The 87th Annual Academy Awards aired Sunday Night, February 22nd, 2015. Below were my predictions for the winners in the major categories. The actual winners were filled in after the Oscars are announced.
For some reason last year I didn’t post my annual predictions and telecast commentary, nor do I even remember who hosted or much of the ceremony apart from the fact that 12 Years a Slave rightfully won Best Picture (a rare cosmic convergence of The Davies and Oscars). I think I may have been flying up to Canada for work that Sunday night.
At any rate, after last year’s hiatus, The Spin on the Oscars is back! Neil Patrick Harris is hosting, leaving me feeling uninspired for the ceremony to break from the norm. Musical numbers. A few gay jokes. A few empty political references.
As far as the races, there’s actually a pretty good one for best picture – and if the Academy does their famous Picture/Director split, which way that goes (Boyhood or Birdman?) could also have downstream impact to Best Original Screenplay.
I might also try live Tweeting snarky or non-sensical remarks (most likely ten to fifteen minutes past relevance) during the telecast, so follow us on Twitter @schleicherspin or better yet follow @pattonoswalt as he’s way funnier than me at this stuff.
Neil Patrick had a few good puns but was way too theater-ish for a dreadfully long broadcast begging for a comedian.
There were some genuine surprises amidst the predictable in major and minor categories (see below) but the Birdman flew highest showing yet again that the Academy loves to love themselves.
The funniest tweet of the night came from Patton Oswalt and wasn’t really about the Oscars at all but instead was a mind blowing suggestion that House of Cards might actually be Christopher Nolan’s version of Foghorn Leghorn – a thought I never dared to dream. He later suggested that Matthew McConaughey had killed a railroad hobo for his hair (ha!)
I scored a subpar 15/24 in my family Oscar pool and lost out to my brother thanks to all the upsets.
A corrupt mayor of a remote Russian fishing town (Roman Madyanov) waxes bluntly that “there are a lot of assholes at the bottoms of hills” but if his character proves anything, there are even bigger assholes at the top. He comes across like a Russian version of Toronto’s own Rob Ford – only without the charm.
Another character, the gruff fish-mongering wife of a cop (an excellent Anna Ukulova), muses on men while watching her rambunctious young son, “At first you’re pretty and then they kill you.”
*POTENTIAL SPOILERS AHEAD*
Andrey Zyaginstev’s Jobian melodrama, Leviathan, is full of these Russian-isms. Bookended by bleak but beautiful seaside photography from Mikhail Krichman shown in perfectly framed shots scored by Philip Glass’ tense minimalist music, the film tells the tale of Koyla (Aleksey Serebryakov – who looks ripped from the stone-cold misery of a Ingmar Bergman film), a man who the mayor, the system, and the church demand be put in his place. His ancestral home has been seized by the government at an unfair price. His wife (a seductively sad and emotive Elena Lyadova) is sleeping with his lawyer and friend (Vladimir Vdovichenkov ). His teenage son (Sergey Pokhodaev) is surly and depressed.
The characters in the film drink, eat, go shooting and screw each other in more ways than one. Continue reading →
I’m a bit late to the game as the Saturday Night Live 40th Anniversary Special aired on NBC this past Sunday, but watching the three-hour trip down memory lane got me thinking between the laughs. It’s amazing how much SNL has been and continues to be part of my routine. I was still in single digits when I watched the early seasons rerun on Nick@Nite, and it was during the Farley heyday when the teen version of me became a committed live watcher. The current season may be abysmal (only the absurdly funny “Wishin’ Boot” music video deserves repeat play), but the special reminded me how funny SNL can be and left me reminiscing about my favorite sketches over the years.
This is by no means a comprehensive list, but more of an invitation for you, dear readers, to share your favorite SNL sketches.
As far as “one-and-done” stand-alone pieces, nothing in my mind tops “Consumer Report” where Dan Aykroyd plays a slimy toys salesman shucking new toys for the Christmas season, one of which is a literal bag of broken glass. Continue reading →