The Oscars (2015 TV Special)
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Harris in underwear was a complete joke and his idea of a locked box with his predictions was ridiculous at best.
The highlight of the evening was Lady Gaga's excellent singing of the various songs of the classic The Sound of Music. Hard to believe that this Oscar winner came out 50 years ago. Wonderful to have scene the graceful Julie Andrews come out and kiss Gaga after her singing.
Sorry to see that the name of Lizabeth Scott, a wonderful film noir actress of the 1940s, was omitted from the in memoriam segment of the show.
It is almost unimaginable that anyone would sit through 3 1/2 hours of this snoozefest after a 1 1/2 hour pre-show on the red carpet.
And Neil Patrick Harris hosting an awards show - again? Really? And coming out in his tighty-whiteys - yuck! glad we missed that. With all the talent in the country, surely the Academy can find someone better. Although Harris can read his prompters, hit his marks and dance, he's not a very good singer and when he tries to be clever or make a joke, it comes off flat.
With very few exceptions, movies are not what they used to be - even what they were as recently as 10 or 15 years ago. With 20 minutes of trailers and commercials shown in theaters today before the feature begins, we rarely go out to see a movie anymore and generally wait for it to hit DVD or cable.
Whatever appeal the Oscars show one had evaporated years ago when movie actors had looks, charisma and exceptional talent and more films were worth watching and buying a ticket to see.
Other people who said what needed to get said were Patricia Arquette (who noted the wage gap), John Legend (who noted that the US leads the world in incarceration), Graham Moore (who noted the large number of suicide attempts among gay teens) and Alejandro González Iñárritu (who reminded everyone that the US is a nation of immigrants, and proclaimed that Mexico deserves a better government than it has).
As for the wins. Out of all the nominees in all categories, I've seen only "The Grand Budapest Hotel" (which deserved its wins), "Citizenfour" (which deserved its win), "Into the Woods", "Boyhood" (which deserved its win) and "Gone Girl". I hope to see the rest of the nominees, although I've heard bad things about "American Sniper".
Overall, I enjoyed the ceremony. Julianne Moore has deserved an Oscar for a long time. Idina Menzel needs to REALLY stick it to John Travolta next time.
Still, sadly the negative was more frequent in terms of winners and performances. Hudson was weak and forgettable and the deceased deserved better. Lady Gaga was ultimately nothing more than try-hard and over-the-top, even if Julie Anndrews tried to convince us otherwise. Same for the Best Song winner performance. I would have preferred the "Begin Again" song to win it, even if that performance was also a failure mostly. Such an amazing song, but such a weak rendition. The Grand Budapest Hotel is not a bad film by any means, but the love was just too much. Then again, at least it did not win Best Screenplay too. "The Imitation Game" is a bearable movie, but the weak competition in its screenplay category made it a ridiculous winner there. Plus the writer's speech and how he has to share his suicide attempt (disguised as an uplifting message) with billions of viewers was downright cringeworthy. Ida was probably the least deserving winner in its category of the new millennium. Good for Poland they finally got one, but it's ridiculous honestly which one takes the prize.
Overall, a ceremony with performances and winners that honestly could have been much much better. Luckily, the big prize goes to a film that somehow deserves it and I have a feeling that Birdman will age fairly well. I personally think I would have preferred Boyhood, but it is okay. By the way Lubezki won his third in a row the year after. It's still a bit heartbreaking to see Deakins lose every time, but oh well, maybe his time will come at some point in the next 10 years. Actually, I'd have been pretty fine with him winning for Sicario, but there was just no way I guess. And then there is the diversity issue that was very prominent that year and shamed the SAG for example in basically honoring every single black nominee, including surprising wins for (non-Oscar nominee) Idris Elba, who I quite love, so I don't mind it. So yeah, I guess with that background, there was just no way Selma would Best Song. Anyway, the people announcing the nominees were really random this time. So many people honestly, who had zero business being there in my opinion because they have zero history with the Academy and yes I am talking about the Chris Pines, Jennifer Anistons, David Oyelewos, Josh Hutchersons, Kevin Harts and Kerry Washingtons. And what was up with Terrence Howard starting to cry over Whiplash? This one certainly deserved a much better presentation. At least Chloe Moretz and Dakota Johnson were nice to look at. Also Benedict Cumberbatch had no business being there that night because his nomination is perhaps the worst of a night. I see no acting talent in him and he is completely incapable of giving quiet subtle performances that leave an impression. Sean Penn looked a bit wasted at the end, but it is okay. He is a great actor, still should have lost to Murray. That's my thoughts. Feel free to agree or disagree with them and post your own review on this (for whatever reason) Emmy-winning event.