And we're back.
7:18 - Martin and Baldwin have a "Paranormal Activity" sketch! Just okay.
7:19 - Kristin Stewart and Taylor Lautner woodenly introduce a tribute to horror films. I worry about those two. Never thought I'd see Freddy and Jason at the Oscars, but they're doing a nice job of mixing in the classics. I don't know that "Marathon Man," "Edward Scissorhands," and "Misery" are horror films - oh well, close enough. I liked the bit at the end with "Scream."
7:23 - Zach Efron and Anna Kendrick present, and Morgan Freeman gives us a quick intro for the Sound and Sound Mixing categories. The only other intro sequence was for the Shorts, another category some have argued are superfluous or at least shouldn't need to be broadcast as part of the main ceremony. I don't think the extra attention is helping.
Best Sound. WINNER - "The Hurt Locker"
Best Sound Mixing. WINNER - "The Hurt Locker"
Not keeping score, but it looks like "Avatar" and "Hurt Locker" are roughly tied for technical awards so far.
7:30 - Quick rundown of the Sci-tech awards. I didn't recognize the presenter or catch her name.
7:31 - John Travolta spotlights "Inglorious Basterds."
7:32 - Just remembered, about an hour too late, that Ben Stiller was the one who was supposed to be translating for the Sacha Baron Cohen Na'vi charcter in that nixed sketch that got Cohen kicked out of the ceremony. Doubly good on Stiller for carrying on in Cohen's place.
7:37 - Sandra Bullock presents Best Cinematography. No accompanying graphics? Must be a technical glitch. WINNER - Mauro Fiore for "Avatar."
7:39 - And the orchestra playing "Unchained Melody" reveals Demi Moore? Ah, the In Memoriam segment. Oddly, I always enjoy these for the nostalgia factor. And James Taylor appears to play us through. Here we go.
David Carradine, Patrick Swayze, Dom DeLuise, Jean Simmons, Eric Rohmer, Brittany Murphy, Roy Disney, and Natasha Richardson. Michael Jackson's appearance feels perfunctory at this point. And they end, fittingly, with Karl Malden. Not too traumatic this year.
7:46 - Jennifer Lopez and Sam Worthington present Best Score. I'm rooting for "Up" and "Sherlock Holmes." Not crazy about the interpretive dance sequences they're foisting on us, but I like being able to hear the music.
WINNER - Michael Giacchino for "Up." He should have gotten it for the "Incredibles," but the Oscars are always known for being a little late about these things.
7:55 - Gerard Butler and Bradley Cooper present Best Visual Effects. This one's no contest. WINNER - "Avatar."
7:58 - Jason Bateman spotlights "Up in the Air."
8:03 - Matt Damon with Best Documentary Feature. The clips with these are amazing. WINNER - "The Cove." This is the only one I've heard much about, but I'm interested in the others too. And I can't believe Fisher Stevens is up there collecting a statuette.
8:07 - Tyler Perry is up to present best Best Editing. He's got a pleasant, low-key comedy bit here, with the hosts in matching orange Snuggies in the end. Ha! This one might determine how the evening is going to go. WINNER - "The Hurt Locker." Still anyone's game at this point.
8:10 - Keanu Reeves spotlights "The Hurt Locker."
8:15 - Only five awards left to go. Pedro Almodovar and Quentin Tarantino present Best Foreign Language Film. WINNER - "El Secreto de Sus Ojos" beats "The White Ribbon."
8:20 - Kathy Bates spotlights "Avatar."
8:22 - Okay, now I'm noticing the moving elements onstage in the wide shots. There are two spangled panels on either side, and what looks like a background made of yellow table lamps that's lowered for certain presenters.
8:26 - Best Actor's up next. They have five presenters, one to deliver an anecdote for each nominee. This is the same thing they did last year for all the acting nominees. This time it's just the two big categories, and they've gone gender neutral for the presenters.
Michelle Pfeiffer gives it a good try, but doesn't quite connect to Jeff Bridges. Vera Farmiga is still earning her nomination as she highlights Clooney. Julianne Moore was in the early running for a nom for the role she played opposite Colin Firth, so it's good to see her here. Tim Robbins on the subject of Morgan Freeman has the best anecdote. Oh wait, no. Colin Farrell just topped it by admitting to spooning with Jeremy Renner on a trip to Mexico while filming "SWAT." These tributes take up a lot of time, but I'm enjoying them.
And here's Kate, last year's winner, per tradition to announce. WINNER - Jeff Bridges! The crowd goes wild! Ah, it's been a long time coming and it's so satisfying when that happens.
And he's channeling a touch of the Dude in the speech. What a guy.
8:39 - Best Actress should be up next. Sean Penn won last year, but he's been running charity operations in Haiti so I don't know if he'll be here.
Forrest Whitaker seems like an odd choice for Sandra Bullock, but it turns out he directed her in a picture, and he's wonderfully eloquent. Michael Sheen brings the funny and the charm for Helen Mirren. Peter Saarsgard starred opposite Carey Mulligan, so he's a natural choice. Oprah Winfrey is bringing Gabourey Sidibe to tears already. If she doesn't win, that's still a hell of a kudo. And Stanley Tucci is calling Meryl out for being an overacheiver. Heh.
Sean Penn showed up! I don't know what the hell he's talking about, but it's good to see him. WINNER - Sandra Bullock. Funniest moment of the night has to be her unintentionally ducking out of a hug, leaving poor Meryl Streep flailing! And Sandra makes up for it by complimenting her on being a good kisser. Her speech is restrained and sharp and great. Oooh, typed too soon. Here comes the catch in her voice, and it's all the more poignant for the buildup.
8:54 - Barbara Streisand is presenting Best Director. That's almost a dead giveaway. WINNER: Kathryn Bigelow. Yeeeee-haaaa! She's queen of the world! Bigelow is visibly nervous, but she's holding it together. And she leaves arm in arm with Babs.
9:00 - Tom Hanks presents Best Picture. WINNER - The Hurt Locker. They're running long and Hanks didn't even recap the nominees. Here comes Bigelow again. Neither of the other producers are very good speakers, and Bigelow is coming apart.
9:03 - And Martin and Baldwin close us out.
Too much to process now. More to come later.