Awards Season Feature Post

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Feb 24, 2015

87th Academy Awards: Flat NPH, Great Speeches & Awful Jokes


Lets get this obligatory Oscars telecast review out of the way so that I and every one of you can move on with your lives and peacefully witness another year of great films that Academy wont award. So the basic thing I got away from the Oscars was that as usual, it was too long. It is always long but it felt much longer thanks to the writers who failed NPH. You see now I understand how such awesome, funny and exuberant hosts fall flat when they host the Oscars. It's the writers and their painfully unfunny and tired gags. When at one side of the stage you have these wonderful speeches, highlighting their personal journeys with their respective films and the great causes so close to their hearts.... on the other side, a horrible joke awaits. Two different ceremonies were going on and the one without NPH was the one I loved. We all spend like 70% of the year talking about the Oscars, predicting and scratching our heads. Then hoping the Academy wont embarrass themselves and award great works of art and cinema. Finally when the time comes, people are first too fixated on the red carpet, then distracted by the awful jokes and repetitive gags and then uninspiring 'wins' that people wont remember in a few years leaves a bad taste in mouth. I just had like 4 hours of sleep, maybe less and have been awake ever since. Tried to take a short nap in the evening but found myself thinking about Boyhood a lot. The images from the movie were playing in my head so I got up, took a shower and went out. At this moment, I have enough energy to write this quite lackluster post and be done with it.

So if I can just do a small glance over before I rank or rate things in categories... there were some really great musical performances. One specially that we thought wont work, did and it did and it brought me to tears. Wait! I am not talking about "Glory"... that actually made me want to stand up and sing along. The winners of course individually, great but overall, some weren't very pleasing choices. The speeches, now those were the best things about the wins. Such highlight moments.  There was this trend where winners were shining lights on issues and causes. There were some very awkward moments as well of course. The ceremony felt long, one gag in particular has to be the most boring in a decade or so.



Best Speeches

1. Graham Moore - Best Adapted Screenplay (The Imitation Game)

I tweeted too soon, a snark. Then upon a re-watch, this felt like the most genuine, human and profound speech of all. Moore was excited and cute at first thanking Oprah. Then he revealed something deeply personal about his past and spoke so greatly addressing others and encouraging them to be exactly who they are and spreading that sense of individual pride. "Stay weird, stay different".


2. Patricia Arquette - Best Supporting Actress (Boyhood)

I thought her speech was going to make me cry because she has cried everywhere, I love her but the most political and inspiring speech of the night was Miss Patricia Arquette's. She thanked everyone first, her team and family. Then the moms, women and went on to mention equal rights for women and wage equality. 

"To every woman who gave birth, to every taxpayer and citizen of this nation, we have fought for everybody else’s equal rights. It’s our time to have wage equality once and for all and equal rights for women in the United States of America."

Honorable Side Mention: Meryl Streep and Jennifer Lopez specially loved it. Their extremely exciting response is now a GIF which you can easily find anywhere on the Internet.

3. John Stephens and Lonnie Lynn - Best Original Song for "Glory" (Selma)

The most politically human and humanly political, the most thought-provoking, timely, relatable for people around the world... speech was given by Common and John Legend. They each talked about the landmark that is Selma and its iconic bridge which once showed a divide and now unites people. Also commenting on an artist's duty to reflect the time they live in. "Selma is now, because the struggle for justice is right now." A truly inspirational speech, each and every word resonated not only with the audience there but hopefully, everywhere. "March on".

4. Julianne Moore - Best Lead Actress (Still Alice)

Oh how much I love this incredible actress. She was as usual, so freaking adorable at first, went on to thanks everyone and then highlighted a cause that is at the center of her film. A simple cause. NOT neglecting people with Alzheimer's disease. They lose their memory, they shouldn't lose their loved ones no matter what. Very articulate and composed throughout without being too 'I spent too much time writing this speech'. I also loved that final moment where she talked about her husband, the family and the home they share. *tears tears tears*

5. J.K. Simmons - Best Supporting Actor (Whiplash)

Here we have the most organic speech about human beings and relationships. The patience and sacrifices, the love and kindness that family shows. He joked using his famous lines from the film as well but mostly urged people to call their parents. Be with them, spend more time with them. It is a beautiful and honest message.

