The reviews are in on the 87th Academy Awards telecast, and it ain’t pretty. Neil Patrick Harris is receiving the worst reviews of his rather charmed career and the show’s ratings dropped 6 million from the previous year, when Ellen DeGeneres snapped her famous selfie.
I think people are being a bit hard on Harris, who did his best with limited material. The modern pop culture landscape demands that everything be either a triumph or a disaster when the truth is most things fall somewhere in between.
As for the actual awards, I was generally disappointed by the slate of winners. For awhile there I thought this would be the rare year where the Academy bestowed its Best Picture honor on the actual best picture of the year — Boyhood.
But that hope faded in the weeks leading up to the ceremony, as Birdman dominated the guild awards and emerged as the front-runner. The Academy is nothing if not consistent, and they love giving trophies to movies about movies.
Also sadly predictable was a Best Actor trophy for a man playing a real-life figure with a crippling disability. Eddie Redmayne basically sewed up that win before the first day of shooting The Theory of Everything. The one Birdman victory I actually wanted to see — Michael Keaton for Best Actor — failed to materialize while the film racked up underserved awards.
I actually liked Birdman quite a bit, but not nearly as much as its toughest competition, Boyhood and The Grand Budapest Hotel, or the long shot Whiplash (not to mention the un-nominated Chef and The LEGO Movie).
That said, I was happy for Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, who I would have crowned years ago for helming Amores Perros, and he proved to be a charming winner, delivering witty and insightful speeches. I particularly loved his pitch for Mexican immigrants to be treated with dignity.
In a change of pace from most Oscar ceremonies, the highlights Sunday night were the musical numbers. Neil Patrick Harris’ opening song was his high point, and the performances of ‘Everything is Awesome’ and ‘Glory’ were moving in completely different ways.
Then there was the night’s breakout star, Lady Gaga, who won over those in the audience who think she’s nothing but a pop star in a meat dress with her lovely medley from The Sound of Music. The surprise appearance of a smitten Julie Andrews was the perfect follow-up.
Finally, congratulations to my Aunt Diana for kicking ass and taking names in this year’s Oscar contest!