The “In Memoriam” Snubs
Since the telecast producers wisely began dropping the house mics during the “In Memoriam” segment (which turned it into a weird Applause-O-Meter for dead celebrities) a few years back, the talk of that montage is, most frequently, who they screwed up and left out. And this year, funny ladies were given the Rodney Dangerfield treatment: Joan Rivers, Elaine Stritch, and Jan Hooks were all absent. With Hooks, there might be an argument that she was a TV personality rather than a film star (though she appeared in several films, including Coneheads, Batman Returns, and, of course, Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure), but Stritch had a rich film career dating from 1956 (!) to 2014, and Rivers not only appeared in the likes of Spaceballs and The Muppets Take Manhattan and directed the 1978 comedy Rabbit Test, but pretty much invented modern-day Oscar red carpet coverage. Not cool, Academy.
Take… your hands… off… her face… and step… off… of the stage. John.
The “Glory” acceptance speeches
The three standing ovations for the Selma duo of Common and John Legend felt a weeeee bit over-compensatory; hey, voters, maybe put all that love to a couple more nominations. But the performance of their Oscar-winning song “Glory” was striking and powerful; their acceptance speeches even more so. “This bridge was once a landmark of a divided nation, but now is a symbol for change,” Common stated. “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.”
“The Imitation Game” acceptance speech
The acceptance speeches tend to follow a pretty predictable formula (and for what it’s worth, the fact that both Eddie Redmayne and Julianne Moore’s included heartfelt pleas for those suffering from the diseases they dramatized tells you a lot about winning an Oscar). So when one is genuinely moving, it sticks out and sticks with you—and that was the case with Graham Moore’s. The Imitation Game screenwriter, taking the prize for Best Adapted Screenplay, told viewers, “I tried to commit suicide at 16 and now I’m standing here. I would like for this moment to be for that kid out there who feels like she doesn’t fit in anywhere. You do. Stay weird. Stay different, and then when it’s your turn and you are standing on this stage please pass the same message along.”
Micheal Keaton still wins
Michael Keaton may have lost the Best Actor award to Eddie Redmayne, but he still came off like the coolest guy in the room—particularly in his grinning “Yeah, I’m pretty great” nod to camera after his clip from Birdman. And when director Alejandro González Iñárritu turned the mic over to his star during the film’s Best Picture victory lap, he summed up his evening beautifully: “Look, it’s great to be here, who am I kidding?”
Ugh, Sean Penn
Seriously, has Sean Penn not looked miserable in public at any point in the past, oh, decade? But there wasn’t just inexplicable grouchiness to his presentation of Best Picture; our man decided to ad-lib, before handing it over to Iñárritu, this little gem: “Who gave this sonofabitch his green card?” Yeah, let’s stick to scripts from here on out, Sean.
Benedict Cumberbatch, keepin’ it real
My thoughts exactly, Mr. Cumberbatch.