Did you watch the Oscars last weekend? I don’t mean waltzed through the room while your girlfriend watched and accidentally got a feast of host Neil Patrick Harris’ stuffed tighty-whiteys – nobody was gonna let Doogie Howser pull a Janet Jackson at the Super Bowl – or overheard, from the next room, that song from The Lego Movie that got stuck in your head for weeks and has now burrowed right back into your brain like a worm in a compost heap. And why would you have? You probably hadn’t seen more than two or three of the movies nominated, like American Sniper and The Grand Budapest Hotel, because it was a small year. You probably thought they’re too long (that’d be true) and boring (this year, you’d probably be right about that, too), but this year’s ceremony had some things that you should pay attention to because you’ll be hearing about them for some time yet. Here are the five things you should know about from this year’s Oscars.
1. Patricia Arquette Went Full-On Feminist (And J.Lo Agreed)
What was all that cheering going on? That was people going mad for Patricia Arquette, who had just won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her role in the 12-years-in-production Boyhood and decided to use her time at the mic to address gender wage equality. Arquette has been criticized in some circles for what essentially boils down to a privileged white woman trying to become more privileged, but you know who were definitely on her side? Meryl Streep and Jennifer Lopez.
2. Common and John Legend Bared the Truth
As if their powerful performance of “Glory” from Selma wasn’t enough, John Legend and Common stunned and slayed everybody with an acceptance speech that brought the issue of the film and their song back, from all the talk of Oscar snubs and racist Academy voters, to where it should be. They spoke out against societal injustice, voting rights, and the fact that there are more incarcerated African-American men today than were ever held under slavery in 1850. “When people are marching with our song, we want to tell you that we are with you, we see you, we love you, and march on.”
3. Hollywood Can’t Help Being Racist
Furthermore, many of the gags on Sunday night were, shall we say, a bit off colour. As in, they were completely off about matters of colour. Neil Patrick Harris had a rather dire long-form gag involving a sealed envelope of predictions in a glass box at the edge of the stage that he tasked Octavia Spencer with safeguarding. Yes, the African-American woman who won an Oscar for her role in The Help was asked to be, well, the help. At an Oscar ceremony. In 2015. Ever the good sport, Spencer played along, however embarrassed she became. She was later replaced by a white, blonde seat-filler, to much laughter from the grey-hairs in the back. Robert Duvall wasn’t having any of it, and just sat there as if with fingers in his ears singing “la la la la laaaa” when Harris tried to rope him in for the skit. Earlier in the evening he introduced Selma star David Oyelowo in the crowd, for a silly scene involving his British accent supposedly making joke punchlines sound better. The punchline of Harris’ joke? That the all-black remake of Annie was crap. Because young African American girls get so many films made for them that we should make fun of the one that snuck through the cracks. A box office hit, too, by the way. Oyelowo’s reaction was totally right.
And who can forget Sean Penn’s joke between friends that backfired as he announced the winner of Best Picture. “Who gave this son of a bitch his green card?” He joked. You know what’s not funny? That time he tied his then-wife Madonna to a chair for several hours and beat her with a baseball bat. Whatta scamp!
4. John Travolta Has Now Surpassed Nicolas Cage on the Craziness Scale of Hollywood Stars
Nicolas Cage is too busy starring in terrible direct-to-DVD films that you’ve never heard of and remakes of right-wing evangelical drama Left Behind to appear at award shows he’s not nominated at (lest we forget he was nominated for an Oscar as recently as 2003 for Adaptation), so John Travolta has seemingly taken up the task of being the resident celebrity whack-job.
Last hear, he made as many headlines as he did punchlines for his embarrassing “Adele Dazeem” flub when introducing performer Idina Menzel. This year, the tables were turned, and Menzel introduced her co-presenter as “Glom Gazingo” … who then proceeded to awkwardly touch her face and get giggly at their new-found friendship. This was after an earlier incident on the red carpet in which, like the creature from Alien attempting to clamp itself onto a host’s face, Travolta tried to pull a swifty smooch move on his former co-star Scarlett Johansson, who was ultimately not having a bar of it. She remain unfazed by the hideously faux-haired lump that had mysteriously attached itself to her body. Johansson is quite the actress!
And did you spot the meme of Travolta leering lecherously at the nominated star of The Imitation Game (and Tumblr’s boyfriend) Benedict Cumberbatch? It was weird.
5. Birdman is the Best Picture of 2014
Well, I’ll leave that one up to you to decide. What do you think?