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Continued from previous post.

6:39PM - Hmmm. EW says that Alec Baldwin walked out of the Emmys after a Rupert Murdoch joke got quashed. Ah, he was supposed to play the President of TV in the intro, and Nimoy was substituted at the last moment.

6:40PM - Loretta Devine and Paul McCrane, the Outstanding Guest Star winners, present Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series. Neil Jordan and Martin Scorsese are in this category. Scorsese wins! I wouldn't voted for him, just to get this upcoming speech.

6:43PM - Nothing very interesting from Scorsese, but still good to see him.

6:44PM - Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series. With no Aaron Paul, who's going to take it? Peter Dinklage for "Game of Thrones"! Eeeeeee! And the fanboys rejoice!

6:51PM - Hi Anderson Cooper. This may be the best thing anyone has ever done with the cast of "The Jersey Score."

6:53PM - Bryan Cranston and Katie Holmes (wha? Oh, the Kennedys miniseries) present Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series. Emmy goes to Julianna Margulies. Wait, her dress isn't bedazzled. Upon closer inspection, it appears to be spawning.

6:56PM - The leads of the new TV "Charlie's Angels" reboot and Drew Barrymore from the movie "Charlie's Angels" reboot appear. Passing the torch? Oh come on. Some of the original Angels are still around.

Outstanding Lead Actor Emmy goes to Kyle Chandler. Chances of a Best Drama upset are looking more likely.

7:05PM - Oooh, LL Cool J joins the Emmytones. They needed that. Onwards to the Miniseries/Made for TV Movies Montage! Hey, "Luther"! And "Carlos"! And "Sherlock"!

7:07PM - Okay, Jane Lynch just had the best line of the night. I can't wait to forget "Entourage" ever existed. Best Outstanding Writing for a Miniseries, Movie, or Dramatic Special Emmy goes to Julian Fellowes for "Downton Abbey." Have to remember to watch that one. Used the word "grandiloquent" in his speech, which pretty much assures that it is grandiloquent.

7:10PM - Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or Movie Emmy goes to Maggie Smith for "Downton Abbey." She's not here. Oh well.

7:17PM - Wow, Paul Abdul is tiny, and the mikes are so off. The accountants get their moment. Melissa McCarthy and Amy Poehler are making everyone so wonderfully uncomfortable. Outstanding Actor in a Miniseries or Movie goes to Barry Pepper. He's not here.

7:20PM - Outstanding Directing in a Miniseries or Movie nominees include Todd Haynes, Olivier Assayas, and Curtis Hanson. None or them win, because "Downton Abbey" is on a roll. Brian Percival, here's your moment. Enjoy it.

7:22PM - Here comes the In Memoriam. I hate that they've been turning these into stealth musical numbers lately. Bye Columbo, and Mr. Cunningham, and "Touched by an Angel" guy.

7:32PM - Here come David Boreanz and Anna Torv to present Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or Movie. Emmy goes to Guy Pearce, who actually is here. And he's making raunchy jokes and being awesome.

7:35PM - Hugh Laurie and Claire Danes and Hugh Laurie's accent come out to present the Helen Mirren memorial Emmy (Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or Movie) to Kate Winslet. Yeah, who saw that coming?

And now she proceeds to demonstrate exactly why she won, by injecting some much needed energy into the final stretch. Thanks Kate.

7:44PM - Jane Lynch's material is getting better. The voice of Don Cheadle presents the Emmy for Outstanding Miniseries or Movie to "Downton Abbey." "Mildred Pierce" and HBO are denied. Mr. Grandiloquent is back! I like him.

7:46PM - Maria Bello and William H. Macey have terrible presenter lines, but everyone's paying attention because they're presenting Outstanding Drama Series. Emmy goes to "Mad Men"! No writing award, no Hamm victory, but they still walk away with the big one.

7:48PM - I wish they had a live orchestra to play the shows' theme music as they're going up on stage like they do at the Oscars. I found myself straining to hear the "Mad Men" theme, but no such luck.

7:54PM - Jane Lynch is a trooper. Last award is being presented by Gwyneth Paltrow. Outstanding Comedy Series goes to "Modern Family." How could it not? Nice going on the heartfelt speech Mr. Levitan.

8:00PM - There were some nice surprises, but the overwhelming love for "Modern Family" was getting a little nuts, and I don't understand how Steve Carrell lost to Sheldon again. With this crowd, though, I get why shows like "Community" and "Louie" got overlooked, and probably will be again in the future.

Oh well. There's always next year. Congratulations to all the winners and should-a-wonners. Good night!
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Heaven help me. I'm doing this again. Twelve minutes to the madness!

5:00PM - Bye bye Nancy O'Dell. Good riddance.

Opening sequence features Leonard Nimoy as the "President of TV." I'd have gotten Henry Winkler. Good use of Kevin Nealon and Jeremy Piven, but the longer bits with "Big Bang" and "Man Men" couldn't have been over fast enough.

5:07PM - Jane Lynch sounds better live than in the taped segment.

5:10PM - Oh, poor Joel McHale. Don't get nominated for an Emmy, end up in the "Emmytones," announcing pool. Looks like they're also going with category specific montages this year. The guys who did the "Comedy" one (and it earned those quotation marks) should seriously reconsider their profession.

5:14PM - Jimmies Fallon and Kimmel have a good bit with mild homoeroticism and roughhousing. Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series goes to Julie Bowen from "Modern Family."

5:17PM - Julianna Marguiles is wearing a bedazzled toothpaste tube and appears to be heavily medicated. Ty Burrell from "Modern Family" gets the Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series award.

5:26PM - Jane Lynch gets to make a concession speech. Ricky Gervais! The gag with the censored pre-taped speech went on for exactly as long as it should have. You laugh, but I'm getting flashbacks to what FOX Kids did to "One Piece." Outstanding Directing in a Comedy Series goes to Michael Allen Spiller for "Modern Family."

5:30PM - Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series is being presented by Will Arnettt and Zooey Deschanel. Good luck with the new sitcoms guys. Steven Levitan and Jeffrey Richman win for "Modern Family." This evening is getting terribly predictable. Are the drama categories up soon? Variety shows? Miniseries? Something "Modern Family" isn't nominated for?

5:34PM - "You won't believe who's on the Emmy stage next!" Maybe you shouldn't have shown us that shot of Charlie Sheen adjusting his tie right before cutting to commercial.

5:39PM - "Welcome back to the 'Modern Family' awards!" Jane Lynch can't seem to decide between abrasive and charming, so she's going for obvious.

5:41PM - Uh oh. Charlie Sheen's having a moment.

5:42PM - Oh good. It didn't last. Onward!

5:42PM - Jim Parsons wins Outstanding Lead Actor again for "The Big Bang Theory."

5:43PM - Sofia Vergara and Rob Lowe present for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series. Amy Poehler doesn't wait for the winner to be called, and heads for the stage. Ooh, she may have started something. There goes Melissa McCarthy. And Martha Plimpton.

Please tell me this wasn't planned. That would make it even more awesome.

Melissa McCarthy wins! Group hug! And a tiara and roses materialize. Yup, it was planned. Still pretty awesome.

5:50PM - I am fixing typos.

5:54PM - I'm not sure what this "Office" sketch is about, but it was nice to see Aaron Paul and John Slattery. Okay, and Cee-Lo and his chair from "The Voice" was cute. Ashton Kutcher gag was obvious, but well done.

5:57PM - Reality/Variety montage time. Wonder why the Kennedy Center Honors and the Oscars didn't warrant identification.

