Monthly Archives: March 2014
LOS ANGELES — The Boston Red Sox won the World Series in 2013 behind beards and a band of unique brothers united by a love of the city. It was a championship season as unexpected as any considering the natural disaster that was the 2012 season, and the equally catastrophic September of 2011, in which the team went from first place to missing the playoffs faster than you can spell Yastrzemski. The collapse was terrible and predictable with the moves made in the 2010 and ’11 offseasons (Terry Francona out, Bobby Valentine in, Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez for a combined $489 bajillion) but in a way necessary to make Sox fans appreciate those good ole’ days of ’04 and ’07.
Those title teams were fun to watch and root for, and always gave you everything they had. They were full of colorful characters and personalities, and found new and exciting ways to win games. The 2012 team sucked, wasn’t fun and probably hated each other as much as I hated them. Shortly after Boston dealt Crawford, Gonzalez and Josh Beckett to the Dodgers around the trade deadline in 2012, I ran into LA GM Ned Coletti at a bar in Culver City and thanked him for taking those guys off Boston’s hands. He laughed me off but the move turned things around (much like the Nomar trade in ’04) and laid the groundwork for a title run.
In a way, I enjoyed 2013 more than the other World Series years because of what was expected (nothing) and the ultimate end result (champagne baths and Duck Boats). And because of Mike Napoli. He’s taken Manny Ramirez’s place as the lovable goofball who hits mammoth home runs and keeps everyone loose. He’ll never be as enigmatic as Man-Ram or cut off throws from the centerfielder or high-five fans while making a catch at the wall or rub Julian Tavarez’s head in the dugout (or hit .330) but he does have a penchant for getting a clutch hit (and parting around Boston without a shirt). And I love him. Look, the ’04 team was supposed to contend given how close it came in ’03, and ’07 was still riding that success thanks to a bevy of home-grown talent (Pedrioa, Youkilis, Lester, Papelbon, etc.). That title was expected.
What’s going to happen this season? Who knows, but what’s for certain is that this Red Sox team should be there come the stretch run again. Unlike the NFL, where teams go from worst to first all the time and the playoff turnover year-to-year is great, only a handful of teams have a realistic shot at hoisting the trophy come October in Major League Baseball, and this Red Sox team is one of them.
With that said, here’s 8 Things To Look For: 2014 Boston Red Sox:
1.) What will we get from David Ortiz?— Big Papi is one of the most beloved Red Sox of all time. He’s going to be a Hall of Famer five years after he retires. He can do anything.He’s Superman. For baseball purposes, he went from 2-for-22 in the ALCS last year to a whopping 11-for-16 in the World Series. That swing was a microcosm of what No. 34 has been doing in recent years in the Hub. Slow starts have led to big finishes, but let’s be honest, Ortiz is 38 and while he’s signed on for two more seasons, what he has left is very much in doubt. Sure, he hit 30 homers last year (his 7th season with at least 30), but as we’ve seen historically from other sluggers, when it goes it goes in a hurry. I won’t overreact to a slow start this year but I’m not expecting the end to be pleasant, whenever it occurs.
2.) Who will be this year’s Jonny Gomes? — I’m not talking about the numbers, because I’m a realist in that Gomes isn’t The Babe, and he hit just .247 in 366 at bats last year. But the spark he gave this team when he was an every day player can’t be measured. He started the beard revolution, provided me with my favorite moment of the year – punting his helmet rounding third after a walk-off homer in June against Tampa Bay – and was an infectious spirit on the diamond. The Red Sox are gonna need it again because it’s a long season and repeating is hard.
3.) Is Felix Dubront ready for primetime? — I covered the big lefty when he was with the Portland Sea Dogs coming up and I’ve enjoyed watching his progress in the big leagues. Dubront is a power pitcher and has 306 strikeouts in 323.1 innings in his two full big league seasons but got shelled this Spring Training (7.77 ERA in 19 innings). He’s going to be an important element of this Boston pitching staff and if it’s going to make another deep postseason run he’ll need to win 15-or-more games. He’s only 26 but it’s time to show some consistency.
4.) Grady Sizemore, starting center fielder? — This is actually not a question, it’s happening, and I’m just as shocked as you are. Sizemore hasn’t played in two seasons, and hasn’t played a full season since 2008, but somehow beat out Jackie Bradley, Jr. for the center field spot. The same JBJ who most, including me, thought was in line for the starting job after Jacoby Ellsbury signed with the Yankees this offseason and was sent down to Pawtucket last week. I don’t know if Sizemore is gonna make it, but I hope so. He averaged 26 HR, 81 RBI and 28 stolen bases in his best four full seasons with Cleveland, and if he can be around those numbers again it’ll be a genius move and soften the blow of losing Ellsbury but giving the Sox some speed and pop at the top of the lineup. Fingers crossed.
