THE OSCARS: Powerful Speeches and Surprises

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The Oscars are over so the red carpets are all rolled up and hopefully Hollywood A-listers are resting up after their long night of frivolity, marking the end of the marathon of awards season. But it’s also the traditional time for pundits to weigh in on the winning and the losing highlights from Tinseltown’s most exciting night. Why should I be any different?

Neil Patrick Harris was anticipated to ‘bring the party’ for his first gig as host of the Academy Awards and he delivered. Mostly. The opening song and dance number was an upbeat, funny crowd favorite that included the impressive song stylings from Anna Kendrick. (For those who DVRed it, play it back in slo-mo and you might actually catch every joke.) His “whitest, sorry brightest” joke was a spot-on call-out to lack of diversity present in nominees. But the Oprah joke was a miss and the constantly guarded ‘prediction box’ was a waste of time. Overall, he did well- let’s hope he hosts again soon.

Over the years there have been amazing acceptance speeches so a nominee must bring their A game these days if their name is called to make it memorable. There were a few that stood out and created social media buzz.

87th Annual Academy Awards - Press Room

Patricia Arquette won Best Supporting Actress for her portrayal in BOYHOOD. In her acceptance speech she asked for wage equality for all, as she pointed out women have always been the champoins for others and now it’s time for equal pay for women: “The truth is: even though we sort of feel like we have equal rights in America, right under the surface, there are huge issues that are applied that really do affect women…And it’s time for all the women in America and all the men that love women, and all the gay people, and all the people of color that we’ve all fought for to fight for us now.” Meryl Streep was brought to her feet cheering- and so was I!

87th Annual Academy Awards - Backstage And Audience

One of my personal favorites in the Best Picture race, THE IMITATION GAME, did not win but it did nab an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay. In his acceptance speech, Graham Moore gave an inspirationally candid and personal response to his win. He opened up to attempting suicide at age 16 and had a message for others feeling alone and contemplative of the same (not unlike his main character Alan Turing) : “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.”

87th Annual Academy Awards - Press Room

I know I’m not alone in the disapointment over the lack of diversity present. Specifically, I was shocked and disturbed to not see nominations of David Oyelowo as nominee for Best Actor, SELMA and Ava DuVernay as nominee for Best Director, SELMA. The very powerful performance of the Best Song nominee from this film “Glory” by artists Common and John Legend, which depicted images inspired by these historical moments in the Civil Rights movement, brought tears and a standing ovation to the audience.

So when “Glory” went on to win Best Song, an equally powerful acceptance speech followed… “Selma is now because the struggle for justice is right now,” stated John Legend, accepting the Oscar standing with Common. “We live in the most incarcerated country in the world. There are more black men under correctional control today than there were in slavery in 1850. When people are marching with our song, we want to tell you we are with you, we see you, we love you, and march on. God bless you.”

There were some interesting surprises too. Twitter exploded when Lady Gaga performed a beautiful performance in tribute to the 50th anniversary of THE SOUND OF MUSIC. I’ve always been a fan of her vocal talents but now she’s gained the respect of the rest of my generation, to join her little monster loyalty too. But I got misty-eyed when Julie Andrews herself came onto the stage to give props to the recently engaged songstress. Looking forward to catching a glimpse of her and Christopher Plummer at Turner Classic Movies Film Festival next month!

Another fun surprise was seeing host NPH in nothing but his tightie whities, a funny nod to Michael Keaton’s Best Actor nominated performance in BIRDMAN. Speaking of Keaton’s underwear, there was another memorable acceptance speech that night. BIRDMAN Best Picture and Best Director winner Alejandro Gonzales Inarritu concluded with not only a call for diversity inclusion and respect for his homeland of Mexico, but also made a hilarious ‘admission’ to wearing Keaton’s tightie whities as his good luck charm that evening.

Lots of fabulous highlights and I look forward to next year’s grand party! You can see my predictions and personal picks from yesterday to see how I made out. (Hey, maybe I should start buying lottery tickets- LOL!)

87th Annual Academy Awards - Press Room

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Comments

  1. Great review of the ceremonies Kellee. You hit all the important parts. It was a well-produced event with a good balance of levity and significance. I’ve been very impressed by Common and his comments last night and at the Golden Globes. He’s a great orator himself.

    Like

    • Thanks so much, Christian! Pulling off a perfect Oscars ceremony that appeals to all is a tough job but I think overall it faired quite well. And I agree regarding Common- impressive man.

      Like

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