Monday, February 23, 2015

Reel Facts & Opinions: Oscar Night - The Good, The Bad, & The Glorious

The cinematic year of 2014 officially came to a close last night, marked by the 87th Academy Awards. True to form, there was plenty to cheer and gripe about. Here are the highlights and lowlights: 


-Neil Patrick Harris first time hosting was a roller coaster of peaks and valleys. His opening number was spectacular and was the best we’ve seen in several years. The lyrics were catchy and clever, and the renderings of Harris in the settings of classic movies was very well done…and funny. The opening number was probably a little too good, as he never hit that stride again for the rest of the show. Many of his jokes fell flat, and his interactions out in the audience were lifeless. His magic-trick near the end of the show was clever, but didn’t have much of an impact as they seemingly were hoping for. 
-Great production values on the graphics package and the stage. The deep, rich colors worked very well in HDTV. 


-Best Actor nominee Michael Keaton chewing gum with his mouth open. Come on, man. 

-The In Memoriam was moving as always, but the graphics/portraits did not do anyone justice. They are always at their best when showing moving pictures (ahem…the theme of the opening number), so the decision to use comic-art stills was an odd one. Also, the exclusion of the late Joan Rivers was in bad form, considering how much of herself she gave to the Academy and elevated the Red Carpet to where it is today. 

-Sean Penn’s green-card joke pointed at Best Director winner Alejandro Inarritu seemed in poor taste. The two had worked together before in the film 21 GRAMS in 2003, so it was clearly an inside joke that the rest of the universe wasn’t in on. 

-Acceptance speeches from the winners of the smaller categories like Short Film and Short Documentary were amateur-hour terrible. If you get nominated, please rehearse a goddamn speech so you don’t embarrass yourself. 


-Acceptance speeches from Eddie Redmayne, Patricia Arquette, J.K. Simmons, Julianne Moore, John Legend & Common, and screenwriter Graham Moore were full of heart and had something important to say; a welcome relief from the standard endless thank-yous. 

-This Blogger usually hates the musical numbers, but this year they were worthwhile. Lada Gaga’s tribute to THE SOUND OF MUSIC was excellent; not only because she was great but because the Academy often seems to forget about their rich history every year. Embrace it. 

-The audience was visibly moved by the performance of “Glory” from SELMA. Very well done.  

-Director Wes Anderson has developed a style of his own over the years which is unique and apart from anything else that’s being done. His film THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL won multiple Oscars last night, showing that he doesn’t need to change his style to be recognized. 

-Eddie Redmayne besting fan-favorite Michael Keaton for Best Actor. Cheers to the Academy for seeing the difference between a sentimental favorite and a realistic one. 

-It all comes down to one thing; what movie is deemed best. Alejandro Inarritu’s BIRDMAN bested Richard Linklater’s 12-year project BOYHOOD for Best Picture, and although this Blogger still has THE IMITATION GAME as the best of the year, this is a good selection by the Academy. BOYHOOD was ambitious and a monumental feat, but in the end it comes down to what you see on the screen…and that’s where it came up short. BIRDMAN by far was the more complete film of the two, and that means the right film won.  

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