Google+

Birdman Soars over the Competition!

 

Oscar Recap 2015

Birdman Soars over the Competition!

Evening Marked by a Profusion of Political Acceptance Speeches

By Kam Williams

 

images

Birdman won Best Picture at the 87th annual Academy Awards on a night periodically punctuated by politically-conscious acceptance speeches. That film and The Grand Budapest Hotel tied for the most wins, 4, followed by Whiplash with 3, and Boyhood with 2.

 

There weren’t any upsets in terms of the major categories, with Julianne Moore (Still Alice) and Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything) prevailing in the lead acting categories, as expected, as well as J.K. Simmons (Whiplash) and Patricia Arquette (Boyhood) in supporting roles.

 

The evening was emceed by Neil Patrick Harris, who went out of his way to draw attention to the diversity among the celebrities in attendance, but only after joking that “Tonight we honor Hollywood’s best and whitest, I mean brightest.” This was obviously in response to complaints about Selma being snubbed and all the acting nominees being white.

Ostensibly to make amends, Neil awkwardly enlisted the assistance of Oprah Winfrey, David Oyelowo and Octavia Spencer to perform as his straight men, even returning to Octavia again and again as the butt of a running joke which unfortunately fell flat every time.

The Academy took a posthumous potshot at the late Joan Rivers, getting the last laugh by leaving her out of the “In Memoriam” montage featuring photos of recently-deceased showbiz legends. The veteran comedienne might not have had much of a career as an actress, but she certainly established herself later in life on the red carpet where she would flourish as a sharp-tongued, fashion critic.

 

From the very first acceptance speech by J.K. Simmons who suggested people pick up the phone and call their parents and tell them you love them, it seemed that every winner had a political agenda, with causes ranging from suicide prevention (Graham Moore) to equal pay for women (Arquette) to immigration reform (Alejandro González Iñárritu) to Lou Gehrig’s disease (Redmayne) to Alzheimer’s (Moore) to privacy (Citizenfour director Laura Poitras) to the African-American incarceration rate (John Legend).

A galvanizing moment arrived during rapper/actor’s Common’s heartfelt remarks delivered while accepting the award for Best Song, “Glory,” with John Legend. Common eloquently put a universal spin on the legacy of the historic Selma march, stating:

“I’d like to thank God that lives in us all. Recently, John and I got to go to Selma and perform ‘Glory’ on the same bridge that Dr. King and the people of the civil rights movement marched on 50 years ago. This bridge was once a landmark of a divided nation, but now is a symbol for change. The spirit of this bridge transcends race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, and social status. The spirit of this bridge connects the kid from the South side of Chicago, dreaming of a better life to those in France standing up for their freedom of expression to the people in Hong Kong protesting for democracy. This bridge was built on hope, welded with compassion, and elevated by love for all human beings.”

 

To hear Common & John Legend’s acceptance speech, visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ua1JEW1fhsk

 

PS: As far this critic’s Oscar predictions, I got 18 of 21 correct, including all the major categories. Not quite the perfect score of a year ago, but pretty impressive nevertheless, if I must say so myself.

 

Complete List of Oscar Winners

 

Picture: Birdman

Director: Alejandro González Iñárritu (Birdman)

Actor: Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything)

Actress: Julianne Moore (Still Alice)

Supporting Actor: J.K. Simmons (Whiplash)

Supporting Actress: Patricia Arquette (Boyhood)

Adapted Screenplay: The Imitation Game (Graham Moore)

Original Screenplay: Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander

Dinelaris, Jr. and Armando Bo (Birdman)
Foreign Language Feature: Ida

Animated Feature: Big Hero 6

Documentary Feature: Citizenfour

Original Score: The Grand Budapest Hotel

Original Song: “Glory” (Selma)

Costume Design: The Grand Budapest Hotel

Makeup and Hairstyling: The Grand Budapest Hotel

Sound Mixing: Whiplash

Sound Editing: American Sniper
Film Editing: Whiplash

Visual Effects: Interstellar
Production Design: The Grand Budapest Hotel
Cinematography: Birdman
Live Action Short Film: The Phone Call — Matt Kirkby and James Lucas

Animated Short Film: Feast

Documentary Short Film: Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1

Entertainment

For movies opening June 24, 2016

  OPENING THIS WEEK Kam's Kapsules: Weekly Previews That Make Choosing a Film Fun by Kam Williams For movies opening June 24, 2016 BIG BUDGET FILMS Free State of Jones (R for brutal battle scenes and disturbing images) Civil War saga about a white Mississippian (Matthew McConaughey) who leads  fellow farmers and former slaves in an uprising against the Confederacy. Supporting cast includes Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Keri Russell and Mahershala Ali. Independence Day: … [Read More its Good for You...]

