With the exception of a few tent-pole moments, this year’s Academy Awards telecast was a awkwardly lacklustre presentation of what is suppose to be a shining moment in film. Despite a magnificent stage and enough star power to light up a city, let alone the Dolby Theatre, most of the show felt like it was playing it a little too safe. It wasn’t all dull though and the moments that shone brightest will go down in the Oscar history books as some of the best. Here’s a run down of our top 5 best (and 4 worst) moments from this year’s Oscar presentation.
Lady Gaga may have built her fan base with zingy pop tunes and zany costumes but beyond all of that, after last night’s stirring tribute to the now 50 year old musical, the signer/songwriter showed us once again that she’s one talented Mother Monster. Soaring through a medley of the musicals most popular numbers (The Sound of Music/My Favorite Things/Edelweiss/Climb Ev’ry Mountain) she received a standing ovation from the entire room and a warmer reception from Julie Andrews. Common and John Legend’s Performance of ‘Glory’ from Selma
After taking on the Grammy’s with their rousing performance of ‘Glory’, Common and John Legend reunited last night for another moving performance of the anthem which brought people to tears and to their feet for an overwhelming ovation. The song’s powerful delivery by the duo, backed by a marching choir also snagged the two artists a well-deserved Oscar for Best Original Song. Neil Patrick Harris’ Opening Number
Though NPH usually connects with the audience as a host of the Tony’s, his first turn at hosting the Oscars felt disconnected and staged. That being said, his opening number featuring Anna Kendrick and Jack Black was a dazzling jaunt through the moving pictures that have stood (and will stand) the test of time.
Patricia Arquette’s Speech Gets a Rousing Reaction from Meryl Streep Accepting her award for best supporting actress for her role in ‘Boyhood’, Patricia Arquette drew attention to the wage inequality women still face in the US. Stealing the show with her reaction from the audience, Meryl Streep hollered positively from her seat and seemed ready to march for equality right then and there.
JK Simmons reminds us to call our parents JK Simmons took to the stage to accept his award for best supporting actor in ‘Whiplash’ but also reminded us to call our parents. More specifically we are not to text or email but actually call and thank them for everything they’ve done for us. It was a touching moment that stood out for not feeling rehearsed in a speech.
That man is creepy. For some reason people keep putting Glom Gazingo John Travolta on stage to awkwardly not do much more than make us feel uncomfortable. Coming off of last year’s mispronunciation of Idina Menzel’s name, he was invited out by Idina herself where he proceeded to creepily touch her face and she didn’t seem to love it. Joking that the misstep would follow her for the rest of her career, Menzel took the whole thing is stride where Travolta just came off as a man trying too hard to prove he loves the ladies. Where was Kanye when we needed him most?
Sean Penn Announces Best Picture Someone should check Sean Penn for a pulse. He arrived on stage as if he just left a bar fight to announce that Alejandro Inarritu had won Best Picture for ‘Birdman’. In true Penn eloquence he asked the question that no one needed to ask, “Who gave this son of a bitch a green card?” Keep it classy, Sean Penn. Adam Levine Gets Down on Bended Knee
Adam Levine might be a nice guy and an alright singer but no matter how nice you are and how well you can engineer sound in a studio, some songs deserve a better live delivery. He’s got good hair and he can push a red button like no one else but his stage presence always feels more about him than the music (or the other guys from marooned in the background 5). While singing ‘Lost Stars’, the best original song contender from ‘Begin Again’, his performance was the best bathroom break moment of the entire night.
Neil Patrick Harris’ Predications Joke Bombs This bit felt so forced that not even a bubbly Octavia Spencer could save it. Coming back to the joke intermittently (and seeming to catch Spencer by surprise every time) we were reminded that not ever joke can soar and we were just as dumbfounded by the whole this as a sleepy Robert Duval. It may have been good on paper but the execution was bulky and distracting. The punch line did deliver however but by the end of the night it was too little, too late.