Stargazing

Academy Awards recap: Idina Menzel forgives John Travolta, Lady Gaga sings Julie Andrews and other Oscar moments

Idina Menzel, left and John Travolta present the award for best original song at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 22, 2015, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles.
Idina Menzel, left and John Travolta present the award for best original song at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 22, 2015, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. KansasCity

11:01: After “Birdman” won best picture, Michael Keaton took the mic to say: “Look, it’s great to be here. Who’m I kiddin’? This is just great fun.”

Director Alejandro Inarritu: “They want me to talk? The worst English-speaking guy here? Maybe next year the government will inflict some immigrations rules to the academy: Two Mexicans in a row? That's suspicious, I guess”

10:58: Julianne Moore: “I read an article that said that winning an Oscar could lead to living five years longer. If that’s true, I’d really like to thank the academy because my husband is younger than me.”

10:57: So yes, best actor winner Eddie Redmayne (“The Theory of Everything”) said his Oscar belongs to the people battling ALS and it belongs to “one exceptional family” led by Stephen Hawking.

But ...

“I will be its custodian,” Redmayne said, to laughs. “... I will polish him. I will answer his beck and call. I will wait on him hand and foot.”

In other words, that little gold man is his.

What did the Twitterverse think of the show? Find out here

10:50: It’s someone every year, and this year, the celebrities left out of the Oscar tribute to the dearly departed were, according to E! Online’s analysis of the Twitterverse ... Joan Rivers and Elaine Stritch.

Granted, neither was known as a movie star, although it’s certainly hard to think of the Oscars (Oscars fashion, anyway) without thinking of Rivers. Stritch is better known as a Broadway star.

10:43 p.m.: The teariest moment of the night, at least from those in the audience, might have been when John Legend and Common performed “Glory,” their song from “Selma.” The set featured a depiction of the Edmund Pettis Bridge in the background, which was lined on both sides with back-up singers. It was a powerful moment that earned an ovation from the crowd.

10:29 p.m.: A very sedate Lady Gaga in white gown performed the songs from “The Sound of Music.” Straight. No edge. No irony. No zaniness.

 

Then Gaga introduced “the incomparable Julie Andrews,” who looked moved to tears.

“Dear Lady Gaga, thank you for that wonderful tribute,” Andrews said. “It really warmed my heart, it really did.”

It’s hard to believe, she added, that 50 years have gone by “since that joyous film was released.” Speaking for everyone associated with the movie, she said, “We all felt really blessed to be a part of of it. And as for me, how lucky can a girl get?”

It’s like having Benedict Cumberbatch recite from the White Pages.

10:25 p.m.: Here’s what we learned when host Harris ventured out into the audience: The female seat-fillers wear red dresses. You think that’s a rule? And at least one of them is named Heidi.

Harris also chatted with an alleged seat filler who looked a whole like actor Steve Carell. Who was he most excited about seeing? “Birdman’s” Edward Norton, who happened to be sitting just across the aisle. (TE)

10:20 p.m.: A very sedate Lady Gaga in white gown performed the songs from “The Sound of Music.” Straight. No edge. No irony. No zaniness.

Then Gaga introduced “the incomparable Julie Andrews,” who looked moved to tears.

“Dear Lady Gaga, thank you for that wonderful tribute,” Andrews said. “It really warmed my heart, it really did.”

It’s hard to believe, she added, that 50 years have gone by “since that joyous film was released.” Speaking for everyone associated with the movie, she said, “We all felt really blessed to be a part of of it. And as for me, how lucky can a girl get?”

It’s like having Benedict Cumberbatch recite from the White Pages. (RWB and TE)

10:18 p.m.: The evening’s musical highlight: John Legend and Common’s “Glory” from “Selma,” an epic mashup of gospel and rap set against arches inspired by the Edmund Pettis Bridge in Selma, Ala. Their performance drew the most heartfelt standing ovation of the night. Bonus points: Cutaway shot of David Oyelowo (who played Martin Luther King Jr.) in the audience, tears streaming down his fact.

When the song won the Oscar a few minutes later, the victory was complete.

What’s more, the two actors gave the night’s best acceptance speeches with calls for a continued struggle for social and political justice. (RWB)

10:18 p.m.: John Travolta played the good sport as he was teamed on stage with the woman whose name he famously mangled last year, Idina Menzel. After she introduced her “dear friend, Glom Gazingo,” Travolta said he deserved that.

“But you, you, my darling, my beautiful, wickedly talented Idina Menzel. Is that right?” he asked, to applause.

