Hollywood's biggest night has finally arrived. The 89th Academy Awards, hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, has a decidedly current vibe, thanks in large part to the crop of Best Picture nominees.
Us? We're going to kick it old school with a periodically updated live blog of the proceedings. Follow along here, but first get primed for the evening with our predictions and our podcast on this year's nominees.
The festivities start at 8:30 PM ET and will roll on through the end of the show!
8:30 PM: All right, all right, all right! I have an Old Fashioned to my right, a wife to my left, and my sarcastic wit turned up to 11. Take it away, Mr. Kimmel!
8:34 PM: Justin Timberlake just brought the house down with a performance of his nominated song from Trolls, "Can't Stop the Feeling", which raises the question can JT just host? Jimmy Kimmel is fine, but Timberlake is a multi-threat.
8:38 PM: "Remember last year when it was the Oscars that seemed racist?" Kimmel with his first howler. Pretty solid start for a host who generates mostly ambivalence in my mind.
8:44 PM: OK, Kimmel was pretty outstanding, handling the monologue much like one of those Comedy Central Roasts.
8:51 PM: The first big win of the night goes to Mahershala Ali for Moonlight, and, personally, that means this night is not a total waste. Ali OWNED that film, the best film of the year in my book. He delivers a heartfelt speech, but dodges the obviously political, which, as a black Muslim man, would have been interesting to be sure.
9:02 PM: Suicide Squad is now an Oscar-winning film! OK then ... It picks up the win for Best Makeup. That's followed quickly by a win for Fantastics Beasts and Where to Find Them for Best Costume Design. This interlude has been brought to you by movies you won't remember existed in two months.
9:10 PM: Janelle Monae is incredibly beautiful. (Also, what a wonderful tribute to the real Katherine Johnson, whose work for NASA was the basis for the wonderful Hidden Figures).
9:14 PM: O.J.: Made in America wins Best Documentary, and the In Reel Deep team, if I can speak for us all, is pretty happy. This unconventional, remarkable doc by Ezra Edelman took pop culture and made it something so, so, so much more. A classy speech from Edelman who acknowledges Nicole Simpson and Ron Goldman and the victims of police brutality and racially motivated violence.
9:18 PM: Prediction: Auli'i Carvalho is going to be a huge star. She just performed "How Far I'll Go" from Moana, which is also nominated in the Best Song category.
9:32 PM: I feel like Chris Evans presents every year. And this year he presents Best Sound Editing, which goes to Arrival, and Best Sound Mixing, which goes to Hacksaw Ridge. It's worth noting at this point, that La La Land is 0 for 3, which means that Titanic, Ben-Hur and Lord of the Rings: Return of the King are probably safe with the shared record of 11 wins.
9:48 PM: The slam dunk of the night, as called by Mr. Steve Cimino, as Viola Davis wins Best Supporting Actor for her turn in Fences. Neither of us have seen Fences yet, so not much room to editorialize here. Davis is wonderful, and we couldn't be happier for her.
Oh, and so much for #OscarsSoWhite ... this year, at least. There is lots of color in the winners this year, and deservedly so it seems.
10:00 PM ET: Pick. Up. The. Pace. The Salesman wins for Best Foreign Film. We're a third of the way through the awards and halfway through the alotted time. Asghar Farhadi's statement is the first overtly political of the evening. Farhadi is not present. He is a terrific filmmaker.
10:13 PM ET: The rush job is on. Piper wins for Best Animated Short. That's followed quickly by a win for Zootopia in Best Animated Feature. So, here's my least favorite winner of the night. Zootopia is probably the worst film of the five in this category. The winners make a speech just as overt as the film, which is the whole problem with it to begin with. Here's to you Kubo and the Two Strings.
10:16 ET: Well that's one way to close a time gap. Best Production Design goes to La La Land, and there is your first sign that it may be a big night for Damien Chazelle's film.
10:23 ET: And that's one way to open it back up. Kimmel orchestrates a pretty good gag - bringing a busload of tourists in to the Kodak Theater and allowing them to rub elbows with the stars. As a host, he's doing great. This won't be the last time he's emcee.
10:37 ET: Over the halfway point as The Jungle Book wins for Best Visual Effects and Hacksaw Ridge wins for Best Film Editing. Hard not to notice, now, that we have a single film that's won multiple awards, and that film is ... Hacksaw Ridge? Could we be headed for a surprise in some of the awards coming later? La La Land is not exactly cleaning up ...
10:48 ET: Get short with me! The White Helmets wins for Best Documentary Short. And Sing wins for Best Live Action Short. I think we're through the categories no one really cares much about!
11:00 ET: And here comes what could be a big wave for La La Land throughout the rest of the evening as it wins Best Cinematography.
11:09 ET: John Legend delivers a brilliant rendition of "City of Stars" from La La Land, which maybe kinda subverts the work of Ryan Gosling in the actual movie? Odd moment given the coronation that is likely to follow.
11:19 ET: The wave is cresting. La La Land wins for Best Original Score. The question now is how many it will end up with. And the answer is probably more than five as "City of Stars" wins for Best Original Song.
11:33 ET: Matttttt Damonnnn ...
Best Original Screenplay goes to Manchester by the Sea after an extended continuation of the Kimmel-vs.-Matt Damon faux feud. Not sure my laptop battery will last at this rate. This feels like a bit of a surprise as La La Land was sitting right there. It's good to see this movie be honored at least once (Casey Affleck affords another opportunity in a little bit).
11:36 ET: And Moonlight is up to two! It wins for Best Adapted Screenplay. It's rare you get to this point in the night and there is this much uncertainty. La La Land still feels like the odds-on favorite, but its strange losses in a few categories leave a little doubt.
11:42 ET: Damien Chazelle wins Best Director for La La Land ... and ... y'all can probably go to bed now. It seems a virtual fait accompli that it will win Best Picture.
11:53 ET: No upset as many, including Mr. Cimino, had forecasted as Casey Affleck wins Best Actor for his performance in Manchester by the Sea. Could be La La Land the rest of the way folks.
11:57 ET: Looking like it. La La Land wins its fifth Oscar as Emma Stone picks up the win for Best Actress.
12:09 ET: The big moment arrives, and, to no one's surprise, it goes to La La Land, the winner of Best Picture. I've been sure this moment was coming since about 35 minutes in to my viewing of the film. The six Oscars for it make this one of the more decorated films in the history of the show.
12:13 ET: UMMMMMMM
Moonlight just won. Warren Beatty read the wrong winner. Moonlight is your Best Picture winner. A shock doubled by the way in which the award was delivered. Wow. Wow. Wow.
We'll put a bow on this in the next few days. In the meantime, congratulations to Moonlight.