Monday, February 23, 2015

THE 87TH ANNUAL ACADEMY AWARDS


After months of trophy overload, the only award show that still really counts, the Oscars brought an official close to the season.  For the first time in quite a while, every Best Picture nominee walked away with at least one award. Although "Birdman" was the big winner taking the honor of Best Picture, the film tied with "The Grand Budapest Hotel" with a total of four Oscars.  I'm very surprised that my personal fav, "Boyhood" didn't fare better as I think it was, by far, one of the strongest films of 2014. The acting categories offered no suspense as the winners followed the predictable path paved by the numerous other awards.

Our host, Neil Patrick Harris didn't fail to deliver all the charm and showmanship you would expect. As he's done during his hosting duties on The Emmys and The Tonys, Harris kicked off the show with a very entertaining musical number with help from Anna Kendrick and Jack Black. However, it went downhill from there as the writers seriously let him down. Most of the jokes he told throughout landed with a thud and the skit involving his award predictions in a locked box was anti-climatic.

I am glad Mr. Harris brought up the very white acting nominees as the Academy seemed to make an attempt to rectify that unfortunate situation by including a racially diverse group of presenters on the Oscars such as Viola Davis, Jennifer Lopez, David Oyelowo and Oprah. I've also enjoyed how the show tries to include some veteran performers and this year we had Shirley MacLaine (who didn't look happy to be there) and Julie Andrews (who most certainly did).

Speaking of Ms Andrews, that brings up the numerous musical performances on the program. My feeling is that those numbers should be limited to the opening of the show (depending on the host) and the Best Song nominees. I think Lady Gaga did a great job during the "Sound of Music" 50th anniversary tribute and Jennifer Hudson's song after the "In Memoriam" segment was quite moving but all they seem to add was length to the already long show. This may not rank as one of the better Oscar telecasts but I would be willing to give Mr. Harris a pass and give him a second chance.

Here is the complete list of winners from the 87th Annual Academy Awards:

Best Picture: "Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) "
Best Director: Alejandro González Iñárritu, "Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) "
Best Actress: Julianne Moore, "Still Alice"
Best Actor: Eddie Redmayne, "The Theory of Everything"
Best Supporting Actress: Patricia Arquette, "Boyhood"
Best Supporting Actor: J.K. Simmons, "Whiplash"
Best Adapted Screenplay: Graham Moore, "The Imitation Game"
Best Original Screenplay: Alejandro González Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris and Armando Bo, "Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)"
Best Cinematography: Emmanuel Lubezki, "Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)"
Best Foreign Language Film: "Ida" (Poland)
Best Documentary Feature: "CITIZENFOUR"
Best Animated Feature: "Big Hero 6"
Best Film Editing: Tom Cross, "Whiplash"
Best Original Song: "Glory" from "Selma" (written by Common and John Legend)
Best Original Score: Alexandre Desplat, "The Grand Budapest Hotel"
Best Costume Design: Milena Canonero, "The Grand Budapest Hotel"
Best Makeup and Hairstyling: Frances Hannon and Mark Coulier, "The Grand Budapest Hotel"
Best Production Design: Adam Stockhausen; Anna Pinnock, "The Grand Budapest Hotel"
Best Sound Editing: Alan Robert Murray and Bub Asman, "American Sniper"
Best Sound Mixing: Craig Mann, Ben Wilkins and Thomas Curley, “Whiplash”
Best Visual Effects: Paul Franklin, Andrew Lockley, Ian Hunter and Scott Fisher, "Interstellar"
Best Short Film, (Live Action): "The Phone Call"
Best Short Film, (Animated): "Feast"
Best Documentary, (Short Subject): “Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1”