5.) A.J. Pierzynski? Yes, really. — And you thought spelling Saltalamacchia was tough? I’m pretty shocked the man once voted the most hated in Major League Baseball is wearing Red Sox colors this season, but by all accounts, he’s a great teammate, and one of those guys you’re glad is on your team because of what makes him so hated. I just want him to do what everyone wants out of their catcher: handle the pitchers, be reliable, and provide a little pop at the plate now and then. Salty’s 40 doubles last year will be hard to top, let’s hope A.J.’s intangibles make up for it.
6.) Will the bullpen repeat its 2013 performance? — Let’s be honest, what the bullpen did last year, especially Koji Uehara, was unbelievable. He was downright unhittable in the stretch run and postseason, giving up just one run in 13.2 innings with seven saves. But he’s 38, so I wouldn’t expect a repeat performance. Uehara came out of nowhere and I’m guessing it’ll be someone else giving manager John Farrell a surprise performance to save the day this summer, whether it’s Andrew Miller or Burke Badenhop or Edward Mujica or someone from a deadline deal. Stay tuned.
7.) How will this team handle being expected to win? — It was different last season, there weren’t any expectations – last year every Red Sox fan would’ve been satisfied with a .500 season given the way 2012 was an unmitigated nightmare – but now this band of mistfits are champions. They are expected to win 90 games this year and compete for another World Series. A year ago, there was no pressure and what happened? They won. A lot. Now that there is pressure what’s going to happen if this team struggles in April and May? If Xander Bogaerts isn’t living up to the tremendous hype we all have for him early on? If Will Middlebrooks get sent down again because he’s lost his power? If Jon Lester has control issues or Clay Buchholz injures his back again? If Koji blows a couple saves? If Ortiz is hitting .091? What if? I’m hoping no one panics, remembering how patience paid off a year ago, but this is Boston and what happened last year is in the past. We’ll see.
8.) What grimey thing will these guys do next? — Last year it was the beards and David Oritz and Boston Strong that carried this team and provided its spirit and driving force. In 2004, there was “Cowboy Up” and the Jack Daniels and the naked pullups, in ’07 it was The Idiots, so we’ll see what comes from this team. You don’t know when it’s gonna happen or who’s going to be the leader, but I’m expecting something and I can’t wait.
The fifth Beatle walked strong among the masses, Wearing swooshes and all black camo. He bounced to the music and smiled real wide, Welcomed the decision makers to the show. See, the kid is strong, sure and ripe. Not afraid to tell all to smoke exactly what's in their pipe. Talk they do, experts and hacks. How he's this, and can't do that. Waaack. They'll mention his antics, his hustle, the mess. No strength or safety in his game, all finesse. But he's a rockstar, it can't be denied. Beat 'Bama, won the Heisman and barely broke stride. Yeah he drinks, dates models and flaunts what he's got. You would too if you were him, your own Johnny on the spot. Now he's Broadway bound, could be the first overall pick. May 8 will arrive before they can spell "lickity split." And so the suits with whistles flew down to small College Station, To watch the Beatle move and throw, broadcast to the nation. They came from all parts of this great NFL land, And throw he did, all according to plan. Coaches, GMs, friends and fans. Even a President watched in awe from the stands. Our hero stood tall, but not that high. We all knew he could ball and basically fly. A bomber, celebrity and life champion all in one. Whitlock called him Kardashian with skills, so fun. Is he Tebow? Vick? Deion? He's none. He's Johnny Football. Coming to a stadium near you, So brightly this fall.
LOS ANGELES — At age 20, I went to Madison Square Garden in New York City for the first time. It was March of 2001, and being in charge of the college basketball show at Syracuse University’s student television station had its perks. Such, I made the executive decision to cover the Big East Men’s Basketball Tournament, for which our Orangemen were a 3-seed. To say I was out of my element was an understatement, as this was the first event of this magnitude I had covered.