6:01PM - Why a David Spade and Kelly Cuoco pairing for Best Reality Program presenters? Oh well. "Amazing Race" wins, after "Top Chef" ended its last streak last year. How long will they hang on to the title this time?

6:04PM - I always love the Outstanding Writing for a Variety, Music, or Comedy Special nominees. "Daily Show" writers on Newsweek covers! Jimmy Fallon writers as puppies! A peek into the writers' rooms of "Colbert" and "Conan"! "Daily Show" wins. Speech amusing and also brief. Best kind of Emmy victory.

6:12PM - Lonely Island and Michale Bolton take the stage to start off an "SNL" nominated song medley. Why are they wiggling their genitalia at William H. Macey? Forget it. I don't want to know.

6:16PM - Had to Google Ian Somerhalder, which confirms I'm old. He and Lea Michele present Best Directing for a Variety, Music, or Comedy Special to Don Hall for "SNL." Guy is dripping with class. Wow.

6:18PM - Either Anna Paquin is very tall or Scott Caan is very short. Outstanding Variety, Music, or Comedy Special goes to "The Daily Show" for the ninth time. Fallon's mugging, and it's adorable.

6:26PM - Yay! Drama montage! I'm starting to appreciate these just for the clips of shows that wouldn't get nominated in a million years otherwise.

6:29PM - John Cryer and Ashton Kutcher present Outstanding Writing in a Drama Series. Emmy goes to - "Friday Night Light"?! Is this the beginning of an upset, or just a fluke? And will this be the only time we'll every here someone thank DirecTV in an Emmy speech this evening?

6:31PM - Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series goes to Margo Martindale for "Justified." Someone help that woman up the stairs! I love it when normally under-the-radar character actors get these moments. I have heard very good things.

We're at the halfway point. Continuing in second post.
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I've been meaning to check out NBC's "The Voice." So while I still have cable for a few more days, I might as well take advantage of it and do a quick liveblog.

10:00PM - Ooh, recap. The TV Listings say this is "Battle Part 2," so there's obviously a "Part 1" that I've missed. Hey, it's Frenchie from that season of "American Idol" I think I watched.

:02 - At this point it's just a blur of coach and assistant names that I don't recognize.

:03 - Hi Cee Lo. On his team, we have Guillermo del Toro (Nakia) vs. a gigantamous walking Afro (Tje Austin), who will both be singing "Closer." A lovely lady named Monica assists - another recording star I don't know.

:07 - Battle Round time! Good grief, they're pacing around a pseudo wrestling ring. Calling the sing-off a "battle" is kind of silly, but having them in a ring together makes for a good visual.

:10 - The thing to remember about these singing shows is that you can't trust the audio because the recording conditions aren't great. Nakia sounded better in practice and Tje sounded better in the ring.

:11 - And they abruptly cut to commercial right before Cee Lo picks the winner. Naturally. So far I think the show is a lot less polished than "Idol," but that's no surprise considering how new "Voice" still is.

:14 - I think I've got the gist of the rules. You have the judges responsible for picking and mentoring contestants to do battle with each other in upcoming live performances. Right now it's the judges who are making elimination decisions, whittling down their teams.

:15 - Nakia wins. Bye Tje. I will miss your humorous hairdo.

:16 - Now it's Ellen v. Jared, who will be singing "Ain't No Mountain High Enough." Their mentor is Blake Shelton, a country star I don't have any familiarity with either. Reba McEntire shows up as his celeb assistant. Too bad all we get to hear of the coaching is a quick pep talk.

:23 - Oh lord. Two days after the upfront, they're already rolling out the "Playboy Club" promos.

:24 - Hang on, the contestant isn't Ellen. it's a duet called Elenowen, made up of a Josh and a Nicole. They're terrible. Jared wins!

:29 - It took me this long to realize that the host is Carson Daly. I honestly have no personal beef with this man, but how many showbiz lives does he have? After "TRL" and "Last Call With Carson Daly" - waitaminute - "Last Call With Carson Daly" is still on the air? He survived the NBC late night wars and Conan didn't?!

Head. Desk.

:33 - Okay, now it's on to the Maroon 5 guy's team. Angela v. Javier, singing "Stand By Me." I can already tell Angela's going down. Was there an assistant there? Wikipedia says he's producer Adam Blackstone, but I think I missed him.

:38 - Yeah, Angela's one of those singers who has a lot of bad habits she's going to have to train herself out of. Use your diaphragm, woman! Breathe! Javier's a nice surprise though. Nice, smooth voice.

:40 - The other judges give opinions, but only the team leader makes the decision. So, for all intents and purposes their proffered opinions really just serve to remind us that they're there. Of course Javier wins.

:42 - Thank you for identifying yourself, Alison Haislip, backstage correspondent. Now please go away.

:43 - That "Kung Fu Panda 2" promo seems so sinister. Please don't suck. You're probably the only movie my mother will agree to see in a theater this summer.

:45 - Hi Christina Aguilera! You're awesome. She's getting a bald lady named Beverly and slightly portly fellow named Justin to sing "Baba O'Reilly." The assistant is one Sia Furler. Nope, don't know her either.

:50 - These coaching scenes are already getting repetitive, especially since we're only getting really awkward clips from each one.

:53 - Something about the back-from-commercial musical sting makes me think "Star Search." Or possibly "Magnum P.I." Hmmm.

:55 - I love this song. I wish they'd let them sing the whole thing. Beverly the bald lady looks so happy. And she wins!

:59 - The current format is fun, but I think it's a good thing that it changes for every stage of the competition. What I thought was most promising about "The Voice" from the outset was that the coaches had to choose contestants based on voice alone, literally without being able to see them.

These second round "battles" where they contestants share a performance also emphasize vocal talent and performance ability over image. What worries me is what will happen in the final rounds, the live shows, when the audience will get involved.

But so far, "The Voice" isn't bad. The contestants are better singers than "Idol" features, and the rougher spots will probably get smoothed out with time. I might tune back in for one of the live shows later, to see how things progress.

Good night!
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And now, because I really have no interest in writing up a full review for this show and yet I still feel the need to convey my feelings, here I am liveblogging the second episode of "Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior."

10:00 PM - Opening murder scene flashback, where unnamed male and female voices trade cliched pervert/victim dialogue, and fail to be as creepy or as pervy as probably intended.

10:02 PM - Forrest Whitaker shows up on a motorcycle, because motorcycles are shorthand for badass.

10:04 PM - Was that a title sequence? Damn, blink and you miss them these days.

10:08 PM - Back from commercial. Note the lack of the usual "Criminal Minds" opening pretentious quote, which ensures a higher chance of the viewer mistaking this for any other generic CBS crime drama.

10:10 PM - To be on this team, you need to have a degree in snark. Bonus points for being able to rattle off gadget statistics like a Fry's Electronics savant.

10:11 PM - Forrest Whitaker emulates Bill Shatner in a desperate attempt to make the dialogue sound competent.

10:12 PM - Was Garcia's head caught in a blender? Full of carrot juice?

10:14 PM - This whole "stone-cold killer" label is really undercut by the droning narration. Are the actors paid more if they don't emote? They just sound bored.

10:18 PM - Let's review our leads - Sam Cooper (Forrest Whitaker), Beth Griffith (Janeane Garofalo), Bald Guy (Michael Kelly), British Accent (Matt Ryan), Blonde ("TRON Legacy" hottie, Beau Garrett), and Garcia (Kristen Vangness). I shudder to think what would happen if Garcia weren't here.

