Can you believe it? The Oscars actually have come and gone. We all saw the highs and lows, nice clothes, winners, losers, in-memoriam snubs (Joan Rivers and Eileen Stritch) and synchronized gaiety. Now it’s time to reflect on what all that actually meant to our daily lives. The weird moments, seating arrangements, tears, laughter and, well, our worn-out behinds are the lasting results. I saw actors crying, directors hugging, spouses being cute, and Oprah Oprah-ing. Oscar 2015 this year was being led by that graceful, witty, cute, preppy cheerleader, Neil Patrick Harris.
Harris seemed a bit stiff as though his neck was getting sore from craning to keep up with his cues on the teleprompter. His tenure to me seemed exactly the opposite of his Tony hosting gigs. Of course, in NY, he’s allowed to be himself and who he is, with lots of gay references and ad libs. In Hollywood, where no male actor is allowed to be gay, he seemed to be straight-jacketed into snarky Vegas-worthy material that would have better suited someone like Seth MacFarlane of last year’s infamy. Appearing nearly nude at one point in an attempt to ape a scene out of Birdman did not kick up the proceedings a notch as expected. Not an Oscar-worthy moment the critics twittered about his twat.
The whole experience made me wonder whether I actually liked Harris as much as I thought I did. But that’s not quite fair. He’s an actor who was trying to play a role as written and directed by others. It’s really just the accursed nature of the Oscar broadcast, whose principal mandate is to fill out nearly four hours with maximized ad revenue and commendable poppycock. The thing lumbers on and on and finally they jam the big awards into the last 15 minutes. The ponderously unfunny script always seems to be written by the same accounting firm that counts the votes. Neil’s third-rate David Blaine thing with the sealed predictions in a box, and his forced attempts to get some shtick going with Octavia Spencer completely backfired and seemed to have embarrassed Ms. Spencer no end. He just would not stop. (I appreciated that when Harris tried to drag Robert Duvall into it, Duvall gave him nothing.) Seriously, and I know this is heresy of a high order, but Seth MacFarlane was funnier last year. At least he had the courage to make an ass of himself with a grin on his face. Even James Franco and Anne Hathaway were … well, OK, no they weren’t. That event – the hip, cool, millennial youth-culture Oscars that weren’t — has been expunged from our memories.
The Imitation Game won an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay, written by Graham Moore who gave a heartbreaking yet inspiring speech. When Moore walked on stage he gave his thanks to everyone who was involved with the film, but he also revealed a personal detail about his life growing up. When he was 16-years-old, he tried to commit suicide.
The writer went on to talk about how he always felt “weird” when he was younger and it took him a long time to accept that. So he let others know that if they feel unhappy with their own weirdness, that’s okay. He also hoped they would continue to encourage others to stay that way. The audience gave Moore a standing ovation. Many in the theater and at home may have thought Moore was talking about being gay, but he wasn’t. If you look him up, you’ll see he isn’t gay. Even so, he did promote a person’s right and privilege to be different from the crowd. His speech, I perceive, came from a person who was extremely bullied when he was young for being a geek—not a gay. The audience, and the Internet, had a powerful reaction to Moore’s positive message.
Patricia Arquette, who won Best Supporting Actress, used her allotted acceptance speech time to plead for equal pay for women. This caused Meryl Streep to shoot up out of her seat in agreement. Perhaps it was her way of promoting a pay raise for herself.
John Legend and Common after having finished a captivating performance of their song “Glory” from the film Selma were brought back on stage to accept the award for Best Original Song. They made compelling speeches in favor of all minorities and showed what was at the heart of the film Selma.
Melanie Griffith and her daughter, current sexpot Dakota Johnson, while being interviewed on the Red Carpet before the show got into a squabble in front of one billion people. The scene was quite embarrassing for all who watched and listened in awe.
Over the evening there had been references building up to a featured appearance by Lady Gaga. Everyone was sure she was going to do one of her outrageous turns and could only guess what it would be. Finally her time came and she knocked the socks off the nation by showing what a wonderful voice she has with a compilation of songs from Sound of Music. She and Julie Andrews hugged and Lady Gaga now has suddenly been re-discovered and certainly has strengthened her career. She turned out to be the delightful surprise of Oscar 2015.
The film Birdman took four top awards and its director, the Mexican Alejandro González Iñarritu, won three Oscars for writing, directing and best picture. He used his speech time to plead for a decent immigration policy.
In my last week’s blog, I spoke of the Oscars being about business. This year it apparently was not. The highest grossing film, American Sniper with over 300 million already at the box office was snubbed and only won an Oscar for Sound Editing. The top four winning films (Birdman, Boyhood, Whiplash and Theory of Everything) are all small indie films which winning will hardly help.
So, how did I do with my winning predictions? Was I a big winner? Did I really know how to pick them? I got four out of six, which is okay but nothing fabulous. I should have gotten all six. I chose Bradley Cooper as best actor because I thought he played one of those Oscar unusual characters and also because the film is doing so well at the box office. I also missed Original Screenplay. I chose Boyhood and not Birdman. How did you do?
Cheers and now you can get ready for Oscar 2016. Any ideas of what might be on that platter?