What a weird night. I’ll keep this brief, as you’ve probably read a plethora of commentary about Sunday night’s show (or on twitter as it was happening). ALso, CLICK HERE to see a full list of winners.
Who would have though that a night full of very few upsets with winners we’ve seen taking home the hardware for what feels like years giving new energy into their speech? Who would have thought the Neil Patrick Harris and his writing team would more or less fail us at home? Who would have thought that Lady Gaga singing ‘The Sound of Music’ and hugging Julie Andrews would have been a highlight? Not me said the Oscar lover.
There were plenty of wonderful moments during the telecast, but they sure didn’t come from the places I would have expected. Usually the telecast make the awards seem like they get in the way of a fully entertaining evening. This year, it was the opposite. The winners and their speeches were electrifying, so the production felt like it was sucking the energy out of the room. Neil Patrick Harris’s opening number was fine, albeit a little dull until Anna Kendrick and Jack Black showed up, but as the night progressed his jokes got worse and the “predictions box” joke died over the course of the three hour running time. I will say that NPH tried to sell the bad jokes for as long as possible, but, as I mentioned, it was a looooooooooooong show. Don’t get me wrong, there were some great one-liners and zingers here and there, but it wasn’t enough to compete with the excellent musical numbers and speeches.
Now the good stuff: Let’s talk speeches for a moment. Graham Moore’s now famous, “Stay Weird Speech,” Patricia Arquette’s equal pay shout (that riled up J-Lo and Streep), the Polish director speaking through the play off music, JK Simmons’s “call your parents” advice, Eddie Redmayne’s child-like giddiness, Julianne Moore’s elegance, and all of Iñárritu energy made these Oscars one of the better collection of unscripted moments. I ate it all up. Now, let’s talk performances for a second. I went Gaga for Gaga, got goosebumps for Glory, and thought ‘Everything was Awesome’ was awesome. The musical numbers really did shine, infusing energy into that theatre and our living rooms. I mean, that ‘Glory’ staging made Chris Pine and David Oyelowo cry for good reason. The night may be dragged in places, but the musical numbers weren’t to blame.
Some other thoughts:
- I went 19 for 24. While not my best year, I’ll take it. I should just stick to my gut. PGA winners are just going to win. Straight up. As soon as Birdman won Best Original Screenplay, the night was pretty much locked in.
- The graphics all night were absolutely gorgeous—especially the ‘In Memoriam’ segment. While I would have loved to see some clips, it was a beautiful tribute to those we lost this year.
- Where the F*CK was Joan Rivers in the ‘In Memoriam’? She basically invented the ‘Red Carpet’ and I’m pretty sure was in some movies here and there. That was an inexcusable mistake by the producers.
- Terrance Howard loves movies so much. So much.
- The middle of the show is always going to feel like it’s dragging because as entertaining as the speeches can be, they’re still for awards that the majority viewers at home don’t want to see. It’s a shame, but it’s true.
- Lady Gaga was fantastic. It’s a shame that she went on at 11:15pm with 7 more Oscars to hand out. Somebody needs to come in and figure out time management. Please.
- American Sniper won for sound. Sounds about right.
- Neil Patrick Harris is an entertainer, not a true comedian and the show was lacking in humor overall. Why they didn’t supplement this with more comedic presenters is baffling to me, but I will say that Idina Menzel and John Travolta’s two minutes on stage was epically funny.
- At least we can depend on Sean Penn to be, well, Sean Penn.
- That set. That set was the MVP. It was miraculous.
I haven’t talked about who won which awards because it really doesn’t matter. I’ve come to terms with the fact that this is a primetime television event that attempts to take subjective art and filter it through an objective lens for the sake of pomp and circumstance. My favorite movies aren’t going to win it all and I just can’t be disappointed anymore. (I would have loved to see ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’ upset for Best Original Screenplay, but oh well.) What I found quite invigorating Sunday night was that each one of the eight nominees for Best Picture won at least one statue. I would have liked them to be allocated differently, but everybody was recognized and that was fitting.
Let me know what you thought below! Did you like NPH? Would you like to see a true comedian get the gig back? Did Steve Carrell get the biggest laugh of the night? What was your favorite speech?
Well, until next year!
Keep on Watchin’!