Oscars 2015 Post-Mortem: The Best, The Worst, and The Whitest


Well, okay. So that happened. Ben and I are here to unpack that absurdly long and fairly drab ceremony, so get ready for us to complain about everything that happened, as is tradition.

B: Another Oscar year is behind us, and I have to say that saying goodbye is not that hard this year. A season of ups and downs that ended in an awards ceremony as bland and weird as you could get.

N: And isn’t that why we watch the Oscars in the first place? To hear what tone-deaf, out-of-touch old guys think about The Year In Films?

B: While certainly one of the worst years in recent memory (Hello King’s Speech/Social Network Year!), not everyone came out a “winner” this time around. So that we don’t have to end this post on a bummer note, Nina, what were some of your low-points of this year, both in the awards themselves and the ceremony?

N: Well, first of all, that took FOREVER. I don’t need to wait until 12:15 in the morning on a fucking Sunday so that we can do more prediction gags and so that we can fit in two huge musical numbers OTHER than the Best Original Song performances. (I actually don’t think EVERY song needs to be performed during the telecast – but we’ll come back to the two that mattered.) I also am loathe to admit this, but after the opening number, which I admittedly enjoyed a lot, NPH went very downhill very quickly.

B: Oh Neil Patrick Harris. Maybe we just need a break from him for a while. When hosting the Tony Awards or starring in a TV show/musical, you can be so lovable. But the jokes were awful, the briefcase bit was unbearable, and it almost seemed like he was apologizing for all of his material. Stick to Broadway, Neil. It’s your strong point.

N: I still love you, NPH. As for awards upsets, the night mostly went as planned, with Julianne Moore, J.K. Simmons, Patricia Arquette and Eddie Redmayne (who was always the frontrunner no matter what Michael Keaton might have told you) taking home trophies, and Grand Budapest Hotel cleaning up in the production categories. But I almost feel like…… maybe there was TOO much Birdman love. I loved Birdman as much as the next person, but did I feel like its script was better than Grand Budapest Hotel, whose scribe Wes Anderson has been overlooked time and time again? No. Did I think Inarritu did a better job as a director than Linklater, who spent 12 years immersed in his film and even had a contingency plan in case of his sudden death? Nope. Did I think Emmanuel Lubezki deserved his second Oscar in a row for his crazy, mind-bending cinematography? Well, yeah. That I did believe.

B: Lubezki for sure deserved that Oscar, that’s a no-brainer. But yes, it would’ve be nice to see Wes get his well-deserved Screenplay Oscar for Budapest (or, to see Damien Chazelle or Paul Thomas Anderson get Adapted Screenplay over Imitation Game). And I am of course not discrediting the achievement of Boyhood which is a film that people won’t forget anytime soon, it’s not like an egregious crime that Innaritu got a Directing Oscar or that Birdman got Picture. It’s a damn good movie. It talks about concepts and ideas and some cliches that have been talked about to death in other stories, but hell if it doesn’t present them in a fascinating and unique presentation, with performances that are GANGBUSTERS, to say the least. Boyhood will for sure be remembered, but Birdman isn’t the worst movie that could’ve won (I do wish my personal best, Selma, had won obviously, but I’ll settle for it’s Best Song win).

N: I guess. I would certainly rather see Birdman, which is kind of a different choice for the Academy (who doesn’t usually reward the more daring film of two – remember The Social Network vs. The King’s Speech?) win over something like American Sniper or The Imitation Game. I just don’t feel GOOD about Boyhood being completely shut out other than Arquette, because as I’ve said on Facebook and Twitter and out loud to anyone who hasn’t told me to shove it yet, I think Boyhood will still be relevant in 10 years, and I’m not super sure Birdman will be. But! Speaking of Arquette, let’s talk speeches.

B: That poor Academy Orchestra. As soon as the director of Foreign Language Film winner Ida started barreling through the playoff music TWICE, a precedent was set, and speeches went on for as long as people wanted them too. Nothing as long and ridiculous as the Ida speech, thankfully. However, lots of politically and socially charged speeches in the house, with ALS awareness from both Julianne Moore and Eddie Redmayne, talk of suicide from Imitation Game screenwriter Graham Moore, and the winners of Live-Action AND Documentary Short. But of course, nothing could top the first speech of the night, where J.K. Simmons let everyone know that you should call your mom. What a sweetheart!!!!

N: Just Keep Simmons is the fucking best. Anybody who disagrees with that is a sociopath. Patricia Arquette, his Supporting counterpart, also brought the house down when she made an impassioned plea for wage equality (bringing Queen Meryl to her feet, which deserves a second Oscar in and of itself). I understand there has since been an Internet kerfuffle about her further speech in the press room, but we are choosing not to discuss that today.

B: This is neither the time nor the place. We had to endure a night of John Travolta creepily touching Idina Menzel’s face, Sean Penn making a NOT-OK immigration “joke,” and musical performances from Adam Levine AND Tim McGraw? Did anything GOOD happen?

N: EVERYTHING WAS AWESOME LAST NIGHT FOR ONE HOT SECOND, BEN. When The Lonely Island appeared on stage wearing matching powder-blue suits and capes, I realized that, in fact, my whole life had been leading up to this moment. “Glory” was very good and very much deserved to win, but I confess to being SLIGHTLY disappointed that my favorite fake-rap group, who always bring a healthy amount of ridiculousness to everything forever, don’t have an Oscar.

B: The “Everything is Awesome” performance was hands-down the best thing that happened last night – it was sudden kick of energy, excitement, and FUN in an otherwise dour and self-serious evening. The Lonely Island and Tegan & Sara knocked this one out of the park, along with help from Mark Mothersbaugh, Questlove, and Will Arnett as Batman. But you cannot deny the sheer power of that “Glory” performance. It was a battle cry for all of those out there still fighting the good fight, and a continued testament to the power of the film Selma. I’m sure there were lots of people there thinking “Shit, I think we should’ve voted THAT for Best Picture…”

N: I can’t deny it – the “Glory” performance was pretty incredible. I just have such a soft spot for Andy, Jorma and Akiva. Add Will Arnett to that mix and you’ve basically killed me. And speaking of songs, even though I was kind of mad at this part because it made the show run super long and I’m really sleepy today, Lady Gaga KILLED that Sound of Music medley SO HARD. I mean, damn. Having Julie Andrews come out and hug her after was just the icing on the cake, and by “icing on the cake” I mean “tears on my face.”

B: I mean, she can sing, this is true. But also, why????? Lots of other movies are celebrating their 50th anniversary, that doesn’t mean we should get Janelle Monae to sing a song from that movie…..actually wait, that SHOULD happen. Ugh, let’s just get this next Oscar year rolling. I don’t know about you, but I’ll take a Lego Oscar over a real one any day.

N: Yeah, Emma Stone and Channing Tatum seemed to be having a fucking ball with their Lego Oscars, so if it’s good enough for them, it’s definitely good enough for me. But, yes, let’s close the door on this weird, half-thrilling, half-super boring Oscars season. And because we are masochists, we’ll be back to do this all over again next year!

B: Until next time, I’m gonna do what Jack Black did in that Opening Number and RAGE QUIT THESE AWARDS.


We promise we won’t succumb to the post-Oscar slump – or, at least we’ll try not to. Pieces on Parks & Rec‘s series finale and a new ICYMI coming up, this week!

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