For a while, during the broadcast of the 87th Academy Awards broadcast, which I watched at the Rialto Theater in Raleigh (pictured above) last night, I was getting every category right as per my predictions posted last Friday. But my winning streak ended approximately halfway through after 14 Oscars were given out, when my pick for Best Editing, BOYHOOD, was beaten out by WHIPLASH. After that I lost 4 others (see below) including the biggest one, Best Picture.
I was happy that BIRDMAN and its director, Alejandro González Iñárritu, won (the film was my #2 favorite of 2014), but I was really rooting for BOYHOOD, and Richard Linklater to take home the gold because I thought it had the slight innovative and emotional edge going for it.
As for the show itself, first-time host Neil Patrick Harris did a good job starting with his intro - “Tonight we honor Hollywood's best and whitest -sorry brightest” - and the opening song and dance number (especially the Jack Black bit) was one of the stronger ones of recent years, but he wasn't given the best material to work with, something many are blaming on Oscar Head Writer Greg Berlanti, who's so not a comedy writer.
I enjoyed Lady Gaga's tribute to the 50th anniversary of THE SOUND OF MUSIC, the “Everything is Awesome” (from the otherwise snubbed THE LEGO MOVIE) production number (featuring amusing appearances by Tegan and Sara, The Lonely Island and Questlove!), and the acceptance speeches by Julianne Moore, Patricia Arquette, IDA director Paweł Pawlikowski (glad this win may get more people to see the striking IDA), and director Iñárritu in particular.
But I wasn't a fan of NPH's running gag about his Oscar predictions being sealed in a briefcase, locked in a clear box onstage, with his recruiting previous Oscar winner Octavia Spencer to keep her eyes on it throughout the show - the supposed pay off really didn't result in big laughs. I also was disappointed that Joan Rivers, who I tweeted “was in a lot of films, even directed one (a big flop but it starred Oscar fave Billy Crystal)” and SNL's Jan Hooks, who also appeared in a lot of movies including a pivotal part in PEE WEE'S BIG ADVENTURE, were left out of the In Memorium segment.
Best Picture: BIRDMAN
Best Actor: Eddie Redmayne.
Yes, Keaton was robbed, but Redmayne's humble giddiness at winning was a little touching and funny, and his performance as Stephen Hawking in THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING was solid, even if I wasn't so hot on the film. But, again, yeah, it would've been really sweet for the 63-year old Keaton to have finnally gotten that bigtime recognition.
Best Director: Alejandro González Iñárritu
Best Editing: WHIPLASH
Best Original Screenplay: BIRDMAN
Besides BIRDMAN, the other big winner of the night was THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL, which won 4 Oscars. Now, those I got right.
Well, that's it for this year's Oscars. 19 of of 24 wasn't so bad, and I got a few surprises. Now back to watching movies for fun and not for sport.