Monday, March 3, 2014

2014 Oscars: The Aftermath

That was certainly a fun event on Sunday night. While I didn't have a perfect record in terms of my final predictions (I finished with 3 out of 5 correct predictions), I was still pretty satisfied with the results. Below I discuss the good and the bad of the Oscars telecast:

The Good:
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Twelve Years a Slave was a well deserving Best Picture winner.  While I had Dallas Buyers' Club at the top of my list, I pretty much knew that it was not going to win the top prize from the start. One thing to keep in mind is that until I saw DBC, 12 Years was at the top of my list up to that point. In the end, it didn't bother me one bit that Steve McQueen and company were the ultimate winners. As long as Gravity didn't win, I was happy.

Speaking of Gravity, it won the awards it was supposed to win.  By that I mean the categories for visual effects.  I've been saying this all Oscar season. Once you look past the breathtaking visual effects, this film has very little else to offer. It still astonishes me that Sandra Bullock was receiving so much praise on her performance from her peers when she didn't even win in her given category of Best Actress. All I heard last night was how she carried the movie. Look I like Ms. Bullock but this wasn't one of her best performances. Not even close. When you don't win the major award in your category that you receive so much praise for going in, that should be a red flag from the start.

Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto were the victors in the most watched categories of the night for me.  Their respective wins illustrate just how special of a movie Dallas Buyers' Club is. Their characters are what make the movie so good. While I commend the other nominated performances, both McConaughey and Leto set the bar quite high in their respective categories.

Lupita Nyong'o.  She was one of the surprising and more well deserved winners of the night for me. The other being Spike Jonze in the Best Original Screenplay category for Her. Nyongo's performance as Patsey in 12 Years was so emotional and heartbreaking and her acceptance speech seemed very heartfelt and genuine also. Count me as one who definitely overlooked her and thought Jennifer Lawrence was a shoe in to win.  

Ellen DeGeneres as Oscar Host.  The Academy could have her be the host every year and that would be fine with me.  She was very funny and entertaining. The Twitter and pizza guy segments were absolutely hilarious! She even managed to handle the filler moments of the broadcast that didn't quite hit the mark very well. See Academy. Good stuff happens when you have a celebrity with some actual hosting experience of their own hosting the industry's biggest event of the year. They aren't intimidated one bit.

The Bad:

Steve McQueen got robbed in Best Director category.  Whatever happened to the days when whoever would win for Best Director, that film was pretty much a lock in the Best Picture category as well.  I understand Alfonso Cuaron did some pretty groundbreaking things with Gravity, in the same vein as James Cameron with Avatar, but a movie has to offer more than just stunning visual effects to be good. I like Cuaron's work in general, don't get me wrong. I just think Mr. McQueen made a far superior film.   

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Bette Midler's In Memoriam performance.  Weird, just plain weird!  I wanted to tell her "OKAY, WE GET THE WIND BENEATH MY WINGS ANALOGY ALREADY! No need for the unnecessary arm gesticulations. Officially creeped out!"

Pink's performance of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow."  Judy Garland I feel your pain! What wasn't wrong with that rendition of a movie musical classic celebrating its 75th anniversary.  The vocals were all over the place and parts of it seemed to be way off key.  Memo to Pink: Perhaps you should consider taking some lessons from Idina Menzel.

John Travolta's introduction of Ms. Menzel.  Oh John, what happened?  Did you perhaps have one too many? Were you nervous? If you have an answer or explanation, I'd certainly like to hear what it is.

Winners' long acceptance speeches.  I know this will never change but award winners please!  We don't need to hear you thanking your publicist or agent on a job well done. Just get your award and go on with your life!

So there you have it! I'm pretty sure I missed some moments here and there, but these are just a few that stuck out in my mind from Sunday.

Tim Musick
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