We take a look at how well our columnist did and how the event fared as an entertainment spectacle…
www.asianculturevulture.com film columnist Sunny Grewal (pictured above left) did well with his Oscar predictions but not quite as well as last year.
In 2014, he correctly predicted all but one of the Oscar wins from six choices.
This year he predicted across nine categories, getting five correct.
Sunny was stumped – as were many – by the Academy giving the Best Picture award to “Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)”.
He had all but thought “Boyhood” with its 12-year real-life story arc would have got the Oscar nod and tweeted just seconds after the surprise “Birdman” win that “Boyhood” director Richard Linklater had been “robbed”. His tweet was picked up by several others, who obviously felt the same way.
One of Sunny’s personal faves – “The Grand Budapest Hotel” did well garnering three awards on the evening but not in the Cinematography category as he predicted – that went to “Birdman” and all in the more technical aspects of filmmaking.
Sunny did well with his actor predictions – Eddie Redmayne, Julianne Moore, JK Simmons, and Patricia Arquette all won in their respective categories as he had indicated.
With a little help from wife Shay (we think – he does hint as much), he also got the Best Original Song category correct. Rapper Common and John Legend (nominated under their real names, Lonnie Lynn and John Stephens) were very worthy winners for “Glory” – their song from the film “Selma”.
The two performed live on the night before being given their award and undoubtedly were one of the big hits of the evening – reducing David Oyelowo and Oprah Winfrey to tears. Oyelowo plays legendary civil rights legend Martin Luther King in “Selma” and there was huge sympathy for him not being among the nominees for the Best Actor in a leading role.
That did go to another Brit though – Eddie Redmayne walked away with the Oscar for his performance in the biopic of scientist Stephen Hawking, “The Theory of Everything”.
There was an undertone of politics through the whole evening, with many award winners drawing attention to discrimination and injustice, and rather than detract from the evening, it only enhanced what was a slightly stuttering event as a global spectacle.
Oscars’ ceremony host Neil Patrick Harris, the star of the US sitcom, “How I met your mother” started well but faded as time went on. Both Legend and Common helped, as did Lady Gaga’s upbeat performance with a medley of wholesome songs from the hit Julie Andrews film “The Sound of Music” marking its 50th anniversary and Andrews appeared herself at the end of the sequence and praised the pop princess.
Harris was far stronger at the start, his joke – “tonight, we honour Hollywood’s best and whitest” certainly struck a chord with us – especially when there was the #OscarsSoWhite social media tag and “Selma” received only two nominations – one for best picture and one best song – and lost out to what is essentially a film about a washed-out actor.
Oyelowo at least did get some screen time, with Harris getting him to read out a critical line about a trio of movies, including “Annie”, the host arguing it didn’t sound critical if said in a British accent. Oyelowo looked suitably underwhelmed as did most of the audience and it rather set the tone for the evening.
Harris managed to lower the tone again this time by coming out onto the stage in white pants (imitating one of the most arresting scenes in “Birdman“) prompting the thought this host is pants!
There is little doubt that Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu’s “Birdman” is an entertaining, creative, and darkly funny exploration of one actor’s plight, post a mega successful franchise blockbuster. Michael Keaton is good as the doubting and fading star who has mental issues but is too vain to recognise or accept or deal with them.
It is a delightful romp, but compared to the simple and very unpretentious artistry of “Boyhood”, it looks small and inconsequential.
As Sunny pointed out, director Linklater deserved an Oscar. The concept alone was audacious – to chart the life of a boy to a man and do it with the same actors over a real period of 12 years.
Sunny said it is a film “about everyday life” – yes, but that both serves to underscore its achievement and resemblance to life as many of us actually experience it.
Linklater’s skill is to assemble it all with a natural and ultra-realistic touch. Even without an Oscar, his film is one of the most original and daring to have ever come to the screen and triumphed.
There is at least some comfort in knowing Patricia Arquette got the Oscar for best actress in a supporting role in the film. And she was one of the winners who got political and made a statement, by not just by having an Oscar in their hands. She called for equality for women, drawing attention to the need for equal pay.
In a similar frame, Julianne Moore’s win in the best actress in a leading role for “Still Alice” showed the Academy hadn’t lost all its senses. A film about Alzheimers, it is probably as far as you can get from a movie star trying to resucitate his career on Broadway (in “Birdman“.)
Musicians Legend and Common not only lifted the whole auditorium with their rendition of “Glory” but spoke about the continuing need for justice and their belief in equal treatment of all regardless of gender, colour, creed, religion or sexual orientation.
“‘Selma’ (the place in Alabama where Dr King began his civil rights protest) may be 50 years ago, but it is now, because the struggle for justice is right now,” said Legend.
Winner of the Best Adapted Screenplay Graham Moore for “The Imitation Game” also got in on the act, saying from the podium that young people perhaps struggling with their sexuality and their place in the world should just cut themselves some slack.
He said, “stay weird, stay different” and everything will turn out okay, because one day you too might get an Oscar for just being so and writing a bit.
More seriously, Iñárritu who was the big winner on the night, also joined in the process of bigging up the underdogs and downtrodden, praising those who had crossed a familiar path as immigrants – those Mexicans, “who came before and built this incredible immigrant nation”, he said.
With his film winning four awards and the two biggies, Best Picture and Best Director, it’s hard not to feel that the Oscars missed a chance to put more real issues on the table and gently prod the movie-going public into seeing films that both resonate inspire and inform and crucially, go beyond just ‘entertainment’.
Listen back, you will hear Sunny first and also guests rapper Tazzz and singer Priti Menon and the presenter of the show after theirs Dotun Adebayo…
You can also hear Sunny and Shay on BBC West Midlands95.6FM
All winners Oscars 2015
Best Picture: “Birdman”
Best Director: Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu “Birdman”
Best Actor: Eddie Redmayne “The Theory of Everything”
Best Actress: Julianne Moore “Still Alice”
Best Supporting Actor: JK Simmons, “Whiplash”
Best Supporting Actress: Patricia Arquette, “Boyhood”
Best Adapted Screenplay: Graham Moore, “The Imitation Game”
Best Original Screenplay: “Birdman”
Best Animated Feature: “Big Hero 6”
Best animated short: “Feast”
Best Cinematography: “Birdman” Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Jr. & Armando Bo
Best Costume Design: “The Grand Budapest Hotel” Milena Canonero
Best Documentary: “CitizenFour” Laura Poitras, Mathilde Bonnefoy and Dirk Wilutzky
Best documentary short: “Veterans Press 1” Ellen Goosenberg Kent and Dana Perry
Best Film Editing: “Whiplash” Tom Cross
Best Foreign Language: “Ida” (Poland) directed by Pawel Pawlikowski
Best Live Action Short: “The Phone Call” Matt Kirby and James Lucas
Best make-up and hairstyling: “The Grand Budapest Hotel” Frances Hannon and Mark Coulier
Best original score: “The Grand Budapest Hotel” Alexandre Desplat
Best Production Design: “The Grand Budapest Hotel” Adam Stockhausen (Production Design); Anna Pinnock (Set Decoration)
Best Song: “Glory” from “Selma” Music and Lyric by John Stephens and Lonnie Lynn
Best Sound Editing: “American Sniper” Alan Robert Murray and Bub Asman
Best Sound Mixing: “Whiplash” Craig Mann, Ben Wilkins and Thomas Curley
Best Visual Effects: “Interstellar” Paul Franklin, Andrew Lockley, Ian Hunter and Scott Fisher