10:20 PM - Cue the twenty-year old actress trying to pass herself off as a high-school age stabbing victim.

10:24 PM - Cue the standard impassioned mother speech. The daughter's supposed to be fourteen? No, really?

10:30 PM - If this unsub is so smart, maybe he shouldn't be provoking the armed Feds.

10:33 PM - I'm guessing the killer is either a split personality or it's a
Svengali/Stockholm situation. Whitaker goes for Svengali.

10:36 PM - Oh, NOW he wants counsel present.

10:38 PM - Need an exposition and backstory dump? Call Garcia. I know she's supposed to be a hacker genius, but they're just going to have to come out and admit that she's secretly made of magic.

10:40 PM - "I need to be alone with my client." Bow chica wow wow.

10:41 PM - Wouldn't that just be the most wonderful excuse? A charismatic criminal mastermind made me sleep with all those other men! I had no control over my actions!

10:43 PM - I love how mentally unstable emotional basket-cases can somehow flip a switch in their heads to go all iceberg in order to pull off complicated criminal schemes complete with misdirection and disguises.

10:48 PM - I approve of Adrien Brody's Stella Artois commercial.

10:50 PM - I'd buy this scenario so much more if the woman being controlled wasn't so obviously a photogenic actress who looks like she just walked out of a salon instead of a mental institution. This is why I always liked the original "Law & Order." Their criminals usually have the decency to look like hell. And their Svengali would be so much more convincing if he wasn't MADE OF HAM.

10:52 PM - Janeane Garofalo's very good at being an aggressive lady-cop. It's too bad that she doesn't have much to work with here. Would it be too much to ask for to get her a personality beyond righteous sarcastic? Or at least some better zingers?

10:55 PM - Put away the Gregorian chanting! Too much! Too much! You know, that death scene might have actually been effective if it weren't so oversold. With a score like that, I was expecting her head to split open and start spewing CGI bats.

10:57 PM - Was Whitaker's scene with the reverend supposed to be character development? Closure? Were the vague Biblical references and taunting from the B-grade psycho wannabe something that actually needed a visit with religious counsel?

10:58 PM - Oh, I was wrong. They closed with a Haruki Murakami quote. Which really had nothing to do with this week's plot. Natch.

Here endeth the liveblog. And any urge I have to watch any further installments of "Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior." Good night.
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Continued from the previous post...

6:36 PM - Gervais intros the presenters for Best Foreign Language films as only he can. Olivia Wilde shows up wearing an observatory. "In a Better World" from Denmark takes the prize. Haven't heard of this one.

6:38 PM - Helen Mirren presents "The King's Speech" nomination clip. Now this is a proper introduction.

6:40 PM - Best Actress in a TV Series Comedy/Musical goes to... Laura Linney! Yay! But she's not here. Awww.

6:46 PM - Ooh, Jane Fonda is here. To present the "Burlesque" nomination clip. Eeesh.

6:48 PM - Best Actor in a TV Series Comedy/Musical. Go Jim Parsons! Sheldon is triumphant!

6:50 PM - Jeremy Irons, sounding deathly ill, presents Best Supporting Actress - and it goes to Melissa Leo for "The Fighter." This speech should win her points come Oscar time.

7:01 PM - Matt Damon is presenting the Cecil B. DeMille award to Robert DeNiro. This should be fun. Damon does a terrible Pesci, and I'm glad he didn't try to do Jodie Foster. On with the clip package!

Man, DeNiro was great in "Raging Bull." I love that they're including some of the more obscure titles - "Awakenings," "This Boy's Life," "Midnight Run." The plug for "Limitless" was pretty sad though. And only two seconds for "Mean Streets"?

And DeNiro speaks. He gets in digs about "Little Fockers," the HFPS, 3D conversions, and Homeland Security. Heh. One of his laugh lines got bleeped, which makes me twitch. And DeNiro points out more missing obscurities that I am bow obligated to watch.

7:11 PM - "Gnomeo and Juliet" looks terrible.

7:13 PM - "The Tourist" has its clip presented by Megan Fox? I thought she was persona non grata after "Jonah Hex."

7:14 PM - Here come the big guns. Best Director time. David Fincher wins for "The Social Network"! Looks like this is finally his year. Easily the most well-written speech of the evening. The camera-people at this show really need to pick their reaction shots better. Why are we looking at the cast of "Glee"?

7:18 PM - Best TV Show Comedy/Musical goes to... "Glee." No surprise considering the earlier wins. As with all the other TV awards, this would have been for the 2009-2010 season, not the current one. And the acceptance speech was cut off to go to commercial. Oh well.

7:25 PM - Alicia Keyes? Oh, she's here to present the clip for "Black Swan."

7:26 PM - Best Actor in a Comedy or Musical Film, aka the Johnny Depp category. Paul Giamatti wins for "Barney's Verions," probably the most dignified choice and it'll get an underseen film some attention. So, bet possible result. Giamatti's giving the five-second-delay a workout here. Someone get this man some more Godiva chocolates!

7:32 PM - Joseph Gordon Levitt presents the "Inception" clip. Is it just me or is he a little wired?

7:34 PM - Best Actress in a Drama Film. Portman takes it! She and Bening will be battling it out for the Oscar. Portman's got the better speech, and the whole drama of the baby bump on her side. And "Sweet Lips" Kunis, huh?

7:37 PM - Gervais is back to introduce Tom Hanks and Tim Allen. I think this is the first time I've seen these two together in real life before. Best Film, Comedy or Musical, goes to "The Kids Are All Right." Not a shock, since it had no competition whatsoever.

7:46 PM - We're getting down to the end and the room is getting restless. Gervais is still going strong though. Here's Sandra Bullock to hand out the Best Actor award for Drama Film. This is Firth's to lose - he wins! Great performance, and Firth is due for a statue. Good for him for thanking David Seidler, the screenwriter enjoying a major career comeback with this film.

7:54 PM - The resurrected Michael Douglas is here and has the room on its feet. Best Motion Picture, Drama, goes to - "The Social Network." Jesse Eisenberg and Andrew Garfield have to be verbally prodded to go onstage. The Facebook film juggernaut rolls on.

7:59 PM - Ricky Gervais gets the final word. "And thank you to God, for making me an atheist." Oscar nominations are announced next week and the fun will really start.

Goodnight everybody!
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It's time again for those Golden Globes, the award show that means exactly as much as you want them to. I'll be liveblogging this evening. Here we go -

5:00 PM - Really, you're going to go with that same musical sting again? Here comes Ricky Gervais!

5:02 PM - Ooh, I don't know if he's going to be invited back next year. We all expected jabs at "The Tourist" and the HFPA, but Tom Cruise may sic the Scientologists on him for that "Phillip Morris" joke.

5:05 PM - Mel Gibson joke #1.

5:08 PM - Scar Jo fresh off her recent split is looking lovely. Best Supporting Actor - Bale wins. Haven't seen "The Fighter" yet. Is Bale's Welsh accent getting thicker, or is it just me?

5:09 PM - Bale's shout-out to Robert DeNiro was just cut off. Second time the delay's been used already. It's going to be an interesting evening.

5:10 PM - Best Actress in a TV drama. I haven't been watching any of these shows. Katey Sagal wins! Yay for Leela!

5:17 PM - Best TV Miniseries or Movie. Wow, "Carlos" ended up in this category? "Temple Grandin" may actually have competition - yep. "Carlos" takes it for Assayas.

5:21 PM - Gervais skewers Bruce Willis, who comes out to present "RED" as a Best Picture nominee. I'm still not sure how this happened.

