Tuesday, February 24, 2015

A Seasoned Host Barely Skips By in His Skivvies – Red Carpet Manners Oscars 2015

A much anticipated hosting gig by Neil Patrick Harris was largely superseded by an emotionally and politically charged plethora of winners with meaningful messages.  The emcee made famous for his star turn as host of the Tony’s and Emmy’s, had a tougher time with Oscar pouring through a steady stream of jokes many of which fell flat. Typically quite confident with a song and dance routine, this show opener was thankfully resuscitated by a much needed Jack Black who added range as well as levity.  NPH’s most memorable moment may have been his most raw stripped down to his skivvies in a nod to Best Picture nom Birdman.  Taking the stage and revealing a very fit physique in nothing but a pair of tighty whities, he begged the biggest question of the evening – was he or was he not packing?  In an interview on Live with Kelly & Michael, it was revealed that an extra pair of undies were sewn into the fabric lest the shining stage lights reveal too much of his anatomy. Great excuse, but we’ll buy it. Much less notable were his awkward riffs in the audience with Steve Carell and the seat fillers. It’s hard to improvise with two million people watching! Known for his magic tricks, we thought the bit with the briefcase would have more punch. Instead, we were left bored and perplexed as he gave detailed instructions to Octavia Spencer on how to properly guard the goods containing his personal Oscar predictions.  When the big reveal arrived at the end of the evening, it was an accordion fold recap of the night’s events. Clever, but more of a poof than a bang. Sadly, this is par for the course in the biz, they build you up only to tear you down. NPH has been the host with the most with an amazing run, but nothing lasts forever. 

Red Carpet Fashion Favorites & Those We’d Forgo.  We’re always so excited to see what will unfold on the red carpet, but this year’s Oscars pulled out more misses than hits, at least on screen.  Too many of the gorgeous beauties did not radiate in their usual manner. Actresses like Reese Witherspoon, Patricia Arquette, Viola Davis and Kerry Washington were sorely lacking in their blah ensembles.  Similarly to the Globes, red made a major appearance on the carpet with dresses adorned by Dakota Johnson, Rosamond Pike and Sophie Hunter.  Red was also showcased by Lady Gaga, Nicole Kidman and Idina Menzel who donned red gloves, a red belt and a red top respectively. Even David Oyelowo got into the action with a Burgundy suit.  Short slicked-back hair was showing chic by the lovely Faith Hill and Scarlett Johansson.  Cut out designs were a favorite with Naomi Watts and Lupita Nyong’o and bold statement necklaces added drama to Viola Davis, Scarlett Johansson and Cate Blanchett’s formal gowns.  Biggest hits in our book were the eternally impeccably dressed J. Lo along with Rosamond Pike, Naomi Watts and Sienna Miller in head turning looks that fit their frames. Oprah pulled out all the stops in a blush number that hugged in all the right places. Two-tone tuxes were all the rage for Michael Strahan, Eddie Redmayne, Kevin Hart and NPH who wore one during his many outfit changes.

Speeches that Left Us Speechless.  It was the night of sobering speeches that began with an earnest J.K. Simmons who won the first award of the evening for Best Supporting Actor in Whiplash. After appropriately thanking his wife and kids, he then pleaded with children everywhere to call their parents in favor of texting or emailing them.  Patricia Arquette accepted her Best Supporting Actress Award for Boyhood and then launched into a political campaign defending women’s equal rights and wages garnering cheers from females in the audience, especially megastars J. Lo and Meryl Streep.  Julianne Moore’s win for Best Actress in Still Alice shed a much needed light on the devastation of Alzheimer’s disease. Graham Moore, Best Adapted Screenplay winner, brought attention to teen suicide inspiring young teens to stop taking their lives in favor of staying weird and hopeful. And, the most eloquent speech of the evening came from a humble Eddie Redmayne who accepted the Best Actor award for The Theory of Everything winning the hearts of the audience for his portrayal as the suffering Stephen Hawking crippled by ALS. Holding on tightly to his Oscar, he pledged to do everything in his power to help fight the debilitating disease.

A Trip to the Stage.  The single biggest fear of most nominees is the worry that they will trip and fall on their way to receiving the big award.  Jennifer Lawrence famously fell ascending the steps to accept her award for Best Actress in Silver Linings Playbook last year and then quickly laughed it off. This year, we noticed a couple of minor tripping incidents both on and off the stage.  J. Lo almost had a major accident exiting the stage after presenting an award and one of the winners for Best Documentary Short nearly lost his footing as he ran excitedly down the aisle to collect his award on stage.

Scruffy is the New Smart.  A lack of manscaping was prevalent at this year’s awards show with many opting for the scruffy less-than-manicured look bearing unshaven necks a la Channing Tatum or full-fledged hairy beards like Matthew McConaughey. The otherwise handsome Mexicans from Birdman made a statement with their wiry, unruly locks of hair going for a sultry suave look.  

Best Blatant Ignore of Exit Music.  Awards etiquette rule 101 is keep your speech short and sweet lest you run the risk of being played off by exit music. This show seemed particularly bias with the music coming on fast and furious for certain winners and failing to appear at all for others.  Best Foreign Film winner, Polish director Pawel Pawlikowski, disregarded the music altogether plowing through his speech well until the full orchestra was sounded.

Chomping at the Bit.  A 'just grateful to be there' Michael Keaton was either feeling the jitters or worried about bad breath as he chomped away on his chewing gum for most of the show. Every time the camera panned the audience with a mention of Birdman, Mr. Keaton was featured chewing like a cow.  Mints are a much better choice next time, my dear. 

Monumental Musical Performances.  One of the most emotional moments of the evening was dedicated to the movie Selma.  Winner for Best Original Song ‘Glory’, Common and John Legend brought the entire Dolby theatre to its feet complete with tears streaming and a rousing standing ovation. Second to ‘Glory’ was an astonishing rendition of ‘The Sound of Music’ by Lady Gaga.  Not an easy song to sing, her tribute to the film’s 50th anniversary culminated with Dame Julie Andrews taking to the stage herself and another standing ovation.

A Hug it Out Moment. What might have turned out as a cute amends resulted in a rather awkward and laughable moment when John Travolta and Idina Menzel shared the stage to present an award.  Attempting to make up for last year’s guffaw when he butchered her name and addressed her accidentally as Adele Dazeem, the actor’s chin grasp, condescending smile and extended hug were a bit much for our taste.  Better to have left water under the bridge. 

Despite the sudden downpour and upper 50 degree temperature, Hollywood's biggest night succeeded as planned. The stars flashed their smiles, the champagne was flowing and all was good in the land of LA. That's all folks!