Monday Morning Quarterback Part II
By BOP Staff
March 6, 2014
Kim Hollis: What did you think of the Academy Awards ceremony? What were your biggest surprises? Your favorite things? The worst parts?
Max Braden: I think what I enjoyed most about the Oscars was the casual, party atmosphere. Ellen did a great job at being relaxed and allowing others to feel relaxed. The pizza moments, the selfies, and the dancing in the aisles I think really connected with viewers, enabling us to see the celebs as not just stuffy, self-important millionaires. Ellen could have shivved some celebs as previous hosts have done, but she went the other way, and when Travolta gave her an opening she instead just clarified Menzel's name for everyone. Also unlike previous years where I've felt the musical performances were just showy wastes of time, I thought the musical performances this year were really strong. Every year I think there is at least one memorable acceptance speech, but the speech given by Lupita Nyong'o was so lovely, so intelligent, so sincere, and so sweet that I think it will go down as one of the classic speeches in Oscar history. I don't think I had any real favorite that I wanted to win, but personally for me, I didn't want Blanchett to win. I know a great portrayal of an ugly character should be awarded just as much as for great heroic characters, but I hated Blue Jasmine so much that I didn't want it to see any success. Unfair, maybe, but the arts are still subjective. And man, though Travolta's gaffe has produced some great humor, if I had mangled someone else's name as badly as he did, I'd be adorning Menzel's house in flowers and gifts begging for forgiveness. I wouldn't be surprised if it played even a small part in distracting her during her performance of Let It Go.
Edwin Davies: I agree with Max that the best thing about the show for me was the atmosphere. Unlike the last time that Ellen hosted, where the comedy bits felt a little forced or like she was trying to impose the style from her show on to the ceremony, here she seemed to facilitate the idea that everyone in the theater was there to have a good time. There were some appropriately somber moments, but it generally felt a lot more relaxed and convivial than most Oscar ceremonies have in the past. Some of the presenters were stilted and awkward, but overall everyone seemed to really get into the swing of things, and even if the now legendary selfie was staged, it was still a unique take on something that can otherwise be very stuffy.
I didn't have any problems with the eventual winners, with the possible exception of 20 Feet from Stardom winning Documentary over The Act of Killing. Then again, 20 Feet from Stardom is the only one of the documentary nominees that I haven't seen, so I can't feel too put out that it beat my favorite. I loved Blanchett's performance in Blue Jasmine, so I was very pleased that she won, even if it was horribly predictable. Then again, the whole evening was so bereft of surprises, with even the Director/Picture split, something which would be a big surprise most years, having been predicted weeks in advance by even the most casual observers.
My final impression of this year will be that it was fun, that Lupita Nyong'o gave a speech for the ages, and that there were, to quote Radiohead, no alarms and no surprises.