“It’s not like it’s gonna follow me around the rest of my life,” she quipped.

Then when Travolta started to read off the nominees for best original song, Menzel took over. Probably smart. (His hairpiece? Not so much.)

“Glory” from “Selma,” performed by Common and John Legend, won the award. (TE)

9:55 p.m.: “The subject of ‘Citizenfour,’ Edward Snowden, could not be here tonight for some treason.” — host Harris (TE)

9:50 p.m.: We’re not sure what, but something happened while Terrence Howard was introducing three of the nominated best pictures. “Our next film is amazing,” Howard said, sighing and looking uncomfortable. “I’m blown away right now myself,” he added, with a nervous laugh. The audience tittered nervously, too.

Our guess: a teleprompter malfunction. But Howard got through it and the film clips rolled. (TE)

9:43 p.m.: The “In Memoriam” deaths montage, introduced by a long-winded Meryl Streep, started with actor Mickey Rooney and ended with director Mike Nichols. The presentation was something different: a painterly effect rather than snippets from movies, which is more typically done. Nice, although we noticed that Robin Williams didn’t look quite like himself. (TE)

9:25 p.m.: A nice touch: those usher guys with the fez hats who open the doors for the presenters as they come out on stage. Great posture, too. (TE)

9 p.m. I anticipated Patricia Arquette’s inevitable win for “Boyhood” (she’s been racking up honors from just about every group bestowing them) with some trepidation — not because she wasn’t terrific in Richard Linklater’s film but because her every public appearance during this long Oscar season has reeked of weird.

At first it looked like Arquette was going to take the low-key route. For a minute she kept things reined in, thanking the usual suspects — family, fellow filmmakers.

But then she erupted, calling for wage equality and equal rights for women and getting a huge round of applause.

Great moment: Meryl Streep and Jennifer Lopez, sitting side by side, initially open-mouthed at this brazen display and then whooping with delight. Streep actually shook her fist in solidarity. Nice to see something so spontaneous.

What we didn’t see: Hollywood executives on Monday morning snorting at the presumption. (RWB)

9 p.m.: Patricia Arquette’s acceptance speech for best supporting actress started out bad (she got bleeped for some curse word), then got worse (her just reading a seemingly endless list of names), but then … got better, as she thanked “every woman who gave birth” and urged wage equality. (By the way, it was sweet when Jared Leto wiped something off Arquette’s face, maybe lipstick, before she turned to the audience.) (TE)

8:48 p.m. : The evening’s biggest lump-in-the-throat moment: Tim McGraw singing the Oscar-nominated song “I’m Not Gonna to Miss You,” by Alzheimer sufferer Glenn Campbell. The lyrics were heartbreaking … so was the fact that Campbell was unable to attend the ceremony. He was represeted by his wife and daughter. (RWB)

8:45 p.m.: Speaking of balls (see below), it sure took something for Harris to come out on stage clad in only his tighty-whities. Oh, and black socks. (TE)

8:38 p.m.: When Gwyneth Paltrow came out to introduce the Glen Campbell song performed by Tim McGraw, the orchestra played the theme from “To Kill a Mockingbird.” Odd. Maybe they’re just playing music from Oscar nominees past? (TE)

8:34: Two Oscar-winning short films the documentary “ Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1” and the live-action short “The Phone Call” — are both about crisis hot lines dealing with suicidal callers. What does that say about the contemporary zeitgeist? (RWB)

8:30 p.m.: “It takes a lot of balls to wear a dress like that,” a friend texted me. Did you see the two women who won for documentary short subject? One of them was in a dress with black poofy, uh, balls. (TE)

8:29 p.m.: John Travolta’s hairpiece. Now that may be the best work of art he’s ever been associated with. (RWB)

8:23 p.m.: When the Polish film “Ida” won best foreign language film, writer/director Pawel Pawlikowski first got a big laugh for expressing his discombobulation — here he’d made a drama about isolation and contemplation (the film centers on a young nun) and here he found himself a winner at the Oscars, the most tension-filled, horrendously public forum imaginable.

But he really won hearts and minds for refusing to acknowledge the rising orchestral crescendo meant to shove him off the stage. He just kept going, thanking family and colleagues, his deceased wife and parents, and his crew members back in Poland, whom he said were undoubtedly highly intoxicated by the time the Oscar telecast began.