5:23 PM - Best Supporting Actor in a TV Series. David Strathairn's in here, so it looks like miniseries and movies have been lumped in too. Whoa, the kid from "Glee" wins! That's a nice surprise. And a great speech.

5:30 PM - "Alice in Wonderland" nomination clip is presented by Michelle Pfeiffer. Helena Bonham Carter's shrug really says it all.

5:31 PM - Gervais, what would we do without you? Eva Longoria is stuck with introducing the HFPA prez.

5:35 PM - Best Actor in a TV Drama. Come on, Steve Buscemi! Woooooo! And the classiest speech of the evening.

5:37 PM - Best TV Drama goes to... "Boardwalk Empire." I would have been tickled if "The Walking Dead" took it, but "Boardwalk" will do.

5:44 PM - Andrew Garfield trips over a very badly written "Social Network" nomination clip intro. Poor guy.

5:46 PM - Alec Baldwin and Jennifer Lopez present Best Original Song. Baldwin is shameless, but he can get away with it. Er, didn't "Country Song" just come out last week? Not in this country, apparently. And the Cher song wins. Diane Warren dedicates the award to Ronnie Chasen. Sweet.

5:49 PM - Best Original Score goes to... Trent Reznor for "The Social Network"! Awesome!

5:55 PM - Here comes Best Animated film. Mixed messages about animated films being kid stuff, as usual. To nobody's surprise, "Toy Story 3" wins. Lee Unkrich gets in a good dig at Bieber and Stanfield being presenters. I'm still kinda ticked off the Golden Globes barred animated films from Best Picture consideration.

5:59 PM - Gervais has fun with Robert Downey Jr's intro. And Downey is hitting on Julianne Moore. And Angelina Jolie. And Annette Bening. I love this man. Every male in the room is now imagining a six-way with the Best Actress in a Comedy/Musical nominees. (Er, how is "Blue Valentine" a comedy?) Annette Bening wins! Too bad she's in a different category than Natalie Portman, so this is really indicative of nothing about the Oscar race. Not a great speech, but she got in a good laugh line thanking Beatty.

6:10 PM - Here c,omes Stallone to present the nomination clip for "The Fighter." Good to see him here to cap off another good comeback year.

6:11 PM - Best Actor in a TV Miniseries or Movie. Swinton and Pacino deliver it to Al Pacino. I have no idea if he deserves it or not, but it's always great to hear Pacino speak.

6:15 PM - Best Actress in a TV Miniseries or Movie. Yay for Claire Danes! And Temple Grandin came with her to this show too. This is the end of the line for the picture's contention for major awards, so I hope they enjoy it. Danes had a great speech. I hope this gets her more work.

6:23 PM - Zac Efron presents "The Kids Are All Right" clip. Why Zac Efron?

6:24 PM - Gervais is never going to stop ribbing on Steve Carrell over "The Office." And Carrell is milking it for all it's worth. Carrell and Tina Fey work so well together. Why was "Date Night" so awful?

6:26 PM - Okay, Best Writing goes to - Aaron Sorkin for "The Social Network." Yes, David Fincher is a national treasure. And Sorkin gives Zuckerberg his props and references the criticisms of hostility toward women in his script. Hmmm.

6:29 PM - Oh look, it's Thor and Captain America for some corporate synergy. Best Supporting Actress for anything on TV goes to - Jane Lynch for "Glee." This is leading up to something, I bet. Lynch is so awesome.

6:30 PM - Starting a new post. Stay tuned.
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Continued from previous post -

6:34 - I now fear the sound of that guitar. Here's the montage for variety and information programs. That one wasn't bad.

6:37 - Joel McHale and Jeff Probst presents Best Writer for Variety, Music or Comedy Special. Only one nominee-submitted intro and the rest are clips from the shows. Huh? Well, the guy who cared enough to send in a personal intro won. Good karma.

6:45 - I'm breaking out the Ben & Jerry's for the last hour. Gervais cometh! Gervais wants alcohol. Gervais *gets* alcohol!

6:46 - Best Direction for Variety, Music or Comedy Special goes to a man named Bucky Gunts who did the last Olympics.

6:51 - Best Variety, Music or Comedy Special Intros. Colbert wants a human centipede. Stewart is doing his Glenn Beck impression. What looks like a simple clip from Conan turns out to be masterful subversion. "The Daily Show" wins so we don't get to see any epic Conan shenanigans. Stewart's not here because he's sick. Ah.

6:56 - Boardwalk Empire looks amazing. There really is no line between the quality of movies and TV anymore. Hey, Kelly MacDonald and Steve Buscemi are in this!

6:59 - Clooney gets a Bob Hope Humanitarian award, and Julianna Margulies is here to say nice things about him. I tend to forget about Clooney's "ER" years and all his previous TV work. Wow, you have be a nice guy for a guy his age to get that kind of ovation. Great speech too. Ever think about going into politics, George?

7:04 - Here come the Miniseries and Movies montage. The hour is late indeed my friends. It feels like we've just switched channels to the Oscars. Let's see which stars actually showed up.

7:06 - John Krasinski bombs spectacularly at presenting. Did not catch co-presenter's name. Best Supporting Actress in Movie or Miniseries goes to Julia Ormond, who I continue to mix up with Juliette Binoche.

7:11 - I love the Community Infiniti promos. The use of cut-off music is inspired.

7:14 - Her comes Claire Danes to present Best Supporting Actor in Movie or Miniseries. David Strathairn wins. That's two for "Temple Grandin," and Strathairns is so not prepared for this. No reeling off names is a dead giveaway.

7:17 - No transition at all to Jewel's performance. She's backing the "In Memoriam" segment. Her yowling is really killing the mood this year. Good to see Captain Phil in the lineup. And I miss Dennis Hopper.

7:25 - Maura Tierney and Blair Underwood present Best Writing for Miniseries or Movie. No intros and very little banter or lead-ups for these categories, which is kind of a shame. These are really the indie and mid-range pictures that couldn't get the financing to be full-fledged theatrical feature films. With a little luck, many of these nominees would have been up for Oscars. "You Don't Know Jack" takes the writing prize.

7:27 - Best Actress, Miniseries or Movie, is Claire Danes for "Temple Grandin." I will continue to confuse her with Anna Paquin and hope she comes back to the movies someday - rather, that there's something worthwhile for her to come back to.

7:34 - The cast of "True Blood" presents Best Director, Miniseries or Movie. Emmy goes to "Temple Grandin." Spielbeg's "Pacific" is denied.

7:37 - Lead Actor, Miniseries or Movie, goes to Al Pacino! And he showed up! TV audiences didn't think they'd be getting a little Pacino tonight, but here he is! Hoo-ah!

7:40 - Hodgman just twittered that he was told to play it straight with Pacino's intro. You must publish the unused ones Sir!

7:41 - Chill passes through the room. Kevorkian appears.

7:41 - But I don't want an exclusive look at "The Event"! And of course it's exclusive! Your network is airing the darned thing!

7:45 - You lie, Dish Network. You could give us a la carte channel pricing if you wanted. Nobody says you can't. And if you did, maybe the Internet wouldn't be kicking your -

7:46 - Laurence Fishburne presents Best Miniseries Emmy to "The Pacific," which is suspiciously one of only two nominees in the category. Has some tragedy befallen the Halmi clan?

7:47 - Best Made-For-TV Movie Emmy goes to "Temple Grandin." The lady finally makes it up on the stage. And it's her birthday! Hey, David Strathairn, your producer is prepared for *her* speech!

