And there we have it. The Oscars. Last night Hollywood dragged itself to the pinnacle of a long, long awards season and The 87th Academy Awards were presented by Neil Patrick Harris, upon whom we heaped all of our expectations, hopes and dreams that if anyone could make an almost four hour spectacle of self-congratulatory pageantry tolerable, it would be him. We were wrong, and it seems the pressure to deliver the show of shows on this night of nights kind of sucked the life out of him. After a depressingly over-earnest opening number (which wasted an appearance by Anna Kendrick and featured Jack Black dropping an industry “truth bomb” that simply imploded), several million viewers saw their exact reaction mirrored in the face of Keira Knightley, who didn’t know whether to laugh or throw up.
With the tone set to “dull” there were few highlights to break the tedium. Canadian singers Tegan and Sarah teamed up with The Lonely Island, a Lego choir, a host of backing dancers and Will Arnett’s Lego Batman to deliver a manic rendition of Everything is Awesome, while John Legend and Common’s performance of Glory, from the movie Selma, reduced half the audience to tears. Lady Gaga reduced herself to tears with her Sound of Music medley (though I fail to understand why the show’s producers felt the need to lengthen proceedings by a further five minutes to accommodate this. There were surely more time-efficient ways to introduce Julie Andrews?)
Douche alarms the world over were triggered by Adam Levine’s grating falsetto when he took to the stage to belt out another best song nominee, Lost Stars, Official Friend-of-Gywneth Tim McGraw performed Glen Campbell’s I’m Not Gonna Miss You, and Rita Ora sang too.
So between this and her ten second cameo in Fifty Shades of Grey, I can no longer claim that I’ve never seen her do anything other than stand on a red carpet (though she did that too).
John Travolta, as if he has never had contact with human women before, decided to make like Joe Biden and just infringe on their personal space, first creeping up on Scarlett Johansson like a tuxedoed succubus, and then turning Adele Nazeem’s revenge introduction into what could easily have been the cringe moment of the night…
… had Terrence Howard not decided to over-emote his way through a simple clip introduction. I don’t know that anyone found The Imitation Game MINDBLOWING, so either he’s easily impressed or his teleprompter was broken, but I hope that any casting agents who may, perhaps, have been watching (it’s a long shot) were suitably impressed by how breathlessly he conveyed his amazement.
The big winners of the night were The Grand Budapest Hotel and Birdman, with the former being appropriately rewarded for being more style than substance (costume, hair and make-up, production design and original score), and the latter taking the big two: Best Picture and Best Director, as well as best original screenplay and cinematography. Michael Keaton lost out in the hotly contested Best Actor category though, with Eddie Redmayne – considered an outside chance till his campaign began to gather steam in the last few weeks – taking home the little gold man for his awesome Stephen Hawking impression, though there were no surprises in the Best Actress category as Julianne Moore reigned supreme. Fifth time’s a charm!
Likewise, J.K. Simmons’ streak of supporting actor victories continued all the way to the finish line, and Patricia Arquette managed to turn her predictable win into a talking point by making her speech a plea for equal rights and equal pay for women. To whoops and hollers from the audience, she used one of the biggest platforms in the world to thank “every woman who gave birth to every taxpayer and citizen of this nation”, explaining that “we have fought for everybody else’s equal rights. It’s our time to have wage equality once and for all and it’s our time to fight for equal rights for women in America.”
And several million women saw their exact reaction mirrored in the responses of Meryl Streep and Jennifer Lopez, whose own experiences with the gender pay gap probably don’t manifest in quite the same way as the average woman on the street’s, but it was a fair point, well made.
And those were your stand-out, sit down, shut up, hands on, hands up, WTF moments of the 2015 Oscars! If you’re watching on RTÉ tonight, rest assured you’ll be seeing the heavily trimmed version of events. If you’re not watching on RTÉ tonight, rest assured you’re not missing much! And as for the most important bit – THE FASHION!! – Red carpet round ups will be coming throughout today and tomorrow!