Books

Blood Brothers

  Blood Brothers The Fatal Friendship between Muhammad Ali and Malcolm X by Randy Roberts and Johnny Smith Basic Books Hardcover, $28.99 392 pages, Illustrated ISBN: 978-0-465-07970-4 Book Review by Kam Williams “[This book] is the story of how Cassius Clay became Muhammad Ali and the central role Malcolm X played in his life. It is a tale of friendship and brotherhood, love and deep affection. It is also a story of deceit, betrayal, and violence--inside and … [Read More its Good for You...]

Art

ART EXHIBITION: 150 Years After The Civil War

  Cynthia Groya 150 Years After The Civil War: A Contemporary Perspective January 10 - March 6, 2016 Artist's Reception: Sunday, January 24, 3:00 - 5:00 pm Nassau Club 6 Mercer Street  Princeton, NJ 08540 The ideas reflected in Groya's paintings express a conversation about struggle for equal rights in our culture, in our time. The origin of this struggle can be traced to The Civil War in our country, which ended 150 years ago. The … [Read More its Good for You...]

Real Estate

New Home Sales Jump in April

  New Home Sales Jump in April By Burt Carey Sales of new homes hit their highest rate since 2008 in April, according to the Commerce Department’s U.S. Census Bureau. April sales increased 16.6 percent over March figures, which correlates to a seasonally adjusted rate of 619,000 home sales projected for the year. The median price of those new homes was $321,000, the highest median price ever recorded. That’s up 9.7 percent from sales one year ago. The … [Read More its Good for You...]

Lifestyle

A Holler from Mahershala!

  Mahershala Ali The “Free State of Jones” Interview with Kam Williams A Holler from Mahershala! Born in Oakland and raised in neighboring Hayward, California, Mahershala Ali received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Mass Communications at St. Mary's College. He made his professional debut performing with the California Shakespeare Festival in Orinda, California. Soon thereafter, he earned his Master's degree in Acting from New York University's prestigious graduate … [Read More it Good for You...]

Outdoors

Yamaha Propeller Selector, Endless Propeller Solutions

  Yamaha Propeller Selector, Endless Propeller Solutions   The Yamaha Propeller selection page on Yamaha’s webpage is a great tool for every boat owner as a tool not only to make sure the correct prop is on their boat but also gives the ability and freedom to change the prop with ease, depending on the application. Everyone knows the equipment used for bass fishing is not the same for chasing tuna offshore, and the same logic applies to selecting a prop. At … [Read More its Good for You...]

Sports

Tiger Woods Opts Out of U.S. Open, Quicken Loans

  Tiger Woods Opts Out of U.S. Open, Quicken Loans By Burt Carey Tiger Woods isn’t ready to stage a comeback just yet. The 14-time major champion sent messages via Twitter and his website Tuesday that he would not be competing at either the U.S. Open at Oakmont next week or the PGA Tour’s Quicken Loans tournament the following week. "While I continue to work hard on getting healthy, I am not physically ready to play in this year's U.S. Open and the Quicken … [Read More its Good for You...]

Business

Feds Eyeing a Crackdown on Predatory Payday Lenders

  Feds Eyeing a Crackdown on Predatory Payday Lenders By Burt Carey The federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is proposing new regulations designed to place limits on excessively high-interest loans issued by short-term lenders. The CFPB proposal would require so-called payday lenders to prove borrowers have an ability to repay a loan by the time it comes due – usually by the borrower’s next pay period – without having to renew the loan or take out a new … [Read More its Good for You...]

Travel

Delta Becomes Airline Industry’s Leading Edge for Good and Bad

  Delta Becomes Airline Industry’s Leading Edge for Good and Bad By Burt Carey Last week’s airline news flash was a huge splash by Delta Air Lines that its in-flight entertainment system would become free to domestic and international passengers beginning July 1. That put the Atlanta-based airline back on point, leading the industry down a supposed path toward improved customer service. Earlier this year Delta was again at the forefront of domestic U.S. … [Read More its Good for You...]

Google+