by Mitch Burns

Last night were the 87th Academy Awards, hosted by Neil Patrick Harris, and overall the night was a resounding MEH. Let’s go over the night with some Best and Worst moments:

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Best: Opening Number

With Neil Patrick Harris on board, I think we were all expecting singing, and he was smart to wrangle in the world’s sweetheart at the moment, Anna Kendrick. The song was not only serviceable, but actually catchy and well done. It was funny, lively and cameo from Jack Black worked great.

Worst: Neil Patrick Harris’ Predictions Box

I thing we all knew this was a bad idea as soon as it started. Neil Patrick Harris locked up his predictions for the night, in a glass cage that sat on stage all night. He had Octavia Spencer, who was sitting close by, keep an eye on it. He continued to go back to Spencer throughout the night, asking her if anyone had tampered with the box. There is a way this could have been funny, like letting poor Octavia Spencer know about this gag beforehand, and giving her something to do. They also should not have gone back to the well with the joke 5 or 6 times, as it just became glaringly annoying. This was the worst part of the night, as the payoff was not that great. The only good part about it was a John Travolta joke, because John Travolta is one big joke at this point.

Best: Everything is Awesome

Tegan and Sara and The Lonely Island, joined forces to sing their song from “The Lego Movie”. The sketch was incredibly interesting, and full of craziness. People dressed as cowboys, astronauts and possums danced around the stage, while cowboys handed out Lego statues of Oscars to the likes of Oprah and Channing Tatum. We also got to see Will Arnett, who voiced Batman in “The Lego Movie” dressed in full Batman costume. It was Awesome.

Worst: Almost Every Neil Patrick Harris Joke

The humor throughout the show was pretty limited to Neil Patrick Harris himself. It seemed as if we got way more of him than we did Ellen last year, as Harris would come out before almost every award was announced. Harris’ jokes, outside of the opening number, fell flat for the most part. I don’t entirely blame him, because he is a likeable guy, but I don’t think the writing behind him was strong enough.

Best: Graham Moore, Eddie Redmayne, J.K. Simmons and Patricia Arquette’s speeches

We had some great speeches last night! In my opinion, Graham Moore’s speech was the best, it was emotional and empowering. Moore, who wrote the script for “The Imitation Game”, gave a speech discussing his own suicide attempts and urging kids to “Stay weird” and to be themselves.
Redmayne was excited, and it was nice to see some genuine excitement up on that stage. J.K. Simmons told people to call their parents, which was funny yet poignant.
Patricia Arquette got political up on stage, like many of the speech givers. Arquette used her speech to bring up an issue that’s plaguing the entire world, and Hollywood, equality for women and equal pay. Meryl Streep and Jennifer Lopez’s reactions were also the best, but why were those two seated next to each other?

Worst: John Travolta and Terrence Howard presenting

Idina Menzel is such a trooper, I couldn’t believe how well she handled the situation of having the very creepy, plastic looking John Travolta put his hands all over her face. Audiences around the world felt very uncomfortable, but probably not as uncomfortable as poor Adele Dazeem.
Not much later, Terrence Howard got up to introduce 3 of the Best Picture winners, and I think he thought he could win an Oscar for best Award presentation. Either that, or he was little drunk, as he got overly emotional trying to discuss “The Imitation Game” and had pauses long enough to hear crickets chirping.

Best: Glory and all that emotion!

John Legend and Common performed their song “Glory” from the film “Selma”, about Dr. Martin Luther King. I like the song, but seeing it done live on stage was spectacular, it was a wonderful performance with a choir and group of people reenacting the walk through Selma. It caused quite the emotion through the crown, David Oyelowo had tears streaming down his face, as Oprah embraced him, Chris Pine was quite visibly moved and the entire crown were on their feet clapping. It’s almost enough to forgive the Academy for all but forgetting “Selma”.

Worst: Boyhood is almost forgotten

What most people assumed was a frontrunner all awards season long, went home (almost) empty handed. Patricia Arquette went home with the only award for “Boyhood” for Supporting Actress, she didn’t have too much competition and she’s been the frontrunner all along. I was extremely happy for “Birdman” taking home Best Picture, Director and more, but “Boyhood” was my favorite film of the year and it would have been nice to see it take home a few more awards. I still love you “Boyhood”.

Best: Lady Gaga does “The Sound of Music”

The show was running long, so when I heard Lady Gaga would be coming out to do a “Special Song”, I wasn’t exactly thrilled. Then, she came out looking radiant, and did a wonderful medley of the songs from “The Sound of Music”, reminding everyone how amazing her voice is. She was a perfect fit for the songs, and Julie Andrews seemed thrilled.

