Oscars 2011 Minute-by-Minute: James Franco, Anne Hathaway and more

james-franco-anne-hathaway-oscars-2011.jpgThe 83rd Annual Academy Awards are coming at you live on ABC for 3+ hours Sunday (Feb. 27) and Zap2it is here with you for every sparkly minute of the festivities.

Is it a foregone conclusion that the big prizes go to "The King's Speech," Colin Firth, Natalie Portman and David Fincher? We'd love to see an upset, but we aren't holding our breath.

The fun starts at 8:30 p.m. ET/5:30 p.m. PT. All times Eastern.

cate-blanchett-red-carpet.jpg 8:08 p.m. - T-minus 22 minutes 'til Oscar time. Who has been your favorite red carpet lady? We think Natalie Portman, Jennifer Hudson, Mandy Moore and Hailee Steinfeld look gorgeous. We are more divided at the Zap2it offices on Cate Blanchett's purple gown.

8:16 p.m. - Film critic Ben Mankiewicz just said on the red carpet that Colin Firth is a lock to win Best Actor. Fine. But he says it's as though the Green Bay Packers were playing a high school football and not even a very good high school football team, that's how much of a lock it is. We're not sure Franco, Eisenberg, Bridges and Bardem = not-very-good HS football team.

8:30 p.m. - Well, this is ominous. The telecast is showing clips of the Best Picture nominees set to "Hall of the Mountain King," which I always associate with Fritz Lang's "M." (Look it up.)

8:35 p.m. - The Hathaway/Franco opening video montage was cute. We didn't laugh out loud until "The Fighter" and "True Grit" parts, though. "The Guy from 'General Hospital'" line was a nice touch. Seriously, how weird is James Franco for doing that?

8:38 p.m. - Can't not love a "Back to the Future" insert, even if it's totally random.

8:42 p.m. - The Hathaway/Franco opening monologue is cringe-worthy. This "casual chit-chat" instead of Ricky Gervais being "mean" is no good. At least Gervais made us laugh.

8:45 p.m. - Kicking things off with an award that only the nominees and their mothers care about, Art Direction goes to "Alice in Wonderland." They spent three minutes prepping this award using shots from "Gone With the Wind" and "Titanic." Because this telecast isn't long enough.

8:48 p.m. - Keeping up with the Do the Boring Ones First theme, Best Cinematography goes to Wally Pfister ("Inception"). Excited to see "Inception" win something, it was such a good film. But bummer for Roger Deakins ("True Grit") because he's amazing and has been nominated nine times and never won.

8:51 p.m.
- Kirk Douglas in the house. Over/under on number of tweets surprised that he is still alive - 200,000. Of course, he's funnier in 2 minutes than the opening monologue was.

8:55 p.m. - Mr. Douglas gives Best Supporting Actress to Melissa Leo. No big surprise there, she's won everything else. But my upset pick was Hailee Steinfeld.

8:59 p.m. - In her acceptance speech, Melissa Leo alternately sort-of grabs the Oscar from Kirk, hits on him, meanders through her speech, drops an F-bomb, yells something at the end about respect, then steals Kirk's cane and hobbles off-stage with him.

9:03 p.m. - Mila Kunis and Justin Timberlake have a weird intro for Best Animated Short before awarding the Oscar to "The Lost Thing." Then the film-making version of "Twins" take the stage to accept the award.

9:08 p.m. - Mila and JT then award the Best Animated Feature Film to "Toy Story 3." Yay! What an excellent movie. Director Lee Unkrich accepts the award by thanking the audience that supported talking toys who "hopefully had something very human to say." Aww, we're getting teary just thinking about it.

9:14 p.m. - Javier Bardem and Josh Brolin are white tux twinsies in the best episode of "Party Down" ever as they award Best Adapted Screenplay to Aaron Sorkin for "The Social Network." This speech should be good.

9:18 p.m. - Javy and Josh award Best Original Screenplay to David Seidler for "The King's Speech." Since Nolan got snubbed on Best Director, we were kinda hoping he's swoop in and get this one.

9:25 p.m. - Anne Hathaway wants to do another duet with Hugh Jackman, but since he "won't," she sings "On My Own" instead with made-up words. Seriously, WTF. That was neither funny nor served any functional purpose. Then Franco comes out dressed like Marilyn Monroe, which doesn't make it any funnier. The obligatory Charlie Sheen joke doesn't even save the bit.