7:50 - Fallon's real father, Tom Selleck, comes to present Best Drama. Fallon's going to hang on to that joke for a while. "Mad Men" wins again. Third time in a row, to the chagrin of Alessandra Stanley.

7:53 - Only one award left to go. Very proud of myself that I haven't misidentified Jimmy Fallon as Jimmy Kimmel once all evening.

7:56 - Ted Danson presents Best Comedy series. "Modern Family" wins! Crowd goes bananas. "Glee" tastes bitter defeat, though we all saw it coming.

7:59 - Betty White does not look pleased at Fallon's announcement of the after-party at her house. Silly Fallon, didn't you know it was invite-only?

8:00 - And we're done. Bryan Cranston and "Mad Men" won again. "Modern Family" beat out "30 Rock," and somehow Jim Parsons and Edie Falco sucker-punched the "30 Rock" cast. The Movies and mini-series categories still get no respect, and we were denied the glorious return of Conan O'Brien.

Next time, Emmys. Next time.
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Here we are again, for another Emmy Awards telecast. I can't help feeling a little bitter straight off, because I was Conan O'Brien had hosting duties the last two times NBC had the Emmys, and he was always fantastic. Were it not for the spectacular flameout earlier this year, he would be hosting again. Jimmy Fallon's got big shoes to fill.

Here we go:

5:00 - Opening sequence "Glee" parody is a little awkward, but the cameos are good. Oh, Betty White, you never get old. Fallon's singing on "Born to Run" is... unfortunate, but he's getting plenty of good support. Nice to see Time Gunn, Hurley, Jon Hamm, Tina Fey, and Joel McHale.

5:07 - Here comes the monologue. Acoustic guitar is a good sign. And not a minute in, we've got the Conan joke. Hello!

5:08 - The little song numbers for each Emmy category would have been a nice conceit if they were grouped together, but it just went straight into a comedy montage. Blah.

5:12 - First award presented by Betty White and Jon Hamm. Best Supporting Actor for Comedy is... Eric Stonestreet. First win for him and "Modern Family."

5:13 - Is that John Hodgman announcing? The deadpan intro is great. I hope this keeps up.

5:15 - Commercial break. Was that it for Fallon's monologue? It feels like he bailed awful quick there.

5:18 - It is John Hodgman! I wish he was hosting instead of Jimmy Fallow, who is relaying jokes from Twitter. Ehh.

5:19 - Sofia Vergara and Jim Parsons are presenting for Best Comedy Writing. I love the writing intros. "Modern Family" is two for two. Steve Levitan is an adorable man.

5:23 - Hooray, Stephen Colbert! No Jon Stewart this year? They usually have a double act. Oh well, he's presenting Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy. Jane Lynch! Jane Lynch! Yay! If "Glee" doesn't get anything else tonight, no big deal.

5:26 - They just lifted a sting from "Kill Bill." Which, now that I think about it, probably lifted it from something else.

5:31 - Well, Jimmy Fallon is trying. I'll give him that. Matthew Perry and Lauren Graham are up to introduce the winners of Best Guest Actors in Comedies - so they can introduce something else. Betty White and NPH win... and they're not presenting anything? Oh well.

Perry and Graham go on to present Best Comedy Direction. I love that they gave them the same chance to do intros the way the writers did. I love seeing the behind-the-camera getting more spotlight. And another win for "Glee"! Tied two and two with "Modern Family."

5:35 - Looks like a cross-over clip sketch with "Modern Family." Stewie drops in, rampant heterosexuality, and Clooney!! Fun bit of filler there.

5:37 - LL Cool J (whuh?) and Eva Longoria present Best Comedy Lead Actor - Jim Parsons won! Jim Parsons won! You heard Hodgman. Nerds, take to the streets!

5:44 - And we're back with NPH, who owns Fallon's sad attempt at ragging on him. He's also presenting Best Comedy Lead Actress. Edie Falco wins, ending Tina Fey's streak. Good for her. She tries to convince us she's not funny. Not working.

5:47 - Fallon's back with the guitar, which means we're in for another montage. Reality shows! The quality-to-crud ratio here is staggering, but enough good shows are around that I can't write it off wholesale.

5:49 - Will Arnett and Keri Russell present Best Reality Series - Top Chef wins! They just ended the insanely long "Amazing Race" streak! It's out with the old this year in practically every category.

5:56 - Hail Ernst & Young. Hallowed be thy name.

5:57 - Ooh, Julianna Margulies dissed Fallon. But it was planned. On with the drama montage. You know they mean business when they bring out the "Dragonheart" music. These montages are including all the right shows, but the footage choices are terrible.

6:00 - The Law & Order SVU leads are here to present Best Drama Writing. Fallon correctly observes that they saved NBC's 10PM timeslot. Suck it Leno! "Mad Men" wins, as expected. Will the proliferation of newbie winners be limited to the non-dramatic categories?

6:03 - Awkward cutoff there. On to Best Dramatic Supporting Actor - Aaron Paul wins! And he hugged Hodgman on the red carpet! Go "Breaking Bad"! Go!

6:09 - Should I be worried that they're leaning so heavily on Tweets? Here's Emily Deschanel and Nathan Fillion for Best Best Dramatic Supporting Actress. Archie Panjabi wins for "The Good Wife," a show I'm not familiar with. But Panjabi is gorgeous and articulate and awesome.

6:12 - Edie Falco presents Best Dramatic Actor - Cranston wins! I was rooting for Hall or Laurie since they're overdue for wins, but it's hard to argue with "Breaking Bad." And Cranston is such a wonderful presence, I can't say no to more of him.

6:19 - I'm really looking forward to "Undercovers." Boris Kodjoe and Gugu Mbatha-Raw present Guest Actor Emmys for Drama. John Lithgow and the glorious Ann-Margaret are the winners and here to present Best Director for Drama. Nice to see so many female nominees this year, but I'm glad "Dexter" won. The show does not get enough love.

Going to have to break for a second post soon.

6:23 - An In Memoriam segment for finished shows? Oh, Fallon's doing Elton John. Enough time has passed since we lost Princess Di that this isn't skeevey. And Fallon's vocal cords have warmed up. He sounds much better now.

Wait, no Heroes, Cold Case, Scrubs, or Tudors? Awww.

6:31 - Twitter intro is definitely getting old. Matthew Morrison and Tina Fey are up to present Best Actress in a Drama. Kyra Sedgwick wins! And I'm cutting off here for a new post.
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I figure it's only fitting to watch the last episode of "24," with a liveblog. And no joke - I'm a complete newbie to the series. Never watched a single episode before this.

8PM We're off to a good start. Keifer's looking well-rested.

:01 The recap's a blur of Russian agents, a woman diplomat being told to muzzle the press or lose a peace agreement, scowling, and bad accents.

:03 I forgot about the "real time" gimmick. I'll assume nothing important is going on during the commercial breaks, and everything in the "24" universe happens in 6-8 minute spurts.

:04 Michael Madsen! I'm entertained by him just being there.

:05 Is that Freddie Prinze Jr?! Wikipedia says yes.

:07 I can't follow the plot so far, but the stern looks and the terse dialogue make me feel like something important must be going on if everyone's so tense. There will be explosions later, right?

:12 My god, there's actually a counter. It's like the whole show is a countdown clock cliché. Now if something doesn't explode, I'll be terribly disappointed.

:13 Hi Jack! Evil Anderson Cooper must be evil.

