February 26th, 2012
08:09 PM ET
Tonight's the big night for Hollywood's finest, as we get ready to honor the year's top performances at the 84th Academy Awards.
Many of the looks on the red carpet were phenomenal, and we can only hope that the Oscars show will be just as entertaining. We're not too worried, though, as the Academy has an old pro up at bat: None other than Billy Crystal.
Producer Brian Grazer told CNN ahead of tonight's ceremony that the theme for the evening is comedy, and that we can expect Crystal to play a big part in that, with a little assistance from stars like Tina Fey, the cast of "Bridesmaids," Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis. "We have every star that you’re gonna want to see on this show," Grazer promised.
Not only that, but a few awards will be handed out too, we hear. Have your Oscars ballots ready? Because here we go!
[Updated 11:43 p.m.]: Alright, Oscars watchers, that's a wrap. What'd you think of the show? Until next year!
[Updated 11:33 p.m.]: With Tom Cruise presenting, we take a look at the nine nominees for best picture. And the night's best picture honor goes to....drumroll please..."The Artist"!
[Updated 11:25 p.m.]: And now, Colin Firth is here to present the nominees for the best actress category. Talk about tough competition - these women turned in top performances. Taking home Oscar for the third time is Meryl Streep for "The Iron Lady."
She says as she accepts the Oscar, "When they called my name I could hear half of America going, 'Oh, why, not her again.'" If that applies to you, here's Streep's response: "Whatever!" We love, Meryl, we love!
[Updated 11:15 p.m.]: For a moment there, we thought best actress Oscar winner Natalie Portman was going to present the best actress Oscar for this year, but she's doing best actor first. We lost our bet on this one: The majority of us were thinking Clooney would take it, but it went to Jean Dujardin for "The Artist." As he accepts the Oscar, he tells us, "I love your country!" Some of the ladies watching this with us say to that, "We love you too, Jean."
[Updated 11:07 p.m.]: Considering that the "in memoriam" is a standard, this year's Oscars has put together a beautiful segment, with Esperanza Spalding performing.
[Updated 10:58 p.m.]: From one dignified Hollywood star to three others, Meryl Streep acknowledges the three honorary Oscar winners this year, legendary makeup artist Dick Smith, James Earl Jones and Oprah Winfrey.
[Updated 10:51 p.m.]: Michael Douglas is looking fantastic as he presents the Oscar nominees for best director. Unsurprisingly, the winner is "The Artist" director Michel Hazanavicius, who's just picked up his first Oscar...and in the process has forgotten his speech. It happens to the best of us, Michel. Thankfully, though, he does remember to thank Uggie the dog.
[Updated 10:45 p.m.]: Maya Rudolph and Kristen Wiig debate whether there's such a thing as a too long "film" - because, as Wiig says, it's better to have a short film with heft that's nice to you, than a long film that makes you do all the work. Pick up on the references as you will. The live action short film Oscar winner is "The Shore."
It also looks like we're still playing the "Bridesmaids" drinking game, as the winner of the documentary short subject Oscar is announced: "Saving Face." Taking home the Oscar for the animated short film is "The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore."
[Updated 10:27 p.m.]: Although his partner Angelina Jolie was up there announcing the nominees for best adapted screenplay, Brad Pitt's "Moneyball" cohorts didn't get to join her on stage - the Oscar went to the writing team for "The Descendants," Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon and Jim Rash.
So, we love Woody Allen and all, but we're not going to act like we weren't hoping Annie Mumolo and Kristen Wiig would win best original screenplay for "Bridesmaids." Allen takes the Oscar instead for "Midnight In Paris."
[Updated 10:20 p.m.]: Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis, in white suits and bearing cymbals, didn't even have to speak before we started to crack up. Also, "Man or Muppet" FTW. Really - Bret McKenzie picked up the best original song Oscar.
[Updated 10:14 p.m.]: "The Artist's" Ludovic Bource picks up the best original score Oscar for the "silent" film that critics have adored this season.
[Updated 10:02 p.m.]: Proof that one is never too old to accomplish a dream, best supporting actor Oscar winner Christopher Plummer, 82, sets a record as the oldest to win the prize. This Oscar is his first, but he says that when he first came out of his mother's womb, he was already rehearsing his acceptance speech.
[Updated 9:57 p.m.]: "Hugo" takes the Oscar for visual effects, much to CNN contributor and "Harry Potter" fan Umika Pidaparthy's disappointment. It was the "what?!" heard 'round the newsroom.
[Updated 9:55 p.m.]: Emma Stone looks positively e.la.ted to present the Oscar for achievement in visual effects with Ben Stiller. Oh, and now we know why: It's part of a bit about this being her first time presenting. The funniest part, though, is when Jonah Hill, seated in the audience, shoots down her request to dance with a perfect dead pan.