Worst: The Length

There was a lot they could have cut, slimmed down. The show went almost 45 minutes too long, and there were some moments that could have been cut, trimmed down. Obviously the Neil Patrick Harris Lock box joke could have gone, the Team Oscar moment got it’s due during the red carpet and could have gone, We didn’t really need to hear from Cheryl Boon Isaac’s, the Academy president, and we could have done with out the Academy of Scientific and Technical awards. The Awards are long enough as they are, and need to be trimmed down in any way possible.

Best: Tim McGraw

When Country and Movies mix, I’m happy! Tim McGraw was handpicked by Greg Campbell and his family  to sing “‘I’m Not Gonna Miss You”, the song from the Documentary “Greg Campbell: I’ll be Me”. It was a touching moment, McGraw nailed it, and definitely did Greg Campbell’s family proud. Campbell’s family was in the audience, Campbell was not as he is too sick to attend.

Worst: Joan Rivers and Elaine Stritch left out of the “In Memoriam”

Both Joan Rivers and Elaine Stritch, who sadly passed away in 2014, were not shown on the screen during the in Memoriam segment. I didn’t notice at first, as I was awaiting seeing Robin Williams name and preparing myself to be really sad, but afterwards I knew someone was missing. I took to Twitter and saw that not only was Joan Rivers not in it, Elaine Stritch who i enjoyed on 30 Rock was left out as well. Both Rivers and Stritch were in many films, and it doesn’t take much research to see who died in a year, thanks to Wikipedia.

Consensus:

Some decent moments, but overall I won’t remember too much from the night. The show was extremely memorable, I think we’ll see changes next year as it was the least watched show since 2009. If only we could get Amy Poehler and Tina Fey, but I wouldn’t complain if we see Ellen again.

Show Grade: C+

The Winners and how I did with my predictions:

They should revoke my right to run a movie website, I predicted all 24 categories here and I didn’t do so hot. My final score was 15/24. My bias for Boyhood threw me off, I didn’t expect the Academy to basically shun it. There were also some surprises, like Score, Animated Picture, Sound Mixing, and Editing. All the winners and my predictions are below.

Best Picture
“American Sniper”
“Birdman”
“Boyhood”
“The Grand Budapest Hotel”
“The Imitation Game”
“Selma”
“The Theory of Everything”
“Whiplash”

Winner: “Birdman”

My Prediction: “Boyhood”

Best Director
Wes Anderson, “The Grand Budapest Hotel”
Alejandro González Iñárritu, “Birdman”
Richard Linklater, “Boyhood”
Bennett Miller, “Foxcatcher”
Morten Tyldum, “The Imitation Game”

Winner: Alejandro González Iñárritu, “Birdman”

My Prediction: Richard Linklater, “Boyhood”

Best Actress
Marion Cotillard, “Two Days, One Night”
Felicity Jones, “The Theory of Everything”
Julianne Moore, “Still Alice”
Rosamund Pike, “Gone Girl”
Reese Witherspoon, “Wild”

Winner: Julianne Moore, “Still Alice”

My Prediction: Julianne Moore, “Still Alice”

Best Actor
Steve Carell, “Foxcatcher”
Bradley Cooper, “American Sniper”
Benedict Cumberbatch, “The Imitation Game”
Michael Keaton, “Birdman”
Eddie Redmayne, “The Theory of Everything”

Winner: Eddie Redmayne, “The Theory of Everything”

My Prediction: Eddie Redmayne, “The Theory of Everything”

Best Supporting Actress
Patricia Arquette, “Boyhood”
Laura Dern, “Wild”
Keira Knightley, “The Imitation Game”
Emma Stone, “Birdman”
Meryl Streep, “Into the Woods”

Winner: Patricia Arquette, “Boyhood”

My Prediction: Patricia Arquette, “Boyhood”

Best Supporting Actor
Robert Duvall, “The Judge”
Ethan Hawke, “Boyhood”
Edward Norton, “Birdman”
Mark Ruffalo, “Foxcatcher”
J.K. Simmons, “Whiplash”

Winner: J.K. Simmons, “Whiplash”

My Prediction: J.K. Simmons, “Whiplash”

Best Adapted Screenplay
Paul Thomas Anderson, “Inherent Vice”
Damien Chazelle, “Whiplash”
Jason Hall, “American Sniper”
Anthony McCarten, “The Theory of Everything”
Graham Moore, “The Imitation Game”

Winner: Graham Moore, “The Imitation Game”

My Prediction: Graham Moore, “The Imitation Game”

