Monday, 23 February 2015

The Oscars and the Grouch 2015

The Oscars and the Grouch 
and the Oscar goes to…”

 With the Globes and BAFTAs having been and gone, the stage was set for the Awards that people actually give two sh*ts about. This year’s Academy Awards proved to be a magical night of gowns, glitz, glamour, golden gongs, film celebration and thinly veiled disappointment (you may have noticed I blatantly just gave up on the alliteration there, shameful). For me it was once again a lonely, alcohol/caffeine-fuelled ceremony, beginning at around 01:30am in the UK, which, as expected, resulted in me getting quite considerably more tetchy and aggressive (admittedly to a picture on a screen) as the evening rolled on. However, this did not distract me from the fact that the movies this year were a fantastic collection and that I’ve had the pleasure to watch a very large portion of them, save but a few. Now I know we don't have the time to cover them all but here are the main events: 

  • Best Picture - Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
  •  Brilliantly unique, black comedy that really set the pace of Oscar season and rightly so. The cast performances were stellar, especially Edward Norton and Michael Keaton, and it was great to see Zach Galifianakis test out his fractionally more dramatic acting chops for once. With the directing and screenplay also winning statuettes it really highlights the success that this picture was in 2014. Congrats.
  • Best Director - Alejandro G. Iñárritu Birdman
  • This was incredibly ambitious to attempt such a style of directing for a fell-length feature film and the result was excellent. Just like the musical score, this hectic mix of dramatically varied elements combined effortlessly on screen to produce a wonderfully memorable film. The credit had to go to Iñárritu for making that possible and you could tell he was thrilled with the award. 
  • (It was, however, slightly shocking for Linklater to still be left out of the Oscar party. He now totals 5 nominations without a win and I was certain one of these top two awards would credit Boyhood, but that's old age academy pensioners for you folks).

  • Best Actor - Eddie Redmayne The Theory of Everything
  • Redmanyne's performance was fantastic and there’s no getting away from it. A clean sweep of the Globe, Bafta and now the Oscar and yet he still acts shocked and surprised about being recognised. You become so engrossed in this movie and the story of Stephen Hawking’s life that you forget the skill of the acting that Redmayne produces. This superb performance truly does justice to the man and inspiration behind the film.

  • Best Actress - Julianne Moore Still Alice
  • Fifth time she has been nominated and without a win she was destined to be the Oscar favourite. A powerful film that ironically stays in your mind for days afterwards, Julianne Moore's performance brings the character to life and more. Always been a fan of hers and if you haven't seen The Kids Are Alright the I implore you to do so. Out of this years nominees though I'll admit I was kind of rooting for Felicity Jones to win but oh well, can't have them all. 

  • The Rest of the Winners
  • Best Animated Feature Film - Big Hero 6 Disney/Pixar - Great film but where was Lego?
  • Best Supporting Actress       - Patricia Arquette Boyhood - Boyhood's only win, well deserved.
  • Best Supporting Actor         - JK Simmons Whiplash - Absolutely, outrageously, stunning job!
  • Best Original Screenplay      - Birdman - Would have been Wes' Grand Budapest Hotel for me!
  • Best Adapted Screenplay     - The Imitation Game Graham Moore - Fair play, but odd speech! 
  • Best Foreign Language Film - Ida Poland - Haven't actually seen this yet, Leviathan was top!
  • Best Documentary              -  CitizenFour - Couldn't have been any other winner, thrilling!
  • Best Original Song          - Glory John Legend & Common - LegoEverything was awesome...

 - The Ceremony - Hosted by: Neil Patrick Harris
 In what seems to be an unpopular opinion I thought Patrick Harris was quite brilliant as host. A great opening number was followed by him seemingly not giving a f*ck about the entire event and adding a (somewhat-diluted) touch of Gervais to the proceedings with his close-to-the-mark quips. Add in a few truly terrible puns, a magic trick and a underwear presentation and it really was entertaining (for the Oscars bear in mind). Really not hard to beat Ellen last year though.

Speeches - I do have some issues with a few of the speeches this year, however, which seemed too often to descend into a podium for each victor's personal gripes about the world. “We need more volunteers…”, “We need more Black's Rights, Women’s Rights, Gay’s Rights, White’s Rights & Whistleblower's Rights” ... Followed closely by "Oh and lastly thanks to Mummy, Daddy, that God bloke for making me so special." We get it you don't w
ant to seem all greedy up there with your new friend Oscar, but how about give it a rest for the evening shall we. This isn't an Awareness Fundraiser it's an Awards Show. Move along.

Music - The musical numbers were also terrifically varied this year. A trippy, Europop-esque performance of ‘Everything is Awesome’ from The Lego Movie really did spark the evening up a bit, although I feel Clint Eastwood might have been faintly disturbed by the entire thing. A shockingly subdued rendition of songs from ‘The Sound of Music’ was performed by Lady Gaga, who managed to change out of her marigolds from the Red Carpet and put on something rather more toned-down. On the whole highlighting the great voice behind the unbearable nutter. And lest we forget the performance of Glory by John Legend and Common, from the film Selma, which received a hardly surprising standing ovation. I'm fairly certain that last night's theatre was rigged up with signage that after every black oppression/Selma reference stated  “Quickly guys last one on his feet is a racist!”

Phew, anyway, well at least that's that done for another year. Come back tomorrow for Newsday Tuesday (still a solid name right there) where we will be discussing a few of the films and trailers on the horizon for the next few weeks.  

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