The envelopes are sealed. The starlets, starved. The costumed vagrants who harass passersby on an almost daily basis, incarcerated. That's right: Live, from the Kodak Theatre -- uh, I mean the Hollywood & Highland Center -- it's the Academy Awards! Hollywood is throwing its biggest, most glamorous party of the year, and none of you are invited. But you are permitted to press your noses up to the glass, and we're going to be right there pressing them with you, tracking every win, flub and faux-pas as it happens. The show is about to begin, so down a shot of the strongest thing in your liquor cabinet, cozy up to someone you love -- or can tolerate for four-plus hours -- and get ready for excitement. It's the Oscars, everybody!
11:40 Thanks for joining us, everyone! Until next year, may all your moviegoing dreams come true. And speaking of, 21 Jump Street starring Oscar nominee Jonah Hill opens in theaters everywhere on March 16. Merci, Hollywood!
11:33 Tom Cruise is given the pimp spot. He awards Best Picture to The Artist, and the stage is swarmed by loquacious Frenchmen.
11:32 Tonight, Roy is every hairstylist in America. This one's for you, guys.
11:30 UPSEEEEETTTTTTTTTTTTTTTT! Meryl Streep wins Actress in a Leading Role for The Iron Lady. Audience leaps to their feet. First win since 1983 for Sophie's Choice. Sorry, Viola. Not this time.
11:27 Rooney Mara delivers a lot of bangs for the buck.
11:24 We are down to the last two. Unfortunately, Colin Firth is about to stretch this out with a protracted tongue-bath for each of the Actress in a Leading Role nominees.
11:20 All of France erupts in silent celebration, as Jean Dujardin wins Actor in a Leading Role for The Artist.
11:18 Natalie Portman is really conflicted about who she thinks should win Actor in a Leading Role. So many opinions!
11:08 Esperanza Spalding sings "What a Wonderful World" in a haunting, heavenly In Memoriam segment.
10:57 Michel Hazanavicius takes Directing for The Artist. The other newcomers in the category, Martin Scorsese, Woody Allen and Terrence Malick, will have to just be happy to be nominated.
10:46 Short Film (Documentary) goes to Daniel Junge and Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy for Saving Face. Short Film (Animated) to William Joyce and Brandon Oldenburg for The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore.
10:43 SCORSESE! (You must now drink.)
10:39 Bridesmaids penis-size humor for the ... not quite win ... but maybe a step in the right direction? Short Film (Live Action) goes to father and daughter duo of Terry George and Oorlagh George for The Shore.
10:31 Writing (Original Screenplay) is awarded to Woody Allen for Midnight in Paris. Woody couldn't make it, but we have him by satellite right here.
10:27 Angelina Jolie shows a little leg for the Writing (Adapted Screenplay) category, and is promptly mocked by Community's Dean Pelton, who clearly wants to be her. (Actually that's Jim Rash, who wrote The Descendants with director Alexander Payne and Nat Faxon.)
10:19 More dueling superstar hotties in white: this time, Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis, both accomplished cymbaliers in their own right. (No nip slips ... yet.) Bret McKenzie of Flight of the Concords wins Best Original Song for "Man or Muppet" from The Muppets.
10:16 Original Score goes to Ludovic Bource for The Artist, delivers his acceptance speech, then produces a sheet of paper containing a second acceptance speech about how much love he has to give. (It's a lot.) Either I'm officially drunk, or he's French, or both.
10:04 Actor in a Supporting Role is awarded to Christopher Plummer for his amazing work in Beginners. Oscars justice is served.
9:58 Emma Stone wins the 2nd Annual Anne Hathaway Shameless Ham Award. Then she and Ben Stiller give Best Visual Effects to Rob Legato, Joss Williams, Ben Grossmann and Alex Henning for Hugo.
9:50 Chris Rock reveals the absurdity of voiceover paydays in front of a nervous everybody, then awards Animated Feature Film to Gore Verbinski for Rango. (Which is actually a great, really weird movie that I highly recommend.)
