The Watchers

The Watchers

Monday, 23 February 2015

Awards Season 2015: The 87th Annual Academy Awards

The 87th Annual Academy Awards were held last night at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. They came up with one or two surprises and more than a few talking points.

Neil Patrick Harris was on good form as host. He's got awards show form, hosting the Primetime Emmys twice and the Tony Awards four times and I would be more than happy to see him host the Oscars again. OK, there was no Twitter-crashing selfie moment and there's been a lot of complaint online about his performance but I found him charming, funny and inoffensive, and any man who has the chutzpah to appear in an Oscars telecast in a pair of tighty-whities has to be admired. 

There was a lot of politics in the speeches, with issues such as freedom of expression, racial and gender equality, the awareness of mental and physical illnesses and immigration brought up.

The acceptance speech by Brits Mat Kirkby and James Lucas for winning Best Live Action Short was kind of funny (I kind of want to try and find that doughnut shop) and Pawel Pawlikowski must be the only person in Oscar history to get two sets of wrap-up music when he effusively ran over when accepting Best Foreign Language Film. I found the Idina Menzel/John Travolta bit quite funny (even if the joke was overlaboured a little). 

There was a really fun performance of 'Everything Is Awesome' from The Lego Movie (complete with Lego Oscars handed out to the crowd) and the performance of 'Glory' from Selma was stirring (as was the acceptance speech by John Legend and Common when it won Best Original Song). Lady Gaga's tribute to The Sound Of Music was great (and I'm not even a fan of that film) and Meryl Streep gave a touching and emotional speech prior to the In Memoriam section. I also found myself moved by Graham Moore's speech when he accepted the Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar for The Imitation Game, advising people to 'stay weird'. 

Onto the awards themselves:

No surprises in the acting categories with all four winners giving heartfelt and genuine acceptance speeches; J.K. Simmons advising us to call our parents, Patricia Arquette's eloquent and firey speech calling for gender and wage equality, Eddie Redmayne adorably geeking out midway through and Julianne Moore advocating more openness about Alzheimer's. 

The big surprise was Birdman winning Best Picture. Inarritu's win for Best Director wasn't a surprise and- as I have previously stated- the direction of Birdman is extraordinary (incidentally, I was also pleased at Emmanuel Lubezski's win for Best Cinematography).  Is it the Best Picture of those eight films? I don't think so, but then I'm not a member of the Academy. That was their decision. There's already rumblings online that it wasn't the right choice but you have to consider that the Academy's track record of what consitutues a Best Picture winner has had a few bumps in the road (Crash winning over Brokeback Mountain, for instance).

Birdman and The Grand Budapest Hotel both won four Oscars apiece, with Whiplash winning three. All eight Best Picture nominees won at least one Oscar each. Into The Woods, Foxcatcher, Mr. Turner and Unbroken didn't win anything.

Below is the full list of winners at the 87th Annual Academy Awards:

Best Motion Picture of the Year: Birdman

Best Actor: Eddie Redmayne (The Theory Of Everything)

Best Actress: Julianne Moore (Still Alice)

Best Supporting Actor: J.K. Simmons (Whiplash)

Best Supporting Actress:  Patricia Arquette (Boyhood)

Best Director: Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (Birdman)

Best Original Screenplay: Birdman

Best Adapted Screenplay: The Imitation Game

Best Animated Feature Film of the Year: Big Hero 6

Best Foreign Language Film of the Year: Ida

Best Cinematography: Birdman

Best Editing: Whiplash

Best Production Design: The Grand Budapest Hotel

Best Costume Design: The Grand Budapest Hotel

Best Makeup and Hairstyling: The Grand Budapest Hotel

Best Original Score: The Grand Budapest Hotel

Best Original Song: 'Glory' (Selma)

Best Sound Mixing: Whiplash

Best Sound Editing: American Sniper

Best Visual Effects: Interstellar

Best Documentary (Feature): Citizenfour

Best Documentary (Short Subject): Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1

Best Animated Short Film: Feast

Best Live Action Short Film: The Phone Call

Congratulations to all winners!

OK, that's awards season finished for another year. It'll start up again at the end of November. Bring on the blockbusters!


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