Oscars 2015 Ceremony and Wrap Up

I watched the OSCARs last night – all of it, from 8:00 pm to 12:09pm (EST). It’s sad when you get to the last couple of awards and all you’re thinking is, “Is it over yet? I want to sleep!”

This year’s OSCARs seemed almost a throwback to the infamous 1970s OSCARs when political speeches dominated the acceptance speeches. However, I felt that it was nice, or at least, different, to see some thought-provoking references to topics as diverse as:  Women’s Rights (specifically equal pay); racism – how far we’ve come, yet how far we still need to go; teen suicide; Alzheimer’s disease; ALS; and as always the importance of allowing creative people to be creative and achieve their dreams (or at least to stop crushing those who try).

I also watched the Red Carpet preview – which was as annoying as usual. But I thought this was interesting – Lady Gaga, looking very much like a member of DC Comics Royal Flush Gang:


Speaking of, OMG – after teasing us all night that she was going to perform, her Sound of Music Tribute was brilliant! In short, Lady Gaga nailed it – proving for once and for all – that gal can sing!

But it was a night for good music – from Neil Patrick Harris’s opening song and dance tribute to film, (nearly spoiled by Jeff Black’s scripted interruption, which was not funny – at all,) to the fun and bouncy live performance of “Everything is Awesome” and the very moving performance of “Glory”, which literally had audience members in tears, and, of course, Lady Gaga’s performance – it was a great night for music.  That it was supposed to be a night dedicated to film seemed to slip the minds of whoever wrote the show (because, yes, such awards shows are scripted.)

Neil Patrick Harris did a good job hosting, though having him come out in only his underwear on film’s biggest night, in front of all his more powerful, and no doubt much richer colleagues, in a word, sucked. It felt like one of those teen dreams you always hear people talk about, where the person shows up to school or a job interview naked. It was just wrong. I was embarrassed for Neil Patrick Harris, I didn’t find it funny at all, it was cruel, and it went against what turned out to be a theme for the night – the triumph of the little guy against all odds. Which is it Hollywood – encourage the “weird kids” who dream big? Or act like the popular kids who bully and tease and make the lives of the “weird kids” miserable?

Next, let’s talk about Patricia Arquette. During her OSCARs speech she talked about wage equality for women. You go girl! It was awesome! Cynics are already criticizing her brave move, pointing to the high wages of the entertainment industry. However, First, she wasn’t specifically talking about her industry – her comment was about all women – no matter what they do. Second, women are notoriously underpaid in Hollywood and in the American Entertainment Industry, especially when compared to their male counterpoints. When George Clooney demanded and got $1 million dollars an episode for E/R, Julianna Marguies asked for a raise. Not only did she not get the raise, she was fired for “causing trouble”. And actors, working actors, do not make as much money as you think they do. Sure, A-list Hollywood superstars get million dollar contracts, but the guy playing “storm trooper #3” or “woman in crowd”? They’re not pulling down multi-million dollar contracts. And all actors do contract work – 4-6 months on any given movie is the norm. My guess is you don’t get a 401k when you only work for six months at a time. One of the reasons many established actors (male and female) go into television late in their careers is they can pull down a decent wage, the hours are better and more predictable, and the stream of money coming in is also predictable – something that’s necessary for future planning.

But anyway, enough ranting. This year’s OSCAR’s saw several films bringing home the gold, rather than a clean sweep by any one film – a result I usually think is more fair, and more realistic in honoring the creative talent of film. Films that won awards included:  The Grand Budapest Hotel, Birdman, and Whiplash. Eddie Redmayne won best actor. Sorry, Benedict Cumberbatch. I saw both films, and they were both excellent. I actually think it was in some ways a pity that they came out during the same year, and competed against each other at the OSCARs – because both deserved the win.

Here’s the full list of winners:  2015 Oscar Winners, from The Guardian – Film.

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