Skip to content

Some Thoughts on the 87th Oscars

February 23, 2015

By John Corrado

J.K. Simmons, Patricia Arquette, Julianne Moore and Eddie Redmayne - Oscars 2015

The 87th Oscars unfolded last night, with Birdman taking home the top prize for Best Picture, along with Best Director and Best Original Screenplay trophies for Alejandro G. Iñárritu, and Best Cinematography for Emmanuel Lubezki’s mesmerizing work behind the single take magic trick.

The film triumphed over the early favourite Boyhood which many initially thought would win, with the sole award for Richard Linklater’s coming of age masterpiece being Best Supporting Actress for Patricia Arquette, a deserving recognition of her twelve year dedication to the project.

The other big winner of the night was rightfully Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel, also with four, including Best Costume Design, Best Makeup and Hairstyling, Best Production Design and Best Original Score for Alexandre Desplat.

This was followed by Whiplash taking home three, including Best Supporting Actor for J.K. Simmons, along with Best Film Editing and Best Sound Mixing, all very well deserved.  Eddie Redmayne got Best Actor for his flawless portrayal of Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything, and Julianne Moore won her first Best Actress trophy for her excellent performance as a woman succumbing to Alzheimer’s in the otherwise merely good Still Alice.

But the biggest surprise of last night came not in the winners, which all went to deserving recipients one way or another, but in the fact that Neil Patrick Harris ended up doing a pretty terrible job of hosting the show.  He started off on the right note with a fairly solid musical number, which received some nice and much welcome help from Anna Kendrick and Jack Black, and I was actually kind of liking his act for about the first five minutes.

But from his questionable opening monologue onward, every time Neil Patrick Harris came back on stage, his jokes just kept falling flatter and flatter.  Did nobody tell him that the whole predictions thing was lame?  Octavia Spencer just looked uncomfortable with her involvement in his act, and a misjudged bit with David Oyelowo was also pretty awkward.  A sequence where the host spoofed Birdman by walking around in his underwear was just embarrassing, and was only worth it for a brief shot of Miles Teller playing the drums.

They could have easily nixed a lot of this filler stuff to have a much tighter show of awards and speeches, that didn’t stretch dangerously close to four hours.  And epic fail to Neil Patrick Harris for saying that Edward Snowden, the heroic whistleblower and subject of the urgent and timely Best Documentary Feature winner CitizenFour, couldn’t be there for “some treason.”  This was not cool, and easily the lowest comment in a night otherwise surprisingly ripe with some refreshingly progressive speeches.

Yes, there were some major low points last night, in what had to be one of the most uneven telecasts that I have ever seen.  Another one of the worst moments was that garishly awful performance of “Everything is Awesome” from The Lego Movie, which was an abysmal train wreck. For my money, the song still absolutely sucks, and it’s embarrassing that it was even nominated.  As the show approached the three hour mark, a timeslot that went way over time, we all of the sudden had Lady Gaga belting out songs from The Sound of Music, for no apparent reason.

But there were also a lot of big highlights.  As I mentioned earlier, the winners were deserving in every one of the categories.  Sure, there were a few places where I might have voted differently, but there’s not one category here where I’m dissatisfied with the winners or find them undeserving, and that’s worth celebrating.  I loved all eight of the Best Picture nominees, and the fact that they all won something is also worth celebrating, even if it was just Best Sound Editing for American Sniper.  

Disney was the big winner in the animated categories, with the excellent Big Hero 6 beating out the equally outstanding How To Train Your Dragon 2 for Best Animated Feature, and the lovely Feast taking home the award for Best Animated Short.  There were also a lot of emotional and surprisingly memorable acceptance speeches throughout the night.  When Pawel Pawlikowski accepted the Best Foreign Language trophy for his haunting Ida, the director refreshingly spoke right through that infamous “cut off” music, which kept popping up at the most inappropriate times during the show.

J.K. Simmons was the Best Supporting Actor frontrunner, and he still managed to deliver a gracious and humble speech.  When Patricia Arquette took home Best Supporting Actress later on, her acceptance become an impassioned call for gender equality, in one of the night’s best moments.  Eddie Redmayne and Julianne Moore were also expectedly gracious and emotional.  Another one of the best speeches came from young writer Graham Moore, who won Best Adapted Screenplay for The Imitation Game, and spoke candidly about being suicidal at sixteen, urging outsiders to “stay weird” and “stay different.”

