Tuesday, February 24, 2015
The Birdman Triumphs
Between Emma Stone's crotch shot and Sean Penn's green card joke, there was the stuporous event we have come to call the Oscars. Every year, the Academy deems it necessary to bore everyone with a 3+ hour award ceremony, but everyone who is anyone always shows up for the annual fashion show. Neil Patrick Harris did his best to keep the show rolling. He strolled out in his underwear, a la the title character of Birdman, to the amusement of everyone, and made the yearly poke at Oprah.
Lady Gaga paid a tribute to The Sound of Music. Why not Pink Martini, who teamed up with the Von Trapp family, and did a beautiful tribute album in Dream a Little Dream this year? Anyway, I heard she put on a good show.
John Legend and Common joined forces for a rousing rendition of Glory, from Selma. The song won the only Oscar for the movie about Martin Luther King, Jr's key march during the Civil Rights movement. It had to be the high point of this otherwise banal evening.
There were complaints going into the Oscars that none of the actors from Selma were nominated for awards. I thought David Oyelowo gave a wonderful performance. Otherwise, I thought Selma a bit too earnest, presenting a heroic MLK, when Ava DuVernay could have stripped away some of the layers of history and given us a more intimate portrait of the man. I was pleased to see that the film touched my daughter deeply, who couldn't understand how people could do that to each other.
Ten movies were nominated for Best Picture. It came down to four however: American Sniper, Birdman, Boyhood and Selma. Each had its vocal supporters. I was quietly rooting for Grand Hotel Budapest but was happy to see Birdman come away with the top prize. It may have been an "actors movie" but was so well done that Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu took best director and best original screenplay as well, much to the chagrin of the American Sniper contingent, which made its displeasure known.
I didn't see anything wrong with Sean Penn's green card joke, but in 2005 he got teed off at Chris Rock's jab at Jude Law and felt the need to defend his buddy. I guess he too has to be more careful what he says in public, although Inarritu was not offended, having directed Penn in 21 Grams.
I was glad to see Inarritu take a lighter approach in Birdman. His movies have been so deathly serious that it was great to see his comic side, albeit dark comic side. I thought the acting was superb and was hoping Emma Stone would win the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress, but alas she got beat out by Patricia Arquette in Boyhood. She's my least favorite of the Arquette siblings.
Julianne Moore finally got her Oscar. I guess you have to play someone with a disability to have any shot at the award these days. Meryl Streep literally jumped out of her seat when Moore was announced. I did too as Julianne was long, long overdue.
This year's Oscars may not have had the diversity some persons were looking for, but for the most part the best talents won. If Inarritu doesn't have a green card, he should get one now, as I imagine he will be in very hot demand in Hollywood.