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87th Academy Awards Wrap-Up

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This about sums it up. (Source)

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).

http://oscar.go.com/embed/VDKA0_z9yv315e

So really, a pretty mixed bag overall. Let’s go over the winners, see how accurate my predictions were, and discuss.

Best Picture: Birdman

I predicted: Birdman

Well done, Iñárritu. That was a really good speech, actually–and built off Penn’s off-putting quip very well indeed.

I knew this was going to win. Boyhood was losing steam, Birdman had the appropriate precursors, and once a certain award earlier in the evening went a certain way, I realized Boyhood‘s goose was probably cooked. Then another award went to Birdman which basically sealed the deal..

And I’m really glad. I thought it was the best of the nominees, and although it’s hardly as good as 12 Years a Slave, it’s the second year in a row the Academy picked the best of the nominees. It’s a really good film, despite the backlash which has been brewing over the last couple of months, and I’m glad it won.

(Sorry about the shitty quality. Not sure what that’s about.)

Best Director: Alejandro González Iñárritu, Birdman

I predicted: Richard Linklater, Boyhood

I guess I should have gone with Iñárritu. I figured he was the likely runner-up. I just assumed they’d split the top awards so both films could get recognized. But I’m not complaining. I thought his direction was much better (in strictly cinematic terms) than Linklater’s. Linklater really should win something, given the career he’s had, but I’m saying right now–the Academy made the right choice.

And holy shit, Wes Anderson’s clapping really is that weird.

(For those who watched the show–who picked these clips? The clip they used for Bradley Cooper was a really weird choice. The one for Steve Carell was great, though.)

Best Actor: Eddie Redmayne, The Theory of Everything

I predicted: Eddie Redmayne, The Theory of Everything

Somebody’s excited.

I knew it was going to happen. I was holding out hope that Keaton would somehow upset, and it looks really weird that he didn’t win, but the season was trending in that direction. And, honestly, he does do a good job in the film. If the film were better, I’d probably be happier for him. I just hope Michael Keaton somehow gets nominated again down the road.

(Thank God they didn’t show the clips. Witherspoon especially looked terrible.)

Best Actress: Julianne Moore, Still Alice

I predicted: Julianne Moore, Still Alice

As a recognition of Moore herself, it works. The film itself is apparently not that great, and I really wish Pike had won instead (since most would agree Moore should have won in 1997 and/or 2002), but I’m glad she finally has one.

That said, I haven’t really loved a decision in this category in quite a while. Maybe Marion Cotillard winning in 2007? Haven’t seen the film, but on paper she seems like a pretty good choice.

Best Supporting Actor: J.K. Simmons, Whiplash

I predicted: J.K. Simmons, Whiplash

And yes, I told my dad I loved him.

Pretty inevitable choice. Not my #1 of the year, but he’s great, he’s great in the film, and the film itself is really good. So overall, it works for me.

Best Supporting Actress: Patricia Arquette, Boyhood

I predicted: Patricia Arquette, Boyhood

Like Simmons and Moore, her winning was a foregone conclusion. I don’t love the performance (she’s good, but the character is really kind of underwritten), but DAMN did she give a good speech. That cutaway to Meryl and J-Lo was perfect. So for that alone, I’m all right with her winning.

http://oscar.go.com/embed/VDKA0_k6kuy9ix

Best Original Screenplay: Birdman

I predicted: The Grand Budapest Hotel

Once this happened, it was pretty clear who was winning Best Picture. And I figured it was pretty neck-and-neck between this and GBH, but I thought the love for that film, and the desire to recognize Wes Anderson, would carry over to here. But no dice.

Not that I mind. This was the better screenplay, its faults aside.

http://oscar.go.com/embed/VDKA0_4756q5vd

Best Adapted Screenplay: The Imitation Game

I predicted: The Imitation Game

What a speech. Honestly, a far more heartfelt and moving speech than anything in the film itself. I don’t agree with the choice (because it’s really not that good of a script, and Inherent Vice was so much better), but the speech did make up for a lot. Good for him.

(Couldn’t find Lubezki’s speech.)

Cinematography: Birdman

I predicted: Birdman

Is there really anything to say here?

I liked the way Jessica Chastain just said “Chivo”. And Idris Elba is a badass.

Editing: Whiplash

I predicted: Boyhood

The BAFTA win was a decent tip-off. And once this happened, I immediately Tweeted that Boyhood was in trouble. Sure enough, it only took home one Oscar instead of the three I predicted. And yet, like the other major upset, the Academy actually made the better choice. Because this film just rocketed by. So I might have been a bit off (I had it as the likeliest runner-up, however), but I’m all the happier for it.

Production Design: The Grand Budapest Hotel

I predicted: The Grand Budapest Hotel

There’s nothing to say. From the second this came out it pretty much had this Oscar in the bag.

Costume Design: The Grand Budapest Hotel

I predicted: The Grand Budapest Hotel

Ditto.

She’s been winning Oscars for almost 40 years. That’s impressive.

Makeup & Hairstyling: The Grand Budapest Hotel

I predicted: The Grand Budapest Hotel

I knew this was the likely outcome, but I’m not happy about it. I really don’t see what was so great about the makeup here. Yes, they made Tilda Swinton look old. Beyond that–fuck-all. Guardians got robbed.

Score: The Grand Budapest Hotel

I predicted: The Grand Budapest Hotel

Desplat finally has his Oscar. I’m pretty much cool with that.

http://oscar.go.com/embed/VDKA0_n0bf739l

Song: “Glory”, Selma

I predicted: “Glory”, Selma

So happy Selma didn’t go home empty-handed.  I wanted to include a video of the performance, but I couldn’t find a good quality one (what the hell?). The speech, though, is well worth watching on its own. I hope Common does some more acting in the future, he’s pretty damn charismatic. And John Legend is awesome (and I’m considering this in part a makeup award for his snub in 2012).

Sound Mixing: Whiplash

I predicted: Birdman

Again, the Academy actually made the best choice (though Birdman was a good choice as well), giving Whiplash three Oscars instead of the one most had predicted. Too bad they didn’t add Adapted Screenplay to make it four, but consider this…a film which cost $3.3 million and was shot in 19 days has won three Oscars, two of them technical awards. That’s pretty fucking cool to me.

Sound Editing: American Sniper

I predicted: American Sniper

And with that, every Best Picture nominee won at least one Oscar. I like it when that happens. It’s also the first time in some years that it’s happened–the first time since 2007, I think.

As for the award itself, I guess it’s deserved. The sound editing didn’t really make a big impression on me, but it makes sense.

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/video/oscars-2015-watch-interstellar-win-776584

Visual Effects: Interstellar

I predicted: Interstellar

Thank God it won something.

http://oscar.go.com/embed/VDKA0_cqdlerzz

Animated Feature: Big Hero 6

I predicted: How to Train Your Dragon 2

This was the biggest upset of the night for me. And yet…not that big of a one. It’s just…it feels like such a default winner. Plus, Song of the Sea and The Tale of the Princess Kaguya being here made it look even worse. So that was a letdown.

http://oscar.go.com/embed/VDKA0_cqdlerzz

Foreign Language Film: Ida

I predicted: Leviathan

Maybe the Globe win wasn’t enough. Maybe Ida was just more resonant with the average voter. I’m not shocked, but a tiny bit disappointed.

That said, Pawlikowski’s speech was AWESOME. I loved how he talked over the orchestra, was rushing to finish and didn’t, kept on going after the orchestra stopped, then didn’t finish until they’d started playing again. I think not having the orchestra there really led people to disregard them this year, and honestly, I’m cool with that. The orchestra getting marginalized is not at all cool, but cutting people off in their moment of triumph has always been rather obnoxious to me.

Documentary Feature: CitizenFour

I predicted: CitizenFour

A foregone conclusion. I don’t remember the speech being especially memorable–I remember NPH’s weird joke, though–but hey, it won. I’m glad.

 

As always, I count an exact prediction as 1 and a runner-up prediction as ½.

Exact predictions: 15 – (71.4%)

“Could Win” winners: 6

Final Score: 18/21 – 85.7%

Four of the six I missed were the results of Birdman and Whiplash being more successful than I expected. The other two were understandable. It helps that this was a fairly predictable race, but I’m still feeling pretty good about my batting average.

 

Coming later today or tomorrow…a ridiculous gesture. After that, I’m going to spend the next few days tending to IRL priorities and finishing up some posts, and will resume regular posting, hopefully, in a week to 10 days.

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