9:46 TJ Martin, Dan Lindsay and Rich Middlemas win Documentary Feature for Undefeated. They are censored, then the mic is killed completely and Academy president Tom Sherak takes out the slower-moving, John Hodgman-lookalike from his sniper perch in the third-balcony box seats.
9:40 Cirque du Soleil gets a standing ovation for not being the terrible bit that came before it, or the terrible bit that came after it. The only thing that could make this Robert Downey Jr./Gwyneth Paltrow segment any worse was if she started singing something from Country Strong in the middle of it.
9:39 Stacy Keibler's face conveys a broad palette of wonder, terror, exhilaration and delight as she watches Cirque de Soleil perform. Just kidding. She's as animated as a Barbie styling head.
9:36 Not to be outdone by J-Lo, Miss Piggy experiences her own "accidental" nip slip while introducing the acrobats. It scars a generation of impressionable children for life.
9:29 Sound Editing goes to Philip Stockton and Eugene Gearty for Hugo. Sound Mixing also goes to Hugo's Tom Fleischman and John Midgely.
9:26 Film Editing goes to Kirk Baxter and Angus Wall for Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Hopefully they'll cut out the fumbling and dead air in post.
9:21 Comedy Bit Break: The Christopher Guest Improvisational Players play a focus group in 1939 discussing their thoughts on The Wizard of Oz. Is everyone in this sketch on Xanax? Where's Corky St. Clair when you need him?
9:14 Octavia Spencer wins Supporting Actress for The Help and gets a standing ovation. She opens with a joke ("Thank you, Academy, for putting me with the hottest guy in the room,") and breaks down into tears, rattling off as many handler's names as she can remember before the timer-activated trap door beneath the podium sends her hurtling down a spiral slide into the press room.
9:09 Iran's A Separation wins Foreign Language Film.
9:01 We warned you about J-Lo's cleavage. That areola slip is going to cost ABC $20 million in FTC fines.
8:57 Costume Design goes to Mark Bridges for The Artist. Makeup goes to Mark Coulier and J. Roy Helland for The Iron Lady. Speeches so far are brief, humble and touching. Keep it up, winners!
8:55 Jennifer Lopez and Cameron Diaz appear in dueling White Witch of Narnia costumes to do battle for our souls. (Warning: Staring directly at J-Lo's cleavage will freeze you solid.)
8:51 This year's "Jack Palance Doing Push-Ups" is "Kodak Theater Seeks New Sponsor." Expect a new version of the joke every time Crystal appears.
8:44 The first two Oscars are awarded to Hugo: Cinematography goes to Robert Richardson for Hugo. Art Direction goes to Dante Ferretti and Francesa Lo Schiavo for Hugo.
8:42 Tom Hanks convinces gullible audience that elderly extra is an Oscars tradition, because if there is anything this show needs after Crystal's opener, it's another alter kocker in a tux.
8:38: Oscar gets its contractually mandated borscht belt monologue ("Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close...that's how my relatives watch the show!") and musical medley from host Billy Crystal. This evening might call for some Four Loko.
8:31: And we're off! The ceremonies begin with a short introduction from God.
8:23: Oscars producer Brian Grazer can barely conceal his pre-show jitters, or his lifelong addiction to Dr. Miracle's Feel It Formula No-Lye Hair Relaxer.
8:00: Pre-show highlight: The red carpet ban having been lifted on Sacha Baron Cohen, the star of The Dictator shows up in character as Admiral General Aladeen, clutching an urn containing what he says are the ashes of Kim Jong-Il. Then, after responding to Ryan Seacrest's fashion inquiries ("I'm wearing John Galliano but my socks are from KMart. As Saddam Hussein once told me, 'Socks are socks, don't waste money.'"), Cohen proceeded to dump the contents of the urn on Seacrest's tuxedo.