8.38 p.m. – It’s ALL OVER for 2012 folks.
8.32 p.m. Tom Cruise is on stage to present the Best Motion Picture. And the Oscar goes to “THE ARTIST” – Producer Thomas Langmann honors Francis Ford Coppola and other mentors and introduces his director again who thanks his wife and Billy Wilder.
8.24 p.m. “King’s Speech” Best Actor Oscar winner Colin Firth presenting for Best Actress. This is a true race, Meryl vs Michelle Williams vs Viola Davis. Will Meryl Streep finally break her almost 30-year drought? Or will late favorite Viola Davis take the trophy? Meryl is tearing up a little. We kinda hope she wins. She’s pretty damn amazing. The Best Actress Oscar goes to… MERYL STREEP! Her third Academy Award on her 17th nomination. A standing ovation. Well-deserved. Will we get a trippy speech Nope, it’s all class from Meryl tonight thanking all her friends for her “inexplicably” wonderful career. We love it.
8:13 p.m. “Black Swan” Oscar winner Natalie Portman presenting the Best Actor Oscar. Will anyone beat “The Artist’s” Jean DuJardin? Though we’d love acting legend Gary Oldman to take home the trophy, the Oscar goes to… JEAN DUJARDIN, “The Artist.” Seems like a cool guy, what’s not to like?
8:03 p.m. In memoriam to “It’s a Wonderful World” – any doubt they’ll end with Elizabeth Taylor? Amongst the more recognizable are Whitney Houston, Peter Falk, Steve Jobs, Cliff Robertson, Laura Ziskin, Sidney Lumet, Gary Winick, photojournalist Tim Hetherington, Bingham Ray (who passed at Sundance), Jane Russell, Jackie Cooper, Gil Cates, Norman Corwin, Ben Gazzara.
7.56 p.m. Meryl Streep is introduced to recap the achievement awards to James Earl Jones, make-up artist Dick Smith and to Oprah Winfrey for her humanitarian efforts. A standing ovation for the honorees in their royal box at the awards.
7.50 p.m. Michael Douglas and tells a story about what a director does. The favorite here is Michel Hazanavicius for “The Artist” – things have been looking good for Scorsese though, so will there be an upset here? The Oscar for Best Direction goes to… Michel Hazanavicius.
7.38 p.m. The Bridesmaids women take the stage. Best Live Action Short Film goes to “The Shore” – Terry George and Oorlagh George, and deliver a speech about peace in Northern Ireland. Best Documentary Short Film – “Saving Face” – Daniel Junge, Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy. Best Animated Short Film – “Fantastic Flying Books of Mr Morris Lessmore” – William Joyce and Brandon Oldenburg (from Louisiana, apparently).
7.35 p.m. Mila Jovovich continues the legacy of hot women who’ve presented the technical awards. The actress/model gives a quick wrap-up of those earlier awarded Oscars.
7.28 p.m. Jolie presenting the award for Original Screenplay. “Midnight in Paris” is the favorite here. Will there be an upset to “The Artist” or “Bridesmaids”? And the Oscar for Original Screenplay goes to… Woody Allen for “Midnight in Paris.” As is usual for the icon, Allen isn’t in attendance.
7.25 p.m. Angelina Jolie takes the stage, looking ridiculously sexy with a major split in her dress, presenting Best Screenplay Adapted from another source – “The Descendants” must be deemed the favorite based on their WGA win the other night. And the Oscar for Adapted Screenplay goes to Alexander Payne and Jim Rash and Nat Faxon for “The Descendants.” Many will recognize Faxon from his many appearances on commercials.
7.15 p.m. Will Ferrell and Zach Galifiniakis come out from the orchestra pit with cymbals. Hilarious. And the Oscar for Best Original Song goes to… (one of two nominations)… Bret McKenzie for “Man or Muppet” from “The Muppets.” McKenzie is one of the funny duo from HBO’s “Flight of the Conchords.”
7.12 p.m. Penelope Cruz and Owen Wilson to present the award for Best Original Score. And the Oscar goes to Ludovic Bource for “The Artist” – no surprise here, the whole film was music, so this was seen as a shoe-in – he pays his respects to John Williams as he makes his way to the stage – nice touch. A speech from the heart, in English. Gorgeous.
7.10 p.m. Academy president Tom Sherak – time for a pee break. And a joke at his expense by Billy Crystal. He’s doing great.
7.07 p.m. Billy Crystal reading the minds of attendees. Funny stuff. Brilliant impression of Nick Nolte.
7.00 p.m. “The Fighter’s” supporting actress winner Melissa Leo seems a little awkward presenting the award for Best Supporting Actor, not as strange as her expletive-laced speech from last year though, so that’s a good step forward. Hot favorite, of course, is Christopher Plummer for “Beginners.”And the Oscar for Best Actor in a Supporting Role goes to… Christopher Plummer! And there’s another standing ovation. Oldest actor ever to win an Oscar at 82 years of age. Bravo Mr. Plummer. Bravo! Brings a tear to the eye. “You’re only 2 years older than me, darling, where have you been all my life?” questions the actor in a classy speech paying respects to his fellow actors and to his director Mike Mills and co-star Ewan McGregor.
