7:33. Best Supporting Actress: Sometimes, but not always, they give the supporting trophies out first. Tonight is one of those nights, because producer Gil Cates wants to introduce the changes he's making to the show gradually. "EVERYBODY UP FRONT!" he yells while some very confused-looking actresses wobble up the stairs in their complicated couture gowns. Natalie Portman trips over her shapeless flapper dress, and Virginia Madsen and Laura Linney snicker and just let her go down like a ton of bricks. Okay, maybe a pound of bricks. Cate Blanchett wins and is classy and thanks all the right people, and everyone at home goes, "Well, maybe the show is going to be pretty normal after all."
7:37. Best Supporting Actor: "KEEP THEM DOGIES ROLLIN'!" Thomas Haden Church can't get over the fact that he went from Wings to this. Jamie Foxx is pretty happy, too, because he knows he's winning a different category and so he doesn't care. Morgan Freeman wins, and everyone is happy and gives him a standing ovation, and while everyone's distracted Alan Alda tries to get something started: "You gonna take that sitting down, man?" and Clive Owen's all like, "But... I'm standing up. We all are," and Alan Alda's like, "FIGURE. OF. SPEECH. I thought you were the tough guy! Go kick his ass!" and Clive Owen's all like, "I can't! My agent has me on this whole Not As Working-Class As You Think thing!" And Alan Alda's like, "You disappoint me, man."
7:48. Best Stuff That Did Not Involve Actors: Morgan Freeman's standing ovation took so long that Cates is starting to sweat. "WE'RE ON A SCHEDULE, PEOPLE!" he's yelling backstage. "I PROMISED ABC LESS THAN THREE HOURS!" So he sends Pierce Brosnan out to rattle off several technical categories as fast as he can while Halle Berry and Kirsten Dunst circulate in the audience with Oscars on cocktail trays. A costume designer tries to stand up at her seat and say something, but Samuel L. Jackson is following the ladies around enforcing this year, so no speech for her.
8:01. Out in the audience, Johnny Depp starts drinking from a pocket flask.
8:07. Best Music-Type Junk: Barbra Streisand and Prince come out, and are so stunned to see each other that they kill about thirty seconds of Cates' precious airtime. You can hear a frantic "GO GO GO!" from behind the curtain, and out runs Beyonce in a classy white couture gown to perform all the nominated songs. As an afterthought, they shove Josh Groban out onstage, too. And then, after two verses of "Learn to Be Lonely," Beyonce rips off her designer dress to reveal a hoochie skirt and a halter top and starts belting out "Proud Mary." Groban, utterly confused, gets in a couple halfhearted choruses of "Rollin'... rollin'...?" before Cates turns off the sound in his relentless quest to keep the show moving. Antonio Banderas and Carlos Santana are backstage waiting to do the Motorcycle Diaries song... waiting for a cue that never comes. Woe.
8:33. Other Film-Type Stuff: Cates realizes that they can cut their announcement time in half if they just catapult the statuettes out to the winners in the audience using Beyonce's halter top. She doesn't need it because she's backstage giving Colin Farrell a lap dance.
8:47. Special Honorary Oscar for Sidney Lumet: "Go long!" shouts Al Pacino, shooting across the stage on a skateboard, and Lumet catches his Oscar from up in one of the theater boxes.
9:05. Gwyneth Paltrow comes out to present the Annual Death March of Deathly Death: "People died, and it was sad. The end." Backstage, Cates crows, "I cut ten whole minutes out right there!"
9:13. Best Actress: Johnny's already backstage boozing with Colin, because his flask ran out and he needed a refill, and Colin's back there big-pimpin' with a crate of Jack under his chair, Kirsten Dunst cooing on one arm and Emmy Rossum on the other. Cates is trying to hustle the Best Actress nominees up the stairs and Kate Winslet's all like, "Fuck you," and Johnny's all like, "KATIE, CATCH!," and Kate and Imelda Staunton start swapping the flask back and forth. Sean Penn opens the envelope and Hilary Swank wins and she totally does the beauty queen *facepalmgasp* of joy!, and Sean Penn's like, "Oh, whatever." Annette Bening turns on Hilary, her face a Botoxed rictus of rage, and starts clawing at her gown with a high-pitched harpy shriek and Hilary starts defending herself with the Oscar, you know, as one does, and Annette's fending off heavy golden blows all like, "WARREN, WHY AREN'T YOU HELPING MEEEEEE??," and out in the audience Warren Beatty's all like, "Mmm, catfight."
9:15. Sophie Okonedo and Catalina Sandino Moreno have been out in the parking lot sitting on the back of someone's limo getting high for the last hour and a half, because they know the score, man. It turns out that Santana has a pretty good stash.
9:24. Cates finally just calls in the Jaws of Life to come separate Swank and Bening.
9:28. Best Actor: Don Cheadle's all like, "This is a farce, man," and Johnny Depp's all like, "Be cool, man," and he gives Cheadle one of his cigarettes. And Charlize Theron gets up there to announce the winner and Cates is like "TALK FASTERRRRRR!" and so Charlize is all like, "AndtheOscargoestoLEONARDODICAPRIO!" and Chris Rock just spontaneously combusts and falls over dead and flames out into a tiny pile of ash, and Charlize is like, "Serves y'all right, bitches. The Oscar actually goes to Jamie Foxx," and Jamie Foxx gets up there and whoops and hollers and starts thanking everyone he has known since birth. Clint Eastwood, the only person there who seems to think someone other than Foxx could have won, is all pouting because he wanted Best Actor rilly, rilly bad. Johnny Depp's all like, "Oh, give it up, old man." And then he and Don Cheadle return to the backstage party, where Colin Farrell's hookers and blow have arrived.
9:43. Foxx is still thanking people. Cates is totally calm, because he actually budgeted time for this.
10:15. Best Director: "UP ON STAGE, BITCHES!" Cates is panicking because he now has ten minutes to bring the show in on time, or ABC will execute his wife and children at an undisclosed location. Out in the audience, Mike Leigh is like, "Fuck all y'all, I'm staying right here!" Taylor Hackford and Alexander Payne, who also know the score, have joined Okonedo and Sandino Moreno in the parking lot, so it's just Martin Scorsese and Clint Eastwood up on stage. Tim Robbins announces that Eastwood wins Best Director, and Scorsese bursts into tears. Eastwood's all bitter, like, "Well, I don't want it now!" Somewhere in New Zealand, Peter Jackson's watching the Oscars on his lunch break all like, "AHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!"
10:17. Back in LA, Robert DeNiro makes a discreet call on his cell phone to a trusted associate back in New Jersey. After tonight, Clint Eastwood is never seen again.
10:24. Best Picture: Clint Eastwood isn't speaking to anyone, which is kind of too bad, considering that he's going to be trying on concrete shoes in about three hours. Scorsese is in tears. Nobody representing any of the other three movies is even still in the theater. John Travolta opens the final envelope and says, "And the Oscar goes to... HOLY SHIT, SIDEWAYS?" No one who could accept for the movie is left in the building, so the show comes in exactly six minutes under time. The credits roll, and Gil Cates is running laps around the stage doing V-for-victory fingers.
10:28. One of the "No, seriously, we'll send you a real statue in three weeks" trophy minions runs out to tell Alexander Payne the good news in the parking lot, where Santana and Banderas and Johnny Depp are all playing in the Hunter S. Thompson Memorial Jam, and Colin Farrell has come out with his bitchez to trade illegal substances, and there's a big ol' limo tailgate party going on, and Alexander Payne's like, "Sideways WON? Oh, man, that is the best joke ever! Tell me another one!"