Oscars 2015: Reactions

Aubrey Shanahan

What a ride.

The 87th Academy Awards took place Sunday, and the show had plenty of highs and lows.

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There were some gorgeous gowns on the red carpet before the show. My best dressed would be Rosamund Pike in a breathtaking red Givenchy gown, and Eddie Redmayne, who looked positively debonair in a navy suit by Alexander McQueen. Worst dressed has to go to Lady Gaga, who stunned with her performance, but disappointed with her oddly shaped Alaia gown and red cleaning gloves. For the men, it’s Jared Leto’s odd, light lavender Givenchy suit.

Neil Patrick Harris took the helm as host, and while his quick wit and clever quips kept the show moving, it didn’t really feel like his heart was totally in it. He had some great moments throughout; his recreation of the “tighty-whitie” scene from Birdman was funny, especially when he came on stage wearing only his underwear.

Yet it still seemed as though there was some passion missing from his performance. The bit about his Oscar predictions was too drawn out and not very entertaining; in fact, it was rather cringeworthy to see Octavia Spencer nod and kind of smile while Harris tried to make it get a laugh.

Harris has succeeded in being an incredible host for other awards shows, so perhaps it was the writing and limitations of the Oscars that caused a weird vibe for him that night. Regardless, he’s still a talented and vivacious presence in the industry.

The ceremony was too long this year, as per usual. It ran for three and a half hours, which is ridiculous, and there was too much fluff and filler content.

On to the meat of the show: the winners.

Best Supporting Actress went to Patricia Arquette, who was the landslide favorite for the category. While her performance was, in my opinion, not necessarily anything special, her speech definitely was. When she took the stage she said her thanks, but ended her speech with a demand for equal rights and pay for women, which is past due. 

She was not the only winner to command respect for a particular cause —Best Original Song winners Common and John Legend shared some troubling statistics about the incarceration of people of color, demonstrating the fact that we are far from true freedom and justice in this country. 

Winner for Best Adapted Screenplay Graham Moore got personal in his acceptance speech, explaining that his differences caused him to attempt suicide. He encouraged young people to see that they are wonderful just as they are, saying they need to “stay different” and “stay weird;” an important message for anyone struggling with depression or their identity.

Other winners included JK Simmons, who took home Best Supporting Actor for his role in “Whiplash,” Julianne Moore for her part in “Still Alice,” and Eddie Redmayne for his portrayal of Stephen Hawking in “The Theory of Everything.” All performances were spectacular, although it hurt that “Gone Girl‘s” lone nominee, Rosamund Pike, was denied the honor. The Best Actor category was tough to call, but Redmayne gave a stellar performance and absolutely deserved the Oscar.

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The biggest winner of the night was “Birdman,” which took home Best Cinematography, Best Original Screenplay, Best Directing and Best Picture. The film was remarkable and riveting. It fully deserved all of its wins (and probably some that it didn’t receive). All elements of the film were of high quality, and watching the film delivers an experience rather than a passive viewing.

Collegian A&E Writer Aubrey Shanahan can be reached at entertainment@collegian.com or on twitter @aubs926.