Oscar 2015 Reactions

Another year, another Oscar pool party. (Note: no actual pools were involved.) I must say, the way I watch the Oscars has evolved over the years. I remember back in the day when I was growing up, when I finally got to be old enough to be allowed to stay up to watch the Oscars. (Of course, I had to take a nap the day of–not a bad idea, in retrospect. I need to go back to doing that . . .) Then there was a golden age of Oscar viewing. I was young, single, and could do just about anything I wanted. Denisa joined the picture, and that didn’t change.

Then, children.

Oscar viewing changes when children are involved, especially if you go over some place to watch it as part of a party. My poor kids were pretty beat by the end of the evening. But this is the Oscars, people. Sacrifices must be made.

And as usual, last night was kind of a mixes bag. The Oscar Pool challenge really went down to the wire, which is probably a testament to how predictable most of the awards were. I tweaked the rules this year, giving more points to the big categories to make them count more. 5 points to best picture, 3 to director, actor, and actress, and 2 to supporting and animated feature. The tweaks worked as intended: it was a real nail biter right up to the very end. (But more on that in a minute, when I announce the grand prize winner of the Oscar hat.)

The show had some real highlights. For once, many of the speeches were actually worth listening to. The Glory number was pretty awesome, and the Everything is Awesome number was gloriously chaotic. Neil Patrick Harris was . . . more of a mixed bag this time. He came across to me like a bit of a jerk in spots, making silly jokes where silly jokes weren’t called for. Time and place for everything, and this year’s Oscars was working best during the stretches that were actually serious, I felt.

Then again, who in the world thought devoting 30 minutes to that stupid briefcase schtick was anywhere in the zip code of a good idea? By the time the “payoff” finally came, you could tell even NPH was trying to rush it along as quickly as he could.

The Sound of Music segment was nice–though because the rest of the show was dragging in spots (and I had kids that needed sleep), I was feeling a bit too anxious to really enjoy it. (Well, that and the fact that I wasn’t sure if I was going to defend the Oscar hat or not. The suspense!) I was horrified to hear Lady Gaga was going to do the tribute to SoM, but then was pleasantly surprised she managed to play it straight. Go figure.

Another highlight of the show for me is tuning in to my agent’s liveblog of the event (scroll to the bottom and read from the bottom to the top, for the full effect). Where else are you going to get great lines like “Never knew you could win an Oscar for boring movies where a good chunk of the run-time is taken up with pictures of nuns eating soup.” (Though this year’s liveblog had very little in the way of vicarious dessert eating experiences, something which was somewhat disappointing.) Not only that, but Joshua typically has seen most of the movies in the running each year, whereas I’ve been able to do nothing more than read about most of them. (That whole “having kids” thing again. Though I’m not too far from the halcyon day when TRC will be able to babysit. Excellent!)

But one way or another 3.5 hours of time was filled, and I was generally entertained. There have certainly been much, much worse Oscars, even if there have been better. I disliked how little they showed us of the actual films–even when they were announcing nominations, they just had pictures or stylized representations of the movies in question–as opposed to small snippets running. Bring back the snippets. They give at least a vague representation of the movie.

And then there’s the pool. It had been a nail biter of an evening. I’d managed to carve out a slim one point lead with the big awards still to come. If Boyhood and Michael Keaton won their categories, I was home free. And then . . . Keaton loses to the guy playing Stephen Hawking, and Birdman crushes Boyhood’s hopes.

My chance for a threepeat disappeared in a puff of smoke.

Still, many hearty congratulations to the winner, Betsey Hyde, who should be commended not only on her Oscar picking skills, but her willingness to let her picture in the Oscar hat be posted on my blog. I’ll win it back next year–just you wait!!!


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