In what has already been dubbed as the worst Academy Awards show in years (mainly by me), Birdman took flight where Boyhood suffered growth stunts at a night that was rife with disappointment, awkwardness and embarrassment as well as, most memorably, socio-political statements. Those who suffered Alex Zane’s presenting in the UK for 90 minutes (with some rude interruptions from the Red Carpet interviews) were finally rewarded for their patience when Neil Patrick Harris performed his best joke of the night (“Tonight we honour Hollywood’s best and whitest… I mean brightest”) and a sing-and-dance called ‘Moving Pictures’ with cameos from Benedict Cumberbatch, Anna Kendrick and Jack Black, for some reason. It was all downhill from there sadly…
Best Supporting Actor
WINNER: J. K. Simmons (Whiplash)
Who I hoped would win: J. K. Simmons (Whiplash)
Who I predicted would win: J. K. Simmons (Whiplash)
Not much to say here, J. K. Simmons predictably and deservingly won for his role in Whiplash. Little else to say other than his speech was heart-warming as he told all viewers to call up and chat with their parents. Aww. Move on.
Now to skip the duller awards that, however much people tell you, no one really cares much about. I’ll also skip Neil Patrick Harris’ ill-received jokes, which is pretty much all of his display. Everything is Awesome, the nominated Original Song from The Lego Movie, was performed on stage by Lonely Island as well as some Lego men and Stormtroopers, which were awesome.
A speech about suicide awareness was followed by an ill-timed joke by NPH, who managed to claw back some presenting integrity by imitating the famous scene in Birdman by parading round in ‘tighty-whities’. He also made a deal out of locking some suitcase of his predictions in a safe and have Octavia Spencer keep an eye on it throughout the show. She got lucky. We had to watch it all with two eyes. NPH then made some comment to Robert Duvall, I don’t know what it was because I was cringing too much to pay attention and also couldn’t look at Duvall’s terrifying glare.
The Grand Budapest Hotel had won a few before Whiplash won for Achievement in Sound Mixing. A bit predictable, but I would have liked to see Birdman win for that as I thought the ever-present percussion was, like the rest of the film, original and captivating, if a little arrogant.
Best Supporting Actress
WINNER: Patricia Arquette (Boyhood)
Who I hoped would win: Emma Stone (Birdman)
Who I predicted would win: Patricia Arquette (Boyhood)
Here began the flurry of politically motivated speeches. Patricia Arquette, having fought off Oscar veteran Meryl Streep, took to stage to claim her Oscar. It was just as well she beat Emma Stone as Boyhood seemed vastly underrepresented by the end of the Awards, especially in comparison to bloody Birdman or (The Unexpected Subtitle That No-one Had Heard Of). Her speech was ‘whooped’ by Meryl Streep (probably over-doing her gracious-in-defeat face really) as she ripped into wage and gender equality. This got a rousing reception and set the tone for the rest of the early morning (for the weary-eyed UK viewers), I’m sure Steve Carell whooped too with his #HeforShe cufflinks. Way to go Steve.
John Legend and Common performed nominated Glory from Selma which, before rightfully claiming the Oscar for Original Song later in the show, moved much of the audience to tears. The acceptance speech, rife with claims for black equality and the continuation of King’s legacy, also moved much of the audience to tears. That’s what it takes to make Captain Kirk cry then.
A typically awkward John Travolta Oscar moment passed, as well as a pleasant performance of songs from Sound of Music by Lady Gaga. A stunning Julie Andrews presented Grand Budapest with Original Score.
Best Original Screenplay
Who I hoped would win: The Grand Budapest Hotel & Birdman casts to join hands and break bread together on stage
Who I predicted would win: Birdman. Or The Grand Budapest Hotel. I just don’t know.
Is it fair to say I called this one? Although by this point I was disappointed that most films were beginning to be overlooked by the Academy in favour of Birdman, which becomes more and more dislikeable with every clip of it you see, and as the time neared 4:30am.
Best Adapted Screenplay went to The Imitation Game, Graham Moore took to the stage and gave an emotional speech about having attempted suicide at 16 as he thought he was “weird” and told those watching who feel “weird” to stay weird and that they will fit in somewhere. He has since come out to say he isn’t gay by the way, contrary to many people’s assumptions. Good lad though.
WINNER: Alejandro González Iñárritu (Birdman)
Who I hoped would win: Richard Linklater (Boyhood)
Who I predicted would win: Richard Linklater (Boyhood)
So we get to the business end of the ceremony, and so the travesties began. I thought Linklater would be an Oscar favourite for his previous works, as that is what they tend to do. I guess Iñárritu did more obvious, in-your-face directing that’s different to the norm. Ah well, can only get better for Boyhood surely…
WINNER: Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything)
Who I hoped would win: Benedict Cumberdinkle (The Imitation Game)
Who I predicted would win: Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything)
A bit of a shoe-in really, Redmayne gave a very nice British speech as well as a comment raising awareness for people battling ALS and thanking the “exceptional” Hawking family. Hopefully his career takes off from here and he starts to put in some more Oscar-deserving performances. (Let’s ignore the trailer for Jupiter Ascending for now).
WINNER: Julianne Moore (Just Alice)
Who I hoped would win: Felicity Jones (The Theory of Everything)
Who I predicted would win: Julianne Moore (Just Alice)
Fair enough, having been nominated three times in previous Academy Awards years Julianne Moore finally got her time for what has been an incredible career so far. Moore managed to also raise awareness for Alzheimer’s (the disease her character suffered in Just Alice). She seemed nice so I’ll let her cling onto that one, her speech was very elegant and well-prepared too, so bravo. I’m sure Emma Stone will get her time if she puts in more of the same performances.
Who I hoped would win: Grand Budapest Hotel (though eventually Boyhood)
Who I predicted would win: Theory of Everything (way out! Though I eventually thought Boyhood)
Despite Sean Penn’s best and most bizarre efforts to draw as much attention to himself as possible, all eyes were on the cast of Birdman when the biggest tragedy in years was announced. Mark Kermode has said that this will be a future quiz question, “In the year that Boyhood was deprived of Best Picture, which film took the award?”. Boyhood will stand the test of time as a truly quality film, with Birdman being lost in the memories of filmgoers along with How Green Was My Valley, The Sting, Shakespeare in Love, which all beat Citizen Kane, The Exorcist, and Saving Private Ryan respectively. Anyway, it allowed for another political speech about Mexican government and how Mexican immigrants are treated in the USA.
All in all, Neil Patrick Harris completely failed to reach his potential, there seemed to be an air of injustice around the ceremony due to Selma’s under-representation, and the ceremony just seemed boring with a complete lack of household names such as Clooney, Pitt, Jolie that we come to expect from the Awards. A disappointing night, highlighted by the injustice of Boyhood receiving just the one Oscar – though this has now become a favourite of mine in defiance of the Awards…go rebel-me!
Also, NPH revealed his briefcase in what was the longest endured joke of all-time at the Oscars. Behold…
Predictions: 5/7 – decent effort I think!