:17 Madame president? Wait, wasn't the guy in the preview ID'd as the president? Natasha Fatale just gave her a pen and is emitting sinister vibes. Exploding pen?

:20 There's more technobabble in this show than "Star Trek." They just babble it so fast, it sounds plausible.

:24 Scoring this show must be fun. Eerie synthesizer sounds, a woodblock to simulate a ticking clock, and… is that a therimin?

:25 I don't think I much like Jack Bauer. He's got the incoherent Christian Bale's growl going on, and he seems to think the ends justify acting like a jerk. A mean jerk.

:31 More close-up shots of the pen. I remain suspicious.

:33 Natasha Fatale and Madame President are having what might have been a good scene at some point, but played so over the top, it comes off like a high school cheerleader spat. I'm reporting you to the UN! I'm sending in the nukes, beeyotch!

:45 Freddie Prinz and the redhead establish that we should be even more worried than we have been for the last 45 minutes. We're not even halfway through yet. I'm not sure how much more tense I can get without triggering muscle spasms.

:47 Ah. They're all presidents.

:55 Jack, stop strangling the redhead. She's just trying to help.

9PM

:05 Now Jack Bauer has the redhead handcuffed to a railing. She's still trying to reason with him. Good grief, Jack is a being such a child.

:07 The redhead's name is Chloe. I think she's easily the best character in the show so far.

:09 The Russian president's conspirator has a certain Nixonesque quality about him. Something about the jowls and the proboscis.

:11 Okay, Jack getting Chloe to shoot him was pretty good. He had it coming to him.

:17 Nixon is also being addressed as "President." They're popping up like daisies.

:19 Chloe and the evil Anderson Cooper exchange more dialogue that makes them both sound like snarky teenagers. Stop flirting, you two!

:21 And Jack does a Mike Tyson on evil Anderson Cooper's ear!

:27 President Nixon and Madame President convene to plot evil deeds. I think Nixon may have a little crush on Jack Bauer.

:34 Took me this long to realize which character was being played by Eriq LaSalle.

:36 Boy, they're taking their time telegraphing Madame President's decision to back out of the treaty. The actress is doing an excellent job, even if they aren't giving her much to work with.

:40 Eriq LaSalle is not happy.

:41 Nixon is not happy. Watch out, evil Anderson Cooper!

:42 Madame President is not happy. Open this door, young man!

:49 Jack's execution is averted. This is a strangely moody, tension-free sequence. They're setting up Jack as a martyr figure, which just makes me roll my eyes.

:52 Madame President confessional. I'm not sure what I expected as far as the level of writing, but this hits pretty much every cliche for shallow, shiny action films from about ten years ago. I can see how "24" would have seemed innovative at first with the cinematography and the countdown clock, but they feel like perfunctory bits of an old formula now.

:54 Split screen goodbye scene is fitting considering how much they've been relying on it stylistically. Chloe had that thank you coming to her.

And the end. Aw, no explosions. Wait, what happened to Michael Madsen?
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And we're back.

7:18 - Martin and Baldwin have a "Paranormal Activity" sketch! Just okay.

7:19 - Kristin Stewart and Taylor Lautner woodenly introduce a tribute to horror films. I worry about those two. Never thought I'd see Freddy and Jason at the Oscars, but they're doing a nice job of mixing in the classics. I don't know that "Marathon Man," "Edward Scissorhands," and "Misery" are horror films - oh well, close enough. I liked the bit at the end with "Scream."

7:23 - Zach Efron and Anna Kendrick present, and Morgan Freeman gives us a quick intro for the Sound and Sound Mixing categories. The only other intro sequence was for the Shorts, another category some have argued are superfluous or at least shouldn't need to be broadcast as part of the main ceremony. I don't think the extra attention is helping.

Best Sound. WINNER - "The Hurt Locker"
Best Sound Mixing. WINNER - "The Hurt Locker"

Not keeping score, but it looks like "Avatar" and "Hurt Locker" are roughly tied for technical awards so far.

7:30 - Quick rundown of the Sci-tech awards. I didn't recognize the presenter or catch her name.

7:31 - John Travolta spotlights "Inglorious Basterds."

7:32 - Just remembered, about an hour too late, that Ben Stiller was the one who was supposed to be translating for the Sacha Baron Cohen Na'vi charcter in that nixed sketch that got Cohen kicked out of the ceremony. Doubly good on Stiller for carrying on in Cohen's place.

7:37 - Sandra Bullock presents Best Cinematography. No accompanying graphics? Must be a technical glitch. WINNER - Mauro Fiore for "Avatar."

7:39 - And the orchestra playing "Unchained Melody" reveals Demi Moore? Ah, the In Memoriam segment. Oddly, I always enjoy these for the nostalgia factor. And James Taylor appears to play us through. Here we go.

David Carradine, Patrick Swayze, Dom DeLuise, Jean Simmons, Eric Rohmer, Brittany Murphy, Roy Disney, and Natasha Richardson. Michael Jackson's appearance feels perfunctory at this point. And they end, fittingly, with Karl Malden. Not too traumatic this year.

7:46 - Jennifer Lopez and Sam Worthington present Best Score. I'm rooting for "Up" and "Sherlock Holmes." Not crazy about the interpretive dance sequences they're foisting on us, but I like being able to hear the music.

WINNER - Michael Giacchino for "Up." He should have gotten it for the "Incredibles," but the Oscars are always known for being a little late about these things.

7:55 - Gerard Butler and Bradley Cooper present Best Visual Effects. This one's no contest. WINNER - "Avatar."

7:58 - Jason Bateman spotlights "Up in the Air."

8:03 - Matt Damon with Best Documentary Feature. The clips with these are amazing. WINNER - "The Cove." This is the only one I've heard much about, but I'm interested in the others too. And I can't believe Fisher Stevens is up there collecting a statuette.

8:07 - Tyler Perry is up to present best Best Editing. He's got a pleasant, low-key comedy bit here, with the hosts in matching orange Snuggies in the end. Ha! This one might determine how the evening is going to go. WINNER - "The Hurt Locker." Still anyone's game at this point.

8:10 - Keanu Reeves spotlights "The Hurt Locker."

8:15 - Only five awards left to go. Pedro Almodovar and Quentin Tarantino present Best Foreign Language Film. WINNER - "El Secreto de Sus Ojos" beats "The White Ribbon."

8:20 - Kathy Bates spotlights "Avatar."

8:22 - Okay, now I'm noticing the moving elements onstage in the wide shots. There are two spangled panels on either side, and what looks like a background made of yellow table lamps that's lowered for certain presenters.

8:26 - Best Actor's up next. They have five presenters, one to deliver an anecdote for each nominee. This is the same thing they did last year for all the acting nominees. This time it's just the two big categories, and they've gone gender neutral for the presenters.

Michelle Pfeiffer gives it a good try, but doesn't quite connect to Jeff Bridges. Vera Farmiga is still earning her nomination as she highlights Clooney. Julianne Moore was in the early running for a nom for the role she played opposite Colin Firth, so it's good to see her here. Tim Robbins on the subject of Morgan Freeman has the best anecdote. Oh wait, no. Colin Farrell just topped it by admitting to spooning with Jeremy Renner on a trip to Mexico while filming "SWAT." These tributes take up a lot of time, but I'm enjoying them.

And here's Kate, last year's winner, per tradition to announce. WINNER - Jeff Bridges! The crowd goes wild! Ah, it's been a long time coming and it's so satisfying when that happens.

And he's channeling a touch of the Dude in the speech. What a guy.