Rich Kiss, UUTV’s sports director, came with me, and he and I had three of the most fun days I can remember as a college student. That our Orangemen (we were still the Orangemen back then) won two games, and narrowly missed reaching the league championship by a single point in the third, was only icing on the cake of the experience. We took the train over from New Jersey into the World Trade Center, walked over to 34th and 8th with our camera equipment, picked up our credentials and felt like we belonged. I remember we grabbed every media guide and quote packet we could get our hands on in the press area, ate from the $5 donation buffet (Boston Globe hoops historian Bob Ryan took the last piece of cheesecake) and when some real reporter asked us if we were using the phone on our table we bewilderingly said no, as if who were we to even have phones. But we were somebodies covering the event; the names on our passes told us so.
We walked among the stars of this Broadway show even if we were barely understudies. I got a little journo-hero struck when we saw Bill Rhoden of the New York Times, and Dick Weiss of the Daily News, two basketball writing legends, but for the duration of this tournament we were all colleagues and it felt as such. In the locker room interviewing players, in the press room talking to coaches, high above the MSG floor in the media section as I called all of my friends from the working telephones; we we there. After one of the games, we even did our standups on the court. Like pros. At The Garden. Basketball Mecca.
The next year, our Orangemen weren’t very good but Rich and I returned; we lost the first game to Villanova and the three things I remember most are: a) that we basically called it on the train ride over, since like I said, we weren’t very good; b) saying if we somehow lost tonight we were going to head to Atlantic City the next day (we did); and c) The Scene. The Scene was unlike anything I’ve been around, not like the high school, college or pro games I attended growing up. There was a buzz as soon as you walked through The Garden doors or made your way up the steps from the subway. It made the hair on your arms stand up. The clapping and chanting. The team regalia. School cheerleaders lining the entrance. Vendors screaming out deals for programs, t-shirts and refreshments. Everyone talking hoops at every turn. Even the back pages of the Daily News and New York Post were smathered with Big East Tournament headlines.
And the basketball. Oh the basketball. Other conferences have high-flyers, run-and-gun offenses and the visual eye candy to attract those with less-than keen eyes for superior hardwood mastery. And that’s what the Big East was, the best hoops the nation had to offer, and it was on display night-in and night-out across the northeast. From Providence to South Orange, out to Syracuse, back to Storrs and everywhere in between; college basketball at its absolute pinnacle. Marquee coaches, superstar players and the most rabid fans. Those qualities and more were on full display in the latest 30-for-30: Requiem For The Big East, which documented the league’s creation in 1979 and ultimate demise in 2013.
It was a fantastic two hours of television that featured commentary about the Big East’s rise and fall from legendary coaches Jim Boeheim, John Thompson and Lou Carnesecca, writers who covered the league Michael Wilbon and Charlie Pierce, former Big East commissioner Mike Tranghese, and players Ed Pinckney (Villanova), Chris Mullin (St. John’s), and Patrick Ewing (Georgetown), among others.
The documentary touched on the seminal moments of the conference, from Georgetown ending Syracuse’s 57-game home winning streak to close out Manley Field House, to the recruitment of Ewing, who hailed from Jamaica through Boston, New York City’s Mullin and Pearl Washington, the league’s toughness, Big Monday, and everything Dave Gavitt went through to get the league off the ground and to the heights it reached by teaming up with ESPN for broadcast rights. It was a fantastic trip down memory lane.
One of the elements I found the most interesting was one of Gavitt’s initial reasons for wanting to create the Big East was to keep the best players from the northeast – including New York City – in the area. Gavitt watched Big Apple schoolboy legend Lew Alcindor leave the east coast for UCLA in the 1960s and knew something had to be done. And it worked, as the league’s top eastern players stayed at home and played in the new power conference. Always fighting for national respect, the Big East received validation when Georgetown reached the 1982 NCAA Championship, and then just three years later placed three teams in the Final Four.
Other thoughts: I loved hearing Pinckney and Mullin talk about playing pickup hoops at parks across New York City, starting in Harlem and working their way down. That’s the thing about city ball, if you can play, the color of your skin doesn’t matter, and Mullin was one of the best around. … I never knew Boeheim got his Bob Knight on with a heated chair throw in the press conference after the 1984 Big East title game. … Thompson told Ewing to block every shot in the 1985 title game, which resulted in five goaltending calls off the bat. Also, Ewing still hasn’t gotten over losing the game to Villanova, saying, “in my heart the best team did not win that night.” … Pierce saying capitalism ruined the Big East, while Wilbon blames “dumb and greedy presidents.” … The doc was voiced by “Breaking Bad” villain Giancarlo Esposito, aka Gus Fring.
I first wrote my world famous “Tips For Enjoying March Madness” column for the Journal Tribune way back in 2006 – the 2009 version won me a Maine Press Association award. A lot has happened since then and most of it hasn’t been great for my bracket in 2014. Speaking of, how’s yours looking? Did you call North Dakota St. or Stephen F. Austin? What about Dayton? Mercer is in Macon, Georgia if you still haven’t figured that out yet. These first 48 games were some of the best basketball of the year, with perhaps the most exciting game of the first two rounds being #8 Kentucky/#1 Wichita St., which made the worst #11 Dayton’s upset win over #3 Syracuse.
Seriously, the last month of basketball being played in the 315 has been downright atrocious. (rant alert) Forget that we lost to a six-win Boston College team AT HOME, but also to Georgia Tech and N.C. State to end the season, losses happen, I’ve played sports my entire life, even when you’re better than your opponent you’re not always going to win. It just happens. Fine. But your effort in those losses is something you CAN control. Your shot selection. Your aggressiveness. Your rebounding. All within the realm of things you can have a direct outcome of. And where has it been the last month? Very good question. Bottom line, Syracuse didn’t deserve a 3-seed in this year’s tournament and it didn’t deserve to reach the Sweet 16. Obviously, I’m not over the loss yet and probably won’t be until Opening Day at Fenway next month. When you start the season 25-0 you expect a more satisfying ending than losing to Dayton two hours from your campus. What a frustrating end to what should have been a joyous season. And that’s the other thing, I didn’t have that much fun watching this team play. Every possession was a struggle. Every shot was spent praying it went in. Nothing was automatic. When we got a big lead, we quickly surrendered it. We played down to the level of our competition. We scored 47 points! To Dayton! For the game! Oregon nearly had that at the half against BYU. Did the season turn when Boeheim got tossed late in the game against Duke? Is someone really going to make that moment when it all went to crap? Did I just do it? I just hope Tyler Ennis and Jerami Grant come back next year. Neither are ready for the pros and I think this tournament confirmed that.
[exhale] On to next year.
Here’s what else caught my eye after the most amazing four days of college basketball I can remember (it was a 48-game blur, so forgive specifics):
– These kids are terrible shooters; most but not all of them. Doug McDermott had a great first game against Lousianna-Lafayette going 12-for-23 and 30 points, but then not so much against Baylor (15 points). Meanwhile, Wichita St.’s Cleanthony Early couldn’t miss Sunday against Kentucky, going 12-for-17 and 31 points. It’s too bad both couldn’t make it out of the first weekend.
– Hard to tell which team is playing the best right now. After the first round I would’ve said Wichita St. and Syracuse, and then both lost in Round 2. Now, I might say Kentucky, Baylor, Arizona, Florida, Virginia and UConn are leading the field, so who knows what their fates hold in the Sweet 16.
– Player I want taking the game-winning shot on the final possession: UConn’s Shabazz Napier; dude is fearless.
– Got to explain what a backdoor lob was this weekend, which was pretty hilarious in between the 13-year old giggles. I even used two glasses of water and a dipping container of ketchup to visually illustrate. Coach Norman Dale would’ve been proud.
– Baylor’s hunting uniforms need to join the NBA’s sleeve jerseys and take a long walk off a short pier. Not a good look for anyone.
– I participate in an NCAA Tournament individual scoring fantasy league each year and I felt really good about my squad after the draft, especially after I missed out on the championship last year by a measly 7 points (thanks a lot, Georgetown). However, after the opening weekend I’m down to only four players remaining and I have about a good a shot at a title as Dayton, which is a long one. Seriously, I can’t believe Oklahoma AND Creighton both went down. Those two losses cost me at least another 75 points. Just so long as I don’t come in last.
– Speaking of, did any of these potential top NBA Draft picks (Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker, Marcus Smart, etc.) have good games or do anything noteworthy? And who is this year’s Harold Arceneaux? He’s yet to reveal himself.
– Anyone else really sick of that Buffalo Wild Wings old man in the hat? We get it, the game is on, we’re probably already in our seats. Stop yelling at us.
– My original Final Four was Florida, Virginia, Creighton and Louisville. Revamped Final Four: Florida, Virginia, Baylor and Louisville. Sticking with my Louisville championship pick as well, although that may change at halftime of Friday’s Kentucky game; stay tuned and happy madness!
LOS ANGELES — For the first time in the last 3 years, I am not at the Academy Awards (#StraightUpBrag), so I figured I’d roll over to Berger’s place and bust out a running diary for this year’s show. Ellen DeGeneres is the host, a much safer choice compared to last year when apparently Seth MacFarlane offended everyone, but we’ll see who ends up stealing the show. I’m not expecting many surprises in terms of who the actual winners are, but you never know. OK, let’s get to it!
5:29pm PST – Since I wasn’t at the Red Carpet this year for The Eisen Podcast, figured I’d do a running diary since I can actually watch the show. Berger cares about this stuff as much as I do so hopefully we’ll have some good commentary throughout. We’re a minute away. I’m guessing it’s gonna be another long ass show. Berger thinks 3 hours and 24 minutes. I’m definitely taking the over.
5:30 – Ellen walks out and immediately goes in with a “raining in LA joke… Thank you for your prayers.” Predictable, and everyone laughed. UGH, that’s the problem with Ellen, she’s so safe and everyone loves her. But seriously, it was touch-and-go with the rain here, people. She’s not wrong about that.
5:32 – The June Squibb being old and can’t understand anything bit was funny. And is Ellen wearing velvet? Berger immediately breaks out into Seinfeld velvet lines. This is why we’re friends.
5:33 – Ellen should just quit now after that Liza Minelli male impersonator joke. That was hilarious.
5:35 – “Did Julia Roberts always have that many teeth?” Valid question by Berger. … Julia is loving this Ellen monologue. Jesus stop laughing, this is not that funny. “She’s hammered!” That’s the only explanation I’m accepting.
5:37 – Jennifer Lawrence is mostly perfect, right down to stumbling while getting out of her car. But I wouldn’t have cut my hair if I was her.
5:39 – How does Jonah Hill have a better seat than Marty Scorsese? And everyone brings their mom to this show, huh? Not gonna lie, I would bring BrockmanMary, too.
5:40 – OK, time for some awards. Anne Hathaway is out to present Best Supporting Actor. We can all agree she’s the worst, right? And it’s gotta be Jared Leto, yes? It’s the rule. Dress up like a woman/man, get the statue. They don’t break rules in Hollywood.
5:42 – Leto wins it. And Tyler Perry with the great seats next to Jennifer Garner. “The only reason I’m watching this show is for this speech.” Leto tells Ellen he loves her first. Upset of the night.
5:44 – Neck tattoo guy turns out to be Leto’s brother. “To all the dreamers out there!” Hooray for dreamers! Nice of him to mention those who’ve lost battle to AIDS. Very well done speech. Hard to top that one tonight.
5:47 – Jim Carrey out for the next awards and wow, that’s a blue suit. Lotta blue suits tonight. Lot going on with Jim’s hair, too… and he’s breaking out the weird faces. Sweet. He’s never changed… LSD joke and director cuts to U2. Was that on purpose?
5:51 – Kerry Washington comes out and damn, she’s huge! That little Nnamdi inside her is ready for the Draft. She’s here to introduce Pharrell singing some song titled “Happy.” Wait, so Jim Carrey didn’t even give out an award? What was that for then? I’m so confused. This is an awards show still, right?
5:53 – “Is there any big event that Pharrell hasn’t performed at in the last two years? When did he bcome Quincy Jones?” It’s a good point. Where’s he showing up to next? 5:1 he’s at the NFL Draft.
5:55 – Berger has these peanut butter filled pretzel bites which are basically heaven in your mouth. I just crushed 6 like it was nothing. I might eat the whole container in the next 3 hours.
5:57 – Sam Jackson walks out sans Kangol hat (also a huge upset) with Naomi Watts. “Shes in my top 5 tonight, look at her. She looks Incredible.” And Berger’s DirecTV DVR alert comes up that 2 things are abut to record at once. True Dectective and Wicked Tuna. Yeah, the tuna’s getting canceled. Oh, and they’re handing out costume design which goes to “Great Gatsby,” and Catherine Martin, which is the third win for this woman apparently and she’s also nominated in another category tonight. That seems selfish.
6:00 – HOW DID BAD GRANDPA NOT WIN FOR BEST MAKEUP?!?!??!!!!?? “Is that the same woman from the Kimmel bit before the show?” Dallas Buyers Club won, by the way. Making Jared Leto look like a hot chick takes a lot of makeup.
6:02 – Harrison Ford comes out and immediately quotes Marlon Brando. That’s the best moment of the night so far. Harry introduced as “Oscar nominated” so we look it up and it’s true, he’s never won an Oscar OR Golden Globe. He wasn’t even nominated for The Fugitive?! That’s incredible. What a joke. And he’s teasing “American Hustle,” “Dallas Buyers Club” and “Wolf of Wall Street,” the first 3 of the 9 Best Picture noms.
