Wow. Well, that Academy Awards show Sunday night … existed.
Man. I really thought Neil Patrick Harris would be great, fresh, new and different, the quality of movies this year was great, and, well, shouldn’t the Oscars be entertaining every year?
But sheesh, that was not a good show. At all. Thank God for a bunch of fabulous acceptance speeches. Graham Moore, urging kids to “stay weird” and admitting he tried to kill himself at 16. Laura Poitras, winner for the Snowden movie “Citizenfour,” preaching about the incredible importance of truth and transparency in government.
Common and John Legend (sorry, Lonnie Lynn and John Stevens, and how weird was that hearing their real names called?) with a blow-the-doors-off muscial performance, and then a powerful speech about racial inequality.
Julianne Moore on Alzheimers, Eddie Redmayne being so humble and grateful… the speeches were about the only thing memorable about this show. And that so many of them were about issues of the day (I almost forgot Patricia Arquette’s great shout-out for women’s equality) made them even better.
Otherwise … meh. Not a great show. Some more thoughts on what’s usually one of my favorite TV shows of the year:
— When Neil Patrick Harris was announced as host, you just knew the opening would be a lavish musical number, and it was. I thought it was great, and I’m thrilled that one of my biggest Hollywood crushes, Anna Kendrick (it’s OK, the wife loves her too) got to be a part of it. Really creative use of old movies. The rest of NPH’s grade? I’d give him a C. Some of his jokes scored (loved the Jason Bateman joke about child stars, and his appearing onstage practically naked at one point was very funny), other jokes fell really flat (the seat-filler interviews, and the running gag about his Oscar predictions being locked up got old really fast).
–“Boyhood” got screwed. I knew it would going in, and I’m still pissed. I haven’t seen “Birdman” yet, I’m sure it’s very good and all, but come on, “Boyhood” was a revolutionary, ground-breaking type of movie. You have to reward that, don’t you?
–Fashion thoughts, from the wife (mostly): Reese Witherspoon’s dress and hair were great, Jessica Chastain made a very poor choice with her un-form fitting dress, and Nicole Kidman looked too washed-out. Also, on the men’s side, visible swooning was heard from her when Idris Elba and Chris Pratt appeared on stage.
— The LEGO movie musical number, with Tegan and Sara and Questlove and handing out LEGO Oscar statues? Loved it. Very clever and funny.
–Actual conversation between the wife and I during the Steve Carell “Foxcatcher” clip:
Me: “I can’t believe the guy who played Produce Pete on “The Daily Show” is nominated for an Oscar.”
Wife: “I can’t believe Channing Tatum is in a scene with a person nominated for an Oscar.”
–The John Travolta/Idina Menzel thing was laugh-out-loud funny. One of the few truly comedic highlights.
— So happy that “Citizenfour” won. Laura Poitras and Glenn Greenwald did outstanding work on the Edward Snowden revelations, truly important work that exposed the lies and deceit of our government (I wrote about Greenwald’s book on Snowden and his involvement after reading it last year.)
— JK Simmons was the first big winner and his speech was overshadowed by the later great ones, but it was still sweet. Instead of thanking his agent and a million other people, the career background character actor thanked his wife, and his kids, and told everyone to call their parents. Simple and sweet, perfect.
— Finally, the Dead People Montage: Always a highlights. Was really surprised Robin Williams didn’t get “the hammer” and be the last person remembered, but Mike Nichols was a directing legend and he definitely deserved it.
And great to hear Jennifer Hudson’s pipes again, but whatever happened to her acting career?
**Finally today, I saw this last week and thought it was exceptionally clever. A Canadian company called 1One Productions filmed this spot starring Jesus Christ at his regular marketing meeting, where his “team” created a stunt that would guarantee his immortality.
I loved this. I’m sure some will consider it blasphemy, but I think it’s great.