Oscar Recap 2015

Birdman takes picture, director and original screenplay; Boyhood wins only one award

The show ran a good three and a half hours, but it was entertaining and the awards were spread around. No major upsets, unfortunately -- that always does make things better. Here's my viewing log:

8:37 - Host Neil Patrick Harris nails the opening musical number, written by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez, who won an Oscar for writing Frozen. And from a technical standpoint, very impressive and inspired work with rear projection and choreography. And for good measure, NPH takes a shot at his own work by ripping on The Smurfs 2.

8:42 - No surprise J.K. Simmons wins supporting actor for Whiplash. This is well-earned, and thank goodness he got rid of that ridiculous hat he was wearing on the red carpet. Very nice speech too, giving ample credit to his wife and encouraging everyone to call their mother/father.

8:49 - Dakota Johnson looks prettier here than she did in Fifty Shades of Grey. And did you see the train wreck interview she did with her mother (Melanie Griffith) on the red carpet?

8:58 - The Grand Budapest Hotel wins costume design. I cannot say her work was better than the other nominees; this is an example of a film that's not going to win anything later on that receives a smaller technical award as a nod of appreciation. (It ended the evening tied with Birdman for the most overall wins with four.)

9:01 - The Grand Budapest Hotel wins makeup and hairstyling. Ditto my comment above.

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9:10 - Ida wins foreign language Oscar. It's a helluva good film. Black & white cinematography done well can still be hauntingly beautiful.

9:18 - Andy Samberg joins Batman and numerous others to perform "Everything Is Awesome" from The Lego Movie -- if a performance tonight has more energy or is more fun, I'd be shocked.

9:22 - Commercial break - just a thought that Neil Patrick Harris is rocking it as the host -- funny, upbeat, a Harvey Weinstein joke, playing with the audience, taking us behind the scenes, and poking fun at himself with "The Smurfs 2" and a former child star joke. Good stuff.

9:26 - "The Phone Call" wins live action short. I still maintain these awards should be given out on a different night -- this kills so much time!

9:28 - "Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1" wins documentary short. One of the recipients depresses a billion people by telling us her son committed suicide. In ten minutes we went from "Everything Is Awesome" to this.

9:36 - NPH has fun with Selma snub David Oyelowo, who deserved a best actor nomination for playing Dr. Martin Luther King. The joke of everything sounding better with a British accent has been done many times before, and it's nothing special here, but Oyelowo deserved the camera time.

9:37 - The wife is thrilled about Gwyneth Paltrow's dress. Tim McGraw gives a very nice performance of "I'm Not Going To Miss You" from Glen Campbell: I'll Be Me.

9:44 - NPH does a Birdman spoof as he leaves dressing room nearly naked, then appears on stage in only underwear, socks and shoes. Nice physique! Very smart to get Miles Teller from Whiplash to play the drums - a la Birdman - on his way to the stage.

9:48 - Win! Whiplash takes the award for sound mixing. It was my pick for the best film of 2014, so I'm thrilled to see it win anything it gets.

9:50 - American Sniper wins sound editing. I wasn't a huge fan of the film, but the sound and Bradley Cooper's performance were stellar.

9:53 - Jared Leto looks like Blue & White Jesus as he awards supporting actress to Patricia Arquette from Boyhood. Arquette, for as wonderful as she is in the film, should've sprung for a bottle of hairspray for the evening. All is forgiven, though, as she rocks it for women's rights to end her speech.

10:06 - In a mild upset over Dawn of the Planet of the ApesInterstellar wins for visual effects. Christopher Nolan love!

10:08 - "Feast" wins animated short. It's a real delight -- if you haven't seen it, it's worth 10 minutes of your time.

10:12 - Big Hero 6 takes animated feature. It's a sweet movie, but I was hoping for How To Train Your Dragon 2. Accordingly, "Feast" was shown before Big Hero 6 when it played in theaters.

10:24 - The Grand Budapest Hotel wins its third award, this time for production design. No surprise, as it was expected to bring home a handful of technical awards.

10:26 - Emmanuel Lubezki wins cinematography for the second year in a row (Gravity) for Birdman. This was expected and is deserved, as it was spectacularly well choreographed and shot. Shooting a two-hour movie as if it was done in one take (it wasn't, but that's not the point) is startlingly difficult, particularly with elaborate camera movements, lighting challenges, actors missing their marks, etc.

10:32 - In Memoriam is always depressing, especially with who we lost this year. Very nice job by Meryl Streep in introducing the segment. And my goodness Jennifer Hudson has an amazing voice.

10:42 - Benedict Cumberbatch looks like a velociraptor. And yay! Whiplash wins film editing. Awesome! And the Whiplash winners are giving the best acceptance speeches. Just sayin'.

10:47 - Enjoying Terrence Howard's passion as he introduces Whiplash, "The Imitation Game" and Selma. I thought he might breakdown on stage, and why not? These are three very good movies he has the honor of introducing.

10:50 - "Citizen Four" wins documentary feature, as expected.

11:02- Common and John Legend get a standing ovation for their performance of "Glory" from Selma. And oh boy was that powerful.

11:05 -"Glory" from Selma wins original song after John Travolta and Idina Menzel make nice after Travolta's flub in pronouncing her name last year. This was a strong category. But let's be honest: "Glory" is a beautiful song. Even Chris Pine was crying (and maybe I did too) after Common and John Legend performed it. Regarding Common and John Legend's speech, they have every right to discuss equal rights and racial inequality, because that's (at least in part) what the movie is about! 

11:12 - Why does Scarlett Johansson look like Miley Cyrus? I could live without the tribute to "The Sound of Music," but this is true: When you adjust for inflation it's one of the top five highest grossing films of all time. Don't believe me? I love you, And then Lady Gaga comes out with a mash-up of the movie's popular songs, and all seems weirdly right. Damn Gaga has a voice. How great that Julie Andrews then appears? Wonderful moment for movie lovers.

11:23 - Alexandre Desplat wins original score for The Grand Budapest Hotel, not "The Imitation Game," which sadly means "The Imitation Game" (with eight nominations) is likely to get shut out this year. Hope I'm wrong.

11:30 - Birdman wins original screenplay, which is inexplicable given that it had the worst ending of any movie in 2014.

11:34 - Good news! "The Imitation Game" does not get shut out, as it wins for adapted screenplay. It didn't deserve to go 0 for 8. Nice speech by Graham Moore as he accepts the award.

11:42 - Alejandro G. Inarritu wins director for Birdman. He speech is gracious, truthful, and thankfully at least slightly different from when he hogged the stage after winning original screenplay.

11:50 - Eddie Redmayne wins the tough category of lead actor for The Theory of Everything. It's a physical, emotional, truly gutsy performance -- this Oscar is well earned. Very nice gesture to dedicate the award to all those suffering from ALS.

11:56 - Matthew McConaughey, please shave. And finally! After five nominations, Julianne Moore is a winner for lead actress for Still Alice. It's legitimately the best performance in the group, so kudos to the Academy for getting this right.

12:01 - NPH, you've been great. But we're too tired for the magic act with your ballot.

12:05 - Birdman wins best picture, to no one's surprise. I thought Boyhood would pull the upset. This is Inarritu's third speech of the night -- give someone else the stage! And congrats!

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