Last night was Hollywood’s biggest event. The 87th Academy Awards have come and gone and as always they have left us with plenty to talk about. Behind the glamorous dresses, spiffy tuxedos, pristine hair, and sparkling jewels are the movies, supposedly the best from the previous year although that is rarely the case. This year’s group of nominees weren’t the most exciting or inspired batch but the night did offer some entertainment and a rare surprise or two.
Prior to the show I shared my predictions for the big six categories HERE. In the end I only missed one pick out of the six. Otherwise it went pretty much as I had planned. Here is a rundown of the big six categories followed by some random thoughts on the night itself.
WINNER – “Birdman”
MY PREDICTION – “Birdman”
RUNDOWN – The winds shifted from “Boyhood” to “Birdman” several weeks ago and the writing was on the wall. I have to say I was disappointed. “Birdman” isn’t a bad movie but it isn’t nearly as profound as it wants to be. “Birdman” is a visual wonder and features strong performances, but it’s a hollow movie that wins with its flash and showiness. “Boyhood” is a much quieter, more subtle film that doesn’t stroke the creative egos the way “Birdman” does. I’ve said it elsewhere, Richard Linklater doesn’t make routine Oscar-type films and that’s a good thing. He makes smaller personal pictures that don’t cater to Oscar voters. It makes sense that he wouldn’t win for the wonderful “Boyhood”. Meanwhile “Birdman” will go down as one of the lesser films to win the big award in my worthless opinion.
WINNER – Alejandro González Iñárritu
MY PREDICTION – Alejandro González Iñárritu
RUNDOWN – In recent years good directing seems to be equated to the visual side of the craft. It’s an overly simple way of viewing the art of direction, but it is the reason Iñárritu won for “Birdman”. From a sheer technical point of view “Birdman” is an accomplishment and its hard to argue with Iñárritu’s win. I just hope that some day the category will broaden its idea of what directing is.
WINNER – Eddie Redmayne
MY PREDICTION – Michael Keaton
RUNDOWN – When making my prediction I noted that Eddie Redmayne and his performance in “The Theory of Everything” had gained a lot of momentum. But I didn’t think he had enough to overcome Michael Keaton’s early lead and veteran status. Well, I was completely wrong. Redmayne’s win surprised a lot of people, but I would never call it undeserved. He gives an excellent performance which seems tailor-made for the Academy.
WINNER – Julianne Moore
MY PREDICTION – Julianne Moore
RUNDOWN – I still haven’t seen “Still Alice” so it’s hard to be objective. It’s also hard to imagine that Moore isn’t deserving. This was a no brainer and Moore had this one in the bag before the show began. I still wish Cotillard could have won, but that was never going to happen.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
WINNER – J.K. Simmons
MY PREDICTION – J.K. Simmons
RUNDOWN – I can’t imagine anyone not having Simmons picked to win this on their Oscar ballot. He has won every single award leading up to the Oscars so his win last night was no surprise at all. And how can you not root for the guy? A premiere character actor who gave one of the best speeches of the night.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
WINNER – Patricia Arquette
MY PREDICTION – Patricia Arquette
RUNDOWN – Yet another win that shouldn’t have surprised anyone. Arquette is so good as the heart and soul of “Boyhood”. It’s such a shame the film was brushed off by the Academy voters but at least they got this right. Hats off to Arquette for a wonderful and authentic performance.
Now here are a few random thoughts:
- Neil Patrick Harris was wonderful in the show’s opening musical number.
- Neil Patrick Harris was pretty awful after the show’s opening musical number.
- Love seeing “Ida” win Best Foreign Language Film. It was expected but also well deserved. And Pawel Pawlikowski talking off the orchestra was fabulous.
- The performance of “Glory” was so good. But then along came Common. Him aside, it was still a moving production but clearly one to show the other nominees they had no chance.
- It was a really good night for “The Grand Budapest Hotel”. A grand total of four well deserved and satisfying wins. That makes me happy.
- Neil Patrick Harris could have used a few lessons in taste. Making fun of a woman’s dress who just shared her son’s suicide story wasn’t needed.
- At first Sean Penn looked like he might be stoned. Then he made the tacky Green Card joke about Iñárritu and I was sure he was stoned.
- That was Lady Gaga singing! That was really Lady Gaga singing! I mean it! That was really, really Lady Gaga singing! Bravo!
- The long drawn out briefcase gag should have died a very early death.
- I understand the nominees who use their acceptance speeches to further a cause they are passionate about. But sometimes I love those humble, contrite, ‘thank you’ speeches more.
- One moment John Travolta is hilariously poking fun at his recent Oscar mishaps. The next moment he’s awkwardly fondling Idina Menzel’s face. Weird.
- Congrats to Alexandre Desplat for winning a Best Original Score for “The Grand Budapest Hotel”. To makes music that perfectly fits into Wes Anderson’s quirky world is no easy task.
- Meryl Streep didn’t win (thank goodness), but that didn’t stop them from finding ways to mention or show her every time you turn around. I wonder what she’ll be nominated for next year?
