I haven't live-blogged the Oscars in a while. Usually today is like I just got out of jail, so I'm generally boozing it up at this party or that and just soaking it in.

Not today! And lucky you! I'll be right here at the laptop tap-tapping away as this year's final kudos are handed out on the stage of the Kod...er...Hollywood & Highland Theatre. Will there be upsets? Will there be intrigue? Will there be blood? Whatever there will be, I will be here. I may also have this or that to say on Twitter.

So let's get this puppy started...

RED CARPET

2:30pm - Yes, it's already started. We're live. I'm on E! and there's Ryan Seacrest. There's the carpet. Yep, this is the Oscars. I don't know how long I'll last in these earliest stages but at least the post is up and ready for you to comment to your heart's content.

2:36pm - "The Descendants" star Amara Miller decked out in Valentino. 11 years old.

2:39pm - Muppet sighting! Kermit and Miss Piggy have arrived, prompting me to consider what might have been. Oh, #muppetoscars, how I loved you so.

2:44pm - Penelope Ann Miller is first on the carpet for "The Artist." Busy weekend for her. She was accepting on behalf of all the film's winners at yesterday's Independent Spirit Awards until Air Artist landed from France and a César Awards haul.

3:01pm - So who decides, "I'm gonna be REALLY early to the Oscars?" Milla Jovovich on the carpet now, early, pimping something -- I missed it -- as well as a new "Resident Evil" movie. How many of those are there now, like, nine?

3:07pm - Kelly Osborne? Oh. Okay. Anyway, there's Rose Byrne, the VIP of "Bridesmaids" if you ask me. Where do you think it honestly ended up in the Best Picture voting? Ten? Eleven? Twelve? Had to have been below "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" and surely "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy," too.

3:13pm - "So, Bérénice Bejo, how does it feel to be in the only category 'The Artist' can't win tonight?" I can't believe Seacrest asked her that!!

3:25pm - I never know how to "judge" fashion or whatever. I'll always think, "Oh, she's hot in that." And then the dress will be savaged. With that in mind, Jessica Chastain is rocking a pretty stellar dress. She's hot in that. Oh, good, Kelly Osbourne agrees with me. Whew. Being interviewed by Seacrest now. She's so awesome. I've only really bumped into her here and there this year, no proper interviews, but she's been the embodiment of class and spirit all season.

3:32pm - Were there any "who are you wearing?" jokes at the 1992 ceremony? You know, vis a vis "The Silence of the Lambs?" Had to have been.

3:34pm - Clooney in the house! Is he standing on an apple box or did he tell Stacy Keibler not to wear heels for once? Could he pull out the Best Actor win after all? Probably not. Okay, enough George. Can we please talk to Stacy?

3:42pm - Viola Davis rocking out some hunter green on the carpet. Hair done by her mother, she says. She also says this season has been all about stepping out into her confidence as an actress. She's had fresh things to offer about this process every step of the way, so I'll be pleased to see her grab that Oscar.

3:54pm - As Seacrest talks to Michelle Williams and Rooney Mara, Roger Ebert points me to this article: "3 Reasons Why Viola Davis Should Rock her ‘Fro At The Oscars." Well, she did!

3:56pm - E! viewers are overwhelmingly predicting "The Help" to win Best Picture. Interesting. Meanwhie, P Diddy, fresh off of yesterday's NBA Slam Dunk Competition, is on the carpet with Coach Bill Courtney from the tearjerker "Undefeated." Will it pull off the win tonight? A number of us think so. Without question, it's the most emotional of the nominees. Seacrest asks Courtney what someone can learn from this film. "Don't give up," he says.

3:59pm - Side note: I hate typing "E!" With the exclamation point. It makes me sound like I'm excited about it.

4:01pm - Okay, enough slummin' it with Ryan and Giuliana. Off to ABC and the "official" red carpet show. All 90 minutes of it. You ready?

4:12pm - Red carpet has hit a boring lull. Maybe I should switch back to E! (which, for some reason, still isn't available in HD for DirecTV). Anyway, Tweet of the day so far goes to my HitFix colleague Dan Fienberg: "I expect Nikki Finke will arrive attached to Sacha Baron Cohen's head, like those parasitic fish that ride sharks."

