2015 Oscar Telecast Recap
Article by Ray Schillaci

After watching the Oscar telecast for so many years, one cannot help but wonder this year, what the hell happened? We cannot put the blame on the host. Neil Patrick Harris has proven his chops on the Tonys and Emmys. But Harris appeared stifled and almost stiff with a production that seemed rushed to finish. Where was the fun? So many missed opportunities. Come on, the SONY scandal. Where was Seth Rogen and James Franco? Where were the off-the-cuff moments that we so look forward too? Hell, Chris Pine didn’t even glance or make mention of J-Lo’s ridiculous cleavage.

Lady GagaOther than the opening number and Lady Gaga’s outstanding performance, and a rousing rendition of the song “Glory,” this years telecast came across more like “Gone With the Wind” crossed with “Titanic” having it sink way below “Interstellar”. In fact, other than a few rousing acceptance speeches, we probably could have done with an hour-and-a-half of self congratulations, and moved onto a far more interesting “Scandal” episode.

Speaking of scandal, once again The Academy is shameless when it comes to snubs or as some p.c. people prefer, “omissions” (such a nicer word without controversy). It was bad enough that “Selma” was slighted for a Best Director and Actor nomination, but they disregarded one of the best performances of the year, Jake Gyllenhaal in “Nightcrawler” for Bradley Cooper in “American Sniper”. Don’t get me wrong, Cooper was at the top of his game, best he has ever been, but it was nowhere near as mind-blowing as Gyllenhaal or David Oyelowo as Martin Luther King, Jr.

birdman - michael keatonThen there were the surprising wins. Did The Academy already have in mind that they would sprinkle Oscar down on all the Best Picture nominees to appear fair and make everyone happy? I don’t recall that ever happening. Some were well-deserved, others very questionable. How do you give Best Original Screenplay, Director and Picture to a film that is primarily about actors, and have its entire success rest on the shoulders of those actors? How the hell did Michael Keaton not win Best Actor?

How did the Academy miss the glaring plot holes in the “Birdman” script? Were they just too dazzled by its weirdness or too enamored because it was about them? God knows, they love movies about themselves. If they were going for originality surely “Grand Budapest” cornered that market far better. And, there were other screenplays that were far more weirder and original that were never even considered; Alejandro Jodorowsky’s “The Dance of Reality” that A.O. Scott of the New York Times states, “Something very close to a masterpiece”. Shion Sono’s “Why Don’t You Play in Hell?” which has earned film.com to claim, “Quite possibly mankind’s greatest achievement” (of course, I take that one with a grain of salt). And, Alex de la Iglesia’s “Witching and Bitching” that had one critic declare, “…utterly bonkers battle of the sexes that chuckles at male chauvinism before castrating it completely”.

Robin WilliamsThe most aggravating and insulting part of the night was the Oscar’s “In Memoriam”. This is usually one of the most touching parts of the show. We reminisce those that we have lost over the year, but their spirit remains forever in our hearts and on the screen whether it be big or small. Here is a portion, where no matter what Oscar usually gets it right. WRONG.

This year not only did the powers that be decide to get artsy fartsy and draw all those images, but with time constraints weighing heavy on their minds, they decide to only show certain people and delegate others to their website. So let’s see, a little over 36 million viewers (a new seven year low), many of them not in the industry, are treated to the telecast images of same famous people (i.e. Robin Williams, Mickey Rooney, James Garner) and then those people the average audience does not have a clue of (Nadia Bronson – Marketing Executive, Alan Hirschfield – Executive, Sanford E. Reisenbach – Marketing Executive).

Who on earth thought this idiotic idea up? I don’t want to slight the dear departed, but The Academy really showed its shallow and superficial side with granting time to these executive of whom most of the audience has no idea. Instead, they decided in the infinite wisdom to not give screen time to Richard Kiel (one of the most famous Bond villains ever, and great character actor), Taylor Negron, another great character actor (“Fast times at Ridgemont High”, “The Last Boy Scout”), the very funny Jan Hooks (“SNL”, “Batman Returns”, “Simon Birch”), the incomparable Elaine Stritch (“One Life to Live”, “Autumn in New York”, “Monster-in-Law”), and the woman that made the Red Carpet at the Oscars an event unto itself, the iconic Joan Rivers.

Adam LevineThe damn telecast always goes over. Why not cut a few unnecessary speeches and show everybody that deserves to be remembered. Maybe even just present the Best Song nominees as a medley since we will not remember most of them anyway ten minutes after the show.

Where were their heads? Well, the outcry for just Joan herself has shown exactly where their heads were, and it’s going to take one crafty proctologist to help them out. If The Academy and the producers behind the show were ever concerned about viewership, now would be the time and repent. This is a p.r. nightmare that will haunt them for quite a while.

Sean PennFurther alienating the public, “Birdman” wins Best Picture over “Boyhood” (an enormous crowd-pleaser), “Selma” (labeled the “important” film of the year), and one of the most harrowing and thought-provoking films of the year “The Imitation Game”. Distancing the Academy from the viewer even more, and probably losing ground with future audiences. Then to top it all off, Sean Penn (known for his bad boy behavior) mentions under his breath before announcing Best Picture, “Who gave this son-of-a-bitch his Green Card”. Joking or not, it was totally inappropriate.

That last remark practically undid all the wonderful uplifting stories, calls to action (ALS and women’s rights), and reminders of the civil rights movement. What a sour note to end the telecast on. No matter who hosts next year, what talent decides to sing the nominated songs, and whoever gets nominated, the show will continue to lose its legs as long as The Academy remains in its comfortable little bubble ignoring the real entertainers that capture our attention.

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