On Sunday, I broke one of my few sacred rules: sleeping in. This was one Sunday in which I let coffee be the sole component of my bloodstream to keep the groggy-eyed Sunday persona I usually am from emerging. Why? I needed to be my best self for the Oscars.
I always feel that the Oscars are a movie of their own kind, and this year was no different: Neil Patrick Harris was the snarky, witty, all-bearing lead actor. Anna Kendrick was the fairy-like supporting actress, and John Legend and Common gloriously directed this movie to tears. However, was the plot expected?
Yes, it was. “Whiplash” star J.K. Simmons started off the night by winning Best Actor in a Supporting Role for all the right reasons. His character, Terence Fletcher, was terrifying, magnificent and pushed the characters to unbelievable limits. Literally. As Patricia Arquette stepped up to accept her award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role, she continued to demonstrate the same vulnerability and resilience that characterized “Boyhood’s” Samantha, addressing the pressing matter of gender inequality.
Every speech this year was strung along with a social message, and as I watched with my floor mates, I could see the annoyance in some of their eyes, but I did not understand why. It might be believed at times that the manner in which these issues are advocated for makes it seem preachy because celebrities lead a more comfortable life. However, I think that raising awareness for matters like these is independent of comfort.
I find it great that almost every speech took advantage of the magnificent platform they were offered to broadcast messages that sometimes have to be incessantly heard for people to realize the urgency of the problem. Do I think that a few words on a fancy stage will cause a difference? No, I do not. Do I think that a few words on a fancy stage will cause a spark? Yes, I do. We still live in a world where celebrities are looked up to almost heroically, and if they are seen standing up for issues as citizens of the world and not as citizens of Hollywood, people will feel like standing up as well.
Everyone left their bare souls on the stage, thanking their parents, their family and their crew. Yet no one was barer than a very naked Neil Patrick Harris. While there were several eye-catching moments in his performance, something was missing. A lot of the times, his quips did not seem to belong, but when they did, he was his harshest and funniest. Almost everything he said had an element of truth in it, which caused for some uncomfortable silences but stuck to the theme of the night, which was expressing what everyone was feeling. Case and point: Eddie Redmayne.
Don’t we all just gasp at the sight of an Oscar? Wouldn’t we, if we were successful actors with nominations, just dream about taking care of it and admiring it? Yes, but we would all act nonchalant about winning one, at least in public. Redmayne’s genuineness was so captivating that even those who vouched for Michael Keaton couldn’t help but foolishly grin the way Redmayne was at his achievement, and feel heartfelt happiness for him. And though Keaton may not have won, “Birdman” did receive the recognition it deserved.
The beautiful long shots, the captivating cinematography and each and every calculated move in that movie proved to be fruitful. “Birdman” won Best Cinematography, Best Original Screenplay, Best Director and Best Film. It is believed that the Oscars have an affinity toward movies that are about acting, but independent of this rumored bias, Alejandro González Iñárritu deserved the accolade. It has been a while since someone has made a movie with the bravado of continuity and without the clutch of editing.
The Oscars were a predictable night (except for one aspect: why was Joan Rivers left out of the “In Memorium?”) , yet Lady Gaga’s somberness amazed the audience and those who had no faith in her vocal capability. Wes Anderson’s eccentricity received recognition, and “The Grand Budapest Hotel” won Best Original Score, Best Costume Design, Best Production Design and Best Make-Up in a foreseeable manner. Anderson has a style to his movies that always makes them recognizable, and the aforementioned elements are a crucial part to that mystifying magic he is capable to make. It was great that this movie finally recognized his style and is going to open so many people to his world of quirk.
This year was the year of predictability, but satisfaction. It was satisfying to see Julianne Moore win Best Actress in a Leading Role, and it was comforting to see people win who deserved to win. A predictable plot might sometimes feel boring, but on Sunday, it simply felt justified. For once, I felt that the Oscars unified people and allowed everyone to focus on just one thing: a love for movies.