Jury Coordination and Notes

Oscar Reflections By Keefer C.Blakeslee

Awards3.jpgIt was a wonderful night for Oscar! Oscar, Oscar –  guess who won! Once again, the envelopes have been opened, the Golden and Lego statues given out, and people are already predicting the nominations for next year’s Oscars. The question is, how was this years show? Well let’s analyze it.

The Host: Let’s start by talking about the host, Neil Patrick Harris. If you remember my last blog, I talked about what makes a great host and mentioned my personal favorites. I adore Harris as a host. He has hosted the Tony Awards several times as well as other award shows and he is the best. However this was Harris’ second time hosting the Oscars and, to be honest, the first time his performance was nothing spectacular. He wasn’t bad but, he just didn’t live up to any of the past Oscar hosts. With that said Harris did a much better job his second time around. His opening number, Moving Pictures, along with Anna Kendrick and Jack Black was outstanding . He brought back the over-the-top Broadway style musical number to the Oscars. The choreographed number captured the magic of cinema and it made you fall in love with film all over again. Throughout the show, Harris’ comedy became a bit corny and, at times, edgy. His one-liners were hit and miss. For example, when he introduced Reese Witherspoon, he said “And the next presenter is so cute you could eat her up with a spoon.” (Groan) Altogether, he had more hits than misses. When he came out on stage in his underwear, strangely enough I thought it was hilarious because it went along with one of the nominated films, Birdman. Now, some of his jokes poked fun at the situation with the nominees being compiled of mostly white people. I didn’t have a problem with these comments. I thought they were funny but, I can understand if anyone thought they were inappropriate. Overall he did a phenomenal job as the host.

Performances and presenter: I can only sum up this section in three words, “Everything was Awesome.” I loved the individual performances by the artists. There was a cheerful performance by Tegan and Sara and the Lonely Island for “Everything is Awesome” and a broadening scene from Common and John Legend when they sang “Glory” which won Best Original Song. I gained a whole new respect for Lady Gaga when she performed a medley of songs from the Sound of Music for its 50th anniversary. Her performance was graceful and did justice to the music. Even Julie Andrews personally thanked her as she presented the next category. Speaking of which, I have to mention the adorable duo, John Travolta and Adele Dazeem. Sorry, Idina Menzel. Last year, Travolta mispronounced Idina Menzel’s name when he presented her. This year it was pay back and the two had fun.

The winners and their speeches: The winners this year were plentiful for each film nominated. It wasn’t one of those years where one film took all the awards. Each film got recognition for something. I am overjoyed that Julianne Moore won Best Actress for Still Alice and Alexandre Desplat won for best Original Score for The Grand Budapest Hotel. I didn’t care who won for most of the categories because, each of the nominees were equally deserving. There were so many soap box speeches from the winners, which was not a bad thing. When Patrica Arquette won for Best Supporting Actress, her acceptance speech about equal wages for women was great. Even Meryl Streep gave her a standing ovation and cheered her on. I did too. In fact, quite a few of the speeches turned political in some way. Whether it was equal wageKeefer.2014.5.jpgs for equal work by women, racism or just being different. What made it even more inspiring was that it was not obnoxious. They were done elegantly to a point that they were not preachy. My favorite speech came from Graham Moore who won for best adapted screenplay for The imitation Games. I adore this film and was so happy to see it receive an award for its script. His heartfelt speech brought tears to my eyes because he talked about why it’s okay to be different and that one day you will succeed. For me, Moore and the other’s speeches were the highlight of the evening.

Of course there is still so much to talk about but this was just a taste of what happened at this year’s Academy Awards. It’s funny that an award show could be the biggest event of the year, but the thing is it’s not just an award show. The Oscars honor not just last year’s films but films in general. It is a time for us to be reminded why film, or any form of self expression, is important. That’s why I look forward to it every year.

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