4:16pm - Alright, here we go. Sacha Baron Cohen on the red carpet as "The Dictator." Here's the thing: This is a bad precedent. When I heard the Academy had "banned" Cohen from doing this, I immediately said, "Idiots." Because as far as I could tell by the initial story, it was knee-jerk to the mere suggestion that Cohen do that. That was before it became so obvious that it was set up by Cohen's camp in cahoots with Deadline.com. That said, what just happened was hilarious. Cohen, carrying an urn he said held the ashes of Kim Jong Il, just doused Ryan Seacrest with its contents. And Seacrest is now covered in ashes. And that's funny. Still, not worth it for the precedent.

4:19pm - Clearly Seacrest is pissed about this. He's trying to break away but the girls in the booth aren't having it. "Do you have any idea how lucky you are that you were the chosen one?" Hilarious. "What are you thinking about right now, Ryan?" It's like an international incident. Hahaha.

4:25pm - And now Seacrest has to explain what happened to each interviewee. So, circling back to that "Silence of the Lambs" question, I guess "who are you wearing?" takes on another meaning.

4:29pm - Alright, time to start drinking.

4:58pm - I LITERALLY have had nothing to say for the last half hour. Sorry.

5:03pm - So they've interviewed both Zach Galifianakis and Bradley Cooper backstage now. I guess there's a "Hangover" presentation coming. And Cooper says "Hopefully we're gonna do 'Hangover 3.'" Hopefully?

5:05pm - I'm happy for Glenn Close, being interviewed on ABC right now. The film didn't fully work but I never once thought her performance suffered under anything, let alone the material providing her a very internalized character to portray. And while this isn't in and of itself reason enough to dish out kudos, being with a character and material for 30 years, seeing it through to the screen, producing, writing on all levels, I mean it beats the hell out of what I get out of bed to do every morning. And she looks like a boss.

5:07pm - Meanwhile, there are the PricewaterhouseCoopers guys! Are they handcuffed to the briefcases? They should actually give them neck bracelets or something that will explode if the briefcase gets more than like four feet away from them. "Battle Royale"-style.

5:13pm - Is this Sandra Bullock's first trip back to the Oscars since, you know...?

5:16pm - So the wings have been ordered. We're close to 15 minutes away from game time. Best Dressed: Jessica Chastain. No doubt.

5:20pm - Alright, we're closing in here. Before we get ready to dive into the actual ceremony here, Drew McWeeny is live-blogging the show from an alternate dimension. Meanwhile, Katie Hasty has your Oscars drinking game all sorted out.

5:24pm - Don Mischer gets some face time! You can see the stage on the monitors behind him. Looks classy.

CEREMONY

5:30pm - Alright, let's do this.

5:33pm - Morgan Freeman takes the stage first to kick things off and we get a classic Billy-Crystal-in-all-the-nominees bit to open the show. We got to see George Clooney plant a kiss on the Academy's life-saver. Justin Bieber shows up as a nod to blatantly courting the younger audience. We got Crystal in blackface as Sammy Davis Jr., randomly. Etc., etc. Partying like it's 1999. I love that Tom Cruise was game, though.

5:36pm - As previously reported, "The Beautiful Chapter 11 Theatre" stage is indeed made up to look like a classic movie palace. It's like even the Academy is screaming "uncle."

5:43pm - The first award of the evening is BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY. The nominees are: "The Artist," "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo," "Hugo," "The Tree of Life" and "War Horse."

5:44pm - And the Oscar goes to... "Hugo." Robert Richardson accepts his third Oscar to date. He previously won for "JFK" and "The Aviator." And Anne Thompson owes me $20.

5:45pm - Moving right along, the nominees for BEST ART DIRECTION are: "The Artist," "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2," "Hugo," "Midnight in Paris" and "War Horse"

5:46pm - And the Oscar goes to... "Hugo." Well deserved, to say the least. You can't argue this, I don't think. And that's two right off the top of the bat for Martin Scorsese.

