An Oscar obsessive rates the full day's coverage. Bruce Fretts weighs in on Halle's tears, Joan's faux pas, and Sissy's bent for crashing china
Oscars 2002
Credit: Halle Berry: Nelson Machin/ABC/ImageDirect

An Oscar obsessive rates the full day’s coverage

Here at, we can’t get enough of the Academy Awards. (Maybe you’ve noticed.) To prove it, I vowed to gorge on as much Oscar coverage as I could stomach in one day. Herewith, my diary:

7 a.m. (I’m not kidding — and that’s Eastern time!) E! kicks off its daylong hype-a-thon with an encore presentation of its ”Academy Awards Fashion Review 2001 with Joan & Melissa Rivers.” Because jokes about Björk’s swan dress never get old.

8:02 a.m. As E!’s ”Russell Crowe: Road to the Red Carpet” begins, my 6-month-old daughter starts to cry and reaches for the remote. Strangely, I have the same reaction.

10:59 a.m. After sitting through tributes to Crowe, Nicole Kidman, Denzel Washington, and Halle Berry, I have only one question: What does Jim Broadbent have to do to get the same kind of love?

12:02 p.m. E!’s ”Countdown to the Red Carpet” warns viewers it’s only five hours, 58 minutes, and 50 seconds until Joan and Melissa Rivers’ preshow. Making this the pre-preshow.

1:22 p.m. First celebrity on the red carpet: ”Rosie” replacement Caroline Rhea. Okay, that’s using the word ”celebrity” loosely…

2:19 p.m. E! gives us a tour of the new Kodak Theatre’s bathrooms. Now seems like a good time to visit my own.

2:51 p.m. Todd Newton’s live phone interview with ”Gosford Park” nominee Helen Mirren turns into an infomercial for a new Motorola cellphone. Those British actresses are so classy.

4:23 p.m. I loved ”In the Bedroom,” but if I see that clip of Sissy Spacek smashing a plate again, I’m going to start breaking dishes myself.

4:47 p.m. E! reairs its Helen Mirren interview. For some reason, I have an overwhelming urge to buy a Motorola cellphone.

5:10 p.m. Ooh, the Maryland-Connecticut game is just starting. C’mon, man cannot live on Oscar alone.

6 p.m. Less than a minute into ”Live from the Red Carpet,” Joan Rivers throws out the first ”bitch.” Let the bad taste begin!

6:33 p.m. Joan makes her first gaffe of the evening, referring to Brit Jim Broadbent as Australian. I tell ya, this guy gets no love.

6:51 p.m. On the syndicated ”Live from the Academy Awards,” the fashion expert misidentifies Kate Winslet’s date, ”American Beauty” director Sam Mendes, as ”American Beauty” screenwriter Alan Ball. At least she didn’t say he was Australian.

7 p.m. CNN gets in on the preshow action with ”Hollywood’s Gold Rush.” Well, it’s not like we’re at war or anything.

7:35 p.m. Halle Berry makes it through her interview with Barbara Walters without crying. And millions of bets across America are lost.

8:02 p.m. On ABC’s preshow, cohost Ananda Lewis does a walk-and-talk on Hollywood Blvd. in dead silence, until a crew member hands her a microphone that works. Good thing no one’s watching.

8:13 p.m. ”Have you prepared a speech?” asks Leeza Gibbons. ”Not necessarily,” growls Russell Crowe. Could you be any vaguer, mate?

8:35 p.m. Documentarian Errol Morris’ montage of Americans (from Laura Bush to Wavy Gravy) talking about movies is a delight. Wonder if it’s eligible for next year’s best live-action short.

8:43 p.m. Host Whoopi Goldberg flubs a lame one-liner about Anna Nicole Smith. Save it for ”Hollywood Squares,” Whoop.

8:48 p.m. The evening’s first award goes to Jennifer Connelly. And everyone in America is 1 for 1 in their Oscar pools.

8:50 p.m. Donald Sutherland and Glenn Close pop up as tonight’s announcers. Good gig — it did so much for Peter Coyote’s career.

8:59 p.m. Pietro Scalia wins Best Editing for ”Black Hawk Down.” And everyone in America is 1 for 2 in their Oscar pools.

9:17 p.m. Woody Allen receives the evening’s first standing ovation. Guess that whole Soon-Yi thing is forgiven.

9:46 p.m. The subject of best documentary short ”Thoth” bounds up on stage wearing an outfit even stranger than Björk’s swan dress. Somewhere, Joan Rivers is drooling.

10:09 p.m. Jim Broadbent wins Best Supporting Actor for ”Iris.” Finally, some love for my man Jimmy B.!

10:16 p.m. The animated feature Oscar is already given out, so why are they showing Jimmy Neutron again? Oh wait, that’s Elijah Wood.

10:52 p.m. Sidney Poitier accepts his honorary Oscar, and in the audience, Halle Berry sheds a tear. Eat your heart out, Baba Wawa.

11:22 p.m. At last, Randy Newman wins a statuette on his 16th try, rendering the nickname ”The Susan Lucci of the Oscars” obsolete.

11:55 p.m. It’s almost midnight, the four top awards still haven’t been given out, and here comes Barbra Streisand to pay homage to Robert Redford. Damn, I wish I had a Jolt Cola.

12:10 a.m. Uh-oh, I just saw the Sissy-smashes-a-plate clip again. Hide the china.

12:12 a.m. Halle Berry wins Best Actress. Now she’s really crying.

12:28 a.m. One word: Den-ZEL!

12:37 a.m. One more word: OPIE!

12:42 a.m. ”A Beautiful Mind” wins Best Picture. After nearly 18 straight hours of watching TV, it’s finally time to go to bed. Just as soon as ”The View” crew’s post-show is over…

What were your favorite (and least favorite) Oscar moments?

A Beautiful Mind
  • Movie
  • 135 minutes