Yet another Oscar night and this was a strange bag—the ceremony was long and dull and the speeches hit the best notes. Save for a couple of inspired jokes, host Neil Patrick Harris was pretty much a let down. Here is a recap of all the forgettable and unforgettable O moments:
Black and White: Host Neil Patrick Harris (NPH) started the proceedings with a thumping statement when he said; “Tonight we honour Hollywood’s best and whitest—sorry—brightest,” and then he lost his spark. His timing was all over the place, the punchlines never connected and those smug pauses he made after landing his zingers was almost embarrassing because the claps just wouldn’t come. On top of it, Jack Black totally stole his thunder in the opening number. By the time, NPH got the memo that “When nothing works, drop your clothes” and he made an appearance in the Birdman inspired tightey-whites, it was too late.
Girl Warriors: As the celebrity face of the social media campaign #AskHerMore, Reese Witherspoon spelled out the agenda on the red carpet itself when she urged journalists to ask not just skin deep stuff of Hollywood’s women. “We’re more than just our dresses. We are so happy to be here and talk about the work that we’ve done. It’s hard being a woman in Hollywood, or any industry,” Witherspoon said. The Girls were on fire during the ceremony too with Best Supporting Actress Winner Patricia Arquette calling out Hollywood on its double standards. In a speech that deserves to be read out to every working girl, Arquette said, “To every woman who gave birth to every taxpayer and citizen of this nation. We have fought for everybody else’s equal rights.. It’s our time to have wage equality once and for all and equal rights for women in United States of America.” The strong speech was ferociously endorsed by Meryl Streep and Jennifer Lopez.
A Year Later: It was a creative masterstroke to pair up Idina Menzel and John Travolta as presenters. Last year, Travolta famously fubbed her name as “Adele Dazeem.” This year, Menzel returned the favour by renaming Travolta as “Glom Gazingo.” So far so good but then suddenly Travolta turned into a creepy touchy feely Uncle with all the inappropriate face touching of his co-presenter. What is with him?
La Streep Joke: It ain’t Oscar if Meryl Streep is not nominated and it ain’t Oscar night if nobody lands a Meryl joke. This time, Jared Leto aka Hollywood’s resident Jesus, did the honours when he declared, “There are four women plus in accordance with California state law Meryl Streep in the nominations.”
Gaga over Lady Gaga: The irreplaceable Lady Gaga sang a medley of the 50-year-old classic Sound of Music, like a dream. Julie Andrews loved it a lot if the warm hug she gave the star singer was any indication. The emotion behind the hug and Gaga’s voice was the warmest moment of the night.
No Tears for Rivers: Her acerbic commentary on Oscar night red carpet fashion was the stuff of legends. Thus it came as a big surprise when there was no mention of comedienne Joan Rivers in the “In Memoriam” section presented with stunning grace by Meryl Streep. This was a big miss.
When Pine Cried: When John Legend and Common performed their award winning Best Original Song “Glory” from Selma, they made David Oyelowo and Chris Pine tear up. Pine’s ‘cry face’ is as sexy as his ‘smile face’, by the way.
Too Many Fubs: It started with NPH who just couldn’t get Chiwetel Ejiofor’s name right and then Lupita Nyong’o appeared to have a brain freeze while presenting the Best Supporting Actor to J.K. Simmons when she said, “And the Actor goes to..” Somebody at the SAG Awards team would have been very happy.
Mexico Conquers America: Two years in a row, Mexican directors have taken home the Best Director booty. Clearly Sean Penn is keeping the score as evidenced by his classless jibe—“Who gave this son of a bitch his green card?” to his 21 grams director, Alejandro G. Inarritu. But the last word belonged to the Birdman filmmaker who termed America as “an incredible immigrant nation.” In his speech, which he dedicated to “fellow Mexicans,” Inarritu said, “For those living in Mexico, I pray that we can find and build a government that we deserve, and the ones that live in this country, who are a part of the latest generation of immigrants in this country, I just pray that they can be treated with the same dignity and respect as the ones who came before and built this incredible immigrant nation.”
Speech Star: Graham Moore, winner of Best Adapted Screenplay for The Imitation Game, gave the speech of the night when he spoke about his suicide attempt at age 16 and made a personal and emotional plea to all the young children out there, when he said, “I would like for this moment to be for that kid out there who feels like she doesn’t fit in anywhere. You do. Stay weird. Stay different, and then when it’s your turn and you are standing on this stage please pass the same message along.” Write it down, folks.