Monday, February 23, 2015

Reactions to the 2015 Oscars!

So that's it for another year.  I went 16 for 24 in my predictions, a respectable number, but a far cry from my personal best of 22 for 24 from last year.  You can't predict them all.  The bottom line is there were a lot of really tight races that were probably decided by the flip of a coin.  For this reason I was not surprised by any of the winners, and that's always a shame, because I wish the Academy would surprise us a little bit more.

I did predict The Grand Budapest Hotel would get 4, I just didn't think it would win Original Score but rather Original Screenplay.  Once Birdman was announced for Best Original Screenplay, I knew that was all she wrote for any other movie when it came to Director and Picture (though I was still pulling for Richard Linklater even though I knew it wouldn't happen).  Ultimately, Birdman managed to win 4 Oscars as well, one more than I thought it would walk away with, while Boyhood only walked away with 1 (Supporting Actress) when I thought it would have 3, that honor went to Whiplash, the most successful Sundance film at the party tonight.  Other than that, every other film that won an award was a one Oscar wonder.

As for the show itself, Neil Patrick Harris was a good host, I think Ellen was a little better last year, and I still don't think he quite matched Billy Crystal from three years ago.  The opening number was sensational and played to Harris' song and dance strengths, but aside from that he was kind of relegated off to the side to introduce nominees with a few hit-and-miss zingers.  The only two bits that Neil Patrick Harris did aside from the opening number and the jokes were:  the briefcase full of his predictions for the night, and the Birdman spoof with him in his tighty whities.  The briefcase bit half worked, but when it came time for the final payoff, it fell a bit flat and only made a really long show longer.  However, the Birdman spoof was priceless, even though Fred Armisen and Kristen Bell kind of beat NPH to the punch at last night's Independent Spirit Awards with the same Miles Teller punch line, though I will point out that Neil Patrick Harris actually went out onstage in tighty whities (I didn't see Fred Armisen do that).

Overall, this years Oscars were a bit underwhelming and just felt so long with a lot of unnecessary musical performances that made the night longer.  While The Sound of Music tribute with Lady Gaga and Julie Andrews actually wound up being one of the highlights of the night, it did not really fit into this Oscar ceremony's intent of celebrating this year's films.  Seeing as how the show was already running long trying to fit in all of the awards and required musical performances from the nominated songs, this just felt a little like producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron honoring another one of their favorite films, like they did last year with The Wizard of Oz.  It didn't hurt anything and it was a welcome change of pace after the seriousness of the In Memoriam and the performance of "Glory," but it also didn't add anything.

Plus, am I the only one who got tired of all of the winners airing their politics?  Whether you agree or disagree with their political leanings, they are entertainers, not politicians.  Why can't the world have one night where we just celebrate and not try to point out flaws in the world?  Besides, as I mentioned, leave the politics to the politicians.  I mean, we aren't asking Biden to star in a movie?

So those are my thoughts.  As for next year, while I would not be opposed to seeing Neil Patrick Harris back again, I would love to see someone like Jimmy Fallon get to take a crack at it.  I think he is the most logical successor to the Bob Hopes and Johnny Carsons that we have right now.  Also, I think it's time for some new Oscarcast producers.  While Zadan and Meron have done fine the past three years, they also have produced three really long Oscarcasts and often make odd creative choices in what they do and what they don't (most notably, extraneous musical numbers or comedy bits).  And then there are the movies themselves.

Do you know the last time that I actually really loved a Best Picture winner?  It was six years ago when Slumdog Millionaire won.  While there have been some winners that I enjoyed between then and now, there has not been a Best Picture winner I wanted to include on my year end top 10 list since (I thought I had that with Gravity last year and then y'all didn't).  I want that this next year.  Come on, I wanna see some movies that just blow me away this coming year and actually see them get nominated!  Please, Academy!

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