The Academy Awards is like a holiday to me. Every year my boyfriend and I prepare a huge spread of charcuterie, get some champagne and make our Oscar predictions. We make a friendly competition out of it and whoever guesses the most winners correctly is treated to a night at the movies by the loser.
Last night’s Oscars went above and beyond any that I have seen before. There were moving speeches for equality and incredible live performances. There was laughter and there were tears. It was a true embodiment of everything that the film industry has to offer.
Neil Patrick Harris was a fantastic host. It is a wonder really that they ever let anyone else do the job. He was both cheeky and sincere and the way he giggles at his own jokes is incredibly endearing. His opening musical number was also the best Oscars introduction I have ever seen. The choreography and the incorporation of so many movies was incredible. His performance was spot on and the addition of Anna Kendrick and Jack Black topped it off magnificently. He proved that a good musical number can out do a half-assed comedy act any day.
I would also like it very much if he hosted my daily life.
Equality played a huge role at this year’s Academy Awards. Reese Witherspoon’s #askhermore initiative made a huge impact on the red carpet. I saw a lot more women being asked meaningful questions instead of just being quizzed on who they were wearing.
Patricia Arquette may never figure out what to do with her hair, but her acceptance speech for Best Supporting Actress was an incredible shout-out for equal right and equal pay for women. The outpouring of support shown by the entire audience, especially Meryl Streep and J.Lo, was passionate.
Common also gave a fantastic acceptance speech after he and John Legend gave an extremely powerful live performance of “Glory” from the movie “Selma” and won Best Original Song. His poetic call for equality brought the audience to their feet and tears to the eyes of many. Seeing the tears roll down Chris Pine’s eyes gave me chills.
There were a number of other stand-out acceptance speeches. JK Simmons encouraged us to all call our parents in his touching Best Supporting Actor speech. Paweł Pawlikowski owned the moment when he continued right through the play-off music when he received the award for Best Foreign Language Film for “Ida”. He wasn’t the only one to ignore his cue to leave. The winners of Best Live Action Short for “Phone Call” soldiered on through the outro music as well and nobody seemed in the least bit upset.
The most moving speech of the night came from Graham Moore when he won Best Adapted Screenplay for “The Imitation Game”. He spoke to all the kids out there who, like him, feel weird and like they don’t belong, encouraging them to remain true to themselves and eventually they will find their place in the world.
The live performances of the evening were better than any I have ever seen before. Adam Levine was his normal, beautiful self and showcased his incredible falsetto when singing “Lost Stars” from “Begin Again”. Rita Ora and Tim McGraw both surprised me with their soulful performances. “Everything is Awesome” from “The Lego Movie” brought a burst of fun to the evening performed by Tegan and Sara and The Lonely Island and I thought the Lego Oscars were a great touch. Then John Legend and Common proved why “Glory” was the clear winner.
The most impressive performance by far was that of Lady Gaga, who honored Julie Andrews and “The Sound of Music” with a beautiful compilation. I was dumbfounded. I had no idea that Lady Gaga could actually sing. She looked gorgeous, she sounded gorgeous and she brought a style and a spirit to show tunes that could revolutionize the genre. She looked totally at ease, like she was finally doing what she was meant to do, and it was breathtaking.
The Oscars are always a graceful roller-coaster of emotions. Our hearts ached when Meryl Streep presented the actors and actresses the industry lost this year, including the beloved Robin Williams. We empathized with the pain of Alzheimer’s when Julianne Moore gave her Best Actress speech for her performance in “Still Alice”. Eddie Redmayne warmed my heart with his humble but euphoric acceptance of the Best Actor award for his performance as Stephen Hawking in “The Theory of Everything”.
There was plenty of humor to carry us through the evening as well. Neil Patrick Harris had a running joke about his predictions briefcase that he shared with Octavia Spencer. Surprisingly, some people felt as though he were being racist and rude by requesting her “help”, but I felt that it was all good spirited fun with no underlying jabs.
NPH appearing in nothing but his underwear with the accompaniment of Miles Teller on the drums provided another good laugh. I doubt anyone else could have pulled off that bit as well as Neil Patrick Harris did. Idina Menzel also got the last laugh with John Travolta when she welcomed him to the stage as Glom Gazingo.
I must admit that I geek out a little for all my favorite actors and actresses at the Oscars. Benedict Cumberbatch continued to impress me with his humility and good nature. Scarlett Johansson rocked an amazing haircut and a gorgeous emerald dress like an absolute boss. I felt awful for poor Dakota Johnson when her mother admitted on the red carpet that she refuses to watch her daughter’s newest film, “Fifty Shades of Grey”, but I couldn’t help but laugh at their typical mother-daughter banter.
Emma stone was absolute perfection in a slitted gold dress. Keira Knightly and Marion Cotillard were adorable as always and Chloe Moretz made an impression in a full length ball gown with pockets. Anna Kendrick’s dress was also gorgeous. I loved the color and the way the bodice wrapped around the embellished neckline.
Overall, I can honestly say that I only had two complaints about this year’s Oscars celebration. First, I was disappointed that “Birdman” shut out so many other amazing movies and directors that I thought deserved to take home the statue. The second is that I am getting sick of seeing J.Lo’s boobs.
The Oscars are a very long celebration, especially if you are like me and insist on watching the red carpet introduction as well. Therefore, it shouldn’t be surprising that we went through two bottles of Champagne and a half a bottle of white wine throughout the course of the evening.
We started of with a Prosecco by Villa Jolanda. It was a $10 bottle and it tasted fancy as hell. It had the perfect amount of carbonation and was a nice balance of sweet and buttery. When I say sweet, I don’t mean so sweet as to make you feel like you will have a killer hang-over tomorrow but rather sweet enough to keep you coming back for more. This bottle won the Oscar for Best Champagne in my opinion.
Bottle of champagne number two was the Ruffino Prosecco. It was honestly more bubble than taste, but it was still very enjoyable. It was incredibly light and struck me as a perfect brunch champagne.
The last bottle, a Cupcake Chardonnay, is a wine I have reviewed before. It was essentially champagne without the bubbles, but just as delicious.
All and all, even though I lost the yearly predictions game for the second year in a row, I had an incredible Oscars evening and I look forward to enjoying more films from these incredible artists in the year to come.
*Seeing as I wasn’t invited to the Oscars and my camera stopped working, none of these photos are mine.