Monday, March 3, 2014

Oscar Highlights 2014

I get tweet-happy once a year. I know the Oscars are not everyone's cup of tea and that any big trending event gets overwhelming and annoying on social media if it's not your thing---but we all have our indulgences. For some it's sports, for me it's movies. I love the medium of film and I genuinely enjoy when it's celebrated and recognized. The Academy Awards are one of my favorite nights of the year.

This was a year of firsts for me when it comes to the Oscars. It was the first year I had people over for an Oscar party (albiet a small low-key gathering), the first year I hosted an online twitter-party (which was a bit overwhelming but super fun), and the first year that my predictions were almost 100% correct---nothing really surprised me. That never happens.

Maybe it was the difference of watching in a group, or the fact that it was one of the most hilarious host years, or the fact that I'd seen more of the films than ever in the past---but this goes down in my mind as my favorite oscar experience to date.

Here were the highlights for me:

- Ellen 

In my opinion, Ellen is by far the best Oscar host. She is hilarious. We were all dying at everything she said the entire night. She really kept it from getting boring.

- The speeches were shorter

With a few exceptions (of course) most of the speeches were brief this year. I'm not sure anyone got played off? (Which always happens). Do they always have the countdown for speeches? If not, that really helped.

- The celebrities felt like real people

Photo-bombing, selfies, tons of prompter mistakes, tripping, ordering pizza, audience interaction, etc. The event felt a little less pretentious this year than usual. It felt less rehearsed, flawed, and refreshing. Sometimes we forget that celebrities are actually people. (Who knew?)

- Benedict Cumberbatch

- In memoriam

This is one of my favorite segments each year because it's a little history of film lesson. Major highlights for me this year were Peter O'Toole and Philip Seymour Hoffman.

- The music

The music is usually pretty good for an awards show that isn't really about music, but not many years give the mix we got this year---from iconic rock band (U2), to stage legend (Bette), tony-winner (Idina), and top 40 favorites (Pink, Pharrell)---it was an eventful year. No big musicals this year, but a fun mix none the less.

- Twitter

Ellen broke twitter and the RT record. Since twitter is just for FUN I have to say this was a funny/fun thing to happen and will be ignoring the obligatory backlash of criticism about our current culture/celebrity worship, etc. It was a pretty cool picture.

- Speaking of Twitter, along with the expected Oscar trending #slaverystillexists was also trending.

I know that trending can be more a reflection of slacktivism than true progress (it is called "trending" after all) but awareness IS the first step to progress and this is the first time (that I can remember) that someone used a movie about civil-war era slavery as a platform to talk about modern day slavery. It always bothers me when slavery is talked about in past tense and the current issues are ignored so this was a surprise and high point for me.

Alright, those were the highlights for me. That's a wrap.

P.s. I didn't expect Leo to win but I'm still disappointed that he's an oscar shut out. He gets nominated so often and his acting is so great---I really want to see him get some recognition someday.

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