9:28 p.m. - Russell Brand and Helen Mirren give Best Foreign Language Film to "In a Better World" (Denmark). Did we see a clip in that nominee montage of a man going after a cat with pruning shears while two girls screamed? That's terrifying.

9:30 p.m. - This is Andrea Reiher signing off, turning things over to the capable hands of Rick Porter. Thanks, y'all!

9:33 p.m. - As expected, Christian Bale wins best supporting actor for "The Fighter." He jokes that he's not going to drop an F-bomb like co-star Melissa Leo did -- "I've done that plenty of times before." Well played, Batman. Also: He tears up while thanking his wife, "my mast through the storms of life." Aww.

9:38 p.m. - Go get your sandwiches now, folks! Academy president Tom Sherak is on stage. So is Disney/ABC honcho Anne Sweeney, talking about their renewal of the broadcast rights through 2020.

9:42 p.m. - Whoops. That didn't take long. Hathaway forgives Hugh Jackman ("We made out backstage") as she introduces him and Nicole Kidman. After an overlong montage about sound and music in movies, they present the award for best original score to Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross for "The Social Network."

9:45 p.m. - Franco says he's six degrees of Kevin Bacon away from the next two presenters, Matthew McConaughey and Scarlett Johansson. "Look it up on the Internet," he says. OK, we will.

9:47 p.m. - In the meantime, "Inception" wins the Oscar for best sound editing.

9:49 p.m. - "Inception" also wins for sound effects editing, as Johansson and McConaughey talk all over each other in their presentation.

9:55 p.m. - Marisa Tomei and her giant dress summarizes the sci-tech awards. Kudos to you, innovators of bounce-light technology, facial motion-capture and other stuff. "All right," Franco says. "Congratulations, nerds."

9:56 p.m. - Ladies and gentlemen, Oscar winner "The Wolfman." For reals -- it wins for best makeup. (Even though presenter Cate Blanchett said, "That's gross" after seeing a wolfman transformation.)

9:59 p.m. - "Alice in Wonderland" gets its second award of the night, for Colleen Atwood's costumes.

10:01 p.m. - Best original song time, introduced by a bunch of people at Hollywood & Highland (down the street from the Kodak) talking about their favorite movie songs. And also: Barack Obama. Really? 'K. Anyway, he likes "As Time Goes By."

10:02 p.m. - Kevin Spacey sings, then says "Good evening, I'm George Clooney." Oof.

10:05 p.m. - Hey, everyone, it's "Chuck"! Zachary Levi and Mandy Moore sing the nominated song "I See the Light" from "Tangled." "Chuck" airs at 8 p.m. ET Mondays on NBC, btw.

10:07 p.m. - So, circling back to Franco's Kevin Bacon comment: According to The Oracle of Bacon, he only has a Bacon Number of 2, and his connection is neither through Johansson nor McConaughey. It's through Sonja Bennett, who co-stars with Franco in "Rise of the Apes" later this year and appeared with Bacon in "Where the Truth Lies."

10:12 p.m. - "Shorts are also the hardest pick on your home Oscar ballot," presenter Jake Gyllenhaal notes. He ain't lyin'.

10:15 p.m. - "Strangers So More" wins the Oscar for documentary short. The narrative short subject award goes to "God of Love," whose writer-director-star Luke Matheny says, "Wow -- I shoulda got a haircut."

10:18 p.m. - Best use of auto-tune ever.

10:19 p.m. - Anne Hathaway is snitting next to Borpoh!

10:21 p.m. - La Winfrey presents best documentary feature to Charles Ferguson's "Inside Job."

10:27 p.m. - It's many-time Oscar host Billy Crystal. "Some things never change -- the producers have asked me tell you we're running a little long." Joke, joke, joke, by way of introducing a tribute to even more many-time Oscar host Bob Hope. Clip package!

10:31 p.m. - OK, that was kind of creepy. Beyond-the-grave Bob Hope introduces presenters Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law, who give the award for best visual effects.

10:32 p.m. - Great bit with Downey and Law, as RDJ "gripes" about effects people keeping him hanging from wires all day and stuff. "If it wasn't for them," Law retorts, "the closest you would have ever gotten to a superhero is in 2001 in a cheap motel room with a woman dressed as Batgirl." Fantastic.

10:34 p.m. - "Inception" wins the visual effects Oscar, its fourth of the night.

10:35 p.m. - Downey: "Jude Law no longer has a ride to the after-party, if anyone's interested." And then: Best editing to "The Social Network."

10:38 p.m. - Rick Porter signing off. The lovely and talented Jethro Nededog will take you to the end of the show.

10:40 p.m. - Thanks, Rick. Here we go. Franco continues his deadpan delivery of today's co-hosting duties. And we have the remaining Best Song noms with the super-svelte Jennifer Hudson. Up first from "127 Hours", "If I Rise," with Florence and the Machine's Florence Welch accompanied by  AR Rahman. I don't know about you, but I really wish they played more of these songs. Next up, Gwyneth Paltrow, whose voice I'm not blown away by, sings "Coming Home" from her film, "Country Strong."

And the winner is... Randy Newman for "We Belong Together" for "Toy Story 3." That's a real steal considering the songs/films it was up against. Your thoughts? Wait up here! Newman is quite the pistol. He's calling out the Academy for only having four songs nominated as opposed to the 5 for cinematography. And he's keeping the crowd rolling . Kevin Spacey is losing it. He loves a good iconoclast.

10:52 p.m. - We're back from commercials and Celine Dion is singing "Smile And The World Smiles With You" with the In Memoriam reel, which includes some big names including Tony Curtis, Gloria Stuart, publicist Ronnie Chasen, Leslie Nielsen, Patricia Neal, Robert Culp, art director Bob Boyle, Lynn Redgrave, Ann Francis, director Ronald Neame, director Irvin Kirshner. Excuse any misspellings -- I'm typing as fast as I can!

10:56 p.m. - Halle Berry then introduces a tribute to singer/actress Lena Horne.

11:01 p.m. - Hilary Swank and Kathryn Bigelow present the nominees for Best Directing and it goes to... Tom Hooper for "The King's Speech"! Does that mean it will win Best Picture, as well? Hooper looks very taken by the win and calls his association with Rush, Firth and him as the "Triangle of Man Love." Hah, then she tells Helena Bonham Carter that he hopes that doesn't make him jealous. She then honors her mother for finding "The King's Speech" after attending a stage performance of it. And the moral of the story, says Hooper? Listen to your mother.

11:05 p.m. - Annette Bening takes the stage to introduce a montage of The Governors Awards, which went to Kevin Brownlow, Francis Ford Coppola and Eli Wallach

11:11 p.m. - Here we come with the major awards of the night. Jeff Bridges joins to present the Oscar for the Best Actress in a Leading Role. This is a tough category with some very strong "outside the box" performances this year. And it goes to... Natalie Portman for "Black Swan"! She was a frontrunner for the win and it comes in a big year for her that includes new love and her first child on the way. Portman delievers a tearful and thankful speech for the award. And she lost a lot of weight and underwent tough ballet training to make the role believable. No one can say that she didn't work for this win.

11:19 p.m. - Wow, Hathaway seems a bit nervouse to introduce the next presenter and even flubs her line. Sandra Bullock takes the stage to present the award to the Best Actor in a Leading Role. Love when she gives Jeff Bridges some goodnatured ribbing for having won the award last year and being up for it again. Colin Firth seems to be the frontrunner for this award for his performance in "The King's Speech," be we'll have to see. I think it's also great when she gets James Franco's back for appearing in General Hospital saying, "Hey, actors act." And the winner is... Surprise? Colin Firth! He says that he's very nervous and seems very taken by the win. And he jokes that his nerves are, well, forcing him to tend to some "impulses" backstage. Hah!

11:31 p.m. - Steven Spielberg presents the Best Motion Picture Award. He begins by saying that the winner will join others such as "On The Waterfront" and "The Godfather." The other nine will join such legendary films as "Citizen Kane," "The Grapes of Wrath" and "Raging Bull." That's met with some cheers and really puts all of this into perspective. And the winner is... "The King's Speech"! The film has now won 12 Oscars this year. One of the producers speaks to the hardship of raising the funds to create the film, which makes me wonder how many films that don't scream blockbuster end up not being made. I bet the number is sobering.

On behalf of the whole Zap2it team, thank you, once again, for spending your Oscar night with us!

So, what were your thoughts, Zappers? Did Franco and Hathaway do it for you? Did you feel "Social Network" and "Inception" deserved more recognition? Which films and actors were you cheering for? Which awards left you scratching your head? You know where to sound off!
Photo/Video credit: ABC