When I heard that Neil Patrick Harris would be hosting the Oscars, I knew that a musical number would be in the works. My prediction was correct; however, who knew Harris would be so bold as to present in his mere underwear?
On the topic of Harris’ rather confident hosting, his subtle and parodying jokes had the audience and viewers laughing and gasping all at once. For example, one of his opening lines referenced the discussion on the Oscar’s lack of diversity: “Tonight we honor Hollywood’s best and whitest—I mean brightest.” On the contrary, not all of his satirical one-liners were met with praise, especially his humor about Octavia Spencer guarding his prediction box.
Throughout the night, the winners’ speeches and musical guests helped provide momentum for the show. Starting off, the first award for “Best Supporting Actor” went to J.K. Simmons for his role in “Whiplash.” In his speech, he told everyone to take out their phones and call their parents. He says, “If you’re lucky enough to have a parent or two alive on this planet, call ‘em…Tell ‘em you love ‘em.” I couldn’t agree more.
Patricia Arquette delivered another memorable speech that resonated with everyone in the room. The “Best Supporting Actress” winner spoke about women’s equal rights, wage equality, and female empowerment. Her passionate words brought everyone on their feet, including Jennifer Lopez and Meryl Streep who cheered in one of the camera shots. Not long after, “Selma” and the discussion of the Civil Rights Movement gained the spotlight. When John Legend and Common won the Oscar for “Best Original Song,” viewers could see David Oyelowo—the actor who portrayed Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.—in tears of joy.
Taking a comedic turn, Idina Menzel—otherwise known as “Adele Dazim”—got her revenge for last year’s hiccup. While presenting “The Best Original Song” category, Menzel introduced her co-presenter as “Glom Gozingo.” John Travolta then walks out and admits, “I deserve that.” Despite their playful banter, I still sensed some tension between them, especially when Travolta started touching Menzel’s face that caused her to turn away.
Among the musical guests, Tegan and Sara, Adam Levine, and Jennifer Hudson’s performances were pretty good. However, Lady Gaga surprised me the most. Singing a tribute to Julie Andrews and The Sound of Music, Lady Gaga sang with an eloquence that certainly did not mirror her early pop-electronic albums and outlandish persona. Yet her medley was quite impressive as well as her attempt to stay true to the original music. Although her vocal resonance does not compare to Andrews’ early work, I applaud Lady Gaga for keeping it classy.
Overall, the show was mildly energetic, which I expected. Some of Harris’ attempts at gaining laughs were either pretty funny or somewhat stale. His musical number gave him a good start, but it fell flat toward the end. Now, the only question to ask is: Who got better ratings, Ellen Degeneres or Neil Patrick Harris?
Here are some of the winners from last night’s show. The full list is available on the Oscars’ main website:
Alejandro González Iñárritu, “Birdman”
Julianne Moore, “Still Alice”
Eddie Redmayne, “The Theory of Everything”
Best Supporting Actress
Patricia Arquette, “Boyhood”
Best Supporting Actor
J.K. Simmons, “Whiplash”
Best Animated Feature
“Big Hero 6”
Best Original Song
“Glory” from “Selma” (Written by Common and John Legend)
Best Original Score
Alexandre Desplat, “The Grand Budapest Hotel”