Oscars Review

February 23, 2015

There it is, another Oscar ceremony come and gone.

It wasn’t a bad way to spend four hours.

As for the show itself, meh. I’d give it a solid B-minus.

Strong opening song, I felt. The use of the protections on the screen I thought was cool. Anna Kendrick and Jack Black I thought were great. Jack Black in any Oscar appearance tends to be hysterical. He’d probably make a perfectly good host.

But overall, I think Neil Patrick Harris was a tad disappointing. He wasn’t all that funny, honestly. Very hit or miss with the jokes.

The recurring gag with the case of Oscar predictions got old real fast. Paid off in the end, actually. But they did not think that bit out. Conan O’Brien did a similar bit when he hosted the Emmys. Having Bob Newhart in a glass booth that would run out of air if the show went too long was way funnier.

Steve Carell was the funniest guy in the show for his quick bit pretending to be a seat filler. After seeing him in Foxcatcher, I almost forgot Carell was a comedian.

The musical numbers are always a hit or miss item each year.

Batman showing up (played by Will Arnet a la The Lego Movie) in the middle of Tegan and Sara’s performance of “Everything is Awesome” was gorgeous.

John Legend and Common’s song “Glory” I thought was just beautiful – a powerful song that makes me wish I’d seen Selma on the big screen.

Lady Gaga ­– OK, I don’t care about The Sound of Music one way or the other but her medley of songs from that film was outstanding. She’s got an amazing singing voice.

My personal favourite WTF moment of the night was Terrence Howard presenting three of the Best Picture nominees. I don’t know if he was nervous, drunk, high or just being a ham but he was so over the top with his “emotional delivery” that it was funny. As I saw someone say on Twitter, Don Cheadle would have done it better.

As to the awards.

A lot of movie buffs like to slough off the Academy Awards and say they don’t matter. I don’t say that, because, as it happens, my favourite films tend to win big every year.

Birdman , one of my favourite films from last year, cleaned up. It is a true masterpiece and it was given its due, winning Best Cinematography, Best Original Screenplay, Best Director and, finally, Best Picture. It’s a truly amazing film and not just a piece of Oscar bait.

The Grand Budapest Hotel did nicely, too, winning the art awards, which, if you’ve seen the film, makes sense.
My favourite Best Picture nominee, Whiplash, took home three Oscars. One of them was Best Supporting Actor for JK Simmons playing the thundering bandleader in the film.

If you haven’t seen Whiplash, make it a priority.

There is really only one controversial win, in my opinion.

It was Eddie Redmayne winning Best Actor for The Theory of Everything over Michael Keaton for Birdman. Redmayne is good as Stephen Hawking in the film, he really is but he didn’t come close to being as memorable as Keaton was in Birdman.

Keaton was a powerhouse in Birdman, managing to be both hilarious and terribly sad. It’s one of those performances that will go down in history along with the best of De Niro, Brando or Nicholson.

Also … did you see Redmayne in Jupiter Ascending? I say that for humour, of course.

So while the show was hit or miss, the awards were the highlight for me.

Not a bad night for the Oscars.

By KURT FABISCH