5:48pm - Alright, now that I have a moment to breathe, let's look at this. Most were picking "Hugo" to win that art direction honor. It really seemed like the no-brainer of the evening. Meanwhile, virtually everyone expected "The Tree of Life" to triumph in Best Cinematography. I don't need to bring it up again here. You know I expected Emmanuel Lubezki to get the shaft again, and so he did. I can't take much umbrage with Robert Richardson winning, though, as his work was beautiful, to say nothing of the 3D employed to great effect. However, most others were expecting "The Artist" to come out on top there. It didn't, leaving "Schindler's List" still as the only black and white film in the post-b&w/color category split era to win the cinematography award. But it means "The Artist" isn't primed to sweep the show, which is a good thing, at the very least, for nurturing the possibility of surprises. Let's see what else is in store.

5:54pm - Next up, BEST COSTUME DESIGN. The nominees are: "Anonymous," "The Artist," "Hugo," "Jane Eyre" and "W.E."

5:55pm - And the Oscar goes to... "The Artist." Another one largely called by most. I have to say, I'm really happy for Mark Bridges here. After toiling away cranking out fantastic work for ages, he finally received his first nomination this year for Michel Hazanavicius's film. I think Sandy Powell undeniably deserved this for "Hugo," but this is great for Bridges. Congrats to him. Here is Gerard Kennedy's interview with Bridges concerning his work on "The Artist."

5:57pm - The next award is for BEST MAKEUP. The nominees are: "Albert Nobbs," "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2" and "The Iron Lady."

5:58pm - The Oscar goes to... "The Iron Lady." We all (well, okay, not DylanS -- I kid) saw this coming. It's fantastic work on a mediocre film, but the work is what matters. The unfortunate thing, though, is that, given the way the Academy does things, hair designer Marese Langan can't share in the nomination and eventual win. Here is my interview with Langan and Mark Coulier concerning their work on the film.

6:05pm - On to award #5, which is BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM. The nominees are: "Bullhead," "Footnote," "In Darkness," "Monsieur Lazhar" and "A Separation."

6:07pm - And the Oscar goes to... "A Separation." I have to be honest. I was REALLY worried that was going to lose to "Monsieur Lazhar," even up until Sandra Bullock read the name. It is likely to be the best film to win an award tonight and thank God voters made the right call.

6:09pm - On top the first acting award of the evening, BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS. The nominees are: Bérénice Bejo in "The Artist," Jessica Chastain in "The Help," Melissa McCarthy in "Bridesmaids," Janet McTeer in "Albert Nobbs" and Octavia Spencer in "The Help."

6:12pm - And the Oscar goes to... Octavia Spencer in "The Help." Somewhere along the circuit, Spencer became one of the surest bets of the acting contenders. I've made my feelings known. I think Chastain is the more deserving contender, but how can you NOT feel so happy for Spencer after getting that standing ovation and nearly being reduced there on the stage. This has been a fairytale for her. Chastain will be back. Perhaps Spencer will, too. But this is a great moment. Congratulations to you, Octavia.

6:22pm - Next up, BEST FILM EDITING. And the nominees are: "The Artist," "The Descendants," "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo," "Hugo" and "Moneyball."

6:24pm - And the Oscar goes to... "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo." This is the first legitimate surprise of the evening, and it's a big one. Last year's Oscar-winning editors of "The Social Network" pick up their second award in a row.

6:25pm - Next up, BEST SOUND EDITING. The nominees are: "Drive," "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo," "Hugo," "Transformers: Dark of the Moon" and "War Horse."

6:26pm - And the Oscar goes to... "Hugo." Ugh. Really surprised about that and now my fingers are SO crossed that "War Horse" doesn't take Best Sound Mixing, because that will flatline me in the sound categories. These last two are my first misses of the night. But I think we all missed film editing. (Nevertheless, Gerard had a wise hunch about that one.)

6:27pm - Moving right along, the nominees for BEST SOUND MIXING are: "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo," "Hugo," "Moneyball," "Transformers: Dark of the Moon" and "War Horse."

6:28pm - And the Oscar goes to... "Hugo." Okay, well I'm certainly glad I didn't stick with that "War Horse" call for both categories at the end of the day. I really appreciate the sound in "Hugo" but I'm honestly surprised it was able to win both of these categories. Alas. This basically proves the maxim we've been talking about in this space, though. They want to give these two awards to one film if they can because the Academy at large has no friggin' clue what equates to quality sound. Unless, of course, they're in the sound branch.

6:33pm - Alright, a second to breathe. And even more since Cirque du Soleil is about to perform. Let me go back to that Best Film Editing category. "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" joins "The Bourne Ultimatum" as the only two non-Best Picture nominees to win that award since "Black Hawk Down" in 2001, and prior to "The Matrix" in 1999, you have to go back to 1988's "Who Framed Roger Rabbit?" before that. So it's a significant upset. Anyway, Muppets!

6:39pm - Alright, Cirque du Soleil is doing a spin on the "Iris" theme, which had set up shop in "The Chapter 11 Theatre" prior to the Oscars moving in. Danny Elfman music. All about movie love. Etc. I'm not sure it really translates on television, though. There wasn't a must-watch aspect about that, and that kind of thing just eats into the speech time of gracious people like Octavia Spencer, which is where real Oscar moments happen.

6:41pm - Moving on to more awards (at an incredible pace, I might add), the nominees for BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE are: "Hell and Back Again," "If a tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front," "Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory," "Pina" and "Undefeated."

6:43pm - And the Oscar goes to... "Undefeated." You know how difficult this category was to predict this year. It could have easily gone to any of the nominees. At the end of the day, I settled on the film that packed the most emotional punch, the one that eventually won. But I have to say, as amazing as this movie is, I'd have loved to see Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky take the stage and win an award for saving a man's life. Anyway, good call by the branch, regardless. And by the way, I actually liked that Robert Downey Jr. bit.

6:45pm - Next up, Chris Rock steps out to present the award for BEST ANIMATED FEATURE FILM. Is there another "Madagascar" movie coming out or something? Anyway, the nominees are: "A Cat in Paris," "Chico & Rita," "Kung Fu Panda," "Puss in Boots" and "Rango."

6:47pm - And the Oscar goes to... "Rango." Duh. I've certainly had my say on this film this year. Congrats to Gore Verbinski on such a fantastic movie and a well-deserved Oscar.

6:53pm - Coming up, BEST VISUAL EFFECTS. The nominees are: "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2," "Hugo," "Real Steel," "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" and "Transformers: Dark of the Moon."

6:54pm - And the Oscar goes to... "Hugo." You heard me belly-aching and struggling with this category in Friday's podcast, only to be shot down. Well, I have a bone to pick with Anne now. The story here is "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" taking a dive at the last minute. More on that tomorrow. I have a few theories. And Emma Stone (with Ben Stiller) has pulled off the best presenting bit so far.

6:59pm - Alright, gotta shake that off (though I'm irritated -- I was so close to changing over to "Hugo"). Anyway, the nominees for BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR are: Kenneth Branagh in "My Week with Marilyn," Jonah Hill in "Moneyball," Nick Nolte in "Warrior," Christopher Plummer in "Beginners" and Max von Sydow in "Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close."

7:01pm - And the Oscar goes to... Christopher Plummer in "Beginners." He gets a richly deserved standing ovation and becomes the oldest actor to win an Oscar. "You're only two years older than me, darling," he says to the Oscar statuette. "Where have you been all my life?"

7:04pm - Alright, commercial break. Man am I steaming over that "Apes" snub. And over the fact that I had basically switched my pick and then switched it back at the last minute. (Let it go.) I wonder if the "Artist" peeps are getting nervous. Five Oscars for "Hugo" already? Could Scorsese upset? Could the film?? That's a big haul, regardless. Already more than "The Departed." With Best Original Score coming up, keep an eye out. If "The Artist" falls there, well, time to start considering the implications.