- While I was still holding out hope, sadly Dick Poop went home empty-handed last night. There is no justice in this world.
- “Birdman” winning Best Original Screenplay over “The Grand Budapest Hotel” is an absolute head-scratcher. It was by far “Birdman’s” weakest component and no where nearly as creative, layered, and insanely original as “Budapest”. But it’s the Oscars. Whatcha gonna do?
- “The Lego Movie” still had a great showing. The performance of “Everything is Awesome” was a hoot and they brought their own Lego Oscars. Snub the Academy!
- Loved seeing Patricia Arquette win and I was anxious for her speech, but reading word-for-word off of a piece of paper made it feel a tad emotionless despite its good message.
- “Interstellar” wins the Oscar for Best Visual Effects (as if there was another choice). Glad to know the Academy at least remembered it came out last year. Sigh…
- Can I go ahead and start the petition to have Robert Downey, Jr. as next year’s Oscar host. He may not do it, but can you imagine how he would bring the house down???
So there’s a brief breakdown and some random thoughts on the 87th Academy Awards. With a few exceptions it was a predictable night. Plenty of questionable winners but a few pleasant surprises. What did you think of Hollywood’s big show?
Well I’m thrilled for Birdman and I don’t see it as a lesser film or one that doesn’t deserve to win, it’s a film about Hollywood egos as well as the struggle of an actor trying to be relevant in such a cutthroat and often heartless business. I think it was brilliant and emotional for me.
I agree about NPH, didn’t really care for his hosting duties overall, it fell flat soooo many times. I was also flabbergasted by Lady Gaga, what a voice and she was uncharacteristically demure all night, color me surprised!
A lot of people went for Birdman, but for me its a movie that played with several interesting things but never quite saw them through. It really did gain a hardcore following in the month leading up to the Oscars and it carried over to the awards. Like I said, the writing was on the wall.
Lady Gaga left me speechless. I wonder if some of her diehards will call her a sellout. I hope not because she blew me away! And NPH…sigh. How do you start out that strong and then stumble along the rest of the way?
What a surprise, Lady Gaga! I was happy to see Julie Andrews and Shirley MacLaine. Agreed, NPH a real snoozer. I loved the opening number and then I kept looking at my watch for the rest of the evening. I didn’t have any issues with the award recipients. 🙂
Wasn’t NPH a bore? I really thought after that classy opening number that he was going to be a lot of fun. In the end I only chuckled a few times. Still I always enjoy the Oscars.
We have SUCH different taste in film, it’s kind of funny. Ida, in my eyes, was so hollow…as was Boyhood, but different strokes for different folks, and that’s why film is so awesome. I agree with you on a lot of aspects of the ceremony itself though, especially Harris. That was hard to watch.
Oh it’s you, that Boyhood hating guy! 😉
Nah, it’s all good man. You are exactly right. The magic of movies is that they can touch different people in different ways. If we all shared the exact same opinions and if we all had the exact same perspectives the entire idea of film criticism or discussion would be worthless. They wouldn’t even be worth talking about. Thank goodness they are so different and they impact us in different ways.
As always thanks for stopping by. So appreciated.
I didn’t see the ceremony as it’s on in the middle of the night here, but I suspected that Birdman would pick up Best Picture. I like it a lot, but I’m firmly of the opinion Boyhood is the better movie. Never mind, I rarely see eye-to-eye with the Academy in terms of that award!
Glad to hear from someone on my side. LOL. The sudden swell of vocal Birdman support has been interesting. But I’m with you, I think Boyhood is head and shoulders above Birdman both in ambition and execution. But as you said, I rarely fully agree with the Oscars anyway.
Along those lines…I think you might enjoy this if you haven’t read it already: http://thedissolve.com/features/honorable-mentions/934-how-boyhood-won-by-losing/
omg Birdman truly is sooo much better than Chicago
And to be fair most things are better than “Chicago”. 😉
i think Tom Jones is the absolute wort BP winner
Pawlikowski is already a hero for us but seriously it was so awesome how he talked over orchestra, it’s so unfair that famous people can go on and on and those ‘lesser’ known categories get 45 seconds
That’s so true! As if their awards aren’t important enough to warrant a little more time. That has always annoyed me.
Ahh! Come on Academy, where was the Boyhood love? How disappointing.
Completely agree. I guess it wasn’t showy enough. I ended up predicting Birdman but I certainly wanted to be wrong.
I am so with you on Boyhood but you know this. I liked Birdman but I actually liked Selma, Grand Budapest Hotel and Whiplash more. I think you’ve really summed Linklater’s style up. It’s not for everyone and it’s not meant to be. You either get it or you don’t.
And Linklater has always been that way. Boyhood is no different. But once the became the Oscar front runner this weird backlash suddenly arose. And as for it being gimmicky, Linklater doesn’t use gimmicks. He had a story he wanted to tell as despite practically no financing they told it and it was great. Hats off to him.