8:39 - Best Actress should be up next. Sean Penn won last year, but he's been running charity operations in Haiti so I don't know if he'll be here.

Forrest Whitaker seems like an odd choice for Sandra Bullock, but it turns out he directed her in a picture, and he's wonderfully eloquent. Michael Sheen brings the funny and the charm for Helen Mirren. Peter Saarsgard starred opposite Carey Mulligan, so he's a natural choice. Oprah Winfrey is bringing Gabourey Sidibe to tears already. If she doesn't win, that's still a hell of a kudo. And Stanley Tucci is calling Meryl out for being an overacheiver. Heh.

Sean Penn showed up! I don't know what the hell he's talking about, but it's good to see him. WINNER - Sandra Bullock. Funniest moment of the night has to be her unintentionally ducking out of a hug, leaving poor Meryl Streep flailing! And Sandra makes up for it by complimenting her on being a good kisser. Her speech is restrained and sharp and great. Oooh, typed too soon. Here comes the catch in her voice, and it's all the more poignant for the buildup.

8:54 - Barbara Streisand is presenting Best Director. That's almost a dead giveaway. WINNER: Kathryn Bigelow. Yeeeee-haaaa! She's queen of the world! Bigelow is visibly nervous, but she's holding it together. And she leaves arm in arm with Babs.

9:00 - Tom Hanks presents Best Picture. WINNER - The Hurt Locker. They're running long and Hanks didn't even recap the nominees. Here comes Bigelow again. Neither of the other producers are very good speakers, and Bigelow is coming apart.

9:03 - And Martin and Baldwin close us out.

Too much to process now. More to come later.
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I love the Oscars. I love the stargazing, the pretentious speeches, and all the cutthroat backroom politicking around the voting. I haven't seen the majority of the films up for the major awards, and I probably won't until they're available for rental - but that doesn't matter. The Academy Awards aren't about the movies so much as they are about Hollywood making itself the center of attention to feel important once a year. Boosting ticket sales for a couple of films is purely incidental. This night is all about egos and pecking orders under a nice thick layer of glamor. Okay, and maybe a little sincerity about the elevation of film as art from a few True Believers.

Ten Best Picture nominees, two hosts, and no song numbers. It's going to be quite a night. I decided to liveblog the ceremony a while ago - seems to be what all the cool cats are doing, and I like the immediacy of it.

Here we go:

5:31 - Wait, did I miss the intro? The Best Actor and Best Actress noms have been sent out. Gabourey Sidibe looks glorious!

5:33 - Neil Patrick Harris?! Just for the opening number, it looks like, but he's bringing it. They're doing a full Busby Berkeley number in full 30s regalia. "No One Wants to Do it Alone." It's light and classy and very right.

5:36 - Baldwin and Martin have descended from the ceiling. The banter isn't working so great, but they're slowly easing into it. Callback to "The Jerk." Nice. Woody Harrelson is "so high." The "Avatar" 3D gag didn't work, but the Cameron/Bigelow lines landed. And the ones for "Inglorious Bastards." And the Damon and Bullock ones.

5:44 - Efron and Lautner must be scared out of their cherubic little minds.

5:45 - Clooney, as always, comes out on top. All he has to do is not smile.

5:46 - Best Supporting Actor! Lovely Penelope Cruz is presenting. The performance clips are longer than usual, which I like - we're actually seeing what these guys are nominated *for* and it's helping to sell the films. WINNER - Christoph Waltz. Great speech.

5:51 - "Blind Side" spotlight, with Ryan Reynolds presenting. I'm not sure why - the only connection he has to the film is co-starring with Bullock in "The Proposal."

5:57 - The Kimmel-Silverman-Damon-Affleck joke has now extended to Jennifer Garner.

Back from commercial. Diaz and Carrell (who stepped in for Jude Law?!) are introducing clips of interviews with the stars of the nominated animated films - very cute, with Barbara Walters lending a VO. Oh, and the Best Animation Category too. Of course PIXAR gets it, but it was a strong field this year. WINNER - "Up"

6:01 - I love that satisfied look on Ed Asner's face.

6:02 - Martin announces "two actresses who have no idea who we are." Oh Steve, you're not that old. Miley Cyrus and Amanda Seyfried up to announce "Best Original Song." No performances tonight, so we get these nice extended clips. I haven't seen the non-"Princess and the Frog Ones." Now I need to see "Nine" for Marion Cotillard. WINNER - "Crazy Heart."

6:06 - Chris Pine is up to spotlight "District 9." The presenters have no real relation to the films, I guess. It's just a who's who of the actors that were popular this year. I'm glad they're not pushing those long-winded intros with the stars' future projects too hard this time. Just seeing Chris Pine here is enough to emphasize his breakout.

6:08 - While we're at commercial, a quick note on the set. Big and bright, but simple this year, without too many complex moving parts after the hosts' entrance. Just video screens and podiums and presenters in front, with staircases leading up to a raised platform in the middle. Lots of crystal beading.

6:13 - Baldwin intros Downey Jr and Tina Fey, and gives her kudos for reviving his career. Good man. Best Screenplay awards are up. They're doing an actor v. writer bit. This is great. Downey just called Fey a sickly little mole person. I love them both.

Best Original Screenplay - "The Hurt Locker" beats out some stiff competition, including Tarantino. That was a cold reaction shot of Quentin there.

6:18 - Molly Ringwald! And Matthew Broderick. Oh, they're here for the John Hughes memorial. There was some grumbling about him getting a separate memorial segment from everyone else, but the guy had such a huge impact on my generation, I approve completely.

This is like looking at a high school year book. Young Emilio Estevez. Young Mary Stuart Masterson, Charlie Sheen, James Spader, John Cryer, Robert Downey Jr, Anthony Michael Hall, Kevin Bacon, a Baldwin, and both Cusacks.

And a foreboding shot of Kristen Stewart and Taylor Lautner at the end there.

6:25 - Spotlight on "Up" with Samuel L. Jackson. Best one so far - beautifully edited.

6:29 - Carey Mulligan and Zoe Saldana are both wearing terrible dresses. And presenting the Shorts categories.

And here's Taylor Hackford and David Frankel to justify why they're still presenting the Shorts Oscars. And John Lasseter too. Do we really need this? Fortunately, we do get to see actual clips of the shorts this year. They've been cut in previous years.

Best Animated Short - WINNER - "Logorama"! First surprise of the night. Wallace and Gromit's entry was easily their weakest, so it's not too shocking. I have to wonder if this makes it more or less likely for the creators to be sued for trademark infringement.

Best Documentary Short - WINNER - "Music By Prudence." This one's usually presented with the Feature Documentary category, so the ordering is new. Lends a little more justification for the intro.

Best Live Action Short - WINNER - "The New Tenants." They completely cut off the second winner. Ooh, no mercy for speech length for the the smaller, more insignificant categories they wasted all that time trying to - they would have had time to talk if you'd just cut the pre-taped intro!

6:39 - Ben Stiller in blue Avatar makeup is wonderfully awkward. And he's presenting Best Makeup. And he's making Trekkie jokes. And he's got a tail. Cameron's losing it. This is great. After some more monkeying with the tail, WINNER - "Star Trek."

6:44 - Jeff Bridges spotlights "A Serious Man."

6:49 - Rachel McAdams and Jake Gyllenhaal presenting Best Adapted Screenplay. They split up the writing awards this year. WINNER - Geoffrey Fletcher for "Precious"! We have an upset! We have an upset! And oh, the emotion in that speech is amazing.