Easily the best moment of the night came from John Legend and Common’s powerful performance of their song “Glory” from Selma, with a choir of backup singers under a set modelled after the bridge used in the iconic Civil Rights march.  When they retook the stage to accept the trophy for Best Original Song, they collectively delivered the best acceptance speeches of the night, met with a standing ovation and much of the audience in tears.  That song is a masterpiece, and their win is monumental.

As for the rest of the show, they could have easily paired back a lot of the terrible jokes, and hopefully next year will bring back someone reliable like Ellen DeGeneres or Billy Crystal to host.  But at the end of the night, all that really matters are the films themselves and the recognition of those behind them, which is something that these Oscars thankfully got right.  Please see below for a complete list of nominees, with the winners highlighted in bold.

BEST PICTURE
American Sniper
Birdman
Boyhood
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Imitation Game
Selma
The Theory of Everything
Whiplash

BEST DIRECTOR
Richard Linklater for Boyhood
Alejandro G. Iñárritu for Birdman
Bennett Miller for Foxcatcher
Wes Anderson for The Grand Budapest Hotel
Morten Tyldum for The Imitation Game

BEST ACTOR
Steve Carell for Foxcatcher
Benedict Cumberbatch for The Imitation Game
Bradley Cooper for American Sniper
Michael Keaton for Birdman
Eddie Redmayne for The Theory of Everything

BEST ACTRESS
Marion Cotillard for Two Days, One Night
Felicity Jones for The Theory of Everything
Rosamund Pike for Gone Girl
Julianne Moore for Still Alice
Reese Witherspoon for Wild

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Robert Duvall for The Judge
Ethan Hawke for Boyhood
Edward Norton for Birdman
Mark Ruffalo for Foxcatcher
J.K. Simmons for Whiplash

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Patricia Arquette for Boyhood
Laura Dern for Wild
Keira Knightley for The Imitation Game
Emma Stone for Birdman
Meryl Streep for Into the Woods

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
Birdman (Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Armando Bo)
Boyhood (Richard Linklater)
Foxcatcher (E. Max Frye, Dan Futterman)
The Grand Budapest Hotel (Wes Anderson, Hugo Guinness)
Nightcrawler (Dan Gilroy)

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
American Sniper (Jason Hall)
The Imitation Game (Graham Moore)
Inherent Vice (Paul Thomas Anderson)
The Theory of Everything (Anthony McCarten)
Whiplash (Damien Chazelle)

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE
Big Hero 6
The Boxtrolls
How to Train Your Dragon 2
Song of the Sea
The Tale of the Princess Kaguya

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
Ida
Leviathan
Tangerines
Timbuktu
Wild Tales

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
Birdman (Emmanuel Lubezki)
The Grand Budapest Hotel (Robert D. Yeoman)
Mr. Turner (Dick Pope)
Unbroken (Roger Deakins)
Ida (Lukasz Zal, Ryszard Lenczewski)

BEST FILM EDITING
Boyhood
The Imitation Game
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Whiplash
American Sniper

BEST PRODUCTION
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Imitation Game
Interstellar
Into the Woods
Mr. Turner

BEST COSTUME DESIGN
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Inherent Vice
Into the Woods
Maleficent
Mr. Turner

BEST MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING
Foxcatcher
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Guardians of the Galaxy

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE
The Grand Budapest Hotel (Alexandre Desplat)
The Imitation Game (Alexandre Desplat)
Interstellar (Hans Zimmer)
Mr. Turner (Gary Yershon)
The Theory of Everything (Jóhann Jóhannsson)

BEST ORIGINAL SONG
“Everything is Awesome” from The Lego Movie
“Glory” from Selma
“Grateful” from Beyond the Lights
“I’m Not Gonna Miss You” from Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me
“Lost Stars” from Begin Again

BEST SOUND MIXING
American Sniper
Birdman
Interstellar
Unbroken
Whiplash

BEST SOUND EDITING
American Sniper
Birdman
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
Interstellar
Unbroken

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Guardians of the Galaxy
Interstellar
X-Men: Days of Future Past

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
CitizenFour
Finding Vivian Maier
Last Days in Vietnam
The Salt of the Earth
Virunga

BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT SUBJECT
Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1
Joanna
Our Curse
The Reaper
White Earth

BEST ANIMATED SHORT
The Bigger Picture
The Dam Keeper
Feast
Me and My Moulton
A Single Life

BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT
Aya
Boogaloo and Graham
Butter Lamp
Parvaneh
The Phone Call

Advertisements
No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: