(You know, I have to say--this forward-facing table setup is so much less painful. I might actually be able to fing tomorrow.)
Please welcome! Eddie Murphy with the Jean Hersholt humanitarian award! MAN, I am so glad I ran and got an iced tea refill. Jerry Lewis montage opening to "Viva la Vida"! Someone likes them some Coldplay this year. Ah: "From one Nutty Professor to another," I see what you did there. By the way, the big controversy this year is "over [Lewis's] recent repeated and public anti-gay slurs. The Hollywood gay community, joined by much of the showbiz straight community, is already on edge because of Proposition 8 passed last month outlawing same-sex unions in California. So the vote by the AMPAS board selecting Lewis seems like 'salt poured into an open wound.' " So it's interesting that the camera cuts to Sean Penn (as the star of Milk, I mean) during Lewis's acceptance speech (which is classy and very, very short for an honorary award).
Next up: song, score, actor, actress, director and picture. They've got fifteen minutes to come in on time, and you know what? I almost think they can do it.
Back from commercials. I have to say, I am pleased with the show as a viewer and very, very disappointed as a liveblogger. They are giving me NOTHING cracky to work with here. Here's Hugh Jackman quoting from a 1961 letter Audrey Hepburn wrote to Henry Mancini about the importance of music in movies, so now, let's have the orchestra play selections from the Best Score nominees:
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008): Alexandre Desplat
Defiance (2008): James Newton Howard
Milk (2008/I): Danny Elfman
Slumdog Millionaire (2008): A.R. Rahman
WALL·E (2008): Thomas Newman
I actually really look forward to this part every year--I remember when they had Itzhak Perlman play bits from the scores a couple of years ago, and Brokeback Mountain was amazing on a violin. Anyway! Here's Zac Efron
Best Song! Which Peter Gabriel will not be performing. Because you couldn't give him more than 65 seconds. Really? You're going to run over at least ten minutes, you might as well run over twelve. So it's two Slumdog songs, with a big Bollywood style production and Rahman roaming through the audience, and then a minute of "Down to Earth" with the Bollywood dancers waving softly in the background and then African singers come in and just as they get going it's back to Bollywood. I really wish they'd at least nominated two other songs like they usually do, because the selection just looks really weirdly weighted in Slumdog's favor. And then they start singing "Down to Earth" and "Jai Ho" together, and it's actually really awesome. But the show is doing a really bad job of indicating who any of these people are--I finally figured out that John Legend was singing "Down to Earth" and I can't tell if M.I.A. was there or not.
Slumdog Millionaire (2008): A.R. Rahman, Sampooran Singh Gulzar ("Jai Ho")
Slumdog Millionaire (2008): A.R. Rahman, Maya Arulpragasam ("O Saya")
WALL·E (2008): Peter Gabriel, Thomas Newman ("Down to Earth")
"Jai Ho" wins, and the Indian dancers have started up again by the time we go to commercial.