It’s a big night for Texas Monthly, because the Texan with whom we have the strongest parasocial relationship, Jesse Plemons, is nominated for his first Academy Award. Tonight we’ll find out if Plemons, the breakout star of Friday Night Lights, will take a little gold man home for his work as the Best Supporting Actor in Netflix’s much-nominated film The Power of the Dog. We’ve known Plemons had Oscar-worthy acting chops since the dramatic “oops we killed a guy” story arc of FNL’s second season, and now it’s the academy’s turn to acknowledge that. Throughout the night, we will be right here right following the action.
That’s All, Folks
Jane Campion won the Oscar for Best Director, the only win among the film’s eleven nominations. On her way up to the stage, she hugged Benedict Cumberbatch and not Kirsten Dunst, which was rude. Still, she thanked all the actors by name. I might have been hallucinating from lack of sleep (and also just general confusion in the aftermath of the Will Smith–Chris Rock incident), but I could have sworn Jesse Plemons’s name got the most applause.
Then! Plemons and Dunst got some solid screen time when Amy Schumer conscripted the couple into one of her little bits. She went over to their table, acted like Kiki was a seat-filler, took her chair, and started hitting on her husband. Plemons and I were both grateful when it was over.
As I am every year, I was excited to get to Best Picture, the final award of the night. As much as I have enjoyed this evening with Plemons, it is late, I am tired, and I’m still coming to terms with what happened between Smith and Rock. Lady Gaga and Liza Minnelli announced Coda as the winner, banging the final nail into the coffin for our chance to see Plemons onstage. We hope the mistake will be rectified next year. Either way, we’re proud of you, Jesse. We’re your biggest fans.
The Plemons-Knowles-Carter Crossover We Crave
As soon as Billie Eilish finished singing her nominated song “No Time to Die,” the camera cut to Plemons, Dunst, and then straight to Beyoncé Giselle Knowles-Carter, who is now seated at the Dolby. All three were clapping, but looked bored. (Maybe Jesse and Kirsten are not happy that Power of the Dog has lost almost all its categories tonight.) This makes me wonder two things. Do we think Jesse Plemons and Beyoncé have met? And does Beyoncé know if she won already? Because I feel like that’s the only reason she’d come.
Look, More Texans!
Now that Plemons has lost, let’s take a moment to parse through some of the other Texas connections to tonight’s ceremony. In addition to H-town’s Queen Bey and Longview native Brandon Maxwell, we have Houston jazz pianist Rober Glasper in the wings, playing long-winded winners off the stage. Stephanie Beatriz, who grew up in Webster, introduced a performance of “Dos Orugitas” from the animated film Encanto (in which Beatriz starred), which is nominated for Best Original Song.
I wish co-host Regina Hall was from Texas, but the closest we’ll get is that she starred in Support the Girls, a film by Austin director Andrew Bujalski. Then, just when I was wondering if I had missed any Texans in the Dolby, thee one and thee only Megan Thee Stallion came out to rap an Oscars-specific new verse of Encanto‘s “We Don’t Talk About Bruno.” That makes her the second Houstonian with at least one #1 single under her belt to perform live at tonight’s ceremony. Basically, they can’t put on a show without us.
Don’t Worry, Jesse
Well, our dear (imaginary) friend Jesse Plemons did not win tonight. The Best Supporting Actor award went to Coda’s Troy Kotsur. Plemons-heads, keep in mind that this is but Jesse’s first Academy Award nomination, and we shall no doubt see him here again. At least we got to see a clip from The Power of the Dog in which Plemons displayed not only his formidable acting chops but how good he looks in a little top hat.
The nice thing about the supporting categories coming relatively early in the night is that win or lose, once you no longer have to worry about giving a speech, you can start drinking. And as much as I wished for awards for Plemons and Dunst, I mainly just want them to be happy. It’s time for them to kick up their feet, have some cocktails, and perhaps end up streaking across the Barbra Streisand Bridge.
Too Much Bond, Not Enough Plemons
The Supporting Actor and Actress categories are always fairly early in the night, but they seem to be dragging out the time between the two this year. We are now being subjected to a montage called “60 Years of James Bond.” I think the audience would be much more interested in a montage called “33 Years of Jesse Plemons.” I don’t understand the producers’ preference for Bond montage over awards for film editing and original score, which were cut from the broadcast and pretaped this year. A special celebration of Jesse Plemons would have made a least a little more sense.
The Academy Fails to Give Kirsten Dunst an Oscar
I finally got the cut to Plemons I was hoping for, when the Best Supporting Actress category came up. After a clip of Power of the Dog, we got to see Plemons beaming at his perfect fiancée. Unfortunately, Kirsten Dunst did not win (the Oscar went to Ariana DeBose for West Side Story) but we can only assume Plemons told his partner of six years that she’s HIS best actress 4 life. It’s still early in the night, and there are ten more nominations to go for Power of the Dog.
Awards Producers Don’t Cut to Plemons and Dunst Enough
The awards have begun. Plemons and Dunst are sitting pretty close to the front, not that we’d know from what the producers are choosing to show us. The cameras didn’t pan to them once during the monologue. Regina Hall, Wanda Sykes, and Amy Schumer even made jokes about The Power of the Dog but the producers chose to cut to the film’s director, Jane Campion, and star Benedict Cumberbatch. I suppose it’s possible this choice is because no one on earth wants to make fun of Jesse Plemons, but still, he’s a fun guy who can totally take a joke (I’m assuming). One thing’s for sure: I’m seeing way too much Jessica Chastain in this broadcast.
We Interrupt This Jesse Plemons Live Blog to Talk About Beyoncé
She did it. She opened the broadcast. She said jump, and the Academy Award producers said “how high?” Beyoncé performed her Oscar-nominated song “Be Alive,” from the very Compton tennis courts where Richard Williams nurtured the talents of his daughters Venus and Serena. The performance had many of the markers of a Beyoncé joint: a specific color scheme (in this case, tennis ball yellow), a full horn section, a previously unheard musical arrangement with samples from other recognizable songs (in this case, Tupac’s “California”), and nods to Bey’s various capitalist endeavors (the yellow athleisure in the opening sequence looks like her clothing brand Ivy Park). A Beyoncé live performance never disappoints. Now back to Plemons.
The Plemons-Dunst Household Arrives at the Dolby Theatre. It’s All Happening.
Plemons and his perfect wife, Kirsten Dunst, have arrived on the red carpet. They look dashing and resplendent, respectively. He wore all black, which could be an homage to Johnny Cash, which is exactly the sort of thing a super cool (but not too cool) guy like Jesse Plemons would do. Dunst, who is nominated for Best Supporting Actress for her role in The Power of the Dog, is dressed in a billowy tomato-red gown that is probably Rodarte. When interviewed briefly by Brandon Maxwell (another Texan alert!!!!), Dunst said “to be nominated together is like we already won.” If we were a different publication we might say “hashtag couple goals.” Plemons looked into the camera and waved hi to their two sons, who are apparently at a toddler Oscar party, wearing red to match their mother. Of all the celebrities who now hang around the Austin area, the Plemons-Dunst household is the only one I don’t complain about.