Love ‘em or loathe ‘em, the Academy Awards are one of the biggest nights on the entertainment calendar. Here’s how the 87th instalment went down.
The night’s big shocker was Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Birdman bagging four golden naked guys, including the two biggies for best director and best picture. One-time favourite 12 Years of Emo – sorry – Boyhood took home a single, solitary statuette. First-time presenter Neil Patrick Harris was… just okay. What worked: The Birdman bit and an early salvo at the inherent whiteness of the nominees (at least David Oyelowo got a good seat). What didn’t work: His opening number (ugh) with Jack Black (double ugh) and dancing stormtroopers, not to mention choosing to follow the best short documentary winner’s heartfelt speech about suicide with an ill-judged joke about the woman’s dress.
Thank you count – Spouses and/or parents: 23. Agents: 11. Wes Anderson: 6. God: 1 (Matthew McConaughey-hey wasn’t nominated). It was a bad year for false idols with Harvey Weinstein failing to garner a single expression of gratitude. Patricia Arquette gave a well-received (mainly by Meryl Streep) speech about pay equality, while John Legend and Common used the opportunity to express some impassioned and rousing sentiments on the current state of civil rights in America. But the best speech of the night was undoubtedly Ida’s Pawel Pawlikowski, who gallantly barrelled through not one but two rounds of cut-off music.
Well played, Sir.
In spite of some fine work from John Travolta, the weirdest presenter award goes to Terence Howard, who tried to break the microphone and seemed to be publicly working through some personal issues. Commiserations to Irish nominees Cartoon Saloon, Michael Lennox and Ronan Blaney. Sadly both Song of the Sea and Boogaloo and Graham lost out in their respective categories.
If you’re shocked or surprised that your personal favourite didn’t get the love, then The Hollywood Reporter’s series of “Brutally Honest” interviews with Academy members casts a light on the process behind who gets what and why. For example, one anonymous voter picked Leviathan for best foreign film based on the poster:
“I didn’t get around to seeing any of them. I shouldn’t have voted, but I did. Everywhere I looked, I saw pictures of this stupid carcass and I thought, ‘That’s a cool-looking thing.’ And I voted for a movie based on the dead whatever-it-was in the ad thinking that it looked cool.”
And it gets worse: On casting his vote for best documentary feature, he says,
“I didn’t see any of the nominees, but goddamn Virunga is running commercials late-night every freaking hour, and those gorillas, man — I was like, ‘Wow, that looks heavy.’ And I voted for it.”
So now you know.
As these things go, it wasn’t bad but it was far from exceptional. But more importantly – who were you wearing? #AskHerMore. I’m off to boil-wash my tuxedo. This special was brought to you in association with Quinnsworth Yellow Pack Vodka – even better than the real thing.
Highlights of the 87th Academy Awards are on RTE2 tonight at 9pm.