It’s the biggest awards show of the year and there are some top guns in the running today, from the existential art-drama Birdman to the tense, resounding Whiplash. The ceremony is being hosted by two crowd favorites – Doogie Howser and Barney Stinson – somehow rolled into one in Neil Patrick Harris, and the whole show reflects the sense of Broadway theatricality from the physically driven musical number celebrating the history and culture of ‘moving pictures’ to the appearances of Jack Black and Anna Kendrick. Neil paid homage to classics such as Indiana Jones, Star Wars, The Godfather, Fargo, Back to the Future and such before laying out the biggest contenders this year, as his silhouette marked the golden man. As some Twitter users aptly put it: “NPH seems like a great host in theory.” Neil hasn’t managed to live up to his turns hosting at the Tony’s as he fills his performance with collar-pulling references, shout-outs and not-so-ingenious jokes. “You can eat her with a spoon” while introducing Reese Witherspoon wasn’t exactly the recipient of roaring laughter. That is not to say he did a poor job, it’s just that we are enough used to NPH and his isms that his usual feats don’t take us by surprise anymore. I do have to admit, the Birdman homage with him running down the audience in underpants was nicely done. Well, as long as he isn’t as bad as James Franco, he’s golden I guess.
And now the winners:
Achievement in Costume Design – Grand Budapest Hotel
An apt winner for this award, it is not surprising seeing the amount of detail Wes Anderson is famous for.
Achievement in Makeup and Hair-styling – Grand Budapest Hotel
Once again, this set of old-European themes was so precise and delectable, it definitely deserves every production win.
Best Supporting Actor – J K Simmons, Whiplash
Was there ever really another name for this one? The severe and menacing performance that Simmons ‘inflicted’ on all of us still sends shivers down my spine. Best villain this year? Yes. Who did Marvel have? Some blue guy with a hammer. Right.
Best Foreign Language Film – Ida
Again, no snubs here. Although Leviathan was impressive in its right, Ida was the clear winner, a silent ode to faith, religion and traditions.
Best Live Action Short Film – The Phone Call
A brilliant performance from Sally Hawkins, The Phone Call puts in just enough into its short runtime to gain the win.
Best Documentary Short Film – Crisis Hotline: Veteran Press 1
Haven’t seen this one yet.
Best Sound Mixing – Whiplash
Oh yes, definitely. The perfectly tuned jazz drums swayed winds and way throughout this tense masterpiece.
Best Sound Editing – American Sniper
Meh, didn’t really see excellence in sound in this film, but now that I think back, the battle scenes were well edited and there was clever use of knowing deafening silence.
Best Supporting Actress – Patricia Arquette, Boyhood
Another well-deserved win, Patricia Arquette was brilliant at highlighting the powerful mother figure in this movie that is supposedly about the boy, and the empty-nest scene at the end pays off all those years of taking care of her kids.
Best Visual Effects – Interstellar
Nolan’s odyssey cannot be left unnoticed despite the polarizing views of its audience, and visual effects is common ground that everyone would agree Nolan had it in, considering especially the amount of science he incorporated into the images.
Best Animated Short Film – Feast
Haven’t seen this one either.
Best Animated Feature Film – Big Hero 6
My vote would have been for the Legos, but that’s irrelevant now. I really did think How to Train Your Dragon 2 would win though.
Best Production Design – The Grand Budapest Hotel
Three down. Another one that had Wes written all over it.
Best Cinematography – Emmanuel Lubezki, Birdman
This one could have gone either way, but Birdman emerges victorious and for good reason, even besides the one-track shot, the movie was visually beautiful.
Best Editing – Whiplash
Best Documentary Feature Film – Citizenfour
Of course Citizenfour was going to win. What did you think?
Best Original Song – Glory, Selma
This one was well-deserved, as catchy as Lego Movie’s Everything is Awesome was, Glory evoked a more meaningful emotion as it reduced the entire Oscar audience to tears.
Best Original Score – Alexander Desplat, The Grand Budapest Hotel
Again, my wish has been fulfilled. Sure, Birdman had a mood-sensing beat, but Grand Budapest made us all a little springier in step and lighter at heart. Perfect, four down.
Best Original Screenplay – Birdman
One of the more disputed ones, Birdman surely did have an impressive argument, with the sheer amount of thought-provoking substance it managed to fit into this intense drama.
Best Adapted Screenplay – The Imitation Game
Sure, it wasn’t like Theory of Everything had a wonderful script. It didn’t.
Best Director – Alejandro Inarritu, Birdman
Again, I thought this one might just go to Linklater for the twelve years he put into his work. In terms of technical direction and design, my thumbs-up would have gone to Wes Anderson. Still, not undeserved at all.
Best Actor – Eddie Redmayne, The Theory of Everything
I called this one way before, the only reason I was able to sit through The Theory of Everything was this man’s unfaltering performance as Dr. Hawking. Michael Keaton cannot have matched up to this heartbreaking performance.
Best Actress – Julianne Moore, Still Alice
Play the role of a woman dealing with and trying to hold on to memories under the influence of Alzheimer’s, and how can you not expect to win? That said, it was a powerful performance to say the least. Rosamund Pike should have won this one, though. Also, it’s interesting to see Moore who was crying throughout the ceremony maintain composure during acceptance.
Best Picture – Birdman
Finally, all the anticipation and speculations behind the Selma and American Sniper nominations have been put to rest, with the more-than-earned win going to Birdman. Inarritu really has won the show tonight.
And that’s a wrap. The show wasn’t as entertaining as I would have expected, and Neil Patrick Harris was a letdown. Of course his briefcase-in-a-box gimmick was a magic trick all along. Who would have guessed? I’m surprised that the Academy gave almost no attention to Boyhood, with the exception of the supporting actress, but with such big guns as Birdman and The Grand Budapest Hotel in the mix, you really can’t expect much. American Sniper didn’t win anything out of misplaced patriotism, neither did the Academy give Selma the big one from all the criticism they received. It was a fair round, with the exception of a few things. A very low-key event though, I guess Oscar hilarity and humor retired with Steve Martin.