Monday, March 9, 2015

2015 Oscars Highlights! By Sydney Quanz

1. The Opening Number

When I found out that Neil Patrick Harris was hosting the Oscars, I was delighted. Of course, the audience was expecting a musical number, and Harris didn't keep them waiting. The opening number was visually stunning with the silhouette animation miroring the dancers actions behind him with added classic elements such as an umbrella and lamppost for Harris to spin around. Harris' voice was one point and as delightful as ever, but the opening only improved as Anna Kendrick and Jack Black made their broadway debuts. Kendrick took the stage in her Cinderella dress from the recent movie, Into the Woods, as she joined Harris with her brilliant voice and gorgeous face. Then leave it to Jack Black to bring a little Rock and Roll to a performance that sounded strikingly like the Tony's. His critic of Harris and Kendrick's song was a clever reminder that the Oscars aren't afraid to make fun of themselves in a style that hearkens back to one of Black's films, School of Rock.

2. The Doughnut Speech

All I can say is props to the guy who reminded us all the best part about winning an Oscar. It's not the fame, the trophy, or the honor of being recognized for work in film. The true award is the free food. Mat Kirkby told the audience that he was most looking forward to the free doughnut he knew he would receive from the local Pump Street Bakery when he showed them his Oscar. He was quickly followed by the team that won an Oscar for Best Visual Effects for Interstellar thanked the necessary family members and individuals and then tried to score a free drink backstage. In that moment, that would be me. I respect them for their honesty.

3. Suicide

It seems this year that Oscar winners aren;t afraid to use their 30 second platform to promote various causes such as Altzeimers, ALS, Women's equal wage rights. One of the most notable, was the two winners who took the time to address the issue of suicide. Dana Perry took a moment to honor her son Evan, who she lost in the last year to suicide. She encouraged her audience to finally talk about suicide "outloud", instead of keeping it in the dark. This long overdue call to action was short and powerful.

Later in the night, Graham Moore won an Oscar for best Adapted Screenplay for The Imitation Game. He told the 1 billion people watching that when he was sixteen he attempted to take his own life because he felt "weird and different" like he would never fit in. However,instead of his story ending in defeat, his perseverance brought him to the Oscar stage after his fantastic adapted screenplay. "Stay different", he urged the viewers who were feeling depressed suicidal, and then he urged them that once they had conquered their own demons, to pass on his message of hope. His speech was easily the most memorable of the night, as his genuine emotion and raw vulnerability  inspired us all.

4. Annie Joke

Finally someone stepped up and called the remake of Annie what we all knew it was: Awful, overdone, and easily forgotten. Harris did take the initiative to be somewhat kind with his jab at the re-make of the classic musical, by asking the assistance of an audience member. David Oyelowo was pulled from the crowd to read the joke because Harris insisted that everything sounds nicer in a British accent.

5. Neil Loses the Robe

In a reference the to Oscar Winning Movie Birdman, Neil Patrick Harris left everything on the stage that night, except for his clothes, which he left behind the scenes for a quick segment. Wearing nothing but his underwear, Neil Patrick Harris took the stage in front of a Billion people watching across the world. Paired with his fake modest insecurity as he walked out onto the stage it was a surprising and hilarious move. More than anything it reminded me of Harris' stage experience that enables him with that kind of confidence. Well done, Harris. Well done.

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