Hi, my name is Erin and I’m a film nerd. My particular brand of nerdiness makes a few times of year sacred to me. There’s summer blockbuster season, holiday blockbuster season, and award-bait season. Ask any film nerd their favorite night of the year and it will be Oscar night. Well…in years that don’t include the release of an Avenger’s movie.
Here are my thoughts on this year’s Academy Awards telecast. I try to leave the raging to Raging Crow because he’s better at it, but in this case feel obliged to channel my inner rage.
The host. Dear god, the host! The Oscars is the biggest night of the year for movies. If you manage to get hosting duties and your best joke is a running gag about ordering pizza, then you have failed. I’m willing to admit, crashing Twitter by having the audience retweet a selfie was kind of bad ass. That singular cool moment came far too late to salvage Ellen’s snooze-fest of a hosting gig.
Next the winners. Try as I might I couldn’t muster any enthusiasm for the winner’s list this year. Everyone who cares knew what was going to happen. “Gravity” swept the technical awards and Alfonso Cuaron won Best Director. Best Supporting Actor went to Jared Leto and Best Actor to Matthew Mcconaughey for “Dallas Buyers Club”. Cate Blanchett (Galadriel for the Lord of the Rings nerds among us) won Best Actress for her role in “Blue Jasmine”. “Frozen” won Best Animated Feature and Best Original Song. “12 Years a Slave” took just about everything else. A few pundits will try to paint Lupita Nyong’o’s Best Supporting Actress win for “12 Years a Slave” as an upset. It isn’t. She’s won every major precursor to the Academy Awards including a BAFTA.
Now herein is the trouble with the Oscar’s host having a bad night. The host isn’t there for the audience in the theater. Those people are there because it’s their job to be there. The host’s job is to keep the people at home from changing the channel. If there are no surprises in the winner pool, that places even more pressure on the host to hype the viewers up again. Ellen just didn’t rise to the occasion. On the heels of edgier hosting turns from Seth McFarlane and Ricky Jervais, Ellen’s feel good stick made the entire night drag.
Thankfully, there were some awesome moments in spite of Ellen’s disappointing segments. Here are my 5 favorites:
5. Darlene “Mrs. Murtaugh” Love belting out “His Eye is on the Sparrow” while accepting “20 Feet from Stardom’s” award for Best Documentary Feature. It was a beautiful moment. That is saying something in a year where U2, Pharrell Willams, and Idina Menzel all performed. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oXLOv35J0_Q
4. “Happy”. As an exercise in futility, I challenge you to listen to this Best Original Song nominee and not feel an instant mood lift. But for god sake would someone take that damned hat away from Pharrell! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kMQxxaCgOX0
3. An 84 year old woman flashes headstone. “Nebraska” flew under my radar this year. I was completely unprepared to see June Squibb lift her skirt to give a long dead admirer a peak at what he would now never have. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aHGcFBf2q1s
2. “House of Cards” goes to the Hollywood. Kevin Spacey performed the trademark southern voice of Vice President Frank Underwood, and it was pure awesome. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MUWYFu_lHjU
1. Bill Murray shout out to Harold Ramis. Murray paid tribute to his collaborator in the best cinematography nominations. It was funny, but poignant in a way that In Memoriam couldn’t touch.