7:12pm - Next up, we have BEST ORIGINAL SCORE. The nominees are: "The Adventures of Tintin," "The Artist," "Hugo, " "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy" and "War Horse."

7:15pm - And the Oscar goes to... "The Artist." Alright, back on track in the techs. I have to say, I was half-expecting to see "Hugo" come out on top there. I've been perplexed at the love for this score all year long, and not because of the "Vertigo" thing or anything. It's just so slight, simplistic, not all that compelling or... well, you know, kind of like the movie.

7:16pm - Moving on to BEST ORIGINAL SONG. The nominees are: "Man or Muppet" from "The Muppets" and "Real in Rio" from "Rio."

7:17pm - And the Oscar goes to... "Man or Muppet" from "The Muppets." Duh. What can you add to that? Really happy for Bret McKenzie. Here is Roth's interview with the "Muppets" songwriter.

7:20pm - Aw, they're giving out little popcorn boxes in the aisles. Boy, they really ARE embracing this old school movie thing tonight, aren't they? Anyway, let's look at where we are. Five wins for "Hugo" so far, which is already more than "The Aviator" and "The Departed," by the way. Two for "The Artist." Is that it for "Hugo," or is it poised to upset in the next category, Best Adapted Screenplay? Is "The Artist" just biding its time before sweeping in the top fields? We'll see soon enough!

7:25pm - Next on the list, BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY. And the nominees are: "The Descendants," "Hugo," "The Ides of March," "Moneyball" and "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy."

7:27pm - And the Oscar goes to... "The Descendants." Presented by Angelina Jolie and the slit in her dress. Again, I half-expected "Hugo" to grab that one. I think the "Artist" peeps can breathe a little easier now. I've had my say on this script. It's nominated alongside much trickier adaptations that turned out as deeper, denser films. Alas.

7:29pm - Angie remains on stage for BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY. The nominees are: "The Artist," "Bridesmaids," "Margin Call," "Midnight in Paris" and "A Separation."

7:30pm - And the Oscar goes to... "Midnight in Paris." Woody Allen is a no-show, of course. I think most of us expected this, given that "The Artist" is a bit of a special case this year. I'm happy for Woody, though, who wins his first Oscar since last winning in this category 24 years ago for "Hannah and Her Sisters."

7:39pm - And now, the categories that might make or break a few of us, presented by the cast of "Bridesmaids." First up, BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT. The nominees are: "Pentecost," "Raju," "The Shore," "Time Freak" and "Tuba Atlantic."

7:40pm - And the Oscar goes to... "The Shore." Well, it was either that or "Tuba Atlantic." I'd say voters caved to name recognition to some extent. It's the second or third time I've gone against that instinct, but I won't anymore.

7:41pm - Next, BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT. The nominees are: "The Barber of Birmingham: Foot Soldier of the Civil Rights Movement," "God is the Bigger Elvis," "Incident in New Baghdad," "Saving Face" and "The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom."

7:42pm - And the Oscar goes to... "Saving Face." It's really inarguable. This film swiftly and succinctly tells a story that NEEDS to be told, and it did it with grace and skill.

7:44pm - Finally, BEST ANIMATED SHORT. The nominees are: "Dimanche (Sunday)," "The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore," "La Luna," "A Morning Stroll" and "Wild Life."

7:45pm - And the Oscar goes to... "The Fanastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore." It was the one, again, that packed the most emotion, but it was also incredibly artful and came from a beloved animator in the field. I bet Guy is kicking himself for that last-minute switch.

7:50pm - And now, a big daddy. Michael Douglas comes out to present BEST DIRECTOR. The nominees are: Michel Hazanavicius for "The Artist," Alexander Payne for "The Descendants," Martin Scorsese for "Hugo," Woody Allen for "Midnight in Paris" and Terrence Malick for "The Tree of Life."

7:53pm - And the Oscar goes to... Michel Hazanavicius for "The Artist." And so the suspense goes away. "Yes! Thank you!" Says Mr. Hazanavicius. I've had my say.

