Last night's Oscars ceremony...
Did you watch last night's Oscars ceremony?
For starters, it was not my favourite Oscars ceremony but having said that, it was far from my least favourite. I've read some negative opinions about Neil Patrick Harris' hosting performance but I think this would have been a hard show to host even for Billy Crystal or Ellen! Why? Because it was a really political year in cinema, a lot of powerful movies with difficult subjects were nominated, and this year, the winners did not want to win quietly! There simply was no way this could have been sugarcoated with comedy as per the Hollywood norm.
And here's why...
Suicide: Firstly, suicide was movingly approached by Graham Moore in his acceptance speech as he received the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay for "The Imitation Game", a movie in which its main protagonist, real life Alan Turin, commits suicide: "I tried to commit suicide at 16 and now I'm standing here," Graham said. "I would like for this moment to be for that kid out there who feels like she doesn’t fit in anywhere. You do. Stay weird. Stay different, and then when it's your turn and you are standing on this stage please pass the same message along." Secondly, a moving comment from Dana Perry, one of the winners of the Best Documentary Short for "Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1", was cut off by the damn Oscar music - Perry mentioned her son, Evan Scott Perry, who committed suicide at age 15 in 2005. "I lost my son," Perry told reporters after the speech, "we need to talk about suicide out loud to try to work against the stigma and silence around suicide because the best prevention for suicide is awareness and discussion and not trying sweep it under the rug."
Racism: The amazing performance by Common & John Legend of their song "Glory" for the movie "Selma" (which documented the 1965 voting rights' marches from Selma to Montgomery led by Martin Luther King, Jr.) and their consequent truly eloquent acceptance speech which rightly brought the whole room to their feet. As reported by Variety, "Oscar host Neil Patrick Harris didn’t shy away from the controversy over “Selma’s” perceived snubs and the overall lack of diversity in the nominations, opening the ceremony by joking, “tonight we honor Hollywood’s best and whitest — sorry, brightest!” He later visited David Oyelowo in the audience to include him in a bit about every joke sounding better in a British accent. After the crowd applauded Oyelowo’s delivery, Harris quipped, “Oh, sure, now you like him!” in reference to the the actor’s shutout in the Best Actor category."
Equal rights for women: In Patricia Arquette's Oscar acceptance speech for Best Supporting Actress for her role in "Boyhood", she said "to every woman who gave birth, to every tax payer and citizen of this nation, we have fought for everybody else's equal rights, it's our time to have wage equality once & for all and equal rights for women in the United States of America!" This was my favourite speech as it was closest to my heart. I feel like I never hear women in the public eye in the US speak out so openly & with such vehemence about women's rights as Patricia Arquette did, and from the looks of it, neither had Meryl Streep or JLO! Not that this will put an end to the complacency of western nations to discard this inequality (see the backlash Arquette's speech has received in the press since Sunday as evidence), but it's a start!
Terminal Illness: ALS & Alzheimer's were both at the forefront of the Oscar winner selection with Eddie Redmayne winning Best Actor for "The Theory of Everything" and Julianne Moore winning Best Actress for "Still Alice" respectively, as well as Tim McGraw's emotional rendition of Glenn Campbell's song "I'm not going to miss you" about his Alzheimers disease, (the song was a Best Song nominee for the documentary "Glenn Campbell... I'll be me").
So, in my opinion, Neil Patrick Harris had a very difficult year to present and tough crowd to lead. Kudos to him for keeping it going in such a professional way! Give him some slack, people!
PS: Ethan Hawke was being interviewed on the red carpet about his movie "Boyhood", the Oscars and acting, he had this to say in response to the interviewer's question, What does it mean to have this night here, to get this kind of acclaim from everybody who makes movies?, "What, are you kidding, I mean this is the church of my choice! Making movies, telling stories, is what I’ve believed in my whole life and this community is the only real community I’ve ever wanted to be a part of. So it’s a huge honour, you just have to try to go through it with grace and not turn into a smug jerk about it all." Not like I needed another reason to love Ethan Hawke but there it is! If you have a moment, check out this pre-Oscars "Actors Round Table" by The Hollywood Reporter's Stephan Galloway with Ethan amongst other nominees/actors in nominated movies, such as Benedict Cumberbatch and Eddie Redmayne.