Neither of the leading contenders for the writing awards won. I'm glad, since the awards went to people who will actually benefit from them. Reitman and Tarantino do not need Oscars to get films made.

6:53 - And Steve Martin segues us out as only he can, to Queen Latifah. Ugh, and the Governors Award highlights. Always good to see Lauren Bacall though.

6:57 - Robin Williams, in with a quick blue joke and the Best Supporting Actress category. Ooh, it hurts a little to remember that Heath Ledger would have presented this year according to tradition. WINNER - Mo'Nique. And people are on their feet! A forceful, honest speech, and there goes one classy lady.

7:03 - Colin Firth spotlights "An Education."

7:07 - Sigourney Weaver, looking amazing in red, presents Best Art Direction. WINNER - Avatar. First outcome I really disagree with, as there were design elements of that film that I thought were dreadful. "Sherlock Holmes" and "Parnassus" were both more interesting to look at.

7:10 - "Clothes whores" Sarah Jessica Parker and director Tom Ford (WTF? A director?) present Best Costume Design. WINNER - "The Young Victoria." I still have no interest in seeing this film, but the winner's speech was inclusive and thoughtful.

7:13 - Charlize Theron spotlights "Precious."

Been nearly two hours. I'm going to start a new post.
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To get in some practice for tomorrow night, I'm liveblogging the ION airing of "Top Gun." Despite being a child of the 80s, I've never seen it. Spoilers ahoy.

7:01 - Oooh. Widescreen.

7:02 - Tony Scott Directed this? Tony Scott? No wonder he's been so bitter at Ridley over the past two decades. His popularity peaked in 1986!

7:06 - Composer Harold Faltermeyer has been in the news recently for scoring "Cop Out," apparently as one of the only highlights of that movie. I will always love him for writing the "Axel F" theme from "Beverley Hills Cop."

7:10 - Saw this bit sampled in an Macross Plus AMV once.

7:15 - Anthony Edwards filled in nicely since "Revenge of the Nerds" in '84.

7:16 - "Your ego's writing checks your body can't cash" and "You're just lucky to be here" - did they come from this movie? It's hard to tell since the lines are so generic.

7:21 Michael Ironside! Kilmer with frosted tips!

7:24 - Cue the obligatory 80s bar scene. Tom Cruise is *tiny* compared to the other guys here.

7:25 - There is way too much material for a "Brokeback Mountain" parody with this scene and the earlier meaningful exchanging of glances between Maverick and Iceman.

7:26 - Bad karaoke singing trumps good karaoke singing any day for an endearing quality.

7:30 - Kelly McGillis's character would never be allowed to get away with that much clothing or that many good lines today. I like her - it's too bad IMDB says her career went nowhere after this and "Witness."

7:35 - Tom Cruise only gets away with the banter because he's just that pretty and McGillis is egging him on. I expect him to be curbstomped at any moment now.

7:37 - Is there a phone ringing in that scene?

7:38 - The dogfights aren't doing much for me, even though the cinematography is impressive and I know I'm looking at real hardware instead of CGI stand-ins. I think the problem may be that we're not with them long enough to get a real sense of what the planes are doing. It could just be the TV edit, but I doubt it.

7:42 - Oh dear. Spoke too soon. More Brokeback fodder.

7:43 - And more ringing phones. So far the beats have been very predictable and I'm not getting much out of this movie aside from nice shots of the photogenic leads. Maverick is such a typical hotshot lead with so little depth.

7:49 - "Take My Breath Away"? The soundtrack is definitely rivaling "Dirty Dancing" as far as the nostalgia factor.

7:52 - Fuzzy character moment. And here's the out-of-the-blue exposition and angsty hero motivation. Kelly McGillis is the best part of the movie so far, as she's the only character who doesn't come off as a complete action film cliche.

7:54 - A very young and squeaky Meg Ryan!

7:55 - And there's the curbstomp. Ouch.

7:57 - Cruise is being so immature it's almost adorable - they're almost swapping gender roles here. And McGillis follows him, because she's just that cool. Arrgh, I miss good female characters. Where were they all banished to?

7:58 - Of course they cut the love scene. Oh well. Hopefully when we get back from commercial the power chords will stop following us around.

8:03 - The sound design and editing is excellent here. Best dogfight scene so far.

8:07 - And we're back to Kenny Loggins. No, we didn't forget about you and the need for power to the Danger Zone.

8:10 - The crash scene's almost surreal. Did they not have the money to film the plane going down or was it cut on purpose to focus our attention on what was happening to the pilots? I'm not even sure what happened - was it a mechanical failure or was it Maverick's fault?

8:16 - Goose is dead?! Okay, I'm not alone with the confusion. Cruise doesn't know what happened either.

8:19 - This would be touching if it weren't for the overbearing Spanish guitar. I didn't know it was possible to be overbearing with a Spanish guitar!

8:21 - The electronica score's getting really intrusive now. It roots this movie so firmly in the 80s, there's no way to divorce it from the time period.

8:23 - Sundown's helmet appears to owe allegiance to the Empire of Japan.

8:24 - Maverick quits? I know something must have been cut there, because that was *way* too fast. And does the locker room have some mysterious ability to give everyone sinus trouble?

8:34 - The film has completely flatlined with the speechifying. I know they have to do it to set up the comeback, but the five-second flight strip scene pretty much did that without a word being spoken. More than anything, watching this film feels like watching "Avatar," where the formula is so obvious, you're just waiting for the film to go through the motions to get to the next effects scene. With "Top Gun," the flight sequences that are the film's big draw don't look all that great anymore - you can tell the actors aren't ever anywhere near the real planes. And of course they just sidelined the romance subplot - which is actually very decent in this film - to make way for the climax.

8:41 - Here come the fireworks.

8:45 - I was right. They never show the plane debris making impact after the hits.

8:46 - Machine-gun bullets with animated trailing streaks. Wow, the effects are dodgy. The editing is doing most of the work.

8:52 - I couldn't tell what was going on during most of that sequence. The shots are so choppy, you don't know where the planes are in relationship to each other except by following what the actors are shouting at each other. As an action sequence, it doesn't work very well at all. I don't think we saw any shots of the Migs, except through the targeting systems or when they were exploding.

8:57 - Hero's welcome. I can see why people call this an Air Force recruitment film. No complicated real-world fallout here.

"You can be my wingman anytime." Oh lord. Get a room boys!

8:59 - And now it's safe for Kelly McGillis to come back into the picture. I have to admit, this part's nicely done. I wonder if Tony Scott ever considered trying a romantic comedy or two. The genre could use him these days.

9:00 - And we're done. I feel like I've seen the film before, since it was such a big smash in the 80s and has been referenced so many times and influenced so many other pictures. Out of context, though, it's difficult to figure what was so special about this film in 1986 that made it stand out. Tom Cruise's charisma? The fighter jet action scenes? We've seen better examples of both since then, so there's not much impact left today. It is a decent action film, very slick, very easy to look at, and the performances are about as good as they can be given the material. But there's a lot less here than I was expecting, given the film's history.

And the soundtrack - I get why it was massively popular, but today the songs are so well known they actually take away from the viewing experience because they're so aggressively overplayed in the film itself. It's impossible not to roll your eyes by the fourth or fifth reprise of "Danger Zone."

This was worth a watch for the nostalgia value, for Kelly McGillis' sexiness and seeing Tom Cruise in his most iconic 80s form. But as far as entertainment value, it doesn't hold up - if it ever did at all.

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missmediajunkie

May 2014

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