This is a post for the die-hards. The people who don’t just read occasionally or click through from facebook but who love me and indulge my Oscar love and may enjoy a play(ish)-by-play(ish) of my night, my reactions, and my sum-up. It’s way past post Oscar-wrap-up time. The real ones happen within an hour or so of the show. But I haven’t yet scheduled “write the wrap-up” into my festivities. Plus, I watched them twice – once at our party, once when I got home the next day. And that takes time.
I arrived at Michele’s house some time after 2:30, the afternoon of the show. She wore an apron and her hair up as she and her daughters cooked food to represent ALL TEN Best Pic nominees (e.g., southern comfort favorite, mac-n-cheese, for Selma; wings for Birdman; drumsticks for Whiplash; and chicken salad sandwiches for The Imitation Game. “I don’t really care for sandwiches,” Mr. Turing said. I think these would have changed his mind. This is a pic of the table after we ate.)
The decorations were already in place. It was the Dolby Theater. Seriously.
I went straight downstairs while they slaved away, so I could catch up a little. I watched The Grand Budapest Hotel, which is like a cheerful, quirky children’s book sprinkled with occasional horrifying references definitely not for children. I loved the costumes and stage production, which – booyah! – earned me points on my ballot later. After Hotel, I watched all the live action shorts – basically all of which I recommend. Here’s a teeny tiny breakdown to attempt to make you care:
Butter Lamp: A series of photography sessions with Chinese villagers – intriguing. Doubtful I got all of the message here.
The Phone Call: I’ll spoil it if I tell, but please do your very best to watch this somewhere somehow. Two people, one phone line, heartbreak, and inspiration. Holy Short, this thing was beautiful.
Aya: Girl follows the tantalizing urge to find true connection with a stranger. Weird. And weirdly understandable.
Boogaloo and Graham: Basically, a fantastic dad loves fantastically. Very sweet. Fortunately, the off-color bits are “in Irish”.
Around 7:30: The show begins, NPH sings, Oprah nods (seriously, they showed her face, and she was smiling and nodding like mamas nod at preachers to encourage them. This is why she’s Oprah, she really does want us to be our best.) Anna Kendrick joins him, Jack Black has a moment (and applause) movie characters throughout history appear on stage – real and digital, then disappear into a single line and form a shadow that is the Oscar statuette. It was big, it was musical, it was movie-love at its best. My friend Jason assumed, via facebook post, that I “was loving this”, and I so was. Well done, opening number People, well done.
More things happened. JK Simmons tells us to call our mom and dad. On the phone. Jason Bateman is called the most well-adjusted former child actor in the room. And then, my shining moment. The Phone Call wins Best Live Action short, I circle another win on my predictions ballot, and I get this feeling like I was part of the Academy. I had been given my own private screening of the films, and I chose from them the winner.
My main and most important thought on Neil Patrick Harris as host is that I want him back. I kind of like consistency in that role, and even if you think the show was less than spectacular this year, the guy is really good at the hosting gig. And just think how shiny the Oscars could be if you added his natural gift to his years of practice with the Tonys to more experience with this? It’s the way I’d go. If he is willing. Though I’m not sure he will be, powers-that-be, since you wrote him a joke about a lady’s dress after she spoke about suicide, made him come out in his underwear, and suggested he downgrade David Oyelowo to “guy with a British accent.” Sigh.
But, okay, more happy things. Like Eddie Redmayne. What would we do without at least one winner every year who takes up the Cuba Gooding torch and behaves as thrilled as we can only imagine the winners should feel? I was so happy he was happy.
And then, the musical numbers. I loved every single one of them, Everything is Awesome, included. I’m Not Going to Miss You? Oh my goodness – what a powerful, heartbreaking song. Lady Gaga? Perfection. Especially once Julie Andrews approved. And Glory, oh Glory. That moment was worth them all. If my twitter feed has made me feel a little hit over the head with the message that we have not yet achieved true civil rights in this nation, that performance of Glory beautifully reminded me it’s a reality worth remembering and pursuing til it’s done. That’s what art is for. It might explain why some people want actors to shut up about politics. Because while we get a little flinchy at angry rants, we are wired to respond to story, to take things in through story, to want to change because of it.
I love story. I love the movie way of telling stories. I love this show. I love the party Michele puts together every year to celebrate them. I love 2015.
The day after the show, Dad sent me an email about my pre-Oscar post (“you should definitely see The Judge“) and some post-Oscar highlights (“I was thinking of you”), and you know what I did in response? I called him. On the phone. Sometimes acceptance speech rants just make sense.