This about sums it up. (Source)
Well, it’s over. And I’m glad.
The outcome was, in some respects, better than I anticipated. In a way, it was like last year: the best nominee for Best Picture beat the overrated juggernaut, and the tech awards were largely satisfactory, but the acting awards left me largely uninspired. That may be a result more of the predictability of the race than of how I actually feel about the winning performances, but in any case, it felt a bit lackluster.
The show itself didn’t help. Who the fuck wrote the jokes this year? I like Neil Patrick Harris a lot, but he had some terrible material here. That running gag about his predictions was agonizing, especially when he repeatedly dragged poor Octavia Spencer into it. Kudos to Robert Duvall for his complete indifference when NPH tried to pull him in. And that bit where he made David Oyelowo read that non sequitur about the remake of Annie…what the hell was that?
There was an unsettling amount of off-key racial and political humor throughout the night. The reason/treason jab at Edward Snowden. Sean Penn’s “green card” joke about Alejandro Iñárritu (some have played this off as a joke between former collaborators–it was still in damnably poor taste). The fat jokes made by NPH at both Spencer’s and Oprah’s expense. There was a lot to be embarrassed by.
And I didn’t even mention that bit with Idina Menzel and John Travolta. I’ll just remind of whatever the fuck he was wearing around his neck and leave it at that.
On the other hand, there were some excellent acceptance speeches (I’ll discuss those under the relevant categories), at least one of which outshone the film it won for. The “In Memoriam”, with the sketchy artwork, was actually quite a pleasant change of pace (though the omission of Joan Rivers ruffled more than a few feathers). Rosamund Pike called out Gone Girl‘s general snubbing on the red carpet, which I much appreciated. The bit with NPH in his underwear rather cleverly tied together homages to both Birdman and Whiplash. Lady Gaga’s Sound of Music medley was nicely sung (as far as my untrained ears could tell), even if it was decidedly gratuitous (and why not mention My Fair Lady, which won Best Picture 50 years ago?). And the Original Song performances were quite strong (well, I went to the bathroom during “Lost Stars” and zoned out during “Grateful”, but the other three were great).
So really, a pretty mixed bag overall. Let’s go over the winners, see how accurate my predictions were, and discuss.