Every year, Hollywood comes together to honor and celebrate some of the best films of the previous year, showcasing so much talent, and many great films. For me, it’s my Super Bowl, and I look forward to it every year. Some years offer better movies than others, and some years the show is great, and some years the show is dull. You never quite know how it’s going to go, even though we love to make predictions and try our best to figure it our who would go home with one of the little golden men for their mantle.
Last night’s Oscars celebration may have been one of the more predictable as far as winners go, but it didn’t stop it from being fun watching it all play out. Check out a list of all the Academy Award winners below, and my commentary and feelings on some of them after the list.
- Best Picture – Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
- Best Actress – Julianne Moore, Still Alice
- Best Actor – Eddie Redmayne, The Theory of Everything
- Directing – Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
- Best Supporting Actress – Patricia Arquette, Boyhood
- Best Supporting Actor – J.K. Simmons, Whiplash
- Animated Feature Film - Big Hero 6
- Documentary Feature – Citizenfour
- Foreign Language Film – Ida (Poland)
- Adapted Screenplay – Graham Moore, The Imitation Game
- Original Screenplay – Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Jr. & Armando Bo, Birdman or (The
- Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
- Original Score – Alexandre Desplat, The Grand Budapest Hotel
- Original Song – “Glory” from Selma
- Film Editing – Whiplash
- Production Design – The Grand Budapest Hotel
- Sound Editing – American Sniper
- Sound Mixing – Whiplash
- Visual Effects – Interstellar
- Cinematography – Emmanuel Lubezki, Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
- Costume Design – Milena Canonero, The Grand Budapest Hotel
- Makeup and Hairstyling – Frances Hannon and Mark Coulier, The Grand Budapest Hotel
- Animated Short Film – Feast
- Live Action Short Film – The Phone Call
- Documentary Short Subject – Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1
First things first, Neil Patrick Harris tried his best to infuse his showy and fun loving nature into the proceedings, but some unfortunate bad writing and real safe choices hindered him from ever really being great. It’s frustrating, because Harris has been known for his great hosting gigs at the Tony Awards, so I expected a lot going into this. The writing just played everything safe, and they really didn’t let Neil be Neil, holding back his more showy nature, which is unfortunate. This was a chance to be the biggest and showiest Oscars since Hugh Jackman hosted, but it was not to be. Thankfully though, the opening number was great, and some of the parts worked. The briefcase gag went on far too long though, and landed with a thud, which is too bad because it could have been incredibly fun if had gone another way.
There’s very few of the Academy Award nominees that I didn’t like, and even more, didn’t want to see win. While I really wanted to see The Grand Budapest Hotel or Boyhood walk away with Best Picture, it wasn’t surprising to see that Alejandro G. Iñárritu’s Birdman went home with the top prize this year. Birdman was one of the most interesting, fun, and well acted films last year, and it really deserved its win.
I can’t help but feel that Birdman still deserved to get the Best Actor win last night as well, as Michael Keaton lost to Eddie Redmayne for The Theory of Everything. Redmayne’s performance as iconic scientist Stephen Hawking was truly moving and remarkable, but I didn’t think he soared to the heights of Micheal Keaton in Birdman. I think Redmayne is also lucky that Jupiter Ascending didn’t come out until all the votes for the Academy Awards were in, because he was arguably one of the worst parts of that film, and it could have played a big part in him losing last night’s award. Hollywood can unfortunately be fickle that way, but it’s great to see him so humbled and happy for the award win.
There’s really not a lot to complain about when it comes to a lot of the winners last night. J.K. Simmons, Patricia Arquette, Julianna Moore, and the song Glory from Selma were all truly deserving of their wins. Alejandro G. Iñárritu’s win for Best Director was a little surprising, because I thought it Richard Linklater may have taken it for his magnificent film Boyhood, but Iñárritu was so deserving for what he accomplished. The fact that Birdman feels like one seamless shot from beginning to end is quite a feet, and one that works very well for the film, so it’s easy to see why he’d land a Best Director Academy Award for it.
One aside I do want to talk about, and one that was very frustrating, was the shots that seemed to be taken over and over again at the superhero films and blockbusters during the show. More than once, including Jack Black’s part in the show’s opening number, made sure to take shots at bigger films, with superheroes and sequels taking the brunt of it. It may have been a play because of Birdman and what it talked about it, but the idea that there are no original films out there and all that is made is superhero films, sequels, and remakes is becoming an erroneous thought that many are simply wrong on. It couldn’t be farther from the case, as some six hundred films come out a year, making a very tiny percentage being remakes, sequels, or superhero films. Even when we get more original fare, such as Jupiter Ascending and John Carter, though the latter is based on a book, no one shows up and the movie bombs. Just because a film is original, doesn’t necessarily make it good, and there is plenty of original films that come out a year. We live in a time where it is easier to access films more and more on a daily basis, seeing them from all parts of the world. The idea that there is no original films, and we use blockbusters as a crutch is wrong. The studios may use them to help their bottomline, but there are so many films put out a year, the few that are sequels, reboots, remakes, or superhero films is just a drop of water in a much bigger ocean.
It was sad to see the Academy Awards using that as a play last night to take shots at some of those films, especially considering many in attendance, including quite a few of the nominees, are a part of those larger franchise films. Nominees including Michael Keaton, Emma Stone, Benedict Cumberbatch, Marion Cotillard, Mark Ruffalo, all have been a part of, or currently are, a larger superhero franchise. Julianne Moore and Eddie Redmayne were also both just in two of the biggest blockbuster flops in recent memory as well. So it’s just sort of ridiculous to see the Academy Awards taking shots at the bigger films, in jest or not, when they’re some of the better blockbusters that have come out period. It may be all fun and games, but talk like that leads people to really think that these films are hurting the marketplace and killing smaller films, which is something we should be putting to bed because it’s not true, not supporting in an awards show.
There’s so much that can be talked about last night’s Academy Awards, and while I may not agree with the Best Actor winner completely, it was still a good show, though not the best we’ve had recently. Now that it’s over, we can set our sights on the 2016 Academy Awards, and what we might see getting nominated, which is part of the fun leading up to it. You can also listen to a detailed breakdown of last night’s award show on Reel Film Chatter, a podcast that I host.