While audiences were divided by last years Ellen DeGeneres hosting of the Oscars, last night saw fan favourite and all-round nice guy Neil Patrick Harris take the terrifying job of entertaining millions of people throughout a bloated almost 4 hour global event. But how did he fair on the biggest and most glamorous night of the year? Hit the jump to find out.
When it was first announced that the How I Met Your Mother alum was going to host the Oscars, the most coveted night in Hollywood’s calender, nothing but excitement could be felt. After all, he does a fantastic job at hosting the Emmy and the Tony Awards, so it’s a safe choice, no? Unfortunately not.
With an impressive opening monologue, where he rightfully called the night honouring “Hollywood’s best and whitest”, with a musical number, flawlessly performed by NPH (as expected) and with special guests Anna Kendrick and Jack Black, the bar was set very high as faces lit up in anticipation for the rest of the show. But it seems that was as good as his hosting would get as it was nothing but downhill from there.
Jokes fell flat, awkward pauses ensued and anyone with a hi-definition TV screen could see the sweat form on his brow by the reaisation of how bad it was all going. It wasn’t all a complete disaster, some jokes hit the right spot, granted these were the most controversial ones, but they were still delivered in an uncomfortable and nervous manner, not like the confident and charming actor’s general presenation of himself that we’ve all fell in love with over the years.
Aside from the misstep of the hosting, the Oscars saw some of the best and most memorable speeches heard in recent years, from Patricia Arquette sparking an indoor feminist rally with a fist-pumping Meryl Streep, to The Imitation Game’s Graham Moore bringing awareness to the sensetive topic of suicide and who can forget Eddie Redmayne’s heart-melting excitement as he gazed into the golden eyes of his new friend.
But perhaps the best part of the entire show was indeed the musical numbers, while last year music was a more subtle part of the ceremony, last year music was at the front and centre. Which thankfully distracted from a lot of the cringe-inducing jokes by NPH.
Everything is Awesome, performed by Tegan and Sara and The Lonely Island brought zany fun and LEGO OSCAR STATUES, oh wouldn’t we all love to have one of those? While John Legend and Common wowed the world with an uplifting and patriotic performance of Glory, bringing much needed racial politics to an often ignorant Academy. Jennifer Hudson’s in-memoriam tribute was breathtaking, but my award for Best Performance by a Musical Act had to be…Lady GaGa.
Her tribute to the Sound of Music had everybody on the edge of their seat, not because it celebrated the 50th Anniversary of an iconic film, but because of the sounds that were coming from her mouth. She blossomed into Angel GaGa, and recieved praise from the legendary Julie Andrews herself, what more could you want from life?
Now let’s run down the big winners of the night:
Best Actor in a Supporting Role J.K. Simmons for Whiplash
A clear frontrunner and rightly so. Simmons gave the performance of a lifetime as the villain of Whiplash, playing an extremely strict and unorthadox music teacher who pushes his students to the absolute violent limits. None of the other’s in the categery (Mark Ruffalo, Edward Norton, Robert Duvall and Ethan Hawke) came close to securing a performance as great as Simmons’, each of them were fantastic. Gotta love his hippy “stop texting and tell your parents you love them” speech, and for the first award of the night it set the standards for the rest of the winning speeches.
Best Actress in a Supporting Role Patricia Arquette for Boyhood
Scooping all of the Supporting Actress awards this season, Arquette really delivered a performance that deserved to be praised. The category was filled with fantastic actresses (Keira Knightley, Emma Stone, Laura Dern and of course Meryl Streep) and although it seemed like Emma Stone could’ve been a dark horse to steal the trophy, Arquette was again, a deserving winner.
Best Actor in a Leading Role Eddie Redmayne for The Theory of Everything
Awards season has been honouring equally Redmayne and Michael Keaton for their groundbreaking performances and in one of the tightest races of the night, the winner was Mr Stephen Hawking. Redmayne’s incredibly intelligent yet vulnerable and human performance resonated with the Academy more than Keaton’s eccentric and damaged portrayal of a washed up actor, and I couldn’t be happier. Don’t get me wrong, Keaton was amazing and it truly was a performance that re-invigorated his career, but what Redmayne was able to do with his body, mannerisms and voice both before and after Hawking’s tragic transformation was nothing short of breathtaking.
Best Actress in a Leading Role Julianne Moore for Still Alice
Another solid lockdown for Best Actress went to Moore, who can finally say that 5th time’s a charm. Her heartbreaking role as a woman battling (and losing) to early onset Alzeimers was haunting and it’s an award that not only honours her performance in that particular movie, but also for a rich career filled with exceptional performances. The catgeory was also filled with impressive strong leads, from first time nominees Felicity Jones and Rosamund Pike, who shocked everybody by how great she was in Gone Girl, to previous winners Reese Witherspoon and Marion Cotillard.
Best Director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu for Birdman
Another impressive category filled with deserving talents, but it was the Birdman director who flew in and took the award from Boyhood’s Richard Linklater. While it’s not hard to see how well directed Birdman was, with it’s imitation of a single take running throughout the movie, what Linklater did with time, patience and perserverance to create a film over 12 years was more deserving of a recognition.
Best Picture Birdman
All eyes were on the battle between a Boy and a Bird at the ceremony but alas, it was the superhero who proved victorious. Birdman was a good movie, filled with stellar performances and a clever script that resonated throughout modern audiences. However, the subject and it’s material can’t be consider it a timeless film, so does that make it deserving? Who knows.
Overall, while the hosting of the 2015 Oscar’s left a lot to be desired, musical highlights, great speeches and even Idina Menzel’s awkward reunion with a very touchy John Travolta managed to bring salvation to the festivities.