Hello, readers! This past Sunday was the 87th Academy Awards, and if only they had Jesse Ventura there to hand American Sniper its one Oscar for Best Sound Editing. Then again, he’d probably start rambling on about some conspiracy and next thing you know the show’s been stretched out an extra six hours. Anyway, here are my thoughts of what went right and what went wrong.
First off, I didn’t do nearly as well as I did last year on my predictions (15-4), going 10-9 and splitting on the six major categories. My streak of guessing every Best Picture winner right since ’04 has ended, but can I complain when the Best Picture and Director I wanted to win ended up winning? Overall, there were no surprises this year, and the wins were all well-deserved. Bummed Michael Keaton lost to Eddie Redmayne for Best Actor, but there’s no shame in losing for Keaton as he’s got a revitalized career to look forward to, and Redmayne’s surprise and enthusiasm during his speech was hard not to like.
Perhaps his excitement was his way of expressing how thankful he was that none of the Oscar voters saw his atrocious performance in Jupiter Ascending and Norbit cursed his ass. Then again, judging from its box office results, it’s safe to say no one else saw it either.
Well, Razzie voters certainly did, and they might not be so oblivious come next year.
So here’s my breakdown of the night.
Best of the Night: It was nice seeing The Grand Budapest Hotel walk away winners in a few of the technical categories, winning four for Best Original Score, Production Design, Costume Design and Makeup and Hair. Usually, films released earlier in the year, regardless of how great they are, tend to get forgotten come Oscar season, but Wes Anderson’s film defied the norm. If you’ve seen the film, you know they earned each one.
The speeches were another highlight of the evening, particularly J. K. Simmons, who kept his short, sweet and personal (thanking mainly his wife and “above-average” kids). Thankfully, the soapbox didn’t get dragged out as often. I mean, should I really care what Benedict Cumberbatch’s position is on education reform or what Emma Stone thinks of the current tax proposals being brought up at the House Committee on Ways and Means?
Props also to Polish director
Despite being what many believe to be the biggest snub at the event (that’s right, Selma, you at least got nominated for Best Picture and won an award), that didn’t stop those behind The Lego Movie’s theme song “Everything Is Awesome” from putting on a show. As performed by Canadian twin indie rockers Tegan and Sara, The Lonely Island, Will Arnett and Devo’s Mark Mothersbaugh, it was by far the most lively and animated out of all the Best Original Song performances.
Worst of the Night: Sean Penn’s “Green Card” joke. Nope, I’m not referring to the joke. I’m referring to the butt-hurt reaction from everyone on social media. Lighten up, people! For God’s sakes, everyone should just be thankful Penn was in a good enough mood that night to say a joke without it turning into some bloated, long-winded social commentary on the plight of the Papua New Guineans.
Or another lecture on how we don’t respect Jude Law enough.
Plus, Best Picture winner Alejandro G. Inarritu (who’s been friends with Penn and worked with him on his film 21 Grams) got a laugh about it and even joked about the Academy hopefully tightening up the immigration policies here ’cause two Mexican filmmakers winning Best Director back to back looks a little suspicious.
Mixed Bag of the Night: You’d think as many times as he’s hosted the Tonys, Neil Patrick Harris would fit comfortably into hosting the Oscars. Unfortunately, he was hit-or-miss. His opening song number, a dedication to cinema throughout the years which featured funny appearances from Jack Black and Anna Kendrick, was great. When it comes to his corny jokes, though, whoever wrote them for him should be fired, and much like Ellen Degeneres’s lame recurring pizza delivery bit last year, Harris’s recurring Oscar predictions briefcase gag grew more and more tired as he keep going back to it.
David Spade said it best on Twitter: “If great jokes are in that box somebody open it.”
Most Talked About of the Night: John Travolta getting all handsy with Adele Dazeem’s face before presenting the award for Best Original Song. As awkward as it was, though, he still seemed lucid enough to string together at least a halfway coherent sentence. Good news for Original Song winners Common and John Legend, or as they could’ve been called, if Travolta forgot to take his meds, Scrimshaw and Jim Crizzlebottom.
Let’s see. That’s Common, Three 6 Mafia, Eminem: 1-0 / Leonardo DiCaprio: 0-4.
All in all, a pretty good show, despite that the showrunners are still dragging it out longer than scheduled. Just like I said last year, tighten it up, guys!
Oh, before I go, Terrence Howard, your AA sponsor called to tell you that you haven’t been to a meeting in quite some time.