6:05 – Channing Tatum out next. If you painted him gold he’d look like the Oscar statue. Not for nothing, but the best part of last year’s show was post-Oscars when Tatum and Jamie Foxx were on Jimmy Kimmel playing on the piano. That was downright hilarious.
6:07 – Something funny to do during big events is seeing what ELSE is on TV. Right now we have the Fab Five 30 for 30, the Bassmasters Classic and the “Rockford Files” leading the clubhouse at the moment. Clearly I’m not mentioning “True Detective,” which I’ll be watching later tonight. Life is a flat circle of time.
6:09 – Spike has “Return of the Jedi” on, “Anchorman” too, and “The Skulls.” Some great counter programming right now, people.
6:11 – Who is this old broad with bad plastic surgery on stage with Matthew McConaughey?! Man, he’s really handsome. And why is he rubbing her back? That’s creepy. Apparently, it’s Kim Novak who was in “Vertigo.” They’re presenting animated short. We could’ve got MMc a better category.
6:17 – Sally Field walks out… “She looks unfucking believable. She has to be like 70!?” She’s 67, but I’m feeling you, Berger. And “Frozen” won for best animated feature in the least surprising victory of the night.
6:19 – Not sure I understand the point of this montage. Is it supposed to be about heroes or something? “42” was not a good movie by any stretch and it’s mixed in with all these iconic, Academy Award-winning performances. Strange.
6:21 – “Emma Watson! Holy shitballs!” Yeah, she’s out with Joseph Gordan-Levitt to present visual effects… “Emma Watson gets an achievement in visual effects!” Wait, so you’re telling me Johnny Depp wasn’t really walking across a moving train in “The Lone Ranger?!” I feel so cheated, but only because I paid $12 to see that piece of garbage. “Gravity” wins. No shock. Best visual experience in a theater I’ve had in a long time.
6:24 – “Gravity” has made $700 million worldwide. “So have I.” That’s amazing. And not sure what this song is that Zac Efron just introduced. Why is he even there? Do people still think he’s a movie star? His face looks fat, too. Yes, I am just jealous.
6:30 – Good job by Kate Hudson for not getting outrageous-looking breast implants. They’re classy and probably didn’t cost as much. And Jason Sudeikis is a handsome man, but I definitely would’ve hated that guy in college. Without question.
6:32 – They’re presenting Live Action Short Film… and “Helium” wins. “When I inhale helium it usually turns into a live action short film, too.” Well played, sir.
6:36 – Ellen walking down the aisle and mentions ordering pizza and if anyone would want any. Yeah, that’s what these people wearing ridiculously expensive gowns and tuxedos want, greasy-ass pizza. Wait, preggo Kerry Washington gives a fist pump. She’s excited at the thought of pie. But pregnant people don’t think rationally. Someone help her out.
6:37 – What’s going on with Bradley Cooper’s hair? And every woman just said, “I just want him to speak french to me. Who cares what his hair looks like?” “20 Feet From Stardom” wins for best doc feature. Very cool idea. Definitely going to check that out… and Tina Turner’s Hollywood Blvd. lookalike just started singing and is now getting a standing ovation. That was bizarre.
6:40 – Frank Underwood just strolled out and addressed the crowd. That was awesome. Kevin Spacey is a boss… WHOA. Angela Lansbury is 88? “Ya, I’ve been watching a fair amount of ‘Murder She Wrote’ recently.” It’s too bad Kevin Spacey is such an amazing actor, he’d would’ve been an amazing late night talk show host or stand up comic. I’d watch him do impressions all night. He should actually host the Oscars.
6:48 – Jeez, where the hell has Ewan McGregor been? He’s looking like an extra from “Dallas Buyers Club.” Also, the side balcony squads are 3-for-3 in Oscars tonight after “The Great Beauty” just took home Foreign Language Film… and I think this Italian director just thanked Diego Maradona and Mike Napoli. That was weird.
6:51- Why is Tyler Perry there?! “He is the richest person at the Oscars.” Well OK then. He’s out to showcase the next 3 Best Picture noms: “Nebraska,” “Her” and “Gravity.”
