Given the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ intense anxiety over the Oscars ceremony’s running time, we thought we’d keep track of the show, (roughly) minute by minute. Here’s how the broadcast went:
5 p.m. Queen opens the show. When the academy announced that this would be happening, I immediately feared a “Bohemian Rhapsody” upset for best picture. Let’s hope it doesn’t happen.
5:11 p.m. Regina King, a season-long favorite despite not having been nominated for a Screen Actors Guild or BAFTA prize, wins supporting actress for “If Beale Street Could Talk.” She salutes the great writer and activist James Baldwin, who wrote the novel that inspired the movie, and does one of my favorite things for a winner to do: singles out every other nominee in her category.
5:30 p.m. “Black Panther” wins its first Oscar of the night — and, in a sane world, not the last. Costume designer Ruth E. Carter thanks “BlacKkKlansman” directing nominee Spike Lee for giving her her start (their collaboration began with 1988’s “School Daze”), then proceeds to give a genuinely Marvel-ous speech, complete with this fascinating detail: “Adding vibranium to costumes is very expensive.”
5:44 p.m. “Roma” director Alfonso Cuarón wins his first Oscar — and likely not his last — of the evening, this one for the picture’s gorgeous black-and-white cinematography. After thanking his star, Yalitza Aparicio, he also acknowledges his usual director of photography, Emmanuel “Chivo” Lubezki: “It’s well known that in Billy Wilder’s office there was a sign that said ‘What Would Lubitsch Have Done?’ For me, it’s ‘What Would Chivo Lubezki Have Done?’”
5:39 p.m. Well, that didn't take long: “Black Panther” wins the Oscar for production design. Hannah Beachler, accepting with set decorator Jay Hart, gives an immensely moving speech, thanking director Ryan Coogler for giving her “air, humanity and brotherhood.”
5:45 p.m. Not for the first or last time this evening, I clench my fists in the realization that “Burning,” the best movie I saw last year in any language, failed to land a single Oscar nomination.
5:55 p.m. “Bohemian Rhapsody” quickly matches “Black Panther’s” technical haul with a one-two punch in the sound mixing and sound editing categories. I was trying to kid myself into thinking this dreadful movie wouldn’t win too many prizes tonight, but it’s time to face the awful tooth.
6:04 p.m. Queen Latifah, presenting the clip for picture nominee “The Favourite,” deadpans: “It’s not always easy being Queen.” Nice.
6:10 p.m. Cuarón has a lot of cinephilia to go around. Making his second (and again, likely not last) appearance onstage tonight, this time to accept his foreign-language film Oscar, he tips his hat to “Citizen Kane,” “Jaws,” “The Godfather,” “Rashomon” and “Breathless,” and quotes the great French auteur Claude Chabrol: “‘There are no waves, only the ocean.’ The nominees tonight proved tonight that we are part of the same ocean.”
6:19 p.m. John Ottman wins the editing Oscar for “Bohemian Rhapsody.” It’s a win that perpetuates one of my least favorite assumptions about great film editing — the more complex the narrative structure, the more impressive the editing — but admittedly, what he had to work with, especially with a director being fired midproduction, couldn’t have been easy.
6:23 p.m. Mahershala Ali expectedly wins supporting actor for “Green Book,” dashing a lot of people’s hopes for a Richard E. Grant upset. That Ali was campaigned for a supporting role speaks to the movie’s incredibly problematic framing, but Ali is a wonderful actor. After having had to play the public face of the campaign all season — including apologizing to the family of his character, pianist Don Shirley, for the movie’s misrepresentations of his life — who can begrudge him this?
6:32 p.m. In a staggering display of good taste, the academy gives the animated feature Oscar to “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.”
6:33 p.m. David Rawlings and Gillian Welch perform a lovely, soulful rendition of “When a Cowboy Trades His Spurs for Wings,” the nominated original song from “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs.” Still, it should be actor Tim Blake Nelson on that stage.
6:45 p.m. Pixar’s delightful dumpling-themed domestic drama “Bao” wins the animated short Oscar. I’ve been waiting xiaolong for this to happen.
6:47 p.m. The documentary short Oscar goes to “Period. End of Sentence.” Taking the stage, director Rayka Zehtabchi blurts out, in one of the evening’s great lines: "I can't believe a film about menstruation just won an Oscar.”
6:55 p.m. Diego Luna and chef José Andrés present a montage for best picture nominee “Roma.” Andrés gives a shout-out to “immigrants and women who move humanity forward.”
6:56 p.m. Paul Lambert, Ian Hunter, Tristan Myles and J.D. Schwalm win the visual effects award for “First Man.” Damien Chazelle’s Neil Armstrong biopic premiered to strong acclaim early in the season.
7 p.m. Quietly breathtaking moment: Without fanfare, Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga get up from their seats and take the stage to perform “Shallow,” their original song nominee — and the only element from “A Star Is Born” expected to win an Oscar tonight. Is it just me, or can you feel waves of remorse surging through the crowd?
7:09 p.m. “Green Book” wins ... original scr ... I can't do this, I'm sorry.
7:15 p.m. A much more satisfying outcome in adapted screenplay: Spike Lee, Charlie Wachtel, David Rabinowitz and Kevin Willmott win for “BlacKkKlansman.” A jubilant, stirring moment: Lee pays tribute to his ancestors who “were stolen from Africa and enslaved” and remembers his grandmother “who saved 50 years of Social Security checks to put me through college.” His parting words: “The 2020 presidential election is around the corner. Let’s all mobilize, let’s all be on the right side of history. Make the moral choice between love versus hate. Let's do the right thing!”
7:23 p.m. Composer Ludwig Göransson wins the original score Oscar for “Black Panther.” He thanks Coogler and reminisces about scoring the director’s first short at USC film school.
7:31 p.m. The “In Memoriam” montage. The last one mentioned is Albert Finney, who died earlier this month. His “Two for the Road” director, the great Stanley Donen, died Thursday and is not included.
7:42 p.m. There have been zero surprises in the acting categories so far, and with Rami Malek’s lead actor win for “Bohemian Rhapsody” (with Glenn Close’s coronation for “The Wife” certain to follow), it doesn’t look like we’re in store for one.
Malek says, “We made a film about [Freddie Mercury] … a gay man, an immigrant who lived his life just unapologetically himself, and the fact that I’m celebrating him and this story tonight is proof that we’re longing for stories like this. I am the son of immigrants from Egypt, I’m a first-generation American and part of my story is being written right now.” It’s a beautiful sentiment, though I wish it better described the movie, whose treatment of Mercury’s sexuality is both dispiritingly evasive and weirdly judgmental.
8:59 p.m. I spoke too soon. In a startling upset, “The Favourite” finally wins its first Oscar of the night — for lead actress, Olivia Colman, whom many had placed a comfortable second behind Close. Colman, clearly overwhelmed, acknowledges the presumed front-runner: “Glenn Close, you’ve been my idol for so long, and this is not how I wanted it to be.”
8:08 p.m. Alfonso Cuarón takes the stage a third time, this time winning the Oscar for director: “Thank you so much. Being here doesn’t get old.”
8:13 p.m. Julia Roberts comes out to present best picture … to “Green Book.” I’m not shocked, but I’m still appalled: This was one of the worst movies nominated tonight, and the worst best picture winner since “Crash” 13 years ago. The good news, I guess, is that the show didn’t go over too long? Congrats, guys?