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Live blog: The 84th Academy Awards

Courtesy of MCT

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The 84th Academy Awards are scheduled to air at 7 p.m. tonight on ABC, and, by golly, we’re going to live blog it from start to finish.

Here are my predictions, per the piece we ran Thursday:

Best Picture: “The Artist” 
Best Director: Michel Hazanavicius, “The Artist” 
Best Actor: Jean Dujardin, “The Artist” 
Best Actress: Viola Davis, “The Help” 
Best Supporting Actor: Christopher Plummer, “Beginners” 
Best Supporting Actress: Octavia Spencer, “The Help” 
Best Original Screenplay: “Midnight in Paris” 
Best Adapated Screenplay: “The Descendants” 
Best Animated Feature: “Rango” 

11:34 p.m. BEST PICTURE: “The Artist”

There you have it. “The Artist” is top dog (get it?) this year, which is no real surprise. Disappointing choice to me, but it’s been the Academy’s prerogative over the last few years to reward indie fare rather than populist fare, even if it’s not deserving. Their loss, as it will just continue to cause ratings to dwindle.

Final tally: Eight right, one wrong.

Check out The Lantern Tuesday for our thoughts on the ceremony. Thanks for following along!

11:27 p.m. BEST ACTRESS: Meryl Streep, “The Iron Lady”

Biggest surprise so far. “The Help” was the kind of social commentary the Academy has historically swooned over, so I assumed Viola Davis was a lock. But hey, it’s Meryl Streep.

That said, Rooney Mara should have won this. She was the only nominee who truly moved me, for better or worse.

Side note: First wrong pick. Seven-of-eight with the big dog yet to go.

11:17 p.m. BEST ACTOR: Jean Dujardin, “The Artist”

No surprise. It would take a minor miracle at this point to derail “The Artist” from a Best Picture win. Would have gone with Brad Pitt or the perennial badass Gary Oldman here, myself.

Also, was hard to take my eyes off Natalie Portman, the presenter, who I am destined to make my spouse some day. Look at her. She reared a freaking child in the last year.

Side note: Still perfect. Seven right with two more categories to go.

11:06 p.m. The In Memoriam segment, aided by Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World.” (Also, there’s Esperanza Spalding, in case you forgot about her since last year’s Grammys.)

If anyone is wondering why Steve Jobs was on there, it’s likely because he was the co-founder and CEO of Pixar. Whitney Houston makes an appearance and Elizabeth Taylor is the last face shown.

10:51 p.m. BEST DIRECTOR: Michel Hazanavicius, “The Artist”

There went any doubt that “The Artist” wouldn’t win Best Picture. If I had a vote, Terrence Malick would win for “The Tree of Life,” despite all the film’s flaws. It was truly something to behold.

Side note: Still perfect. Six categories, six correct.

10:44 p.m. BEST ANIMATED SHORT FILM: “The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore”

I’m furious. “La Luna” is possibly Pixar’s best short film.

10:41 p.m. BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE: “Saving Face”

Acceptance speech was too serious. Needed another “SCORSESE!”

10:39 p.m. BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT FILM: “The Shore”

I’m digging Crystal so far, but the “Bridesmaids” cast would have been a home run as co-hosts. 

10:28 p.m. BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: “Midnight in Paris”

I was worried “The Artist” would sneak off with this one, but “Midnight in Paris,” whose real triumph was its screenplay, rightfully wins here.

Side note: Five. For. Five.

10:25 p.m. BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: “The Descendants”

No surprise here, either. This is probably the biggest win “The Descendants” will get.

Presenter Angelina Jolie flashing leg reminded me: This year’s ceremony has felt pretty brisk so far, at least relatively speaking. Can never complain too much about that.

Side note: I remain perfect. Four-for-four.

10:17 p.m. BEST ORIGINAL SONG: “Man or Muppet” from “The Muppets”

I loved “The Muppets.” In fact, I have a hard time saying it wasn’t the film of 2011. Not winning here would have been a sham, though I found “Life’s a Happy Song” to be a better song off the film’s soundtrack.

I also love Zack Galifianakis. The Oscars needs more presenters like him to make this show relevant again.

10:13 p.m. BEST ORIGINAL SCORE: “The Artist”

Incredibly obvious here. You can’t have a silent film without a score.

10:01 p.m. BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: Christopher Plummer, “The Beginners” 

Would have gone with Jonah Hill in “Moneyball” here, just because of how much it took for me to respect him an actual thespian.

That said, no surprise here. Plummer is the old guy who’s never won an Oscar before, so he gets the seemingly typical Oscar that the Academy feels they sometimes owe.

Side note: I’ve gotten all three of the categories I predicted right so far.