6:55 – Brad Pitt, looking like he’s about to film the Macklemore biopic, comes out to introduce U2 singing “Ordinary Love,” which is my new favorite song. It’s incredible, even though I cant stand Bono. Even though I want to be The Edge. I’m nearly convinced he’s the coolest guy alive right now. It’s a constant conundrum of mine.
6:57 – “Why is he on the ground?” I stopped trying to explain Bono a long, long time ago.
7:03 – Ellen is now in the aisle next to Meryl Streep talking about tweeting about a picture of the two of them. She wants to make it the most RT’d photo in Twitter’s history. OK, wait, Brad Pitt is walking over. Now Julia Roberts wants in. Jesus, everyone is getting in on this now. Jennifer Lawrence just said she wanted to grab a boob if the picture wants to get retweeted that many times. Wow, this is incredible. Who is that guy in the flat top?! “I’ve never tweeted before!” -Meryl Streep. Jesus, what a mess. Bradley Cooper actually ends up taking the photo. Can’t wait to see how this turns out. And no way am I giving this an RT.
7:06 – Holy shit, I would absolutely watch a sex tape with Chris Hemsworth and Charlize Theron. Great Caesar’s Ghost they are two perfect humans.
7:09 – Ellen broke Twitter. This picture stunt has taken it down. That’s unbelievable. Wonder how many RTs that photo is gonna get. I’ll admit it was a pretty cool 2014 moment but I’m just curious with all these stunts how people would react if it was Seth doing them.
7:11 – Two-time Best Supporting Actor and Quentin Tarantino mouthpiece Christoph Waltz out to present Supporting Actress… real categories! Should be a good one.
7:14 – “12 Years A Slave” actress Lupita Y’ongo wins, as she should. Absolutely amazing performance by her. “Lupita and Liza, the hug of the night.” … her and her date have matching flat tops. No big deal. I ask Berger if he thinks Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence have had sex: “yes.” And that’s that.
7:21 – Ellen is really taking this pizza bit to the next level as some dude just walked on stage with three pies… Julia Roberts and Spacey immediately raise their hands that they want some… is this a real guy? I’m so confused. Brad Pitt is handing out plates. What the hell is going on? Isn’t this supposed to be a dignified awards show? This should be a Golden Globes bit. Leo’s no dummy, he’s not eating the pie. Don’t wanna get grease on that navy tux.
7:24 – What the hell was that spaceship thing that lady was talking about? Are they making a sequel to “Flight of the Navigator?”
7:26 – “Are they going to give out any awards on this awards show? It’s like that scene from ‘Jurassic Park,’ ‘you plan on actually having dinosaurs in your dinosaur park, yes?” … and we just made an “A Few Good Men” joke. We are on fire… classy of Bill Murray to just shout out to Harold Ramis during the cinematography category.
7:29 – Anna Kendrick comes out and I think I see a nipple. Either way, shout out to her for being from Portland, Maine. Represent… and yes, “Gravity” just won another technical award, this time for Editing. “We get it, ‘Gravity’ was cool looking.” It really was.
7:32 – That Ellen photo is at 433,000 RTs right now and going up infinitely every second. “Let’s call a spade a spade, it’s a pretty amazing photo.” Yes, it really is… and I think Whoopi Goldberg, wearing the wicked witch socks from “Wizard of Oz,” just said Pink’s real name in an effort to tell America she hangs out with Pink. Really strange. Has anyone ever won an Oscar and then gotten really weird like she has? Nic Cage, I guess.
7:38 – Pink just absolutely destroyed “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” in the Oz tribute wearing an amazing ruby red dress. That was fantastic. Director cuts to John Travolta and Kelly Preston. “Kelly Preston, I can’t say it enough.” Berger is a fan.
7:42 – Ellen comes out wearing a fairy costume. Right, because of the Oz thing. This is not funny.
7:43 – Jennifer Garner is incredibly stunning tonight and is joined by Benedict Cumberbatch, who is an absolute boss. He has to be the next James Bond right? “He should come out with a line of candy, Cumberbatch Kids” … and Catherine Martin wins her second Oscar of the night for production design. She’s got 5 now, if you’re scoring at home. So greedy.
7:47 – Another semi-pointless montage. Not sure what this one was for, but it was kind of awesome. I think it was for movie badasses. Also, that Ellen pic now up to 736,000 RTs. Americans are morons.
7:52 – Glenn Close out to introduce the In Memoriam piece. Who’s the hammer? We vote Shirley Temple… kicks off with James Gandolfini… wow, that was tough… goosebumps during this thing…
7:58 – Ends with Philip Seymour Hoffman, fitting, he was an Academy Award winner… and Bette Midler comes out to sing … “WIND BENEATH MY WINGS?!??!” Definitely didn’t see that coming.
