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Thoughts on Oscars 2015

With Awards Season now in our rear view mirror, I'm spending today and tomorrow putting a capper on 2014 with my thoughts on this year's Oscar telecast, and (finally) releasing my picks for the best of the year. Sunday night was the 87th annual Academy Awards telecast, and if I could sum it up in a word it would be the following: tedious. The Oscar telecast has always been a chore to sit through as the viewer has to endure the most boring aspects of the program - the awards for the technicals (Cinematography, Visual Effects, Sound Editing & Mixing, Makeup, etc.), the films no one has bothered to watch (Documentary Feature & Short Subject, Live Action & Animated Short), the "In Memorial" segment, but the dull & yawn-inducing aspects of said broadcast can be tolerable as long as there's a host with solid material. As someone who enjoys the less-than compelling aspects of the yearly telecast, as stated earlier, was a bloody chore for me to sit through even for me.


I could pin this on Neil Patrick Harris just not ready for prime time, but that wouldn't be true as he's done great work hosting the Tony Awards in 2009, and from 2011-2013, and doing hosting duties for the Primetime Emmy Awards, also in '09 and in '13. You could see him clearly trying to make the skits and the jokes work, but the abysmal writing failed him at every turn. Plus, the opening segment he did with Anna Kendrick was funny and showed off his strongest talents as a charming and talented song-and-dance man.




I could say that the the artists performing the songs nominated for the Best Original Song category only made the ceremonies longer, but there were some great performances by those artists, with Teagan & Sara featuring the Lonely Island, and John Legend & Common being the standouts for the bright, upbeat and infections "Everything Is Awesome!" from The Lego Movie and the rousing and inspiring hip hop/soul ballad "Glory" from the film Selma, respectively.


Hell, I could point to Lady Gaga paying tribute to the great Julie Andrews by performing her most iconic and beloved songs as an example of excess that should have been scrapped from the show, but first: Lady Gaga was phenomenal in paying homage to an inspirational figure and did Andrews justice, and two: I'd come off sounding like a prick for saying it.

What a white bright room they're all in!
I guess the easiest route would be to chastise how predictable the winners were. Birdman ended up the night's big winner by taking home four Oscars including Best Original Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Director and Best Picture; the acting trophies went to exactly who you'd think they'd go to - Eddie Redmayne winning Lead Actor for The Theory of Everything; Julianne Moore finally winning an award for Lead Actress in Still Alice; and J.K. Simmons & Patricia Arquette taking home Supporting Actor and Supporting Actress for their roles in Whiplash and Boyhood, respectively, but if you've been following guys like Sasha Stone, Kris Tapley, Mark Harris, Scott Feinberg, Anne Thompson and that one guy I won't mention, who read the tea leaves and predict where Oscar is heading, then there really isn't a whole lot that should have surprised you going into Oscar night. And even if you don't? There were still the Golden Globes and the Screen Actors Guild and those wins pretty much were in line with what we saw on Sunday evening.


No, truth be told...it was all of those things. It was the bad writing, the forced and unfunny skits NPH was trying to make work, the musical performances, the bloated Julia Andrews tribute by Gaga, and the predictability of the winners that you could set a stopwatch to, which made this year's Oscar telecast the most boring and downright dull 3 1/2 + hours I've sat through in years. For the first time in fours years, I can say the following about an Academy Awards broadcast and the awards race in general...good riddance it's done and gone for another year.

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