The Oscars – Birdman triumphs, Boyhood loses out and Eddie’s the king
The awards season reached its climax last night
It won’t be a crop of films remembered through the ages, but at least the Academy voters made the 2015 Oscar ceremony a little more tense by turning their love away from Boyhood at the last minute and bestowing it upon the Michael Keaton drama, Birdman.
In retrospect, it probably wasn’t so surprising that the Michael Keaton-starrer won Best Film and Best Director. The industry has always loved films about itself and Birdman tapped into that – no doubt aging creatives who fear their movies lives are drifting towards apathy responded to Alejandro González Iñárritu’s midlife crisis tale.
Personally I found it to be a virtuoso feat of directing and cinematography, with some great performances, but still ultimately pretentious and fairly vacuous nonsense. It’s one of those movies which purports to be about quote unquote big themes, but is actually just a bit up itself.
That didn’t stop it from winning for Best Original Screenplay (Whiplash was robbed), while Graham Moore won the Best Adapted award for The Imitation Game. Again, this was a solid, if unspectacular script and it’s been interesting watching over the last few months how it managed to avoid the same fate as Selma which has been lambasted for historical inaccuracy. I don’t necessarily care about everything being exactly how it happened in real life (I spoke to an intelligence expert recently who told me that as far as The Imitation Game is concerned, “none of it is true”), but it certainly spoke to the weird machinations that go on behind the Oscars.
Audiences neither know much about those or indeed give a hoot, but believe me when I tell you that it profoundly influenced who got up on that stage last night. Actors suffer a lot of indignities in their job and glad-handing OAPs (read: potential voters) at private screenings of their movies in rich people’s houses is one of them. Even if it ends up with them winning a little gold man. Make no mistake – the Oscars is like a political campaign and almost everyone is Nigel Farage.
On the plus side, Moore gave a cracking and heartfelt speech.
Griping aside, it was great to see Brits doing well – particularly the hilarious Mat Kirkby who won for Best Live-Action Short Film and Ben Wilkins, who was part of the team who won Best Sound Mixing for Whiplash.
And Eddie Redmayne? Well, there’s no doubt he poured his heart and soul into the role of Stephen Hawking in The Theory Of Everything, even if it’s a bit disappointing that everyone refers to it as the Stephen Hawking movie when really the most interesting stuff is not about him and his disability, but about his ex-wife.
But hey, who cares about all these awards? Really, it’s all about the dresses and the tuxes (nobody seemed to be wearing Tuxedos By Mike like I did when I reported from the red carpet in the mid-2000s), the style gurus and the 360 degree frock cams. All of which will be packed away until next awards season. Finally, the nominees can have a sleep - after pounding the trail for however many months, they need it. The lucky ones will be sharing their bed with Oscar.