8:05 – Whoa, Goldie Hahn needs to cut back on the plastic surgery. Who wins in a Plastic Surgery Off: Goldie or Kim Novak? She’s introducing the last three Best Picture noms: “Philomena,” “Captain Phillips” and “12 Years A Slave,” which is my pick to win the whole thing.
8:08 – Ellen’s photo is now at 1.2 million RTs, which is officially the most RT’d tweet of all-time… and how come no one ever calls out John Travolta on all his wigs? We’re just gonna let that slide, along with Harry Ford’s earring? Guess so.
8:09 – What did Travolta just say?! There’s no chance that’s her real name… Apparently it’s Idina Menzel. Wow, that was a butcher job… people are going nuts on Twitter.
8:11 – I’m pretty sure Jamie Foxx is doing a beatbox of Chariots of Fire right now during this award for costume design or something. You think that was in the prompter?
8:14 – Holy smokes, Robert Lopez just completed the EGOT, made famous by Tracy Morgan on “30 Rock” for winning for best song in “Frozen.” This guy has to get the necklace now, right? Or at least walk around with an F U shirt. I probably would.
8:23 – Ellen is now passing around one of Pharrell’s hats for a tip for the pizza guy. This bit has officially jumped the shark. Do you think these stars actually carry cash? … Robert DeNiro and Penelope Cruz out for Best Adapted Screenplay… John Ridley has to win for “12 Years a Slave,” right?
8:25 – Indeed he did. Whoa, purple dress on his Asian gf/wife/side piece? Wasn’t ready for that… Man, some good speeches tonight. Really liked his. Well done… OK, off to Original Screen play … this one is tough.. “American Hustle,” “Her,” “Blue Jasmine,” “Nebraska,” “Dallas Buyers Club”…
8:27 – Going to say “Her” wins because of how unique it was, and I really enjoyed that film … booyah! Spike Jonze everyone. Wow, you could tell me any age for him and I’d believe you. Amazing that he used to direct Beastie Boys videos and now he’s won an Academy Award. Shows you anything is truly possible.
8:32 – Best Director already! Has this show flown by or not? I can’t tell. It’s been 3 hours so probably not. Ok, here we go… and it’s Alfonso Cuaron for “Gravity”… how many statues is that for Gravity now? “They’ve won all the dumb ones.” Well. So there.
8:42 – Daniel Day-Lewis out to present Best Actress. I forgot it’s been a whole year since he transformed into Abraham Lincoln. Funny tweet just now saying DDL prepared four years for this introduction… So it’s been Cate Blanchett leading this category since the summer, let’s see if she can go wire-to-wire.
8:43 – Yeah she did. I like Cate’s dress… and good use of exacerbates.
8:48 – Jennifer Lawrence out to present Best Actor… all she’s thinking right now is, “don’t trip, don’t trip, don’t trip.” And all I really want her to do is trip… whoa, she just scolded someone for laughing… what was that? She realizes this isn’t about her, right? I think in the course of a few hours I’m losing interest…
8:50 – OK, who ya got? Leo was really awesome in “Wolf of Wall Street” but for some reason you get the feeling like he’s never gonna win one of these, though I often think about what type of acceptance speech he would give. Speaking of, I know everyone wants Matthew McConaughey to win and believe me, no one loves MMC like I do, but I just think Chiwetel Ejiofor was so fantstic in “12 Years A Slave” and deserves it. We’ll see…”it’s either AIDS or slavery, so some oppressed people will be really happy.”
8:52 – Effin’A’, McConaughey for the win. Fantastic tux. Gave us the “all right, all right, all right,” too … he nailed it. Wow. That was awesome… and he’s his own hero. Just wow.
8:55 – Final award of the night. Best Picture, and who else but Will Smith out to present… wearing… whatever that is… and we’ve hit the 3:25 mark, the over wins… Like I said, I’m predicting “12 Years A Slave”…
8:57 – WINNER. Seriously, if you haven’t seen it, just a fantastic (yet disturbing) film. Really well done.
OK, that’s gonna do it for me and Berger. Thanks for reading. Hope you were entertained. My next running diary will most likely be the 1st Round of the 2014 NFL Draft. So you have some time to prepare yourselves. Oh, and the final RT count on the Ellen photo as we go off the air is 1.73 million. Simply amazing.