This year is a special year. It is the year I went from teenager to semi-adult and, as if fate itself willed it, the 87th annual Academy Awards ceremony happened to have its air date on the same day that I, the writer of this shitty blog, turned 20! It was quite simply perfect timing. I’ve pushed all of my “big” birthday celebrating to next weekend for the sake of getting to see this and I don’t regret it. Who has parties on Sunday nights anyway?
The show itself? Not too bad, I suppose. I must, however, side with the people who are unsettled by the lack of women and people of colour in this year’s line-up. Selma and Unbroken were both nominated for multiple Oscars (including Best Picture for Selma) and both films are directed by females, Angelina Jolie and black woman Ava DuVernay, none of whom got well-earned Best Director nominations. Not only does it seem implicitly racist and sexist but, coupled with the fact that Life Itself, the Roger Ebert documentary, was snubbed of a Best Documentary nomination, we also missed out on a hypothetical poignant moment where Ava DuVernay has won Best Director and leaves time in her thank you speech for a brief mention of both Life Itself, which she herself appeared in, and Roger Ebert himself, who we all know inspired her to get where she is today.
But I digress. It was a fun show. Why? Well, let’s summarize some of the best parts, shall we?
- Neil Patrick Harris’ Opening Number: I agree, folks. Neil Patrick Harris‘ comedy this night, including but not limited to his “With-her-spoon” pun (Heard that one yet, children without Internet?) and his attempts to be as good at audience interaction as Ellen Degeneres, was a mixed bag. Maybe he started out too strong with that beautiful musical number of his; a catchy, whimsical tune that payed tribute to most of film history. Anna Kendrick and Jack Black joining in on the number did, somehow, not hurt.
- Meryl Streep Giving A “You Go Girl” To Patricia Arquette’s Speech: We need at least one Meryl Streep highlight per year. This one came during Patricia Arquette‘s acceptance speech after winning an Oscar for her role in Boyhood, where she went on to make a few comments on the prevailing fight for gender equality in both Hollywood and the rest of the world. What really selled it, though, was Meryl Streep standing up and, if I saw correctly, mouthing the words “fuck yeah” whilst pointing dramatically in Arquette’s direction. Suh-weet.
- The Birdman Gag: For all of Neil Patrick Harris’ lame jokes and bits this year, written or improvised, one moment from him I really liked was his parody of a scene in Birdman where Michael Keaton gets his coat stuck in a door and has to walk back to his stage in his undies. You can guess what Harris does. A joke is also made about the music in Birdman when the ending of the skit ties into the movie Whiplash in a way I won’t spoil.
The Travolta-Menzel Debacle Comes Full Circle: Last year, John Travolta epically mispronounced the name of the wickedly talented Idina Menzel in a presentation that took the Internet by storm. This year, when presenting the award for Best Original Song, Menzel got her revenge by pronouncing Travolta’s own name completely wrong, before the two of them went on to announce the Oscar winner together. The whole thing was made better by Harris’ joke that Benedict Cumberbatch is what Ben Affleck‘s name would sound like if you were to ask John Travolta to pronounce it. I gotta say, this almost makes up for Viola Davis‘ inability to say “Hayao Miyazaki” this year. Speaking of “Original Song”, by the way:
- The “Glory” Performance: Look, excluding whatever the hell Adam Levine was doing, the musical performances tonight were mostly just “fine”. Lady Gaga‘s Sound of Music tribute was cute, the “Everything is Awesome” bit almost made up for the Academy’s snubbing of The Lego Movie, from which the song of course originates, and that “I’m Not Gonna Miss You” song wasn’t too shabby. But by God, John Legend and Common‘s performance of the song “Glory” from Selma was abso-flipping-lutely fantastic! I don’t think I’ve ever been this teary-eyed and goosebumps-filled during an Oscars broadcast and people in the audience, most notably people involved in the production of Selma, seemed to be bawling their eyes out as well. The song rightfully won Best Original Song (Sorry again, Lego Movie) and the speech given by the winners was yet another terrific one, bringing up black lives everywhere and what Martin Luther King meant for them. On that note, let’s talk about another brilliant speech:
- Graham Moore’s Speech About Alan Turing And Staying Weird: In his speech after winning Best Adapted Screenplay for The Imitation Game, Graham Moore not only honored Alan Turing and how far the scientist got in spite of how shunned and tortured he became due to his sexuality, but also people who aren’t famous; people who feel weird, hopeless, and ill-fit. Moore mentioned that he used to want to kill himself, thinking he would never get this far. He ended his speech by assuring whoever’s listening that their turn will come. Pretty sad but sweet if you ask me.
- The Speeches In General: Man, there were a lot of poignant speeches that brought up a lot of important issues this year, weren’t there? Julianne Moore talking about Alzheimer’s disease after receiving an Oscar for her role in Still Alice; Eddie Redmayne talking about ALS after winning for his role as Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything; the multiple comments Alejandro González Iñárritu made about still struggling immigrants from Mexico… I wonder if all this preaching somehow guilt tripped the Academy members for the aforementioned lack of diversity among nominees? I sure hope.
- H.R. Giger On The “In Memoriam” Segment: Of course I was glad to see the Academy pay tribute to such legends as Mickey Rooney and Robin Williams, but the deeply disturbed artist inside me thought that including H.R. Giger was an extra nice touch. Rightfully done, guys!
Those are the ones that I can think of for now and boy, for all the lacking comedy, this was overall a pretty damn touching and emotional Oscars ceremony. You should definitely check some of these moments out and, if you wish it, point out to me which ones my stupid ass should have included on this line-up of great moments. Until next time, always know where your towel is.