Well, here is your annual opportunity to see the sausage being made. My Oscar recap — a fairly long article — is due less than 45 minutes after the Oscars are over. And that’s assuming it ends ON TIME, and it rarely does. That means I have to write during the ceremony — except for most of the ceremony, nothing is happening. We don’t know anything until right before the end, and then the information comes fast and furious.
Amour: "Amour," an unimpeachable provocation by the always challenging and sometimes mischievous Austrian director, Michael Haneke was the surprise winner of best picture at Sunday's Academy Awards ceremony. One of the best movies you'll ever want to run screaming from, "Amour" picked up --- Oscars, including best best director and best actress (Emmanuelle Riva).
Riva, also a surprise winner, is, at 86, the oldest in Academy history. A renowned french actress, best known for two roles of her youth, in "Leon Morin, Priest" and "Hiroshima Mon Amour," Riva emerged as a kind of dark horse, in a race that had seemed to be between Jennifer Lawrence and Jessica Chastain.
Beasts of the Southern Wild: "Beasts of the Southern Wild," a low budget film set in Louisiana, became one of the most surprising best picture winners in Academy history on Sunday night. It was a triumph for . . .
Django: "Django Unchained," Quentin Tarantino's outlandish retelling of history, in which a freed slave takes revenge on his former master, won best picture on Sunday night, in what must be ranked as one of the biggest and best surprises in the entire history of the Academy Awards.
Les Miserables: "Les Miserables" -- whose title might accurately describe anyone forced to watch this 165 minute monstrosity of bad singing -- won the best picture prize Sunday night, in one of the greatest institutional demonstrations of tone deafness ever recorded.
Lincoln: In what has become one of the most fraught and contentious best picture races in recent memory, "Lincoln" was the big winner at Sunday's Oscar ceremony, picking up --- awards, including best picture. The Steven Spielberg film, which had entered Oscar season as the hands-down favorite, had become an underdog in recent weeks, as "Argo" took a series of major prizes, such as The Golden Globe and SAG awards.
But when all was said and done, the Spielberg film triumphed. In accepting his award for best director, Spielberg said, " ----- ----
"Life of Pi": "Life of Pi" was the surprise winner of best picture at Sunday's Academy Awards presentation, picking up a total of --- awards, including best ----. The film, usually criticized as beautiful but dramatically inert, emerged as a compromise alternative to a contest that had seemingly come down to "Lincoln" and "Argo."
Silver Linings Playbook: "Silver Linings Playbook," David O. Russell's tonally odd but crowd-pleasing comedy-drama about a bipolar man who regains his stability through a combination of love, medication and dance lessons, won best picture at Sunday's Academy Awards ceremony, in one of the biggest upsets of recent years.
Until the announcement, best picture had seemed to be a race between "Lincoln" and "Argo." Someday the mysteries of ranked voting will be penetrated, and we'll know how many third and fourth place votes added up to a victory for the film, which also took home prizes for best ---- .
Zero Dark Thirty: "Zero Dark Thirty," a film that had been written off as an Oscar contender, whose chances were deemed non-existent, whose director Kathryn Bigelow wasn't even nominated and whose prospects seemed to fade in the face of a manufactured scandal, was the surprise winner of the best picture prize at Sunday night's Academy Award ceremony.
But to call this a surprise is not enough. It is a shock, one of the biggest shocks in Academy history, as well as one of the most welcome, the validation and recognition of one of the best and most maligned films of 2012.
Argo: In a turn of events few anticipated a month ago, "Argo" was the big winner at this year's Academy Awards, picking up a total of --- Oscars, including best picture -----.
Jennifer Lawrence: Jennifer Lawrence won best actress for her charming performance as a young widow with redemptive qualities in "Silver Linings Playbook," in what has to be regarded as one of the most difficult-to-comprehend Academy choices in recent years.
Jessica Chastain: Jessica Chastain, who in just the last two years has emerged as one of the best screen actresses of her generation, was the upset winner of Sunday night's best actress Oscar. In accepting the award, Chastain ---
Naomi Watts: Naomi Watts woke up from the coma that she went into during the making of "The Impossible" to discover that she was the surprise best actress winner Sunday night.
She was as surprised as I was.
Emmanuelle Riva: In an interesting surprise in the best actress category, Emmanuelle Riva won for her performance as a stroke victim in "Amour." In recent days, Riva -- a renowned French actress previously best known for her performance in "Hiroshima Mon Amour" (1959) -- had emerged as a kind of dark horse alternative to the perceived frontrunners Jennifer Lawrence and Jessica Chastain. But until last week, few expected Riva to win. Bear in mind, best actress has generally been a young woman's category: 12 of the previous 15 winners were under 35.
Wallis: Miss Wallis, whose name I will only attempt to spell if she actually wins, was the surprise winner of best actress for her performance in "Beasts of the Southern Wild." At nine years old, she is the youngest winner in Oscar history, and a refutation to those who think that nominating a little child for an acting award is something akin to nominating someone in a documentary as having given an acting performance.
Ang Lee: The versatile director Ang Lee took the best director prize for "Life of Pi." Steven Spielberg had gone into the evening as the perceived frontrunner.
Amour: In a stunning surprise, the austere Austrian director Michael Haneke (who works mainly in France) won best director, for "Amour," about the final tribulations of an elderly couple.
David O. Russell won best director prize for "Silver Linings Playbook," in a surprise win that proved people must have really liked the film.
Steven Spielberg won best director for "Lincoln," entering the company of an elite group of directors who have won three Oscars for their work. The Oscar, much deserved, also served as a kind of consolation prize for "Lincoln's" not winning best picture.
Benh Zeitlin: In one of the ultimate David vs. Goliath victories -- except this time David faced four Goliaths -- Benh Zeitlin, unknown until just last year, won best director for "Beasts of the Southern Wild."
Philip Seymour Hoffman won best supporting actor, for his charismatic performance as an L. Ron Hubbard-like figure in "The Master."
Tommy Lee Jones won his second Academy Award, for his performance as Thaddeus Stevens, the anti-slavery Radical, in "Lincoln."
Christoph Waltz, who dominated Quentin Tarantino's "Django Unchained," won his second best supporting actor award -- his previous Oscar was for his performance in another Tarantino film, "Inglourious Basterds."
Anne Hathaway: Anne Hathaway, as expected, won best supporting actress for her performance in "Les Miserables," one for which she lost weight, cut her hair and sang-sobbed "I Dreamed a Dream" into a camera over and over, until just the right balance between singing and sobbing had been achieved.
Helen Hunt won best supporting actress, which means that Anne Hathaway -- the perceived runaway frontrunner -- lost, a shock to gambling sites and office pools everywhere. Did sanity prevail, or was it simply a backlash from Hathaway's relentless campaigning. We'll probably never know. For the time being, it's enough to see that sometimes something good can happen, against all odds.
Sally Field: Sally Field won best supporting actress for her performance as Mary Lincoln in "Lincoln," which means that Anne Hathaway -- the perceived runaway frontrunner -- lost, a shock to gambling sites and office pools everywhere. Did sanity prevail, or was it simply a backlash from Hathaway's relentless campaigning. We'll probably never know. For the time being, it's enough to see that sometimes something good can happen, against all odds.
Hugh Jackman, who was passionate and dramatically convincing as an ex-convict wobbling in and out of tune, was the surprise best actor winner Sunday night.
In what seasoned Academy watchers are calling the seventh sign of the apocalypse, Bradley Cooper won best actor for his performance in "Silver Linings Playbook." The announcement came seconds after Meryl Streep broke the seventh seal . . .
Daniel Day-Lewis won his third Oscar for best actor, for his remarkable performance as Abraham Lincoln in Spielberg's "Lincoln."
Denzel Washington won best actor for "Flight," in a turn of events even less likely than his characters' landing of the plane.
Joaquin Phoenix's terrific performance in "The Master," which was expected to be overshadowed byDaniel Day-Lewis's remarkable work in "Lincoln," was the upset winner of best actor Sunday night.
The only way to write these things is to write them in advance, accounting for all scenarios, and then paste it all together and smooth it out. It’s not pretty, but it has to be done.
And so we have the above gallery, accounting for various possibilities, including ones I don’t at all expect will happen.
Keep in mind, this is first draft, very rough. What actually gets into the paper will be a little different. As in polished, as in better. But this will give you an idea of how the newspaper will look tomorrow, if you can find your way through the maze and see what will actually happen.