"Call your mom, call your dad. If you’re lucky enough to have a parent or two alive on this planet, call ‘em. Don’t text. Don’t email. Call them on the phone. Tell ‘em you love ‘em, and thank them, and listen to them for as long as they want to talk to you. Thank you. Thank you, Mom and Dad."

Special Mentions

Pawel Pawlikowski:

"Aw, God. How did I get here? We made a film about... as you saw, black and white... about the need for silence and withdrawal from the world and contemplation. And here we are at this epicenter of noise and world attention. Fantastic, you know, life is full of surprises."

Side mention - He refused to be played off. He stood by. He won hearts. That was some moment.

Alexandro G. Iñárritu (director win):

Where he took his time to talk about art and how it exists and is beyond comparison or being labeled. He went on to say that true art is always judged by time. *cough Boyhood cough*

Side mention - Michael Keaton’s tighty whiteys!

Eddie Redmayne:

His love affair with the Oscar statuette and his adorable moment with Cate Blanchett and the one on stage and his beautiful wife.



Moments To Forget

- The boring recurring joke about that damn lock box and the predictions that went all day and all night long and we all yawned. That's the best they could come up with?

- Adele Dazeem/Idina Menzel/John Travolta/Awkwardness/Face touching

- The reminder that David Oyelowo wasn't nominated, he presented a category with Jennifer Aniston, another person considered snubbed for "Cake". Oh and I appreciate this part but the sudden increase in the NotSoWhite presenters... so obvious Academy!

- Edward Snowden 'treason' joke.

- A woman talks about how her son committed suicide... 1 second later... her dress is ridiculed.

- The constant reminder that Chris Kyle was a hero, the constant cuts to Bradley Cooper every time the word 'veterans' was used. Snipers... snipers like Kyle, racist sadists aren't the veterans that films like the Short Documentary winners highlights.

- The off and irregular, ill-timed timings of musical numbers, awards, gags. Ugh

- Some awkward speech moments like the Whiplash Sound Mixing winners... The Grand Budapest Hotel's Anna Pinnock couldn't finish her words.... Terrence Howard!?!!??!


Musical Numbers

1. "Glory" or How Every Person Gave A Thunderous Ovation And Emotional Response And People Cried. Seriously, what a moment, what a performance, vocals, visuals, so well orchestrated and choreographed. Palpating with real emotions and rawness. Best part of the night.

2. The Sound of Music - Or How Lady Gaga Sings Like A True Genius When She Doesn't Sing Those Typical Pop Songs. Now I am slightly torn because this didn't feel much needed or important. I mean come on, how many musical performances? How many tributes? Sure it won Oscars 50 years ago, we know that. But then Lady Gaga's performance itself was jaw dropping. Truly! And then what made things worse was when Julie Andrews emerged, I suddenly remembered how much I loved her character the first time I watched the film in my school more than a decade ago. I had tears in my eyes and I uttered the words "Fuck you movies".

3. "Everything Is Awesome" and then everything finally felt alive and more energetic thanks to the performance by Tegan and Sara, The Lonely Island. It was all very infectiously fun, wild and trippy. Not to forget the Lego Oscars that were given. Oprah, Emma Stone, Channing Tatum, Steve Carell couldn't let go of them. And how cute of Marion Cotillard to introduce them. I love her.

4. Jennifer Hudson's In Memorium performance - so good.

5. Opening number with clever visual references. Neil Patrick Harris had to sing of course, he did good. Didn't like the bits where Anna Kendrick and Jack Black entered but these two people are adorable in their own rights so no complains.

6. Rita Ora's "Grateful" / Tim McGraw's "I'm Not Gonna Miss You" - They were very very fine but could have been better.

Worst Musical Performance = "Lost Stars - Lost Maroon 5"



GRADING OSCARS:

The production design = B+
Nominees and other presentations = A-
Writing/Direction/Pace = D+
Hosting = C+
Humor = C+
Musical Numbers = A-
Wins = B

Overall = C

SOME FAVORITE RED CARPET MOMENTS: