I do not fault Neil Patrick Harris, the host. I thought his opening song and dance number was top notch. It reflected on how much we as a culture love the movies. I thought it was ironic that the song celebrated movies that are supposed to be the most beloved of all time, and very few of them won Best Picture Oscars. If the Academy Awards is supposed to honor the truly best in cinema (forgive me for not being cynical), then this song highlighted how wrong the Academy has been for so many years.
So here are some of my general thoughts:
The big winners were not only the makers of Birdman, but also Wes Anderson. No, he didn't win the Oscar for best director, but his Grand Budapest Hotel cleaned up a bunch of undeserved awards. The Academy loves him. I'm not sure why. I can't say that I've ever seen a movie of his that was good.
There was really nothing to root for except for American Sniper. I base this not on the merits of the movie, but on popularity. Most of the movie-watching population had not seen most of the movies nominated. I think that if this happens next year, I will skip. It's just too boring.
I understand the appeal of having a microphone that is connected to billions across the world. If you ever want to feel important, you could use this moment for an "important" message. And that is what I heard on Oscar night. Best speech of the night went to JK Simmons. It was straightforward and touching. And his "big message" was something that reminds us of the importance of family. The worst, though, was Patricia Arquette who made a big plea for income equality, which is something that already exists. That's like demanding that women have the right to vote. Nobody is arguing against this, but if you don't applaud you look like a sexist.
John Travolta touching Idina Menzel's face.
THE SOUND OF GAGA
I was horrified that Lady Gaga was singing The Sound of Music. Then I was surprised to find that she actually sounded very good. And then I realized that in an already interminably long telecast, they added a 10 minute interlude about The Sound of Music. And while I love the movie, cuts need to be made.
The Oscars are slipping into irrelevancy. This is something that could easily be turned around if they simply brought in more of a populist appeal. Give us something to root for. We don't mind if smaller independent movies like As Good As It Gets and Good Will Hunting win if the greatness of Titanic is also recognized. It's okay that Shawshank Redemption loses as long it is against Forrest Gump.
But we'll see.
Below are my Live Tweets from that night.