EDITORIAL: Oscar Wrap Up...The Good, The Bad, and The AWKWARD


By Scott Kurland


Oscar Sunday is over folks! The little gold men have been handed out to celebrate the toast of  “Tinseltown”.  J.K. Simmons and Patricia Arquette won and gave wonderful heartfelt speeches about parents and equality. Eddie Redmayne gave a highly energetic acceptance speech, and although I wanted to see Keaton win I was happy for Redmayne and knew he’d win....but I still rooted for Batman. Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu won three awards and was incredibly charming as he claimed his broken English was no good. Julianne Moore gave a heartbreaking and confusing thank you to her husband (I think she also commented that she’s a cougar), and NPH did a magic trick. What a night indeed. So, why don’t I recap the best, worst, and awkward moments of the night shall we?

NEIL PATRICK HARRIS’ SONG AND DANCE UNDERWEAR MAGIC SPECTACULAR!!!
I do like Harris. He’s a great performer and showman, but to me, this felt like the Tonys. NPH did well, and he was funny. However, I wanted that Billy Crystal wit, that Seth MacFarlene edge, and that Steve Martin charm. Nevertheless, NPH did well. If he hosts again, I think he can improve on certain things like timing  and joke delivery. So what did work? For me, the opening number was perfect. Harris hooked me with Anna Kendrick and Jack Black. We expected this type of performance out of him and he didn’t dissapoint. What was genius for me was the Birdman parody of Harris walking down the hall in his tighty whities and stopping Miles Teller on the drums saying “Not My Tempo”. However, things got weird with his magic trick. I know he’s a magician, but trying to predict the awards and blowing everyone’s minds fell flat. Watch that clip again and you’ll see that even the audience wasn’t very impressed. Neil Patrick Harris did pretty well for his first try. Although he wasn’t my first choice, he was endearing at times.

THE GOOD:

EVERYTHING IS AWESOME!!!! ESPECIALLY WITH BATMAN, DEVO, AND MARION COTILLARD
One of the best moments of the night was when Academy Award winning actress and the most elegant woman in France, Marion Cotillard, introduced “Everything Is Awesome.” Here is one of the most graceful and well respected actresses of France and Hollywood introducing that goofy trio Lonely Island as well as Teagan & Sara to perform the theme from “The Lego Movie.” Normally, you’d expect Jonah Hill or Steve Carrell for such an introduction. Out comes Edith Piaf herself, and she nails the introduction. Then the actual performance is mind blowing with Lonely Island, Mark Mothersbaugh, Quest Love, and Will Arnett in Batman gear. I know it didn’t win “Best Song”, but this was the best way to kick off the musical numbers.

THE HILLS ARE ALIVE WITH THE SOUND OF “GAGA OH-LA-LA”!!!
When it was announced that Lady Gaga was going to perform at the Oscars, I was intrigued. I actually like Lady Gaga. I think she’s a good role model for girls to be unique and outgoing. And yet, something was off. No one knew what she would be doing. All they kept saying was “coming up next Lady Gaga.” So when the time came for the tribute to “The Sound Of Music,” I put two and two together. Gaga was singing Rodgers & Hammerstein, and I was worried. Then, she came out and blew everyone away. Who knew she could sound so much like Julie Andrews? Not I, thought this critic. I’ll be damned! The lady is truly talented! This may come as a shock to you, but growing up I never really watched “The Sound Of Music.” I saw it once and preferred “Mary Poppins”. To me, there can only be one iconic role for Julie Andrews. Gaga made me question my devotion. She made “The Sound Of Music” special all over again, and she looked absolutely stunning doing so. Furthermore, seeing Julie Andrews rush the stage to hug her was a treat all unto itself. Gaga was a good choice and her performance made for a memorable night.

