To say The 87th Academy Awards were a shock is a huge understatement, for the big awards - some of the winners were undeserving. Others simply shocked us that they beat the obvious frontrunners to claim the prized statuette.
As usual, it was the job of host with the most for this year; Neil Patrick Harris to be the biggest arsehole on the planet for a period of just under four hours. Just in case over 20 endorsements of ABC, the Academy broadcaster for the event, wasn't enough - he had to sing at the beginning, turning the show into the biggest musical embarrassment since... Ummm.
No no, I'm being too cynical, the show was lovely - it was its usual glitzy self and all the better because it was available live on Sky Movies Oscars - delightful! Though the Red Carpet proved disappointing, with a lack of A-List celebrities strutting their stuff, we saw some of our favourite faces in cinema over the past year. Meryl Streep was the only real A-lister there - i suppose in today's climate, what defines the term celebrity?
The Academy Awards this year were a shocker for two reasons;
On top of an already shocking nominations list prior to the ceremony taking place, with a lack of Teller, Revolori or Oyelowo or Coltrane being at all recognised for their electrifying performances in their respective films, we've got all this to take in now.
For me, the most deserving winners of the night (without question) were;
The above were, without question, the obvious winners in their categories and its great to see that they were recognised for it. J.K. Simmons was, at his age, talent and evocative work with Whiplash, the obvious contender for Best Supporting Actor. The same goes to Patricia for Boyhood who gives us her lifetime best performance as the mother of Mason Jr. in the real-time coming-of-age epic Boyhood.
I was also pleased to see Best Foreign Language Film go to Ida, in recent weeks, its had the edge against long-running contender - Leviathan and Achievement in Sound Mixing went to Whiplash - for the crispest jazz and for the general classiness. It's a great film.
The most shocking, and thus disappointing, winners on the night in my opinion were;
...and the reasons for them.
Perhaps for The Academy, it was too obvious for Boyhood to get Best Picture. I think in recent weeks Boyhood gained momentum to a point where it was clear to everyone just how much of a monumental production Boyhood really was. The film was actually my favourite to win, but I think the style of Birdman clouded the views of the jury. There is an element of confusion here - its a profound film which focusses on dsyfunctional American family, its a real American film - maybe it was too real? There was hardly any typical 'blockbuster' element about it and perhaps it was too clever for an American audience - this s quite a derogoratory stereotype to make but with every stereotype; there is an element of truth. Boyhood had more of an impact in European Cinema, but this year the Academy has gone too far and they've strayed from honoring the true winners; like The Grand Budapest Hotel, Boyhood, Selma and some would say (I know I would); Nightcrawler.
I'm not saying Birdman didn't deserve to win, it had a good chance of winning right from the start and considering the Academy jury was consisted of older people which would make us think Boyhood would resonate with them more, against the odds Birdman with its stylish cinematography and 'one-take' effect - broke a few technical norms.
Should have won: Boyhood
Best Director is another huge disappointment, and blow to Boyhood, I even think there could have been the small chance of a sympathy Oscar to Boyhood for either Best Picture or Best Director, I would have been okay with Best Picture going to Birdman (it's still annoying) and Best Director going to Inarritu but the fact that both awards went to the film, something's not quite right. Richard Linklater, director of Boyhood, was the obvious winner from the start, he had spent nearly a third of his life producing the film which required such dedication and integrity to the production that any other nomination is unparalleled. It would only make sense to commemorate arguably the most humanist director of all time with an Oscar, but sadly that was not the case.
Did Win: Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu
Should have won: Richard Linklater
Original Screenplay should've gone to The Grand Budapest Hotel, the outcome of this award is yet another massive shocker. It was witty, funny and exceptionally well crafted as typical in a sarcastic black comedy from Wes Anderson. Birdman had no story, no aim and it might as well have been an observational documentary with some fancy camera work and lighting, with a unpredictable migraine-inducing drum beat. The Academy's reputation may have taken a turn for the worse, I sure think less of it anyway - but I was kind of expecting it too, the reputation part not the award winners!
I don't have much to say about the next award, other than the fact it should been How To Drain Your Dragon 2 (heartwarming, better than the original AND well animated - slightly better than Big Hero 6 in its realism).
Did Win: Big Hero 6
Should have won: How To Train Your Dragon 2
Achievement in Cinematography was a shocker too, though it wasn't as well. It was a shocker because last year Emmanuel Lubeszki won the same award for Gravity - so were were expecting the Oscars not to go all consecutive on this one but it seems that wasn't the case - it should have gone to a more deserving winner; notably Robert Yeoman, Wes' right hand man on every production since, on The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Oscars totally played against their usual tactic of 'getting rid of people without a statue yet' with the exception of Julianne Moore who won Best Actress for her portrayal.