September 24, 2020

Oscars 2015

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_81172554_04166560-1520-4d1c-82b8-01dc58bd5c2dOscars review: New host misfires

By Ben Sutherland From BBC News

Neil Patrick Harris Neil Patrick Harris had previously been a successful host of the Tony Awards for Broadway theatre

Neil Patrick Harris’ debut turn as Oscars host was one of the most forgettable for years – although one moment will define him forever.

Just as David Letterman had his painfully awkward “Uma, Oprah” routine and Seth Macfarlane his catastrophically misjudged song We Saw Your Boobs, Harris will be recalled mostly as the guy who presented in his pants.

It was certainly an arresting image, the How I Met Your Mother star clad only in socks, shoes and what are referred to in America as “tighty whiteys.” It was a reference to a scene from Birdman, and – like any time Johnny Depp sings – you had to admire the courage, if not the execution.
Neil Patrick Harris Underwear or underwhelming? The host’s jokes fell flat

_73321190_72290666 _81172395_12ba89fe-d9fc-4e96-a139-faf54bffd4ed _81172400_7402df8f-758d-4b7e-af85-25e4597b59d2And at least it was memorable, unlike almost anything Harris actually said.

Bafflingly, given the amount of potential material to work with – the Sony hack; the Interview row; the #OscarsSoWhite Twitter campaign – the script saw Harris referring to Reece Witherspoon as someone he could eat “with a spoon.”

The actor was one of a team of 12 Oscar writers. Just think – one of them worked on that humdinger. The other 11 approved it.

Even more puzzling, things had started brilliantly. The first line was by far the best – “tonight we honour Hollywood’s best and whitest – sorry, brightest” – a reference to the #OscarsSoWhite debate that followed the nominations.

Then there was the opening song, about the wonder of “moving pictures”, featuring Harris, Anna Kendrick and Jack Black – and dancing Stormtroopers.

Harris, a Tony Award-winner on Broadway, pulled it off like Steve Martin or Billy Crystal at their best, putting himself into classic movie scenes while pulling off clever rhymes like “Argo / And Fargo / Or when Marty made his car go”.

Having nailed it, he turned to the camera and smiled. “That whole thing? Completely improvised.”
Neil Patrick Harris performs at the Oscars The opening song included the lyric “I secretly hope someone pulls a Kanye West”

It was pretty much the last big laugh he achieved. From there on, flat setups began crashing into flubbed punchlines with the alacrity of a drunk sailor inviting the entire pub to have a go if they think they’re hard enough.

There was a predictable joke about Harvey Weinstein (there always is); a bit where he started to talk to the seat fillers and then seemed to immediately lose heart; a routine about his Oscar predictions so laboured it was on the verge of setting up its own union.

By halfway through there was terror in Harris’ eyes whenever the camera came to him. A part where he asked David Oyelowo to read an insult about the remake of Annie – which had recast the lead with a black actress – was fist-gnawingly uncomfortable.

It’s worth noting, however, that it was this undercurrent of racial politics that gave the night its most memorable moments.

Oyelowo was in tears as he listened to the performance of Glory by John Legend and Common from Selma. It was an intense, powerful performance which had the entire audience on their feet as it finished.

When Glory shortly afterwards gained Legend and Common (under their real names of John Stephens and Lonnie Lynn) the best song trophy, they electrified with a passionate joint speech.

“Nina Simone said it was an artist’s duty to reflect the times we live. Selma may be 50 years ago, but it is now, because the struggle for justice is right now,” they insisted, and the music that normally strikes up to urge the winners off the stage stayed silent.
Common and John Legend Common (left) and John Legend got one of the night’s biggest responses

Indeed it was a night for politics. Best Actress Patricia Arquette called for equality for women; Best Adapted Screenplay winner Graham Moore urged young people confused about their sexuality to “stay weird”; Best Director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu spoke about the Mexicans “who came before and built this incredible immigrant nation”.

Meanwhile, at the end – in every sense – Harris fluffed a gag about mispronouncing Chiwetel Ejiofor’s name.

In the context of what had preceded it, it struck a particularly flat note. The Oscars aren’t going to stop being seen as white and elitist if every year the writers insist on mining this seam of “exotic names are weird and hard to say.”

That is hardly Harris’ fault. Nevertheless, it really did highlight the contrast of the night: That between black politics and white pants.

For more on this story go to: http://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-31583257

 

A full list of winners for the 87th Academy Awards

Best picture Winner: Birdman

Best director Winner: Alejandro G Inarritu, Birdman

Best actor Winner: Eddie Redmayne,

Best actress Winner: Julianne Moore, Still Alice

Best supporting actor Winner: JK Simmons, Whiplash

Best supporting actress Winner: Patricia Arquette, Boyhood

Best adapted screenplay Winner: The Imitation Game

Best original screenplay Winner: Birdman

Best animated feature Winner: Big Hero 6

Best animated short Winner: Feast

Best cinematography Winner: Birdman

Best costume design Winner: The Grand Budapest Hotel

Best documentary feature Winner: CitizenFour

Best documentary short Winner: Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1

Best film editing Winner: Whiplash

Best foreign language film Winner: Ida (Poland)

Best live action short Winner: The Phone Call

Best make-up & hairstyling Winner: The Grand Budapest Hotel

Best original score Winner: The Grand Budapest Hotel

Best production design Winner: The Grand Budapest Hotel

Best song Winner: Glory, Selma

Best sound editing Winner: American Sniper

Best sound mixing Winner: Whiplash

Best visual effects Winner: Interstellar

 

Lady Gaga just gave the best performance of her career at the Oscars —A spectacular tribute to the Sound of Music

screen-shot-2015-02-22-at-10-40-32-pmadjBy Alex Young From COS

Taking the stage to sing songs from the Sound of Music is a daunting task for any artist. Add in the presence of Hollywood’s most elite, including Maria herself, Dame Julie Andrews, and Lady Gaga’s performance at tonight’s Academy Awards was arguably the most important gig of her career. And boy, did she deliver with stunning renditions of “The Hills Are Alive”, “My Favorite Things”, “Edelweiss”, and “Climb Ev’ry Mountain”. Perhaps Andrews put it best when saying, “Dear Lady Gaga, thank you for that wonderful tribute, it really warmed my heart.”

For more on this story and video go to: http://consequenceofsound.net/2015/02/lady-gaga-oscars-watch/

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