6.50 p.m. Bridesmaids’ Melissa McCarthy in a bit reminiscent of her airplane scene in “Bridesmaids,” funny gal. Best Visual Effects being presented by Emma Stone and Ben Stiller. Everybody loves the relative “Easy A” and “Crazy Stupid Cool” actress Stone, who’ll have a big year this year with the new Spiderman. And the Achievement in Visual Effects Oscar goes to… “HUGO” – Rob Legato, Ben Grossman, Alex Henning and Joss Williams.
6.45 p.m. Chris Rock gets a really warm welcome as presenter of the Oscar for Best Animated Feature Film. He’s hilarious, cracks gags about how easy it is for top Hollywood actors to do animated features and rake in some dough. And the Oscar goes to… Gore Verbinski’s “RANGO!” Rango, starring Johnny Depp, was clearly a favorite with critics this season.
6.40 p.m. – Billy Crystal gets some stand-up time. Nice. Introduces Gwyneth Paltrow and Robert Downey Jr to present Best Documentary, a controversial category for the many omissions recognized at other awards ceremonies this season. And the Oscar goes to TJ Martin, Dan Lindsay, Rich Middlemas for “Undefeated.” Another win for The Weinstein Co’s marketing team… the guys get played out.
6.34 p.m. – Kermit and Miss Piggy talking about their first movie experience and introducing an original Cirque du Soleil piece. These guys are insanely awesome. Ridiculous. Another standing ovation.
6.27 p.m. – Best Sound Mixing Oscar goes to “Hugo” (Tom Fleischman and John Midgley). Wow, “Hugo” is definitely the technical darling of 2011′s slate -and the Oscars are moving at a cracking pace!
6.26 p.m. – Best Sound Editing Oscar goes to “Hugo” (Philip Stockton and David Geraghty).
6.23 p.m. – Tina Fey and sexiest man alive Bradley Cooper to present the Oscar for Achievement in Film Editing. And the editing Oscar goes to… “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo‘s” Kirk Baxter and Angus Wall who won last year for “The Social Network” – what a team – back to back!!!
6.20 p.m. – a funny bit by the troupe behind “Waiting for Guffman” and “Best in Show” with a pretend focus group, starring Emmanuel Levy, Catherine O’Hara, Christopher Guest, Fred Willard, Jennifer Coolidge and Bob Balaban.
6.10 p.m. – Christian Bale – last year’s winner for “The Fighter” takes the stage to present the Oscar for Best Actress in a Supporting Role – can’t help but think that this year’s Batman film from Christopher Nolan is going to be the most kick-ass film of 2012. The locked-in favorite of awards season has been Octavia Spencer. Will she get the win??? YES!!!! Octavia Spencer for “The Help” takes the trophy. There’s a lot of love in the room for this win, and a standing ovation, and tears!!!!
6.05 p.m. Sandra Bullock speaking German in presentation of the Best Foreign Language film. The favorite is definitely Iran’s “A Separation.” And the winner is/Oscar goes to… A Separation (Iran), the first ever win for that country.
6.00 p.m. The stars recall their first movie experience – Steve Carell, Tom Cruise, Hilary Swank, Ben Stiller, Barbara Streisand and Adam Sandler recall “King Kong” to “The Miracle Worker” and Sean Connery’s chest hair.
5.58 p.m. Still with Lopez and Diaz (and a nice rear view from the pair) now for the Oscar for Make-Up. And the statuette goes to… THE IRON LADY (Mark Coulier and J. Roy Helland)
5.55 p.m. Jennifer Lopez and Cameron Diaz both look like sparkly statues, Lopez has her golden globes on show in a dress that makes her look like Michelangelo’s Venus. And the Oscar for Costume Design goes to… THE ARTIST (Mark Bridges).
5.50 p.m. A romantic look back at ‘the movies’ in the tradition of inspiring people to go to the cinema rather than watching the latest flick on their iPads. “Austin Powers” and “Planes, Trains & Automobiles” get a mention, as do “Raging Bull” and “E.T.” back-to-back
5.44 p.m. And Achievement in Art Direction goes to… HUGO (Dante Ferretti and his wife Francesca Lo Schiavo). A good sign for the technical categories for Scorsese and team Hugo.
5.42 p.m. Tom Hanks starts with a welcome to one of the seat fillers. Nice gag. And the award for Achievement in Cinematography is… HUGO!
5.38 p.m. Billy gets the musical number going!
5. 37 p.m. Billy gets a warm reception for his 9th appearance as host. Begins with a dig to Kodak’s bankruptcy that will fall flat on international ears but is appreciated by the industry.
5.35 p.m. Clooney in the opening montage with Billy Crystal gets the first laugh of the night! This is why we love Billy – it’s the familiarity of the opening, the smartness of the homage to the films of the year. Kudos, a good start – although not hard to imagine Eddie Murphy in this footage
As the Oscars count down to Best Picture, we’ll be breaking down the winners one by one!
(Times given are Pacific Standard Time)