THE SPEECHES: FAMILY, AWARENESS, AND BEING TRUE TO YOU
I tend to shy away from commenting on speeches with a message, but there were four speeches that blew me away. J.K. Simmons’ speech about loving your parents and urging everyone to call their moms and dads to say you love them was beautiful. Simmons is one of those actors who finally got his due. He deserved his award and success, so it was very sentimental for him to do what he does best; be inspirational. The same can be said about Patricia Arquette, and her plea for womens equality. This may seem like something out of left field, but if you saw “Boyhood,” you would know she plays a single mother who gets beaten and taken advantage of. Dedicating her award to all those women and asking for equal pay was the same as saying, “I share this award with all of you”. She knows saying you share this award means nothing. But asking for equal rights? That makes everyone aware. Finally, Graham Moore, he gave the most moving speech of all. Here’s a man who felt like an outcast because of who he was and tried killing himself at age 16. Not only did he turns his life around, but he encouraged every child who feels different to embrace what makes them different. His message was so inspirational and moving that it made a difference to everyone sitting in the audience and at home.

THE BAD:

JOAN RIVERS, WE CLEARLY HARDLY KNEW THEE....ACCORDING TO THE IN MEMORIAM
I don’t know why or how it happened, but Joan Rivers was left out of the “In Memoriam” segment. I know she was a comedian and a television personality, but remember, she starred in “The Rabbit Test” with Billy Crystal and “Spaceballs”. Rivers was also a part of the Oscars pre-shows for years; working the red carpet and mingling with the celebrities. It would only be fitting that she be remembered like Robin Williams, Lauren Bacall, and James Garner. She deserves to be remembered as much as everyone else and, for that, the academy made a bad call.

TOO MANY JOKES, TOO MANY MISTAKES....
Sometimes a joke doesn’t work, other times it goes too far and, if you’re really unfortunate, you get to make an entire room uncomfortable. There were three times NPH had jokes that were so uncomfortable the audience let out pity laughs. The first was at the beginning of the show when he commented on the snub of “Selma.” Harris said “Tonight we honor the best and whitest.” OooOOo too soon NPH, too soon. The second joke was when Harris was trying to prove a joke sounds better with a British accent. It was a weak premise for a joke, and David Oyelowo was even more uncomfortable having been put on the spot. Finally, the joke he made about “The Lego Movie” getting snubbed was very uncalled for. You have to know your audience NPH’s joke writers!

PENN-MAN (OR THE UNEXPECTED VIRTUE OF IGNORANCE)
The world knows how hotheaded and outspoken Sean Penn can be. However, when he presented best picture he did two things wrong. 1.) He waited for the longest thirty seconds in the world to announce “Birdman (Or the unexpected virtue of ignorance.) 2.)  When he announced said film he said “Who gave this Son Of a Bitch a Green card.” Yeah Sean, don’t say that stuff. Even if he did work with Inarritu, most people don’t know that. No one knows their relationship. Its a Hollywood faux pas and a big one at that.

THE AWKWARD:

DAKOTA JOHNSON’S 50 SHADES OF LAME
Not only was Dakota Johnson’s presentation at the Oscars one level and flat, but she wins the award for one of the most awkward red carpet interviews ever. She and her mom, Melanie Griffith, shared awkward and uncomfortable banter about “50 Shades of Grey”. However, we the viewers suffered the most as Johnson and Griffith bickered for almost two minutes of uninterrupted air time. Johnson came across as rude and arrogant as she talked down to her mother. Apparently she never heard the phrase“Honor thy Mother and Father”....well her dad is Don Johnson so maybe the father part can slide.

TERRENCE HOWARD, ARE YOU CRYING? OR IS IT JUST RAINING ON YOUR FACE?
Howard has always been a question mark. No one ever knows what he’s thinking. And how he behaves is sometimes baffling.  When he presented the nominees for best picture he started getting teary eyed and choked up. No one knows why or what brought this on, but it was a very awkward moment for television. I thought he was having trouble reading the teleprompter or that he was too close to the mic. Then I realized he was getting all emotional. My mother always told me it wasn’t polite to stare, but what do you do when it’s one man on stage in front of thousands of people? 

JOHN TRAVOLTA AND THE ONGOING ADVENTURES OF ADELE DAZEEM!!!!

Idina Menzel finally got her revenge against John Travolta, and then he got his on her...again. Travolta was so creepy touching her face over and over again. Apparently, Danny Zuko never heard of personal space. Menzel wasn’t the only person Travolta was getting too close to. Travolta also had his hands...and lips... all over Scarlett Johansson. It was like Travolta was bitten by Courtney Love and Oscar night was the full moon. Travolta’s yearly appearances are becoming the most uncomfortable five minutes of television, and I’m curious what’s next.
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