The 85th Academy Awards® will air live on Oscar® Sunday, February 24, 2013. (©A.M.P.A.S.®)
The 85th Academy Awards® will air live on Oscar® Sunday, February 24, 2013.

©A.M.P.A.S.®

Review: The Oscars

March 1, 2016

I’m typically not a huge fan of awards shows and have rarely watched the Oscars in the past, but this year was slightly different. I sat down with friends and watched from the red carpet to the tribute for those who passed on this year to the winner of the Best Picture category. And while the show wasn’t overly entertaining or hilarious, I did go to bed glad that I chose to tune into ABC for five hours.

If there was one thing I could’ve done without, it would have been the hour and a half long fashion parade to showcase the attire of every major celebrity that would be in the spotlight for the rest of the night. While the droning commentary of the stylish or controversial dress choices was probably accurate, it really wasn’t for me or most guys who chose to tune in early enough to catch it. As it turned out, the purpose of the red carpet for me was to acquaint myself mostly with the actresses that I had never heard of before, and who would be on stage receiving an Oscar later in the night. So while the fashion show couldn’t end soon enough, it did serve some function.

Ryan Seacrest was also above average, but he wasn’t the only person I enjoyed listening to. Chris Rock was an exceptional host, and while not all of his jokes stuck, he did manage to humorously capture the fact that there were no black nominees, while also addressing the seriousness of the issue of color in Hollywood. The initial barrage of jokes as he opened the show set the pace well for the race jokes to follow, though by midnight I was ready for them to be over. Overall, he did well making the jokes entertaining, and the montage of interviews with black people leaving the movie theater was thoroughly enjoyable. As each of them couldn’t name many of the “white” movies nominated for numerous awards, and genuinely didn’t believe “Bridge of Spies” was a movie up for nomination, it added to the humorous yet alarming fact that the “black” movies and actors were barely present for the night.

I also loved the interview segment not only because they chose to throw in a white interviewee at the last second for comical relief, but also because the people were so relatable. It amazes me every year how many of the films and faces are completely new to me. And even though when they show clips, the movies seem generally interesting, I’m still confused as to how I couldn’t have come across them before. The same goes for a lot of the actresses that walked onto the stage, including Brie Larson who captured Best Actress. Yet, while not all the films and faces were familiar, I still could get excited about who won based solely on the snippets of the movies shown in the packages. One face that I did recognize, however, was that of Leonardo DiCaprio, as he finally got his chance to claim the Oscar for Best Actor.

I have to admit I haven’t seen The Revenant, but from what I hear, Leo did a remarkable job portraying and committing to his part. From eating the raw liver of an animal to freezing in the frigid and harsh climate of South America, he earned the right to finally hold a golden statue at the end of the night. And while I may not have been rooting for him because I loved Matt Damon in “The Martian,” I’m still glad that his impressive resume now includes the one artifact that he had previously been missing.

The musical performances were well-spaced out, but even more importantly, they added some flare to an otherwise straightforward show. Sam Smith, The Weekend, and finally Lady Gaga all had a huge impact on the feeling of the show, and Gaga’s performance in particular gave me chills. The message coupled with the survivors of abuse, standing together, arms raised and written on with their feelings after the abuse they suffered was extremely powerful. The color scheme with the piano and the long white dress radiating innocence and purity contrasted with the horrifying events that drove the performance had an interesting juxtaposition, but overall it brought to light an extremely important issue on a massive stage which is always important.

So do I think you missed out if you didn’t watch it? Probably. But that doesn’t mean it was stunningly entertaining or without its faults. Five hours was slightly excessive but probably would’ve been more bearable if I’d skipped out on the never-ending red carpet event. It also got very old that the same movies got nominated over and over again, but that’s nothing new (kind of like “Mad Max: Fury Road” by the end of the night.) But these small complaints don’t weigh down the overall pleasantness of the show. The musical guests gave stunning performances that had an impact beyond the stage, the show was littered with comic relief from Chris Rock, and who can forget as the clock closed in on midnight when Leo finally got to give an acceptance speech.

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