Jackman announces that Mamma Mia! has sold more tickets than Titanic in the UK (it's true). "The musical is back!" he announces--oh Lord, he's breaking out the top hat and the cane old-school. Wow, he's got like two hundred guys in white tie dancing with him and--ah, a medley of Great Musicals. Here's Beyoncé, as threatened, in red sequins and fringe, and about a million billion people going through the Busby Berkeley motions. So we're racing through snippets of The Sound of Music, Singin' in the Rain, West Side Story, Chicago, and Moulin Rouge at the speed of light--I'm really losing count here. I think Grease was in there somewhere, I'm not even sure. This is gonna be another one for YouTube, I think. Aaaand... here's Zac Efron again, and I guess that's Vanessa Hudgens, she's kind of being eaten by her top hat, and there's Amanda Seyfried and I guess the other guy from Mamma Mia!, I don't know. Y'all better be careful or you're going to use up the rest of this century's musical appreciation quota, I'm just saying. Everyone takes like three bows, and Jackman thanks the man who created that number--Baz Luhrmann! Suddenly, so much is explained.
Okay, I'm not hitting post for that. We can sit through another commercial break.
Ah, looks like we're going for another major award: Best Supporting Actor montage! (Good LORD, Christopher Walken was young).
Best Supporting Actor
Josh Brolin for Milk (2008/I)
Robert Downey Jr. for Tropic Thunder (2008)
Philip Seymour Hoffman for Doubt (2008/I)
Heath Ledger for The Dark Knight (2008)
Michael Shannon for Revolutionary Road (2008)
Please welcome! Christopher Walken! Kevin Kline! Cuba Gooding Jr.! Alan Arkin! Joel Grey! Wow--you know, when they were doing the Supporting Actresses, I was sitting there thinking how much the little speeches sounded like... eulogies. Oh, God. This is going to be awful. Break out the tissues. Philip Seymour Hoffman gets Alan Arkin--I'll be specific this time, because last time I was too busy boggling to pay enough attention. Joel Grey informs us that last year's winner spent his entire movie trying to kill one of this year's nominees, Josh Brolin (nicely played). Oh LORD, they gave Robert Downey Jr. to Cuba Gooding Jr., which is genius on a number of levels. Gooding play-shouts at him for wearing blackface and taking work from black actors; RDJ laughs. Christopher Walken gets Michael Shannon, and we're back to the happy pat-on-the-back speeches. Awwwww here we are. Kevin Kline looks very serious and grey as he mentions Ledger's "enduring legacy." The camera pans over Heath Ledger's family (as we are informed). Alan Arkin doesn't even waste time, no pauses, no hesitation, nothin': "And the Oscar goes to Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight." Here's Ledger's parents and sister to accept. Standing ovation; we see Sean Penn in tears. The music is... kind of inappropriately cheerful. Maybe because they're all relieved that there will be no riots in the streets tonight. As Ledger's father speaks, the camera keeps cutting to tearful actors in the audience: Brad Pitt, Adrien Brody, Mickey Rourke, (Sir) Ben Kingsley, and Anne Hathaway (and also Christopher Nolan). His father's speech is short and classy, then his mother and sister speak, and accept the Oscar on behalf of Matilda Ledger. This is pretty much unprecedented, I think--having three people accept for one.
And we tumble straight into Best Documentary. Seriously? You know, people were talking about how Hollywood, or some of Hollywood, wanted to see Heath Ledger win to have "closure." People were talking about him being nominated for the Joker at the end of 2007, even before he had died, and how great a performance it was; and then he died, and then the movie came out, and it really was that great, and he should have been here to see all the accolades, whether he wanted them or not, and he's not. So this is kind of the final award, the final stop in the journey, like he had passed away but couldn't move on, or we couldn't let him move on, until we saw this award given to him, and now he's finally won it, and HEY GUYS BEST DOCUMENTARY! Wow, that was clumsily timed. What, are you tight on commercial break rations or something? Anyway. Here's a clip of the nominated documentarians talking, and now here's Bill Maher: "Great. Everyone's crying, and now I have to go on." And he starts talking about his documentary Religulous and people's "silly gods" and wow, I hope that wasn't scripted.
Best Documentary Feature
The Betrayal - Nerakhoon (2008): Ellen Kuras, Thavisouk Phrasavath
Encounters at the End of the World (2007): Werner Herzog, Henry Kaiser
The Garden (2008/I): Scott Hamilton Kennedy
Man on Wire (2008): James Marsh, Simon Chinn
Trouble the Water (2008): Tia Lessin, Carl Deal
Man on Wire wins; the Man himself makes a coin disappear and then balances the Oscar on his chin, thanking the Academy for "believing in magic."
Best Documentary Short Feature
The Conscience of Nhem En (2008): Steven Okazaki
The Final Inch (2009): Irene Taylor Brodsky, Tom Grant
Smile Pinki (2008): Megan Mylan
The Witness from the Balcony of Room 306 (2008): Adam Pertofsky, Margaret Hyde
"Smile Pinki" wins--Maher is movin' this one along as fast as he can. Well, I guess when you perform all the musicals ever, you have to cut time somewhere. Next up: an honorary award! IT WILL BE TAGALONG TIME.