I swear I meant to live tweet the Oscars last night. What happened? Put bluntly: I don't like Neil Patrick-Harris as an awards show host. I don't like his shtick. The sight of him onscreen posing as the Oscar statuette and dancing with shadows filled me with an irrational rage that only would have been taken out on the ceremony. That's my baggage. He was charming last night and certainly kept the festivities moving along nicely. With that out of the way, here are my three big takeaways from the Oscars last night.
1) Julianne Moore finally has an Oscar
Julianne Moore has been one of my favorite actresses for well over a decade now. I first really noticed her in Far From Heaven, and then continued to put her at or near the top of my best of the year ballots in The Prizewinner of Defiance, Ohio, Freedomland, Children of Men, Savage Grace, Blindness, A Single Man, The Kids Are Alright, and Maps to the Stars. I even worked my way backwards, falling for her turns in films like The Big Lebowski and Boogie Nights long after their releases.
It is Julianne Moore's devastating turn as a linguistic professor stricken with early-onset Alzheimer's Disease that finally won her the golden statuette. It's a legacy performance for sure. It also means more people will see a very smart film with a lot more nuance than some of the Best Picture nominees.
2) All the Best Picture Nominees Won
For the first time since the Academy expanded the Best Picture field to 10 nominees (or five-10 under the current ridiculous system), all of the Best Picture nominees took home an award. American Sniper, The Theory of Everything, Selma, Boyhood, and The Imitation Game each won one (Sound Editing, Best Actor, Best Original Song, Best Supporting Actress, and Best Adapted Screenplay).
The rest all won multiple awards, with Birdman coming out on top with three major category wins: Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Original Screenplay. The Grand Budhapest Hotel did well in the technical categories (Best Makeup and Hairstyling, Best Production Design, and Best Costume Design) while Whiplash won for Editing, Supporting Actor, and Sound Mixing.
3) Those Speeches
Patricia Arquette landed on top of the heap of a night of amazing speeches with a statement on feminism and pay equality that resulted in Meryl Streep and Jennifer Lopez going nuts in the audience.
I felt the spirit, too.
Adapted Screenplay winner Graham Moore gave a moving speech about finding your voice as a young person and embracing your weird. Julianne Moore gave a loving tribute to her directors, who could not attend because Richard Glatzer's ALS did not allow for safe travel to the ceremony. Eddie Redmayne dedicated his Oscar for playing Stephen Hawking to all the people living with ALS in the world today.
John Legend and Common's speech about the inspiration for "Glory" from Selma needs to be seen to really understand.
The band is about to play me off (and by band, I mean a rehearsal with my students starting in a few minutes), so I'll leave this here. What were your Oscar higlights?