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Monday, February 23, 2015

Oscar 2015

I have long enjoyed the Oscar broadcast. We have, on occasion, hosted Oscar parties and encouraged people to dress for the red carpet! I always fill out a ballot and enjoy watching the drama unfold. It was very nice this year being in the west coast time zone. 
I am usually on top of things when it comes to viewing the movies, but up until last Friday, I barely knew what was nominated let alone the content of the films. I thought I could handle going into an Academy Awards show blind, that is, not having seen one movie, but alas, I realized that I could not. So on Friday, I put out a plea on Facebook...if we could only see 2 films before Sunday, what should they be? The answers were as diverse as the films but it got me interested! So Friday afternoon we dashed to The Imitation Game and downloaded from iTunes Birdman, Boyhood and A Theory of Everything. We loved the Imitation Game. It was a good start to the movie binge we would embark upon.
Watching Boyhood and Birdman back to back was intense! While I can't say that I loved Birdman, I did see the value in the film and knew that it had the goods to be highly rewarded. But the story of Boyhood, being filmed over 12 years was truly remarkable and the film was beautifully done, if a little long. A Theory of Everything was well-acted and also profoundly meaningful even if I don't agree with Stephen Hawking on everything!
So, there it was. 4 films. Lots of reading on the internet regarding Oscar buzz and predictions and I felt more equipped to get my ballot filled out.
But there was an early showing of Selma on Sunday that we could make in time to be home for the awards ceremony so we decided to go for it. I am not sorry that we made the effort to see this film. It is remarkable and made me more fully understand why people were upset that this film was blanked in all acting, directing and editing categories. The song, Glory, was truly stirring and I could not be happier that it was rewarded. And the live performance of the song at the, what a moment!
Grand Budapest did great and I look forward to seeing it, however wacky it will be!
So in the end, I picked 17 winners out of the 24 categories. I was truly torn for Best Picture and really thought they'd split the director and picture awards. So I went with Boyhood for picture and Birdman for director. Birdman swept. Whiplash came through in a few categories and I'm looking forward to seeing that film even though it looks very intense and difficult at points. A real surprise was Whiplash winning the editing category. Again, I thought Boyhood would be a shoe-in for this.
I did love J.K. Simmons' speech: "If you are lucky enough to still have a parent with you, call them!" Was particularly poignant for me as this is the first Oscars without my father in this world. He was also a lover of films and of the Oscars so I missed sharing this moment with him. 
The last observation has to do with the reality that were no black nominees this year. It's hard to overlook this reality. It was a little weird for me that there were so many black presenters. It is almost like the Academy tried to make up for their mistakes by putting forth black actors to present. Also, when Glory was performed, it brought the house down and moved many to tears. I mention this because sometimes in an effort to placate our conscious, we try to make up for our real mistakes by doing things that are cosmetically good but lack commitment. Presenting an Oscar is very, very different from being nominated for one or winning one. The director for Selma, a black woman, should have, in no uncertain terms been nominated. Not because she's a black woman, but because this film was amazing! Sure, the directors nominated were deserving but even so...the lack of women in this category, let alone black women, does give one pause. And cheering wildly for a song about justice is very different than actually sinking your teeth into a fight for justice that might be costly.
People complain that the Oscars are sometimes too political, that it's an awards show and people should not use the platform for their own agenda. I disagree. I think it's fine to give a shout out to a cause, especially when your role has pointed to it. The show itself is very political by its very nature and plenty entertaining as well. 
Overall, I liked the show. I thought the bit from Birdman where Michael Keaton locks himself out of the theater and has to run through the streets in his underwear, recreated by Neil Patrick Harris coming out on the stage in tighty whities, black socks and black shoes was very funny and really well-done. I didn't love Lady Gaga singing Sound of Music stuff but loved the tribute to the great film and loved seeing Julia Andrews. And did I mention, I loved the performance of Glory...a truly great moment.
Finally, there were no major clothing blunders. Everyone looked pretty great. Matthew Mcconaughey needs to shave. But that said, my love for the movies is in tact! Thanks Oscar for another great night! In the words of the Lego Movie: Everything was Awesome! Well, almost everything anyway!
(all photos are taken from the internet and are not mine)