The Oscar® ceremony took place at the Dolby Theater at Hollywood Boulevard and Highland in Los Angeles. Neil Patrick Harris hosted the telecast, to somewhat tepid reviews.
The “glamour” awards were split among many of the acknowledged favorites… Birdman won Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Director for Alfonso G. Inàrritu, and Best Picture. The other critically acclaimed film, Boyhood, came off with a win for Patricia Arquette. Julianne Moore won Best Actress for Still Alice, a film many people outside the Academy haven’t seen, and Eddie Redmayne, a young British actor of growing stature, won Best Actor for The Theory of Everything, a “biopic” of Stephen Hawking and his battle with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), better known here in the US as Lou Gehrig’s Disease.
Many of the technical awards went to Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel, except for Cinematography, which went to Birdman.
American Sniper, from the book by Chris Kyle, had several nominations, but did not win anything, as I recall. The Best Animated Film Oscar® went to Disney’s Big Hero 6, while the audience favorite The Lego Movie was not nominated in the category, only getting one nomination for Best Song. (By the way, you may have heard… it lost that, too.)
In the past few days since the telecast, there’s only been one consensus I’ve managed to find as I read; that Neil Patrick Harris was not the best choice as the host. An op-ed writer for the New York Times said the win of Birdman over Boyhood was one of those “epochal blunders” that will be discussed for decades to come… a movie reviewer on the Internet, Grace Randolph of Beyond the Trailer, hailed this very same decision as a win for “precise moviemaking” over a less precise rival.
And the people decrying the snub of the director and lead actor of Selma, the almost total snub of The Lego Movie, and the seeming snub of American Sniper have expressed themselves quite well by now.
Most of the criticism stems from the perceived disconnect between the membership of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the organization which is responsible for the ceremony since its founding in 1927, and the first awards in 1929, and the moviegoing public in general.
As published some time back, when the nominations for this year were first announced, the average age of the Academy is about 62 years old, and the membership is primarily white. This may not be a primary factor in this year’s total lack of People of Color among the nominees, but it is certainly a factor.
People in and out of the industry, many of whom are avowed Social Justice Warriors (to use a derogatory term newly coming into vogue), are saying the nomination and voting processes of AMPAS need to be revised to be more fair and equitable. Short of a total reorganization of AMPAS, I don’t think that’s going to happen. And as the perception of a disconnect grows wider, so does the audience for the Oscar® telecast decline.
This is a shame; I’d hate to see it go.
But answers? I got nothing.
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