For his blithe ignoring of the get-off-the-stage cue, Pawlikowski got a big round of applause. (RWB)

8:22 p.m.: After experiencing that crazy “Everything Is Awesome” production number, I’m thinking I need to see “The Lego Movie.” And now Oprah can say she got an Oscar tonight. (TE)

8:20 p.m.: Here’s what we learned when the host ventured out into the audience: The female seat-fillers wear red dresses. You think that’s a rule? (TE)

8:04 p.m.: Harris, introducing Channing Tatum: “And now, an actor who is as appealing playing a male stripper as he is playing a wrestler in a onesie. He’s the real deal, pants down. Hands down! Did I say pants?” (TE)

8:01 p.m.: J.K. Simmons’ supporting actor win for portraying a Nazi-like college band director in “Whiplash” was no surprise. After all, he’s grabbed that honor in just about every awards competition out there.

The other candidates — Robert Duvall for “The Judge,” Ethan Hawke for “Boyhood,” Edward Norton for “Birdman” and Mark Ruffalo for “Foxcatcher” — were also-rans virtually from the day the nominations were announced.

Still, there’s something deeply satisfying about seeing a journeyman actor — whose face is recognized by just about everyone even if they might not know his name — land a big juicy role in a little movie shot in just two weeks and parlay it into one of the year’s most memorable performances.

In his acceptance speech Simmons — who often has been cast as average Joes (think the dad in “Juno”) — eschewed showbiz references and went personal, thanking his wife and “above average” children, telling them they are “kind, loving people, and that’s because you are a reflection of your mother.”

He then advised those watching that if they are lucky enough to have one or both parents living, to call them. Don’t text them, don’t email them. “Call them and let them talk as long as they want to.”

Nice, modest thoughts from a guy who’s never exhibited actorly pretensions. (RWB)

7:56 p.m.: Holy bleep! Harris says the nominated actors get gift bags worth $160,000, which includes a couple of vacations. (TE)

7:45-ish: Harris, introducing presenter Dakota Johnson, star of “Fifty Shades of Grey”: “She’s also the reason you had to explain to your grandmother what a spanking bench is.” (TE)

7:43 p.m.: Best supporting actor winner J.K. Simmons ( “Whiplash”) has some good advice for everyone: “Call your mom, call your dad. If you’re lucky enough to have a parent or two alive on this planet, call ’em. Don’t text, don’t email. Call them on the phone. Tell ’em you love ’em and thank them and listen to them for as long as they want to talk to you.” (TE)

7:42 p.m.: Oopsy! Which awards ceremony is this? Here was Lupita Nyong’o as she was about to announce best supporting actor: “And the Actor goes to … The Oscar goes to … ” (TE)

7:38 p.m.: Any lip readers out there? What did Oprah say when Harris compared her wealth to the amount of money “American Sniper” has made? (TE)

7:37 p.m.: Love me some Neil Patrick Harris. But that opening number was like a plate of spaghetti and sauce heaved against a wall. A big red explosion, but not much really stuck. (RWB)

7:31 p.m.: Host Neil Patrick Harris gets in a good jab right out of the gate: “Tonight we honor Hollywood’s best and whitest — sorry, brightest!” (TE)

7:20 p.m.: On Lady Gaga’s big red rubber gloves: I keep seeing my doctor pulling them on and saying, “You may feel a bit of discomfort …” (RWB)

7:15 p.m.: “Just take a few very deep breaths before going out.” — Faith Hill’s advice to her husband, Tim McGraw, who without his cowboy hat looks like one of the Oscar accountants. He’ll be performing Glen Campbell’s “I’m Not Gonna Miss You.” (TE)

7:13 p.m.: It’s not the banal questions. It’s not the oohing and aahing over the dresses. It’s the attitude on the part of ABC red carpet hosts Robin Roberts and Lara Spencer that THEY are the story — just spending an evening hangin’ out with their Hollywood friends. GET A ROOM! (RWB)

7:03 p.m.: Ethan Hawke, best supporting actor nominee for “Boyhood,” on the red carpet: “Today marks the end of kind of a 13-year job.” He added that when director Richard Linklater first told him about “Boyhood,” it was no more than “a dream.” (TE)

6:45 p.m.: “Fifty Shades of Grey’s” Dakota Johnson brings as her date her cosmetically altered mom, Melanie Griffith. Natural beauty and … well, unnatural beauty. (RWB)

 

Have a comment about the Oscarcast? Email Tim: tengle@kcstar.com. On Twitter @tim_engle and @kcstarfyi

Robert W. Butler is a freelancer for The Star. Read more from him at butlerscinemascene.com.

Related stories from Kansas City Star

  Comments