Saturday, February 28, 2015
Monday, February 23, 2015
It all began with a bang of nostalgic fanfare – a brief and curiously overpowering one. Host Neil Patrick Harris emerged from a stage decorated in floating lights and Oscar statuettes that seemed borrowed right from one of his treasured musicals, and broke into the kind of song and dance routine we have come to expect of such a vivacious showman: the sort that was equal parts energetic and colorful while still holding its own within context of the night’s purpose, which was to celebrate another year’s worth of moving pictures. As he danced in unison with silhouetted projections on a backdrop that emphasized the famous moments of “Singing in the Rain” and “North by Northwest,” he (along with supporting vocalists Anna Kendrick and Jack Black) brought a sense of much-needed unity to a room where political ideologies and cutthroat voting campaigns often reduce onlookers to feigning cordial platitudes. Yes, Harris was going to make everyone in this auditorium beam with the same sense of joy that good movies are supposed to leave us with, and it was clear from that brilliant opening note that he wouldn’t have it any other way.
Friday, February 20, 2015
As enthusiasts of the movies, there are certain rituals we partake in that are equal parts amusing and infuriating. The annual ceremony of the Academy Awards is the most definitive of those traditions. Each year they seem to creep up on us without warning or rhythm, and in nearly all instances our enthusiasm is evenly matched by a sense of exhausted de ja vu, as if to imply not enough time has gone by to warrant yet another exercise in public popularity contests. Yet we watch on without reservation like spectators at a game of chance, knowing full well that the outcome is always the same even as the selections of movies evolve creatively and artistically through the pass of time.