Monday, February 23, 2015

OSCAR WATCH 2015: the show

Well, it's over for another year.

It seemed to get off to a flying start and move swiftly, until that last third where it dragged.

The opening number

As predicted Neil Patrick Harris gave a showstopping opening, with a lovely turn from Anna Kendrick, and an awe inspiring scene-stealer from Jack Fucking Black! I was immediately impressed, he razzle dazzled, and gave a heartfelt tribute to the movies, lots of meta references and great tunes, including storm-trooper backing dancers! I mean, what's not to love.

However, that was the best of it, he was reduced to snippy, unfunny 'bits' that fell short at almost every turn. He also seemed unnecessarily including black people - I guess as a make up for it being a very white year. It was obvious, tacky, not at all funny, and wore thing with the targets. Especially Oprah...she did not look amused!!

The Speeches - moments to remember

For me, the moments came from the speeches, and how glorious some of them were.

The young man who won Adapted Screenplay for The Imitation Game, talking about his attempted suicide at 16 because he thought he was weird and alone.

The songwriters for Glory from Selma, empowering fellow African-Americans.

Julianne Moore, eloquent and deserved, Eddie Redmayne, joyously geeky.

J.K. Simmons pleading with children to call their parents.

And Patricia Arquette, wow, she had Meryl Streep jumping up and whooping and pointing her finger in the air. This was THE moment of the Oscars, anyone who knows Patty or indeed any of the Arquettes, know they are a passionate family, and her speech on women's rights was spot on, and sadly necessary.

The creepy and the weird

Then there was the creepy and weird.

Everything is not fucking awesome, I loathe that stupid 'song', so that was definitely not a highlight for me...urgh!

John Travolta, just when you think he couldn't be more weird than last year, he manhandles Idina's face in the most creepiest way...double urgh.

And having someone as classy as Marion Cottilard present the Everything is, no, that is NOT awesome, eleventy billion urghs!!

The classy

Some classy moments were Shirley MacLaine, always great to see. Meryl introducing the In Memoriam section with the most heartfelt speech, which included a quote from one of my favourite authors, Joan Didion. And you just know Meryl wrote that herself!

The predictions

So how did I go with my predictions?

Early on when I was 10 for 10, I knew it wouldn't last.

I fell over in both animation categories - no surprises there, so not my area of expertise! When Film Editing went to Whiplash (quite deserved) and not my prediction of Boyhood, I knew sentimentality had gotten the better of me and I would not do so well.

I didn't get both screenplays, which I am a bit mortified about, when Birdman won Original, I knew the jig was up and Boyhood had no chance of Best Picture. Imitation Game was a pleasant surprise for Adapted.

And of course Birdman swooped Director and Best Film.

So 7 wrong, and 17 correct, not bad, but not great!

The unexpected moment of extreme joy and perfection

This final bit is the reason I simply love The Oscars. Every year I hope for something that surprises me, blows me away, and somehow transcends the way I feel about film. You don't always get it, and that is disappointing. Sometimes it's a small moment, sometimes it's big...

And sometimes it's HUGE, and this year it was!

Lady Gaga and The Sound of Music. I knew Gaga was doing something but not heard what, had I heard this prior I probably would have been excited and possibly let done. Whilst not a fan of Gaga - I can take or leave her - I DO know she can really sing, and I think that is what disappoints me about her. Having such a gift and not using it. 

Her medley of Sound of the Music songs were stunning, operatic, and jaw dropping. It brought me to my knees. I have heard some poo-pooing of it already - there is always someone - and yes she's no Julie Andrews, cause NO-ONE is Julie Andrews, but by god she was good, really, really good! I saw snippets of Streisand in the performance, it was simply my show stopper of the evening.

And then, Julie Andrews herself came out, quite visibly moved and excited, and probably a little bit jealous, not being able to sing anymore. It was a bittersweet moment to watch.

And that is why I love The Oscars, those little transient moments of joy make me smile and make me love the fact we celebrate one of my favourite things, movies.

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