“Cinema is the most beautiful fraud in the world,” said director Jean-Luc Godard.
It’s those beautiful lies that draw us into movie theaters year after year.
And this past year was no exception as we discovered during the 87th Academy Awards, hosted by Neil Patrick Harris, who opened up the show with a bang: a large scale musical number starring himself, Anna Kendrick, and Jack Black (who “song-bombed”).
The night was packed with sparkling dresses, tuxedos and presenters such as Lupita Nyong’o, Chris Pine, Jennifer Lopez, Kerry Washington, Chris Evans and Benedict Cumberbatch.
While the opening monologue is always entertaining and often sets the tone of the show, it’s the awards we all care about. J.K. Simmons won Best Supporting Actor for his role in Whiplash. Grand Budapest Hotel won the award for Best Costume Design over the suspected fantasy films Into The Woods and Malificent. The award for Best Make-up and Hairstyling also went to Grand Budapest Hotel, beating out Guardians of the Galaxy and Foxcatcher.
Ida won the Best Foreign Film for Poland, and the film’s director proved that if you talk through the play-off music long enough, they will eventually just let you keep talking. Whiplash took home another Oscar for Best Sound Mixing, while American Sniper won its only Academy Award for Best Sound Editing. Patricia Arquette won the award for Best Supporting Actress for her role in Boyhood. Interstellar went onto win its only award for Best Visual Effects.
Disney had a successful night, taking home awards for both Best Animated Short and Best Animated Feature Film.
Grand Budapest Hotel won its third award for Best Production Design, while Birdman won for Best Cinematography. Whiplash surprisingly won the award for Best Film Editing, beating out the suspected Boyhood. The song “Glory,” from the film Selma, won Best Original Song. Once again, Grand Budapest Hotel won Best Original Score, and Birdman won Best Original Screenplay.
The Imitation Game took home its only Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay. Eddie Redmayne was awarded Best Actor for his role as Steven Hawking in The Theory of Everything, while Juliane Moore won Best Actress for her role in Still Alice.
When revealing their Oscars predictions for Best Motion Picture, most movie critics were split between Birdman and Boyhood, and American Sniper was considered a late contender. Finally, the most anticipated award of Best Motion Picture was given to Birdman.
In addition to the awards, there were also live performances from all the Best Original Song nominees. Adam Levine performed his song “Stars” from Begin Again. Tegan and Sara, featuring The Lonely Island, performed their poppy “Everything is Awesome” from The Lego Movie. “I’m Not Gonna Miss You,” from Glenn Campbell: I’ll Be Me was beautifully performed by Tim McGraw, while John Legend and Common’s performance of “Glory” from Selma had the whole audience tearfully standing.
Rita Ora performed her original song “Grateful” from Beyond the Lights. Lady Gaga performed a shockingly beautiful and elegant Sound of Music medley, and was joined on the stage by Dame Julie Andrews, who unfortunately did not join in singing. Meryl Streep introduced the In Memorium video, which included Hollywood legends such as Mickey Rooney, Maya Angelou, Richard Attenborough, Robin Williams, and Lauren Bacall. Jennifer Hudson then performed an emotional “I Can’t Let Go.”
As always, the Academy Awards was entertaining, complete with celebrity jokes, playful teasing, exciting wins and sorrowful losses. However, some aspects definitely missed the mark. While his opening song was playful and funny, Harris’ jokes fell flat for the duration of the show. His deadpan delivery of every joke and introduction made most presenters ponder whether they had just been insulted or not. His skits felt a bit awkward, and his running gag of his Oscar predictions took a little too much time to explain, and it felt as though no one in the audience was getting the joke, just playing along.
Despite the little patches of playfulness (like Idina Menzel’s purposeful mispronunciation of John Travolta’s name as they presented the award for Best Original Song), the theme of this year’s show was emotion. When most of the films nominated for Best Picture told stories of diseases, disorders, death and heartbreak, it can be expected that the acceptance speeches will be heartfelt and poignant.
When it comes to the Academy Awards, it seems like there is always a film that sweeps the competition. This can be extremely frustrating for viewers (and I imagine the actors in the other films), and it can definitely take away the interest in watching. When films such as Grand Budapest Hotel and Birdman edge out their competition in almost every category, it can get a little monotonous hearing the same speeches regurgitated by the same people.
But that will always happen; all we can do is hope that next year, our favorite movie will sweep. Because, admit it, we all know we will be watching next year.
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