Best Original Screenplay
Wes Anderson and Hugo Guinness, “The Grand Budapest Hotel”
Dan Futterman and E. Max Frye, “Foxcatcher”
Dan Gilroy, “Nightcrawler”
Alejandro González Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris and Armando Bo, “Birdman”
Richard Linklater, “Boyhood”

Winner: Alejandro González Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris and Armando Bo, “Birdman”

My Prediction: Wes Anderson and Hugo Guinness, “The Grand Budapest Hotel”

Best Foreign Language Film
“Leviathan”
“Ida”
“Tangerines”
“Timbuktu”
“Wild Tales”

Winner: “Ida”

My Prediction: “Ida”

Best Documentary Feature
“CITIZENFOUR”
“Finding Vivian Maier”
“Last Days in Vietnam”
“The Salt of the Earth”
“Virunga”

Winner: “CITIZENFOUR”

My Prediction: “CITIZENFOUR”

Best Animated Feature
“Big Hero 6”
“The Boxtrolls”
“How to Train Your Dragon 2”
“Song of the Sea”
“The Tale of The Princess Kaguya”

Winner: “Big Hero 6”

My Prediction: “How to Train Your Dragon 2”

Best Film Editing
“American Sniper”
“Boyhood”
“The Grand Budapest Hotel”
“The Imitation Game”
“Whiplash”

Winner: “Whiplash”

My Prediction:”Boyhood”

Best Original Song
“Everything is Awesome” from “The LEGO Movie” (written by Shawn Patterson)
“Glory” from “Selma” (written by Common and John Legend)
“Grateful” from “Beyond the Lights” (written by Diane Warren)
“I’m Not Gonna Miss You” from “Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me” (written by Glen Campbell)
“Lost Stars” from “Begin Again” (written by Gregg Alexander, Danielle Brisebois, Nick Lashley and Nick Southwood)

Winner: “Glory” from “Selma” (written by Common and John Legend)

My Prediction: “Glory” from “Selma” (written by Common and John Legend)

Best Original Score
Alexandre Desplat, “The Grand Budapest Hotel”
Alexandre Desplat, “The Imitation Game”
Johann Johannsson, “The Theory of Everything”
Gary Yershon, “Mr. Turner”
Hans Zimmer, “Interstellar”

Winner: Johann Johannsson, “The Theory of Everything”

My Prediction: Alexandre Desplat, “The Grand Budapest Hotel”

Best Cinematography
Roger Deakins, “Unbroken”
Emmanuel Lubezki, “Birdman”
Dick Pope, “Mr. Turner”
Robert Yeoman, “The Grand Budapest Hotel”
Lukasz Zal and Ryszard Lenczewski, “Ida”

Winner: Emmanuel Lubezki, “Birdman” 

My Prediction: Emmanuel Lubezki, “Birdman”

Best Costume Design
“The Grand Budapest Hotel”
“Inherent Vice”
“Into the Woods”
“Maleficent”
“Mr. Turner”

Winner: “The Grand Budapest Hotel”

My Prediction: “The Grand Budapest Hotel”

Best Makeup and Hairstyling
“Foxcatcher”
“The Grand Budapest Hotel”
“Guardians of the Galaxy”

Winner: “The Grand Budapest Hotel”

My Prediction: “The Grand Budapest Hotel”

Best Production Design
“The Grand Budapest Hotel”
“The Imitation Game”
“Interstellar”
“Into the Woods”
“Mr. Turner”

Winner: “The Grand Budapest Hotel”

My Prediction: “The Grand Budapest Hotel”

Best Sound Editing
“American Sniper”
“Birdman”
“The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies”
“Interstellar”
“Unbroken”

Winner: “American Sniper”

My Prediction: “American Sniper”

Best Sound Mixing
“American Sniper”
“Birdman”
“Interstellar”
“Unbroken”
“Whiplash”

Winner: “Whiplash”

My Prediction: “American Sniper”

Best Visual Effects
“Captain America: The Winter Soldier”
“Dawn of the Planet of the Apes”
“Guardians of the Galaxy”
“Interstellar”
“X-Men: Days of Future Past”

Winner: “Interstellar”

My Prediction: “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes”

Best Short Film, Live Action
“Aya”
“Boogaloo and Graham”
“Butter Lamp”
“Parvaneh”
“The Phone Call”

Winner: “The Phone Call”

My Prediction: “Butter Lamp”

Best Short Film, Animated
“The Bigger Picture”
“The Dam Keeper”
“Feast”
“Me and My Moulton”
“A Single Life”

Winner: “Feast”

My Prediction: “Feast”

Best Documentary, Short Subject
“Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1”
“Joanna”
“Our Curse”
“The Reaper”
“White Earth”

Winner: “Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1”

My Prediction: “Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1”


Find Mitch on Twitter @mitchydaily

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