It’s the most wonderful time of the year– the suspense, movie marathons, and popcorn binges cease for the night that awards many of the best films from the past year. It’s my Christmas morning, my Super Bowl, my whatever-is-wildly-interesting-and-important-to-you. It’s the Academy Awards. This year, there was plenty to anticipate, and like any good show, there were ups, downs, and lots of sparkle and fake smiles. Here are my sporadic thoughts, somewhat categorized, on the Oscars.
My Questions: The show immediately began with a voiceover saying, “Live at the Oscars,” and then host Neil Patrick Harris referred to the show countless times as Oscars, not Academy Awards. Are we witnessing an identity crisis here? How much eye liner was presenter Channing Tatum wearing? Who wrote Shirley MacLaine’s bit to introduce The Theory of Everything, which included a portion saying it taught viewers about enduring love? Why does Oprah seem to be shown more than anyone else from Selma?
The Live Performances: MVP Award from the opening number was earned by Jack Black (screens in our jeans!). During Maroon 5’s performance of “Lost Stars” from Begin Again, the cameras seemed to intentionally avoid showing Keira Knightley and Mark Ruffalo, as if in hopes of making viewers forget those current Oscar nominees starred in such a lackluster film within the same year. Jennifer Hudson performed during the In Memoriam portion, and co-viewer Trent and I fondly remembered when she placed 7th in American Idol. John Legend and Common’s performance of “Glory” was a powerhouse, and Legend’s voice is the equivalent of taking the first dip into a jar of Nutella– so rich, so smooth. Scarlett Johansson reminded us that The Sound of Music turned 50 this year, so naturally Lady Gaga performed a tribute and (perhaps surprisingly) crushed it. JLo had a seat front and center, and I was a little jealous. What started with “The Hills are Alive” became a full-blown medley of perfection, and somewhere Carrie Underwood had to have been crying. Then Julie Andrews stepped on stage and what I thought was perfect became, somehow, more perfect.
The Highlights: Meryl Streep sitting next to Jennifer Hudson. David Oyelowo’s fierce red tux. Several of the commercials this year were wonderful, but the Comcast “Emily’s Oz,” which I had watched online days before, made me cry, again. NPH’s Birdman spoof complete with Miles Teller playing drums was one of his few comedic high notes of the evening, second to his introduction of Josh Hutcherson: “Here’s the Peeta who won’t throw paint on you.” JLo and Chris Pine walking to present to an instrumental version of “You Sexy Thing.”
Special highlight shout-out to “Everything is Awesome” because that did not disappoint. With The Lego Movie’s controversial Best Animated Film snub, it’s as if all the last minute campaigning/bribing money went to this live performance, filled with countless dancers, Oscar statues made of Legos, and an Awesome Possum whom I hope to be when I grow up. Best of all, even several commercial breaks after the performance, pieces of confetti could be seen fluttering about. It was, you better believe it, awesome.
The Awards Themselves: The delightful The Grand Budapest Hotel won four awards, and with each “thank you” to director Wes Anderson I may or may not have squealed. The music seemed to be intentionally cutting off speeches at the worst times, so when Ida‘s director Pawel Pawlikowski simply kept going, I was thrilled. I’d love to know how many people Googled “Lonnie Lynn” after “Glory” won for Best Original Song. Graham Moore’s speech after winning Best Adapted Screenplay for The Imitation Game ended beautifully, and Eddie Redmayne’s win for Best Actor (The Theory of Everything) was such a classic celebratory speech I’m gonna watch on a bad day. He legitimately said, “I will be its custodian” while gazing at the Oscar. And cheers to Birdman for winning Best Picture! With several reviews already posted here, I won’t go into detail regarding coulda-shoulda-woulda. I scored a 63% prediction rate and ate a pint of gelato, so now it’s off to bed, dreaming until next year’s awards season.