The oscars are officially over once again, and while there were some surprises in there, it’s nice to know that there were a couple of welcome not-surprises and welcome surprises thrown in over the night.
From an entertainment stand point Kimmel did much better here than he did at the Emmys, the humour was much less offensive, even if some of his jokes fell flat. The Meryl Streep overrated gags were on the right side of topical but without being too on the nose, while his constant beef with Matt Damon was a welcome bit of relief.
Admittedly his weird air drops of treats seemed a little bit out of place, like a half-arsed attempt to one up Ellen’s wonderful edition, but the surprise people bit was both painful and funny at the same time and Denzel Washington acquitted himself well.
A lot of the presenting was well done, of course the team up between Seth Rogen and Michael J Fox was a great showcase for both men and their comic timing, though neither were as good as the wacky/deadpan stylings of Kate McKinnon and Jason Bateman were absolutely great.
There was a bulk of great performances. Justin Timberlake’s opening performance was perfect, with a good amount of dancing showing the lad has still got it, and his dead pan facial expressions are also comic gold.A big big shout out to Dwayne Johnson who’s single line from his song in Moana was brilliant, and also to the great performance given by Auli’i Cravalho, which was surely the best of the night, even if it won nothing, while John Legend’s performance was a little stilted.
But the main two things were, of course, the winners, and Warren bloody Beatty.
First of all a deserving win for Barry Jenkins and Tarrel Alvin McCraney for their screenplay for Moonlight, which nicely complimented the stellar work of original screenplay winner Manchester by the Sea by Kenneth Lonergan. As well as the fantastic wins by Mahershala Ali and Viola Davis, both of whom accepted their awards with grace and dignity.
A pity then that while Hobo Affleck’s speech was a little drab – he’s a suspicious and strange person anyway – Emma Stone’s win is the real head scratcher, when the winner was so obviously Natalie Portman, no?
Again no win for Thomas Newman, who seems to be destined to be the best composer never given anything, and Damien Chazelle made history by virtue of being young as opposed to, you know, the black guy who directed the film what won him a best picture and best screenplay, but, whatever.
Read more: The Political Oscars and False Standards
The ‘In Memoriam’ segment was very moving and was done well, with just enough touches that made it bring home the tragedy and while Dev Patel’s introduction to Sting’s song for the James Foley documentary was wonderful, the song was fairly dull.
No matter, because the seven hour epic about O.J. Simpson won best Documentary and that is something that needed to happen, though Ava DuVarney winning for 13th would also have been welcome but either way they were both great works.
We often talk about the snubs, but this year seemed to be another Crash or Birdman I.E. when the best picture doesn’t win in favour of something more safe, like when Crash beat Brokeback Mountain or when Birdman beat Boyhood. Luckily the wrong was made right by the rightful win of Moonlight, only Warren Beatty, the reclusive movie star who was a Howard Hughes shut in for fifteen years until he made his boring Rules Don’t Apply came out of hiding to make a bad film and to present an award.
And read the wrong title. Apparently there was some kind of mix up, but considering you give the envelope to the winner it seems a little odd. We at No Majesty would never suggest that Beatty just said the film he preferred and was sussed out, but at least the producers of La La Land were gracious enough to say a mistake was made and embody what the real meaning of art and passion is.
Even after that slightly confused moment, of weirdness, this year had enough variety that it wasn’t one film sweeping the board, and while the audience gave plenty of strange interactions (Mel Gibson looks like he’s on the verge of frenzy, while Taraji P Henson was more interesting in getting sweets than anything else – good on her), there were enough justified wins to make it all worth while.
James Corden probably would have been a better host, or even Louis C.K., but for this year anyway the Oscars was decent, varied and not too too political. All in all, it turned out to be one of the better ones.
Paul Klein is a Film Studies Graduate from London, former writer at The Metropolist.