9:55 p.m. BEST VISUAL EFFECTS: “Hugo”

Oscar No. 5 for “Hugo,” which is a bit of a shocker here, since I figured the final “Harry Potter” film or the acclaimed “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” could have taken home the trophy instead.

RE: “Transformers.” There’s a lot to complain about with the “Transformers” films but it baffles me when they don’t win in these categories. When it comes to CGI-driven blockbusters, nobody of late has done visual effects better.

Also, Emma Stone did nothing to suppress my huge crush on her, though she might have been a little high.

9:46 p.m. BEST ANIMATED FEATURE: “Rango”

Presenter Chris Rock delivers the funniest line of the night yet, talking about the beauties of animated films: “Black men can play a donkey or a zebra.”

Thanks to Pixar releasing its only dud ever so far, “Rango” wins. This is the first time Pixar hasn’t won in a year it’s released a film.

Side note: I’m still perfect. Two-for-two.

9:43 p.m. BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE: “Undefeated”

Robert Downey, Jr. does his best with this whole faux-documentary schtick, but falls flat. Played out, unfunny bits like this are the reason why people grow discontent when overlong awards shows run as long as they do.

9:34 p.m. And here the Muppets introduce the Cirque du Soleil piece, which feels shoehorned in since the Academy, for some reason, decided to nix the usual performance of the Best Original Song nominees this year.

But hey, this Cirque piece is cool, though I don’t remember Cary Grant being whisked around on cables like it in “North by Northwest.” Must have been a deleted scene.

9:27 p.m. BEST SOUND MIXING: “Hugo”

Make that four for “Hugo.” Remains to be seen if its dominance in the technical categories will carry over to the major categories, where “The Artist” figures to reign supreme.

9:25 p.m. BEST SOUND EDITING: “Hugo”

Would have gone with the chase sequences of “Drive” here. Regardless, this marks three Oscars for “Hugo,” which is a bit of a surprise.

9:23 p.m. BEST FILM EDITING: “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”

This is my dog here. Just like “The Social Network,” director David Fin
cher’s style carried through to “Dragon Tattoo,” even in the editing. The way the film’s title sequence was cut was extraordinary.

RE: Billy Crystal. Already leaps and bounds ahead of last year’s hosts, James Franco and Anne Hathaway. He’s in his element and it shows. His jokes are doing well, including calling the theater the “Your Name Here Theater,” and saying you’d have to drive 45 minutes away from Beverly Hills, Calif., to see the nearest black person.

9:11 p.m. BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Octavia Spencer, “The Help”

Christian Bale, sporting long hair and a modest beard, presents Best Supporting Actress. No surprise here that this year’s most gag-inducing piece of Oscar bait, “The Help,” gets its first of likely two Oscars. (The other being Viola Davis for Best Actress.)

On my ballot, Melissa McCarthy wins this for “Bridesmaids.”

Side note: I’m batting 1.000. My first of nine predictions is correct.

9:06 p.m. BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM: “A Separation”

Sandra Bullock introduces the category by speaking Mandarin Chinese in a thick German accent. Hilarious. 

Fun fact: “A Separation” is the first film from Iran to win in the category.

9 p.m. Actors talking about their early experiences at the cinema. It’s the kind of self-congratulatory stuff you see at the Oscars, but hey, Adam Sandler talking about being influenced by James Bond almost allows me to forgive him for the cinematic equivalents of excrement he’s produced lastely.

8:56 p.m. BEST MAKEUP: “The Iron Lady”

I’ll take their word on this, since I’m not one to wear make-up. 

8:54 p.m. BEST COSTUME DESIGN: “The Artist”

“Anonymous” was a lot things, most of them bad, but it’s the kind of period piece that usually wins these categories. However, this goes to “The Artist,” which, like “Hugo’s” two wins, is probably a sign of things to come.

8:44 p.m. BEST ART DIRECTION: “Hugo”

Surprise here. “Midnight in Paris” really captured the essence of Paris. Looks like this could be a big night for “Hugo.”

8:42 p.m. BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY: “Hugo”

Not too surprising there. “Hugo” was a pretty film to look at, which was one of my only real praises of the film. 

8:40 p.m. Crystal refers to the Hollywod & Highland Center, the venue for the Academy Awards, as “Chapter 11 Theater,” likely in reference to the fact that Kodak no longer lends its name to the famous theater. A charming, harmless musical number ensues, adapting several classic, old school songs to reference big-name stars and this year’s films.

8:34 p.m. Billy Crystal’s opening number taking the typical route, placing him in several of the year’s biggest films (“The Descendant,” “Bridesmaids” and “Mission: Impossible  Ghost Protocol,” to name a few). Appearance of Justin Bieber in the “Midnight in Paris” bit a not-so-subtle attempt to help make the show relevant to younger crowds again.

8:30 p.m. And here we go! Morgan Freeman out to start the show.

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