I spent a lot of hours on the 87th Annual Academy Awards, and here, as a movie lover, is what I can recommend: It’s well past time to stop playing it safe and stop apologizing for who and what the Oscars are about. It’s millionaires awarding other millionaires for highly subjective work. And we love it! And it’s OK to love it. The bland pantomime of recent ceremonies (nobody weird gets invited anymore, except John Travolta, and I’m betting his invitation is on the bubble), nobody wears anything outrageous anymore (Swan dress! AmEx dress! How we miss thee.) and it’s absolutely certain that nobody says anything outrageous anymore, from the red carpet to the host to the acceptance speeches. The closest we got was Patricia Arquette’s blast about wage equity in her acceptance speech.
Cinema is art, so when did a community of possibly the best-paid artists in the world become so lame, so staid, so afraid?
It was a lot of invested time and a lot of Junior Mints, and there were still some very bright spots in the ceremonies last night - so here are my favourites.
Oscar Night 2015: A Message to John Travolta
Host Neil Patrick Harris really showed off his Broadway chops in the opening number, backed by an incredible background screen (how long before I can get one of those in my house?) The number had just the right amount of ham, sass, humour and reverence. He’s taking an Internet beating for his hosting skills but it’s really, really hard to be an engaging host when you are reduced to “That was…this is” for the majority of the night.
Tim McGraw’s performance of “I'm Not Gonna Miss You” from the Glen Campbell documentary I'll Be Me was simple, beautiful and moving. It was the first moment to get the waterworks from me.
NPH’s recreated tighty-whiteys walk (borrowed from Birdman) took an absolute pantload of courage, as it did for Michael Keaton as well. Nice balls, gentlemen. But that was it as far as fashion risks went.
Common and John Legend’s moving performance of “Glory” from Selma brought the house down (and then up, for a standing ovation) in an incredible moment that called all the attention needed to the lack of diversity in the nominations.
Lady Gaga’s gorgeously sung tribute to The Sound of Music, followed by an embrace from Julie Andrews, was a beautiful moment and it made me tear up again for all that movie has meant in my own life. It would have been nice to have more of the cast together for the celebration.
Graham Moore’s acceptance speech for Imitation Game was honest, unguarded and inspirational. (Note to the weird kids: it gets better. And you can always start a blog.)
A few of the surprising moments:
Dakota Johnson seems to be bored by life. I haven’t seen 50 Shades yet but if her interview and presentation skills are any indication, she may want to save some of her parents’ money. She may be taking her cues from Eddie Murphy, who seems so unimpressed to be anywhere in public right now (see his lacklustre appearance on the SNL 40th special) that every time I see him, I wonder why he’s even out.
They let Jared Leto have the best Meryl Streep joke of the night - unless he made that one up himself? It might have been divine intervention.
And a few things I wondered while watching:
Where the hell can I actually SEE a short film? This year’s nominees all looked really interesting.
Why have they lumped in the Lifetime Achievement Awards elsewhere? I would have liked to see Harry Belafonte get that award live on TV. Poor, poor technical and old folks - shuffled off to the clip reel.
When Gwenyth appeared to do her presentation, I immediately wondered if she was sporting a freshly-steamed vag.
My nearly irrational hatred for Sean Penn (I don’t like his personal behaviour and I find him hard to watch on screen) marred the Best Picture award for me, but fortunately Alejandro Inarritu made up for it with his font of gushing gratitude.
It was still a fun night for me. What did you like (or hate) most?
A complete list of the winners can be found here.
Image Source: YouTube