Were the 2015 Oscars Good?

by | PopCrush
Neil Patrick Harris
Kevin Winter, Getty Images

Were the 2015 Oscars good? It seems nearly impossible to boil down a show as multi-faceted and star-studded as the Academy Awards into a simple “yes or no” answer — but we’re going to try.

The Host

Let’s start with the master of ceremonies, Mr. Neil Patrick Harris himself. NPH has earned quite the reputation for his hosting duties, with most people regarding him as one of the best in the game. But the Oscars is no normal show and can prove tricky to even the most charismatic of stars. (Sorry, James Franco and Anne Hathaway.)

But Neil Patrick Harris brought charm and a sense of humor. Most importantly, he didn’t take himself too seriously. Bad puns were rampant and often accompanied by Neil’s cat-ate-the-canary grin. While some jokes were so subtle they were easy to miss, others were glaring — and not pretty. But there’s something to be said for not trying too hard. Neil got laughs, mostly at his own expense, while still appearing composed and quippy. And, no, there were no songs about actress’ breasts.

One thing noticeably absent from the program were host-driven intermissions. We’re the first to admit that Ellen DeGeneres had us cracking up with her iconic selfie or her pizza-ordering stunt at the 2014 Oscars, but in retrospect, those bits seemed to distract from the task at hand: Giving away awards. In comparison, NPH kept things on topic and running smoothly, with the roughest patch being his seeming to coerce Octavia Spencer into baby-sitting a locked box.

The Speeches

The Oscars are a famously long-running show, mostly because award-winners, trying to make the most of their moment on stage, exceed the given time for speeches. In turn, it’s become an age-old tradition for the in-house music to slowly crescendo as the speech-giver frantically tries to list every parent, agent, crew member and pet as fast as he or she can. This was — shockingly — not common during the 2015 Oscars.

The 87th Academy Awards winners’ speeches generally fell into two categories: Unmemorable or immensely moving. And for those who moved us with their emotions and eloquent words — thank you.

We found ourselves smiling over the endearing reactions of Best Actor and Actress winners, Eddie Redmayne and Julieanne Moore. Both seemed in utter disbelief, with the Theory of Everything star adorably promising to cherish his statue.

Eddie Redmayne
Kevin Winter, Getty Images

Of course, the most inspirational speech of the night came from Best Adapated Screenplay winner Graham Moore, who used his platform to address a serious topic. He said:

So here’s the thing. Alan Turing never got to stand on a stage like this and look out at all these disconcertingly attractive faces and I do and that’s the most unfair thing I think I’ve ever heard. So in this brief time here, what I wanna use it to do is to say this. When I was 16 years old, I tried to kill myself because I felt weird and I felt different and I felt like I did not belong. And now I’m standing here. So I’d like for this moment to be for that kid out there who feels like she’s weird or she’s different or she doesn’t fit in anywhere. Yes, you do. I promise you do, you do. Stay weird, stay different. And then, when it’s your turn and you are standing on this stage, please pass the same message to the next person that comes along. Thank you so much.

It was eloquent, heart-felt and, above all, a genuine moment that resonated with the audience and viewers alike.

Best Supporting Actress Patricia Arquette also inspired with her speech, in which she gave a shoutout to women’s rights. If you need any proof of the power of her sentiment, look no further than Meryl Streep and Jennifer Lopez cheering her on.

Meryl Streep Jennifer Lopez

The Performances

It’s rare that Oscars performances leave us with chills (just being honest here), but the 2015 Academy Awards gave us multiple goosebump-inducing moments.

We were expecting John Legend and Common to bring all of the emotion with “Glory,” and the duo succeeded. And we know that we weren’t the only ones moved by the performance. The audience gave John and Common a standing ovation, with cameras panning to show numerous actors moved to tears. Moments later, the pair were awarded the Best Original Song Oscar.

Lady Gaga gave an equally impressive performance that was iconic — but in a totally different way. She performed a medley of songs from The Sound of Music, hitting those high notes in a way we haven’t seen since, well, Julie Andrews. And speaking of Julie Andrews, the actress walked out onstage to hug Mother Monster after the performance. The best part? Lady Gaga looked visibly shaken (because JULIE ANDREWS HUGGED HER), while the Oscar-winnning actress looked just as touched by Gaga’s insanely beautiful tribute. Drop all of the mics.

Lady Gaga Julie Andrews
Kevin Winter, Getty Images

The Fashion

It would be remiss to look back at an Oscars ceremony without at least giving the fashion a mention. And while many of the stars’ ensembles spanned the spectrum from incredible (oh, hey there, Rosamund Pike) to the underwhelming (sorry, Reese Witherspoon!), nothing treaded into clear worst-dressed territory. No swan-inspired outfits or backward tuxedos. To be honest, it was a little underwhelming. Except for you, Rosamund Pike. You win all of the PopCrush fashion awards.

The Conclusion

Alright, we’ve prattled on long enough about speeches and performances, hosting antics and red carpet looks. After carefully weighing the arguments, the answer seems pretty clear to us.

While there were no doubt many safe moments during the show, the Oscars served its purpose. The show gave out awards, yes, but most of all, it inspired. From reminding us of our childhood dreams to empowering us with incredible speeches, the 2015 Oscars encouraged us to imagine.

Armed with the right balance of performances, light humor and an even distribution of awards (no The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King here!), this year’s Academy Awards weren’t showy, but they were sincere. And in an age when everyone with a smartphone seems to be competing to instigate the next viral trend, it’s refreshing to see people just enjoying the night.

So were the 2015 Oscars good? Yes.

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