Welcome to Cinematical's official liveblogging of the 79th Annual Academy Awards! Erik will be your host for the first hour; Monika will bat second and Kim will clean things up. Who will win? Who will lose? Who will get stuck in the bathroom? Let's find out ...

Best Picture: The Departed

Diane Keaton and (a bald!) Jack Nicholson come out to present Best Picture. There's some weird vibe or inside joke thing going on between Keaton and Nicholson. Anyhow, the Oscar goes to ... The Departed. Ah, well. I was really pulling for Little Miss Sunshine, but what're you gonna do?

So that wraps up our live Oscar coverage, folks. Now you talk back to us! What award are you most happy about? Who should have won that didn't? What winner can you not believe? And what did you think of Ellen as the Oscar host? She didn't really do it for me ... she's likable enough, and she had a couple funny moments, but she seemed to be really holding back and afraid of offending. Who would you like to see as Oscar host next year?


Best Director: Martin Scorsese, The Departed

Cut right to the chase: Martin Scorsese wins it. He finally has his Oscar. He gets a standing ovation, everyone's whistling and cheering and crying. He gives a gracious speech, thanking everyone under the sun. He hopes to make movies with Leo DiCaprio for many more years, which is fine by me.


Best Actor: Forest Whitaker, The Last King of Scotland

Here's Reese Witherspoon to present for Best Actor. She looks fantastic -- divorce has been good for her, at least physically. She's obviously been working out, her arms are buff. Love the long hair with short bangs, and the dress is stunning. Too bad for Ryan Phillippe. In my heart I'm rooting for Ryan Gosling, but all these performances are so strong, it's hard to be upset no matter who wins. And it goes to ... Forest Whitaker. Wow. I feel kind of bad for Peter O'Toole, who just can't get a break when it comes to actually winning one of those. They'd better give him an honorary one next year, before it's too late. (Note: Er, make that, anOTHER honorary one, since he won one in 2003, duh. Thanks, Kristie, Jason and Fezman88, for reminding me of that.)

Whitaker gives a moving speech. His wife is crying, Will Smith is crying, James McAvoy is crying, his ancestors are crying. We're all crying. No, seriously. Whitaker deserves the win, his performance was powerful and, like Mirren's in The Queen, carried the film. I met him at Telluride, and he was so nice; we'd both just come from Little Children, and he was blown away by that film, as I was. Good for him for the win.


Best Actress: Helen Mirren, The Queen

Okay, now we're getting serious. We're down to Best Actress. What the hell happened to Philip Seymour Hoffman's hair? He looks like he used too much product and then decided at the last second to go for "artfully mussed-up." Oh, another upset. It's Helen Mirren with the win. Okay, much as I would have really liked to have seen Kate Winslet win, or maybe Penelope Cruz, we all knew Mirren had this locked, and I'm not going to begrudge her the naked gold man. Her performance totally made The Queen, and she looks absolutely stunning tonight in this lovely silver gown. She salutes Queen Elizabeth II, I'm sure Her Royal Majesty appreciates it.