7:55pm - Next up, after Billy Crystal makes some typical comments about how many Oscars Meryl Streep has lost, she comes out to present a package wrapping up October's Governors Awards. Following this will be the In Memoriam segment.

8:14pm - Alright, we're getting close. Next up, BEST ACTOR. The nominees are: Demián Bichir in "A Better Life," George Clooney in "The Descendants," Jean Dujardin in "The Artist," Gary Oldman in "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy" and Brad Pitt in "Moneyball."

8:18pm - And the Oscar goes to... Jean Dujardin in "The Artist." Sigh. Well, I really like the guy at this point. I'm happy for him. I really am. But literally everyone else in the category stacked up better. Alas, an Oscar juggernaut is an Oscar juggernaut. They love what they love.

8:24pm - Full steam ahead! On to BEST ACTRESS! The nominees are: Glenn Close in "Albert Nobbs," Viola Davis in "The Help," Rooney Mara in "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo," Meryl Streep in "The Iron Lady" and Michelle Williams in "My Week with Marilyn."

8:29pm - And the Oscar goes to... Meryl Streep in "The Iron Lady." WOW! Well, there it is. The true moment of the evening. That huge burst of applause, that standing ovation that Streep wanted to stifle, her wonderful speech that we all wanted to hear. It's very lovely to see her holding her third Oscar, but it IS her third Oscar. So the push to "get Meryl another one" has been just so off-putting. I guess it didn't rub enough members wrong in the end. Congrats Harvey, er, Meryl.

8:33pm - And finally, Tom Cruise comes out to present the final award of the evening: BEST PICTURE. The nine nominees are: "The Artist," "The Descendants," "Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close," "The Help," "Hugo," "Midnight in Paris," "Moneyball," "The Tree of Life" and "War Horse."

8:35pm - And the Oscar goes to... "The Artist." #onward

FINAL THOUGHTS

I'll be back with more in tomorrow's Off the Carpet column, as well as the wrap-up podcast, but for now, well, there isn't a lot to say. I'm stewing a bit over that Best Actress result. It's kind of stunning, really. I think the biggest surprise of the evening was "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" taking the Best Film Editing prize, as at least a few brave souls were picking Meryl here and there.

The other three I missed were "Hugo" for Best Visual Effects (ugh) and Best Sound Editing (which I just couldn't have expected as it's such a weird win), as well as "The Shore" for Best Live Action Short.

So the most I likely would have gotten right this year was 21, but I ended up with a 19/24 score, which, as far as I can tell, is good enough for best in show amongst us bone-headed pundits. I'm sure a few of you out there did as well or better, and we'll get to the poll winner tomorrow. For now, though, cheers to Harvey Weinstein, who had a HELL of a night: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress and Best Documentary Feature. Wow.

Once more, check out the full list of this year's Oscar winners below. And if you'd like to relive the season, you can do so via The Circuit. More tomorrow as we put a final bow on the season.

Best Picture: "The Artist"

Best Director: Michel Hazanavicius, "The Artist"

Best Actor: Jean Dujardin, "The Artist"

Best Actress: Meryl Streep, "The Iron Lady"

Best Supporting Actor: Christopher Plummer, "Beginners"

Best Supporting Actress: Octavia Spencer, "The Help"

Best Adapted Screenplay: "The Descendants"

Best Original Screenplay: "Midnight in Paris"

Best Art Direction: "Hugo"

Best Cinematography: "Hugo"

Best Costume Design: "The Artist"

Best Film Editing: "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo"

Best Makeup: "The Iron Lady"

Best Music (Original Score): "The Artist"

Best Music (Original Song): "Man or Muppet" from "The Muppets"

Best Sound Editing: "Hugo"

Best Sound Mixing: "Hugo"

Best Visual Effects: "Hugo"

Best Animated Feature Film: "Rango"

Best Foreign Language Film: "A Separation"

Best Documentary Feature: "Undefeated"

Best Documentary Short: "Saving Face"

Best Short Film (Animated): "The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore"

Best Short Film (Live Action): "The Shore"

For year-round entertainment news and awards season commentary follow @kristapley on Twitter.

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