[Updated 9:47 p.m.]: Chris Rock, how we heart you. Please, please make the Dave Chappelle tour thing happen. That is all. Well, OK not really: Rock also announced the best animated feature film Oscar winner, which was "Rango."
[Updated 9:45 p.m.]: We know the "presenting documentary" bit between Robert Downey Jr. and Gwyneth Paltrow was rehearsed, but they did a nice job making it feel impromptu, especially off the top. Once they finally got around to presenting the award for best documentary, it went to "Undefeated."
It looks like director TJ Martin was so overwhelmed, he accidentally slipped in a swear word, judging from the way his audio dropped out in the middle of his sentence.
[Updated 9:40p.m.]: We don't know about you, but this Cirque du Soleil performance totally captured our movie-going experience. Who hasn't displayed a few acrobatic skills during a tense cinematic scene?
[Updated 9:36 p.m.]: An audible gasp as we spot our favorite A-listers, Miss Piggy and Kermit. Can we get them to host next year, Academy?
[Updated 9:29 p.m.]: Tina Fey looks like she's going to start laughing at any moment while presenting these Oscars with Bradley Cooper. But on to the winner for sound mixing, which ALSO goes to "Hugo." Should we anticipate a streak for the Scorsese film tonight?
[Updated 9:25 p.m.]: And the Oscar for film editing goes to: "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" team Kirk Baxter and Angus Wall, who get our approval for knowing when to cut the acceptance speech short. Taking the win for sound editing is "Hugo," meaning three Oscars so far for the best picture nominee.
[Updated 9:22 p.m.]: Is anyone else picking up on a bit of a "Hollywood in retrospective" theme so far? The segments have been focused on looking back at the great movies of yore, such as the "focus group footage" for "The Wizard of Oz."
[Updated 9:15 p.m.]: The best supporting actress Oscar goes to Octavia Spencer, as predicted (and deserved)! To congratulate her first Oscar win, she gets a standing ovation from her peers. She thanks the Academy for putting her with "the hottest guy in the room." Spencer tries to run through her thank you's through her tears, as we watch and get a little teary-eyed ourselves. Go, Octavia!
[Updated 9:09 p.m.]: Moving on to the foreign language film Oscar, which goes to Iran's "A Separation."
[Updated 8:58 p.m.]: The makeup category is a TOUGH one, as "Albert Nobbs," "Harry Potter" and "The Iron Lady" all had awesome, transformative makeup work. The Oscar goes to "The Iron Lady" team, though, Mark Coulier and J. Roy Helland.
[Updated 8:55 p.m.]: Color coordination from Cameron Diaz and Jennifer Lopez as they present the costume design Oscar. (We've noticed some of you out there are quite appreciative of Lopez's ensemble...) And the winner is: Mark Bridges from "The Artist," who's just nabbed his first Oscar.
[Updated 8:46 p.m.]: Make that two for "Hugo," which just picked up the Oscar for art direction as well.
[Updated 8:45 p.m.]: Keeping this show moving right along, we're kicking off the awards portion of the evening with achievement in cinematography, which went to "Hugo's" Robert Richardson, who can't believe they put cinematography up first. He gives a nod to "Hugo" director Martin Scorsese, who's nominated for the best directing prize.
[Updated 8:38 p.m.]: We will say this about Crystal: He knows what he's doing (as he should, since it's his ninth time hosting - just call him "War Horse," he kids). The jokes are well-timed, and we're happy to say we've chuckled more than once during his opening bit. The crowd seems thrilled that he's there too. And now, for a Billy Crystal serenade....
[Updated 8:30 p.m.]: We know that we're expecting Billy Crystal to do an opener that incorporates the nine best picture nominees, and that appears to be happening as Crystal does a riff on the silent film "The Artist." He then gets a kiss from George Clooney, a visit from Justin Bieber - to get the 18 to 24 demographic, of course - and a drop-in from Tom Cruise.
[Updated 8:25 p.m.]: Maybe Sandra Bullock wasn't quite joking: Producer Brian Grazer says a few folks have taken a few shots of tequila to relax their nerves. If you're at the show, apparently he's keeping the stash in his office...
[Updated 8:15 p.m.]: Are you ready for the "sexy times" Sandra Bullock is (jokingly) promising on the red carpet for tonight's show? We can't be mad at that! Also: Loving the dress, Sandy B.
[Updated 8:10 p.m.]: The actual ceremony doesn't start until 8:30 p.m., so we have some time to talk about the red carpet. Who are you loving so far, and have you spotted any misses? Our picks for red carpet wins: Viola Davis, Michelle Williams, Jennifer Lopez and of course, the stunning couple that is George Clooney and Stacy Keibler.
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