no one to talk to, so back to Regis, who offers a look at the theater, and heads down to the front row. Points to actors but says "I know a lot of people are standing in front of them." I think he refered to "Xavier" Bardem. But he gets a sound bite from Jack Nicholson, in his shades.
And for all this we lose a half-hour of sleep tonight. Couldn't we leave this nonsense to cable and start the ceremony sooner?